Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Post of the Week Created with Sketch. One-Hit Wonders of the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s

 

I don’t think we’ve had enough arguing recently on Ricochet. So here are my picks for best one-hit wonders for three decades. I’m sure you will all agree. Or not.

1960s

Talk Talk by The Music Machine. One minute and fifty-six seconds of attitude. This was a very competitive decade (see, for instance, Gloria by The Shadows of Knight, Hey Little Girl by The Syndicate of Sound, Tighten Up by Archie Bell & The Drells, Rescue Me by Fontella Bass, Dirty Water by The Standells, 96 Tears by ? & The Mysterians and, of course, I Had Too Much To Dream by The Electric Prunes).

My social life’s a dud/My name is really mud

1970s

Patti Smith has a long and successful career but only one hit single, Because The Night, and it is magnificent. She took a song originally written by Bruce Springsteen and rewrote the verse lyrics while waiting for a call from her boyfriend. Admittedly, my choice raises serious metaphysical issues – can someone be a one-hit wonder if they’ve had a long and successful career? Some may dispute whether my choice is correct but since I believe we can all self-identify with our own truth and declare our pronouns, I’m saying it is.

1980s

Jenny/867-5309 by Tommy Tutone. Perhaps the greatest one-hit wonder of them all.

I tried to call you before, but I lost my nerve/I tried my imagination, but I was disturbed

.

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  1. OccupantCDN Coolidge

    All great songs, here is another for your list – ok its a little odd – but its fun:

     

    • #1
    • January 5, 2020, at 9:38 AM PST
    • 15 likes
  2. Dr. Bastiat Member

    80’s:

    “Toy Soldiers” by Martika

    “Black Velvet” by, um, hang on… 

    • #2
    • January 5, 2020, at 9:42 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  3. Dr. Bastiat Member

    Oh yeah – Black Velvet by Alanah Myles

    Plus “Come On Eileen” by Dexi and the Midnight Runners (I think)

    • #3
    • January 5, 2020, at 9:55 AM PST
    • 10 likes
  4. OccupantCDN Coolidge

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    80’s:

    “Toy Soldiers” by Martika

    “Black Velvet” by, um, hang on…

    Alannah Myles is a one hit wonder? That’s a bit harsh.

    • #4
    • January 5, 2020, at 9:56 AM PST
    • 1 like
  5. Addiction Is A Choice Member

    1960s

    1970s

    1980s

    • #5
    • January 5, 2020, at 10:06 AM PST
    • 11 likes
  6. Kevin Schulte Member

    Perhaps a regional hit.

    The Prize by The Blend.

    • #6
    • January 5, 2020, at 10:11 AM PST
    • 1 like
  7. OccupantCDN Coolidge

    I think it was ‘easier’ for a 1 hit wonder to happen in the 60s-70s era, because the music industry was fairly fragmented, there where lots of smaller companies out there looking to “swing for the fences” with new acts. Today, it seems that if the band wasnt on the radio in 1995 they’re not on the radio now. It seems that the airwaves are locked up with corporately controlled music – new acts just arent breaking in as much. Maybe online is the place to find new music – because the cost of distribution online is near zero, they dont need corporate backers to fund a band…

    • #7
    • January 5, 2020, at 10:20 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  8. Mendel Member
    Mendel Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    The ultimate one-hit wonder of the 70s has to be American Pie.

     

    Sure, Don McLean had a long and successful music career. But it was solely due to that one (dreadful) song.

    • #8
    • January 5, 2020, at 10:35 AM PST
    • 12 likes
  9. Bishop Wash Member

    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo…: She took a song originally written by Bruce Springsteen and rewrote the verse lyrics while waiting for a call from her boyfriend.

    Another data point that Springsteen is good as long as it isn’t him performing. 

    • #9
    • January 5, 2020, at 10:39 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  10. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher

    Mendel (View Comment):

    The ultimate one-hit wonder of the 70s has to be American Pie.

     

    Sure, Don McLean had a long and successful music career. But it was solely due to that one (dreadful) song.

    It was awful and his career due to it but he did have two other top ten singles.

    • #10
    • January 5, 2020, at 10:48 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  11. DrewInWisconsin, Ham-Fisted Bu… Coolidge

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Oh yeah – Black Velvet by Alanah Myles

    Plus “Come On Eileen” by Dexi and the Midnight Runners (I think)

    Dexy’s Midnight Runners, of course.

    • #11
    • January 5, 2020, at 10:57 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  12. Unsk Member

    But, but, but I like American Pie. Bet you hate another one hit wonder – MacArthur Park. It shares that wondrously overwrought thingy. 

    Lots of great one hit wonders. Too many to recount. Great comments though. 

    • #12
    • January 5, 2020, at 10:57 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  13. Clavius Thatcher

    Norman Greenbaum and his Spirit in the Sky.

    • #13
    • January 5, 2020, at 10:58 AM PST
    • 15 likes
  14. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher

    Unsk (View Comment):

    But, but, but I like American Pie. Bet you hate another one hit wonder – MacArthur Park. It shares that wondrously overwrought thingy.

    Lots of great one hit wonders. Too many to recount. Great comments though.

    Can’t speak for Mendel, but I do like MacArthur Park.

    My nominee for worst one-hit wonder of the 60s (and it hit #1!) is In The Year 2525 by Zager & Evans.

    • #14
    • January 5, 2020, at 11:06 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  15. Django Member

    This band belongs there somewhere. I think it was the late 1970s.

    • #15
    • January 5, 2020, at 11:07 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  16. DrewInWisconsin, Ham-Fisted Bu… Coolidge

    The 80s was the last great decade of music. It’s been all downhill ever since.

    Timbuk 3 – The Future’s So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades

    Nu Shooz – I Can’t Wait

    Til Tuesday – Voices Carry

    After the Fire – Der Kommisar

    Quarterflash – Harden My Heart

    Madness – Our House

    Cutting Crew – I Just Died In Your Arms

    Edie Brickell – What I Am

    Dead Or Alive – You Spin Me Round

    Men Without Hats – The Safety Dance

    Modern English – Melt with You

    A-Ha – Take On Me

    • #16
    • January 5, 2020, at 11:07 AM PST
    • 19 likes
  17. DrewInWisconsin, Ham-Fisted Bu… Coolidge

    • #17
    • January 5, 2020, at 11:08 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  18. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher

    DrewInWisconsin, Type Monkey (View Comment):

    The 80s was the last great decade of music. It’s been all downhill ever since.

    Timbuk 3 – The Future’s So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades

    Nu Shooz – I Can’t Wait

    Til Tuesday – Voices Carry

    After the Fire – Der Kommisar

    Quarterflash – Harden My Heart

    Madness – Our House

    Cutting Crew – I Just Died In Your Arms

    Edie Brickell – What I Am

    Dead Or Alive – You Spin Me Round

    Men Without Hats – The Safety Dance

    Modern English – Melt with You

    A-Ha – Take On Me

    Some great ones in there.

    • #18
    • January 5, 2020, at 11:09 AM PST
    • 1 like
  19. Samuel Block Support

    Great idea. Off the top of my head I’ve got this one from the 80s.

    • #19
    • January 5, 2020, at 11:10 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  20. Seawriter Member

    Telephone Man

     

    • #20
    • January 5, 2020, at 11:10 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  21. tigerlily Member

    I don’t think anyone has mentioned “Mexican Radio” by Wall of Voodoo yet.

    • #21
    • January 5, 2020, at 11:14 AM PST
    • 14 likes
  22. DrewInWisconsin, Ham-Fisted Bu… Coolidge

    Maybe too obscure, but this one’s definitely their best known song. Not sure how much of a “hit” it was, but I love it.

    • #22
    • January 5, 2020, at 11:15 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  23. Juliana Member

    Quarterflash – Harden My Heart

    • #23
    • January 5, 2020, at 11:17 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  24. Django Member

    DrewInWisconsin, Type Monkey (View Comment):

    The 80s was the last great decade of music. It’s been all downhill ever since.

    Timbuk 3 – The Future’s So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades

    Nu Shooz – I Can’t Wait

    Til Tuesday – Voices Carry

    After the Fire – Der Kommisar

    Quarterflash – Harden My Heart

    Madness – Our House

    Cutting Crew – I Just Died In Your Arms

    Edie Brickell – What I Am

    Dead Or Alive – You Spin Me Round

    Men Without Hats – The Safety Dance

    Modern English – Melt with You

    A-Ha – Take On Me

    Nothing from The Fixx? 

    • #24
    • January 5, 2020, at 11:20 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  25. MeandurΦ Member
    MeandurΦ Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Telephone Man

     

    Sounds like a dementoid.

    • #25
    • January 5, 2020, at 11:26 AM PST
    • 1 like
  26. DrewInWisconsin, Ham-Fisted Bu… Coolidge

    Django (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin, Type Monkey (View Comment):

    The 80s was the last great decade of music. It’s been all downhill ever since.

    Timbuk 3 – The Future’s So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades

    Nu Shooz – I Can’t Wait

    Til Tuesday – Voices Carry

    After the Fire – Der Kommisar

    Quarterflash – Harden My Heart

    Madness – Our House

    Cutting Crew – I Just Died In Your Arms

    Edie Brickell – What I Am

    Dead Or Alive – You Spin Me Round

    Men Without Hats – The Safety Dance

    Modern English – Melt with You

    A-Ha – Take On Me

    Nothing from The Fixx?

    Didn’t come to mind. But “One Thing Leads to Another” and possibly “Saved by Zero” makes them one of many “two-hit wonders.”

    Same with A Flock of Seagulls. Arguably, they had more than one hit with “I Ran” . . . there’s also “Wishing (If I had a Photograph of You)” and “Space Age Love Song.” Although “I Ran” is clearly the standout.

    • #26
    • January 5, 2020, at 11:29 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  27. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    DrewInWisconsin, Type Monkey (View Comment):

    The 80s was the last great decade of music. It’s been all downhill ever since.

    Timbuk 3 – The Future’s So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades

    Nu Shooz – I Can’t Wait

    Til Tuesday – Voices Carry

    After the Fire – Der Kommisar

    Quarterflash – Harden My Heart

    Madness – Our House

    Cutting Crew – I Just Died In Your Arms

    Edie Brickell – What I Am

    Dead Or Alive – You Spin Me Round

    Men Without Hats – The Safety Dance

    Modern English – Melt with You

    A-Ha – Take On Me

     

    Men without Hats may have only had the one hit, but they produced one of *the* truly great synth-pop albums of the 1980s with Pop Goes The World.

     

    • #27
    • January 5, 2020, at 11:33 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  28. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    DrewInWisconsin, Type Monkey (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Oh yeah – Black Velvet by Alanah Myles

    Plus “Come On Eileen” by Dexi and the Midnight Runners (I think)

    Dexy’s Midnight Runners, of course.

    A joke from college:

    Q: What’s more disgusting than Grease on Olivia Newton John?

     

    • #28
    • January 5, 2020, at 11:34 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  29. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

     

    • #29
    • January 5, 2020, at 11:36 AM PST
    • 11 likes
  30. Django Member

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin, Type Monkey (View Comment):

    The 80s was the last great decade of music. It’s been all downhill ever since.

    Timbuk 3 – The Future’s So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades

    Nu Shooz – I Can’t Wait

    Til Tuesday – Voices Carry

    After the Fire – Der Kommisar

    Quarterflash – Harden My Heart

    Madness – Our House

    Cutting Crew – I Just Died In Your Arms

    Edie Brickell – What I Am

    Dead Or Alive – You Spin Me Round

    Men Without Hats – The Safety Dance

    Modern English – Melt with You

    A-Ha – Take On Me

     

    Men without Hats may have only had the one hit, but they produced one of *the* truly great synth-pop albums of the 1980s with Pop Goes The World.

     

    One of my co-workers from the mid-1980s — the one who was crazy about The Rocky Horror Picture Show — listened to Frankie Goes to Hollywood all the time. All I remember is Relax

    • #30
    • January 5, 2020, at 11:37 AM PST
    • 5 likes