One-shot iconic wonders over the past 50+ years |


We all know the wonder of the one-hit: that artist who bursts onto the music scene with a resounding hit, only to disappear as soon as it arrives. Some hit wonders keep making music for years, but never manage to produce another hit song. Others quit the industry altogether after busting out their megahits, cashing in their winnings, and quitting while ahead. A few artists on this list might have gone on to release more hit songs if their lives hadn’t been cut short.

Some one-hit wonders released recordings before their big hits, but these lesser-known tracks got little to no attention. For others, the songs that made them famous were their first releases. What’s important in defining a single hit wonder is that whatever else they did, nothing came close to success – in terms of charts or in the minds of their fans – like this career-defining success. It shaped careers and it’s what artists will always remember.

In honor of the world’s beloved “one and done” artists, Stacker has put together a list of the most iconic marvels of the past 50+ years. You’ll know which 1976 hit made a comeback with its feature in Will Ferrell’s “Anchorman,” which country-pop ballad was originally given to Cher, and which of these one-hit wonders was written for a movie. 1980s hit that made $214 million at the worldwide box office.

Note that the last entry on this list is 2013 – only time will tell who else may emerge as a one-hit wonder. Scroll through and you’ll probably see some of your favorites, and you might only recognize a handful of them from a school dance or two.

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