Saturday, November 14, 2009

One Hit Wonders

One Hit Wonders

Lists of greatest one-hit wonders

VH1's list of "100 greatest one-hit wonders"

In 2002, the American cable network VH1 aired a countdown of the VH1's 100 Greatest One-hit Wonders. It listed musicians with only one American hit, regardless of international success, which has been substantial and long-lived for musicians like a-ha and Nena (see below). In fact, if the "only one American hit" criterion had been strictly applied, a-ha and Falco would not be eligible for the list, as they each actually had two top-20 US hits—although as noted above their second hits were greatly overshadowed in the US by the prior hit. The same goes for Vanilla Ice - his follow up to his #1 hit was a #4 hit titled, "Play Tha Funky Music". Gerardo also had another Top 15 hit. Los del Río likewise had two top forty hits, though both were versions of Macarena.
The countdown also omitted acts such as Jimi Hendrix and Grateful Dead who, while technically charting with only one single, became too well-known for their entire bodies of work to merit inclusion on the list. They did get mentioned, though, in a short segment of one hit wonders that had popular followings. The top ten consisted of:
1. Los del Río — "Macarena" (1996)
2. Soft Cell — "Tainted Love" (1982)
3. Dexys Midnight Runners – "Come On Eilee" (1982)
4. Right Said Fred — "I'm Too Sexy" (1992)
5. Toni Basil — "Mickey" (1982)
6. Baha Men — "Who Let the Dogs Out?" (2000)
7. Vanilla Ice — "Ice Ice Baby" (1990)
8. a-ha — "Take On Me" (1985)
9. Gerardo — "Rico Suave" (1991)
10. Nena — "99 Luftballons" (1984)
Soft Cell, Dexys Midnight Runners, Right Said Fred, Baha Men, and Vanilla Ice have had multiple hits in the UK; and
a-hahave had continued international success to this day, selling 80,000,000 records, and would therefore not qualify as one-hit wonders. Gerardo has never had any hits in the UK at all. This leaves only Toni Basil, Nena and Los del Río from this list as one-hit wonders on both English-speaking sides of the Atlantic, though Nena has continued her success in Germanic countries.

Channel 4's "50 Greatest One Hit Wonders"
A 2006 television poll, conducted by Channel 4 in the UK, asked viewers to select their favourite one hit wonder from a shortlist of 60 . Respondents could also vote by e-mail to select a song that was not on the original list, if they so wished. The top 50 were:
1. "Kung Fu Fighting" – Carl Douglas
2. "99 Red Balloons" – Nena
3. "Because I Got High" – Afroman
4. "Sugar, Sugar" – The Archies
5. "Can You Dig It?" – The Mock Turtles
6. "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" – Monty Python
7. "Spirit in the Sky" – Doctor and the Medics (also Norman Greenbaum)
8. "Who Let the Dogs Out" – Baha Men
9. "The Safety Dance" – Men Without Hats
10. "Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps Please" – Splodgenessabounds
11. "Groove is in the Heart" – Deee-Lite
12. "Trouble" – Shampoo
13. "It's Raining Men" – The Weather Girls
14. "All By Myself" – Eric Carmen
15. "Jilted John" – Jilted John
16. "I’ll Be There For You" – The Rembrandts
17. "Doctorin’ the Tardis" – The Timelords
18. "Rock Me Amadeus" – Falco
19. "Flat Beat" – Mr. Oizo
20. "Video Killed the Radio Star" – Buggles
21. "Je t'aime... moi non plus" – Jane Birkin & Serge Gainsbourg
22. "Mambo No. 5 (A Little Bit Of…)" – Lou Bega
23. "Turning Japanese" – The Vapors
24. "Mickey" – Toni Basil
25. "Mouldy Old Dough" – Lieutenant Pigeon
26. "Pump Up The Volume" – M/A/R/R/S
27. "Lovin' You" – Minnie Riperton
28. "Axel F" – Harold Faltermeyer (also well known for the Gramm Award winning Top Gun Anthem)
29. "Fuck It (I Don’t Want You Bac)" – Eamon
30. "I'm the Urban Spaceman" – The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band
31. "Spaceman" – Babylon Zoo
32. "My Sharona" – The Knack
33. "Shaddap You Face" – Joe Dolce Music Theatre
34. "Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)" – Baz Luhrmann
35. "Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs (Lowry’s Song)" – Brian & Michael
36. "MacArthur Park" – Richard Harris
37. "Monster Mash" – Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett & The Crypt-Kickers
38. "Rapper’s Delight" – Sugarhill Gang
39. "Fire" – Crazy World of Arthur Brown
40. "The One and Only" – Chesney Hawkes
41. "Louie, Louie" – The Kingsmen
42. "Since Yesterday" – Strawberry Switchblade
43. "My Boy Lollipop" – Millie Small
44. "Money" – Flying Lizards
45. "Stutter Rap (No Sleep ‘til Bedtime)" – Morris Minor and the Majors
46. "Just Say No" – Grange Hill Cast
47. "Woo Hoo" – The's
48. "Japanese Boy" – Aneka
49. "Save Your Love" – Renee and Renato
50. "Brimful of Ash" – Cornershop

Even this list is riddled with inaccuracies, since at least fifteen of the fifty acts ranked in the Top 50 by the poll had multiple Top 40 hits in the UK singles chart, thus disqualifying them from the appellation 'one-hit wonder', although the success of the other hits was (with one very notable exception) of a lesser measure than those included in the poll:
§ Millie reached No. 30 with 'Sweet William' in 1964.
§ Lieutenant Pigeon reached No. 17 with 'Desperate Dan' in 1972.
§ Carl Douglas reached No. 35 with 'Dance the Kung Fu' in 1974 and No. 25 with 'Run Back' in 1977.
§ The Buggles reached No. 16 with 'Living in the Plastic Age' and No. 38 with 'Clean Clean' in 1980.
§ Splodgenessabounds reached No. 26 with the double A-side 'Two Little Boys' / 'Horse' in 1980.
§ Doctor and the Medics reached No. 29 with 'Burn' in 1986.
§ Falco reached No. 10 with 'Vienna Calling' in 1986.
§ Deee-Lite reached No. 25 with the double A-side 'Power of Love'/'Deee-Lite Theme' in 1990.
§ Chesney Hawkes reached No. 27 with 'I'm a Man Not a Boy' in 1991.
§ Shampoo reached No. 27 with 'Viva La Megababes' in 1994, No. 21 with 'Delicious' in 1995, No. 36 with 'Trouble (1995)' in 1995, and No. 25 with 'Girl Power' in 1996, thus notching up no fewer than five hits including two different versions of 'Trouble'.
§ Babylon Zoo reached No. 17 with 'Animal Army' and No. 32 with 'The Boy with the X-ray Eyes' in 1996.
§ Cornershop reached No. 23 with 'Sleep on the Left Side' in 1998 and No. 37 with 'Lessons Learnt From Rocky I To Rocky III' in 2002.
§ Baha Men reached No. 14 with 'You All Dat' in 2001 and No. 16 with 'Move It Like This' in 2002.
§ Afroman reached No. 10 with 'Crazy Rap' in 2002.
§ Eamon (featuring Ghostface) reached No. 27 with 'Love Them' in 2004.
§ Most notably, The Timelords reached the UK Top 40 eight times—once under that name; once as The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu; once as 2K; and five times, including one #1, under their best-known name, The KLF.

"20 to 1: One Hit Wonders"

In 2005, the Australian series 20 to 1 aired their episode 20 to 1: One Hit Wonders, a list of songs that had been the only one by that artist to have success in Australia.
20. Tainted Love - Soft Cell
19. Mambo No.5 - Lou Bega
18. Venus- Shocking Blue
17. Achy Breaky Heart - Billy Ray Cyrus
16. Mickey - Toni Basil
15. I'll Be Gone - Spectrum
14. Tubthumping - Chumbawamba
13. Counting the Beat - The Swingers
12. Slice of Heaven - Dave Dobbyn& The Herbs
11. Rockin' Robin - Bobby Day
10. Pass the Dutchie - Musical Youth
9. Don't Worry, Be Happy - Bobby McFerrin
8. 99 Luftballoons - Nena
7. Spirit in the Sky - Norman Greenbaum
6. Come on Eileen - Dexys Midnight Runners
5. Funkytown - Lipps Inc
4. Turning Japanese - The Vapors
3. Video Killed the Radio Star - The Buggles
2. Born to Be Alive - Patrick Hernandez
1. My Sharona- The Knack

C4's UChoose40: One Hit Wonders

In September 2006, New Zealand's terrestrial music channel, C4, aired an episode dedicated to "One Hit Wonders" on the weekly theme-based chart show, UChoose40, where the chart was ranked entirely by viewer's votes from the website. Moreover, Meredith Brooks's hit single "Bitch" was mentioned on the candidates list but failed to make the Top 40.
The top ten ranking are as follows:
1. "The Final Countdown" – Europe (1986)
2. "Teenage Dirtbag" – Wheatus (2000)
3. "How Bizarre" – OMC (1996)
4. "Because I Got High" – Afroman (2001)
5. "Ice Ice Baby" – Vanilla Ice (1990)
6. "Eye of the Tiger" – Survivor (1982)
7. "Tubthumping" – Chumbawamba (1997)
8. "My Sharona" – The Knack (1979)
9. "Video Killed the Radio Star" – Buggles (1979)
10. "Who Let The Dogs Out?" – Baha Men (2000)
11. "I Touch Myself" - Divinyls (1991)

Classical music one-hit wonders
Deutsche Grammophon and Vox Records have both released albums of classical one-hit wonders. Many of the works on the CDs are from composers who have two or more works that are popular in classical music circles but have a single work that has become popular outside these circles. The works will be familiar to most people because they have been used in commercials or in movies and television shows. The two CDs differ but the works common to both are:
1. Johann Pachelbel – Canon in D
2. Samuel Barber – Adagio for Strings
3. attrib. Tomaso Albinoni– Adagio in G minor (this was actually written by Remo Giazotto and contains no Albinoni material)
4. Jean-Joseph Mouret – Rondeau from Symphonies and Fanfares for the King's Supper (theme to Masterpiece, formerly Masterpiece Theatre)
5. Luigi Boccherini – minuet from String Quintet in E
6. Jeremiah Clarke – "Trumpet Voluntary"
7. Jules Massenet – Meditation from his opera "Thais"
8. Pietro Mascagni– "Cavalleria rusticana
9. Léo Delibes – "The Flower Duet
10. Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov – "Caucasian Sketches"
11. Amilcare Ponchielli – "Dance of the Hours" from the opera "La Gioconda"
12. Charles-Marie Widor – Toccata from Symphony for Organ No. 5
13. Aram Khachaturian – "Sabre Dance" from the ballet "Gayane"
14. Marc-Antoine Charpentier – Te Deum