One Hit Wonders
A One-hit wonder is a Top 40 phenomenon, the combination of artist and song that scores big in the music industry with one hit, but is unable to repeat the achievement with another Top 40 hit. The term can refer to the artist, the song, or both together.
It is important to note that the following list contains artists who reached the Top 40 of the UK Singles Chart with just one song. Additionally, an artist with two or more albums with a rank of one to forty inclusive in the UK Albums Chart may be taken off of this listing.
Wayne Jancik's book The Billboard Book of One-Hit Wonders (Billboard Books, 1998) defines a one-hit wonder rather conservatively, as "an act that has won a position on Billboard's national, pop, Top 40 just once." He therefore includes such performers as Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix solely on the basis of their Top 40 performance.
In his definition of an "act", Jancik distinguishes between a solo performer and any group he or she may have performed in; thus Roger Daltrey is distinguished from The Who. He restricts his reporting time to the period from the start of the "rock-and-roll era" (defined by the author as 1 January 1955) to 31 December 1992.
The latter date was picked to allow a five-year "lag time" before publication for a listed one-hit wonder to produce a second hit; this unfortunately does not allow for a longer hiatus between hits for a particular performer. For example, Lenny Kravitz is listed for "It Ain't Over 'Til It's Over" (No. 2, August 1991); the book therefore misses subsequent hits, such as "Fly Away", which reached #12 on the Billboard chart in 1999.
In the United Kingdom, the term one-hit wonder is used to describe a singer or band who had only one hit reach the Top 75 on the UK Singles Chart. The term was first used by the "Guinness Book of Hit Singles" from the 1970s, and originally referred strictly to those artists whose first chart action was: "a number one hit, and then nothing else, ever."