One-hit wonders might be referenced in a derogatory manner, but the songwriters reaping the benefits of their one-hit wonders might tell you otherwise:
I don’t mind having that one hit. [...] I call it ‘one-hit wonderful.’”
- Steven Greenberg, Lipps Inc. member and writer of the band’s one-hit wonder “Funkytown”
Declared by music writer Steve Rosen in 1990, National One-Hit Wonder Day celebrates all those one-hit wonders that were so catchy, they couldn’t be topped – from kitschy tunes like Los Del Rio’s “Macarena” to classics like “Come on Eileen” by Dexy’s Midnight Runners.
The exact criteria for declaring a song, artist, or musical act a “one-hit wonder” is a little sketchy. According to most music industry insiders, including Billboard magazine journalist and author of The Billboard Book of One-Hit Wonders Wayne Jancik, a one-hit wonder is any song or act that reaches a Top 40 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart only once. However, this definition would include several artists with a well-known body of work, a strong fan following, influences on other musicians, and other successes, including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Grateful Dead – these acts and similar ones are usually considered exceptions. A more lenient definition includes any spot in the Top 100 only once while a more general definition is any artist best known for only one song.
Celebrate National One-Hit Wonder Day by listening to your favorite one-hit wonders! Here are a few one-hit wonder lists we found around the web:
Did you know…The term “one-hit wonder” can also be applied to works of art other than music and to artists other than musical performers. For example, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is considered a one-hit wonder in literature. Although it was the only novel Lee ever published, the classic, Pulitzer-Prize-winning novel is a bestseller that has sold over 30 million copies and was adapted into an Oscar-winning film.