The 10 Best One Hit Wonders In Music History
One hit wonders have been a part of the music industry for decades and are some of our favorite songs of all time. Some famous one hit wonder bands barely existed long enough to record their lone hit, while others continued to work hard for years after their brief moment at the top. Some revel in the notoriety and fame their hit continues to bring them, while others see that hit as the very thing that killed their career. Any way you look at it, the industry is littered with one hit wonders. Here are your top 10.
10. Right Said Fred – “I’m Too Sexy”
“I’m Too Sexy” was the debut song from the English group Right Said Fred, and enjoyed massive success both in the USA and in the UK. In the UK it reached number two on the charts, and held on to that spot for a record six years. In the USA, the song reached number one on the charts and was a massive hit. Unfortunately for Right Said Fred, this would be their only hit on the US charts as their next highest song on the charts peaked at number 76. Despite being a clear one hit wonder in the USA, the band actually had fairly decent longevity on the British charts.
9. Sir Mix-A-Lot – “Baby Got Back”
In 1992, hip hop artist Sir Mix-A-Lot released “Baby Got Back,” which would go on to be one of the most popular and greatest hip hop songs of all time, as it is still enjoyed to this day. The song reached number one on the US charts and was actually the second bestselling song of 1992, meaning it appealed to more than just those interested in the hip hop genre. Following this initial success, Mix-A-Lot failed to register another single that got even close to the amount of success that this one did, and he continues to be known only primarily for this song.
8. Len – “Steal My Sunshine”
“Steal My Sunshine” was the smash hit in 1999 released by Canadian band, Len. It is an indie pop track that became a huge hit out of nowhere when radio stations began playing it a few months before Len released their album. The song eventually reached number one in Canada and was a member of the top five in numerous different charts in the USA. Despite having a decent sized cult following who enjoy all of their music, Len has been labeled a one hit wonder as the immense success of this song has not been matched by anything else they’ve ever put out.
7. Dexy’s Midnight Runners – “Come On Eileen”
“Come On Eileen” was the ultra-successful 1982 release by the English group Dexy’s Midnight Runners. This was actually the group’s second number one hit in the UK, but the first that garnered them worldwide fame and notoriety for their work. In fact, this song reached number one on the charts in nine different countries, proving just how wildly successful and popular the song became, and it has maintained this success and is still popular in the present day. Despite never replicating the popularity of this song, they enjoyed a little bit of success around the world following this song, but they can thank “Come On Eileen” for that.
6. Vanilla Ice – “Ice Ice Baby”
If you grew up in the ’90s, chances are good that you listened to this song and remember it fondly. “Ice Ice Baby” was the single released in 1990 by rapper Vanilla Ice and is still one of the most influential hip hop songs of all time. This is because it was the first ever hip hop single to top the Billboard charts in the USA. In addition to reaching number one in the USA, it reached number one in numerous other countries and also was one of the songs that brought the hip hop genre into the eyes of mainstream society. After having such a monumental hit on his hands, he was never able to regain the popularity and success that he experienced with this song.
5. Bobby McFerrin – “Don’t Worry Be Happy”
This song, released in 1988, was without a doubt the song that put American Jazz vocalist Bobby McFerrin on the map. He is one of the most talented singers of the last few decades, capable of doing things not many others can, but he is also a one hit wonder. “Don’t Worry Be Happy” was originally a flop and peaked at the 88th spot on the US charts, but after its re-release it captured the number one spot in the USA and was successful in other countries as well. Also, this song became the first acapella single to reach the number one spot. The song also pleased the critics, as it won McFerrin four Grammy Awards.
4. The Proclaimers – “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)”
The Proclaimers are a Scottish duo that was decently successful in the UK and other countries, but finally gained worldwide fame with their hit song “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles).” The song was originally released in 1988 and failed to reach the top ten of any worthwhile chart, but gained steam in 1989, and by 1993 it was within the top five of the US and Canadian charts. These guys are the true definition of a musical one hit wonder because since this smash hit, they have put out numerous albums and singles and none of which have even gotten remotely close to matching the success of this classic jam.
3. Los del Rio – “Macarena”
This song is without a doubt one of the most catchy and popular songs of the 1990s and was a chart topping hit from 1995-1997. Despite being that old of a song, you will still hear it played fairly often, as it has a massive cult following. The song reached number one on the charts in 10+ countries and went 4x platinum in the USA. “Macarena” also consistently ranks as one of the greatest Latin music song in history and ranks in as the number one dance song of all time by Billboard. Since the release of this song, Los del Rio has put out numerous other records and singles, none of which have garnered even a spot on the charts, let alone a number one hit.
2. Soft Cell – “Tainted Love”
This is an interesting addition because the song “Tainted Love” was originally created and recorded by Gloria Jones in the mid 1960s, and was actually covered by the English group Soft Cell. When Soft Cell changed the tempo of the song to slow down a bit and added their own twist, it made the song a smash hit. The single peaked at number one on a variety of charts and achieved worldwide notoriety. Despite having some success overseas following this song, their popularity in the Western world would basically dwindle down to nothing and they would never again achieve the massive worldwide success of “Tainted Love.”
1. Baha Men – “Who Let the Dogs Out”
And coming in at number one has to be the weirdest song on this list. “Who Let the Dogs Out” was released in 2000 by the Baha Men, who hail from the Bahamas. The song was a dance hit in the early 2000s and surprised a ton of people by achieving impressive chart success all over the world, and actually won a Grammy in 2001. Despite all of these accolades, the song is consistently rated one of the worst of all time. Even though the Baha Men have released other singles and records over the past decade or so, they have not been able to shake the fact they are simply known as the “guys who sang ‘Who Let the Dogs Out’.”