Whatever happened to those artists that came and went, leaving us with one great song to remember them by? Recently, a popular online forum discussed the greatest one-hit wonders from the 60s and 70s, and here’s what they uncovered.
1. “In The Year 2525” by Zager and Evans
The summer of 1969 brought peace and love but also delivered this gloomy look into the future. Forum members described the tune as “catchy,” but Zager and Evans quickly disappeared and split up in 1971. Perhaps the song will enjoy a revival when the year 2525 comes around.
2. “In the Summertime” by Mungo Jerry
This song got to number three on the Billboard charts, but that was Mungo Jerry’s only hit in the U.S. He continued to sell in big numbers in the U.K. and is still performing. As one individual commented, the lyrics of “In the Summertime” didn’t age well.
3. “Have I The Right” by The Honeycombs
The Honeycombs spent four weeks on the U.S. charts with this hit in 1964 but split three years later without a follow-up. “Have I the Right” was made more memorable through a 1977 cover version by Dead End Kids.
4. “Kung Fu Fighting” by Carl Douglas
“Kung Fu Fighting” cashed in on the martial arts craze of the mid-70s. It was a smash for Carl Douglas in 1974, but he disappeared into the realms of one-hit wonders.
5. “Get It On” by T Rex
It would be incredible for readers in some parts of the world to think of T. Rex as a one-hit wonder. Their charismatic singer Marc Bolan led them to many chart successes in the U.K., but this was their only U.S. hit.
6. “I Fought the Law” by Bobby Fuller
A little unfairly, Bobby Fuller makes the list with this cover version. He may have been a bigger hit, but he unfortunately passed away at a young age.
7. “Saturday Night” by the Bay City Rollers
Another band bigger in the U.K., the Bay City Rollers, had to settle for this solitary U.S. hit. It became the earworm for more than one forum member who began the chant, “S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y!”
8. “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” by Iron Butterfly
One contributor praised the “great drum solo” in this song. “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” is credited as a seminal work in heavy rock, but these days it is remembered mainly for a cameo appearance in The Simpsons.
9. “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” by Steam
This 1969 song made it into the charts, but the band Steam failed to deliver on its promise.
10. “Hey There Lonely Girl” by Eddie Holman
Eddie Holman couldn’t follow up this 1969 hit, but it’s another song that has stood the test of time.
11. “Black Betty” by Ram Jam
This song has endured so well that we may have thought Ram Jam had enjoyed more hits. But at least we still have “Black Betty.”
12. “Macarthur Park” by Richard Harris
This bizarre rendition overshadowed the brilliance of the songwriter Jimmy Webb.
13. “Spirit in the Sky” by Norman Greenbaum
There is a very good reason why Norman Greenbaum is a one-hit-wonder but the song still lives on!
14. “Misty Blue” by Dorothy Moore
One forum member reminded us that Billboard voted this as the 19th best song of 1976. Sadly it was so good that Dorothy Moore simply couldn’t find a follow-up.
15. “Seasons in the Sun” by Terry Jacks
This song was mentioned many times on the forum’s thread. It came from the 1974 album of the same name and was a hit worldwide for Terry Jacks. It is so evocative of that period, and it’s a huge surprise that the talented Jacks couldn’t find another hit record.
16. “Dancing in the Moonlight” by King Harvest
This cover of a Boffalongo track was a hit for King Harvest in 1972. The song was quickly forgotten until it became a worldwide success for the U.K. band Toploader at the start of the new millennium. Forum members agreed that they greatly preferred the King Harvest version.
17. “Ariel” by Dean Friedman
While this one-hit wonder has largely been forgotten, contributors had great fun recalling the lyrics.
18. “How Long” by Ace
This haunting song of betrayal made it onto the list. The band Ace was not around for much longer, but their singer Paul Carrack enjoyed success further down the line. He provides the voice for hits by both Mike and the Mechanics and Squeeze.
19. “Venus” by Shocking Blue
A forgotten song from the 1960s was given a new lease of life when it was covered by Bananarama in 1986. However, the forum largely preferred the original version of “Venus” by Shocking Blue.
20. “Beach Baby” by The First Class
Another song from that heady summer of 1974, “Beach Baby,” was a hit on both sides of the Atlantic. First Class was a U.K. band who found it hard to live up to the success of this early smash, and they broke up in 1976.
21. “My Sharona” by The Knack
The Knack are rare in the sense that they are one-hit wonders in the U.S. and in the U.K. “My Sharona” was a success on both sides of the Atlantic in 1979. One member of the forum fondly remembered them playing “My Sharona” on live TV. The singer wistfully announced that the band was going to “be bigger than the Beatles.”
22. “Pictures of Matchstick Men” by Status Quo
Readers in the U.K. will be shocked to see this make the list. After releasing this psychedelic number in 1968, the band changed their image and swapped paisley shirts for denim. Sadly, the new look wasn’t appreciated by an American audience who barely bought another record.
23. “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)” by Looking Glass
The band Looking Glass had a follow-up top 40 hit. Technically they are not one-hit wonders, but this number-one song found a lot of love on the forum (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, anyone?). This song is still a jam and it kind of makes you wonder just how many pets were named “Brandy” due to this record.
24. “Classical Gas” by Mason Williams
This catchy instrumental was a surprise hit for Mason Williams and his backing band, The Wrecking Crew, in 1968. Williams continued to perform but was unable to find any more success on the Billboard charts.
25. “Dominique” by The Singing Nun
I have to end with my own personal favorite from 1963. In this curious hit, The Singing Nun (real name Jeanne Deckers) manages to find herself bracketed as a one-hit wonder and a novelty act.