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Slacker
04-07-2008, 10:32 AM
Flipping through stuff on my iPod today, it struck me how many of my favorite bands could be considered one hit wonders, even though they have a long list of great work they've done aside from that one hit. A few off the top of my head, or bands/singers I noticed on this wikipedia list (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One-hit_wonders_in_the_United_States):

Better Than Ezra - famous for "Good" in 1995. Since then they've released four albums, each of which has been better than the last (this is all IMO of course). Check out: Sincerely, Me

The Cardigans - famous for "Lovefool" in 1997, a song that was barely representative of their sound then, and nothing like their sound proceeding from their next album (Gran Turismo) forward. Their last three albums have all been outstanding. Check out: Live and Learn

Jars of Clay - famous for "Flood" in 1995. I never really liked the song, but the album was good, and I've picked up most of their stuff since. They had a couple clunkers between then and now, but they've released some great music too. Check out: Dead Man (Carry Me)

Aimee Mann - famous for "Save Me" in 1999. For once the one hit is one of my favorite songs. :) She's amassed a great catalog over the years though, with her last album The Forgotten Arm being absolutely brilliant. Check out: Going Through The Motions

Fountains Of Wayne is the most bizarre entry I saw on Wikipedia's list. They've somehow managed to become a one hit wonder twice, first with "Radiation Vibe" off of their first album in 1996, and again recently with "Stacy's Mom" in 2003. Either way, they're a great band with a long list of worthwhile songs to peruse. Check out: Someone to Love

Radiohead is also on Wikipedia's list, for "Creep" back in 1993. I'm not sure I'd consider them a one hit wonder, but if they are, they certainly qualify for this topic. "Creep" was the best track off their mediocre first album, but everything they've done since has blown the early stuff away. Check out: Paranoid Android if you somehow haven't heard it already. :p

Who else is out there with this distinction? Did I miss the mark with any I posted?

Hippy Hollow
04-07-2008, 10:52 AM
Radiohead is also on Wikipedia's list, for "Creep" back in 1993. I'm not sure I'd consider them a one hit wonder, but if they are, they certainly qualify for this topic. "Creep" was the best track off their mediocre first album, but everything they've done since has blown the early stuff away. Check out: Paranoid Android if you somehow haven't heard it already. :p
This list is suspect. On what planet are Radiohead one-hit wonders?

Wee Bairn
04-07-2008, 10:54 AM
This Hendrix guy has a pretty good oeuvre for someone with just one Top 40 hit. ;)

I assume Radiohead have just the one Top 40 hit on the Billboard US pop chart.

MrDibble
04-07-2008, 11:42 AM
Aimee Mann - famous for "Save Me" in 1999.
More famous for Voices Carry, in a way, isn't she? Does that make her a double threat - did 'Til Tuesday have any other hits?

RealityChuck
04-07-2008, 11:55 AM
Frank Zappa.

An Gadaí
04-07-2008, 12:59 PM
The Cardigans hit in the UK at least with Rise & Shine (#29), Lovefool, My favourite Game (#14), Erase/Rewind(#7) and other songs . They're not really one hit wonders either.

DoctorJ
04-07-2008, 01:03 PM
Fountains Of Wayne is the most bizarre entry I saw on Wikipedia's list. They've somehow managed to become a one hit wonder twice, first with "Radiation Vibe" off of their first album in 1996, and again recently with "Stacy's Mom" in 2003.Yet, bafflingly, they were nominated for the Best New Artist Grammy in 2003.

Taber
04-07-2008, 02:04 PM
Bobby McFerrin had a hit with "don't worry, be happy", then continued on to have a successful career as a jazz singer, with at least 13 albums in addition to the one with "don't worry, be happy".

Mister Rik
04-07-2008, 02:36 PM
Well, Rush has had exactly one Top 40 hit in their career (New World Man reached #21 in 1982). Do they count?

24 gold and 14 platinum records say "no" :D

control-z
04-07-2008, 02:37 PM
The Breeders Alt-rockers from the 90's with one hit ("Cannonball"), but they have 3 albums and are about to release a fourth.

JSexton
04-07-2008, 02:38 PM
Grateful Dead only had one hit chart - Touch of Gray.

yanceylebeef
04-07-2008, 02:42 PM
My friend Ty on the Eagle AFKN AM in 93...

"If they are Better than Ezra, then Ezra must really suck."


Brilliant!

SCSimmons
04-07-2008, 05:19 PM
I'd nominate Marc Cohn, whose only really well-known song was "Walking in Memphis", despite the fact that it was IMO the fifth or sixth best song on his debut album. (On the other hand, his subsequent albums haven't really lived up to that standard, so maybe I should withdraw.)

Miller
04-07-2008, 06:04 PM
Marcy Playground only ever had one hit, with "Sex and Candy," but I've enjoyed all three of their albums quite a bit.

JohnM
04-07-2008, 06:26 PM
This list is suspect. On what planet are Radiohead one-hit wonders?Radiohead is italicized in the list, indicating that while they only had one U.S. Top 40 single in the 1990s they are not considered a one hit wonder (I suppose because of album sales or work in the following decade.) They're really not a singles kind of band, though, are they? Most recently, I see that In Rainbows hit number one on the U.S. album chart, so that has to count for more than a single.

Rico
04-07-2008, 08:25 PM
As I've posted before, Dean Friedman (http://www.deanfriedman.com) is my personal favorite.

One hit in 1977 (Ariel) and he never has another US hit on the top 40. But his catalog is beautiful. He's still making music and selling it direct to his fans on his website.

I saw him in concert at a small club on Long Island last year. He is so passionate about his music - and loves his fans.

RTFirefly
04-07-2008, 08:35 PM
Never heard "Good" by Better Than Ezra; it may have just predated my escape from classic-rock stations. Their "Desperately Wanting" got a fair amount of airplay around 1998, so they must be at least a two-hit wonder. :)

installLSC
04-07-2008, 08:39 PM
The problem we have here is a misunderstanding of what a "one hit wonder" really is. A "one hit wonder" is an artist aiming at mainstream success but for one reason or another failing to get more than one hit. Most of them are acts with mediocre material who just happened to get lucky. Artists who mainly aim at the "underground" market (like Lou Reed or Iggy Pop) or who are highly popular at another type of music but got just a single pop crossover hit (such as Charlie Pride in country or Dave Brubeck in jazz) really shouldn't be included in that category.

Hockey Monkey
04-07-2008, 08:41 PM
Dream Theater charted with Pull Me Under, but nothing else in their 20 year career. They are about to release a compilation album, Dream Theater - Greatest Hit (...and 21 other pretty cool songs), on April 1.

RTFirefly
04-07-2008, 08:49 PM
The problem we have here is a misunderstanding of what a "one hit wonder" really is. A "one hit wonder" is an artist aiming at mainstream success but for one reason or another failing to get more than one hit. Most of them are acts with mediocre material who just happened to get lucky. Artists who mainly aim at the "underground" market (like Lou Reed or Iggy Pop) or who are highly popular at another type of music but got just a single pop crossover hit (such as Charlie Pride in country or Dave Brubeck in jazz) really shouldn't be included in that category.I agree. To simplify:

A "one hit wonder" is a recording artist or group that has only one hit, and that hit is the source of most of their fame.

freekalette
04-07-2008, 09:47 PM
The Knack really was a two-hit wonder (the ever-popular My Sharona and the slightly less-well-known but equally great Good Girls Don't) but both their albums have some great tunes.

Defensive Indifference
04-07-2008, 10:01 PM
Not sure if they fit the category entirely, but Cowboy Mouth had one decent hit in the mid-late 90s called "Jenny Says". A good song, but their catalog is stocked with good songs showing a really interesting mix of sounds. They're an active touring act, so maybe the radio hit isn't what they were going for.

Rachael Rage
04-07-2008, 11:11 PM
To simplify:

A "one hit wonder" is a recording artist or group that has only one hit, and that hit is the source of most of their fame. Thus, I would think Hanson would be a shoo-in, but they are nowhere to be found on the list. According to Wikipedia (not that this is a definitive source), they only had one top 10 hit in the U.S.:
Singles
"MMMBop" (May 1997) #1 U.S., #1 UK, #1 Australia [3] #1 China, #1 Austria, #1 Sweden, #1 New Zealand, #2 Holland, #2 Norway, #4 France, #4 Finland
"Where's the Love" (September 1997) #2 Australia, #4 UK, #5 New Zealand, #8 Finland, #23 Sweden, #24 China, #31 Holland, #37 France, #40 Austria
"I Will Come to You" (November 1997) #1 Sweden, #2 Finland, #3 New Zealand, #2 Australia, #4 Norway, #5 UK, #9 China, #9 U.S., #10 Austria, #10 France, #12 Holland
"Weird" (March 1998) #4 Finland, #10 New Zealand, #12 Australia, #19 UK, #21 Sweden, #72 Holland, #80 France
"Thinking of You" (July 1998) #6 Australia, #6 Finland, #23 UK, #27 New Zealand
"If Only" (April 2000) #8 Finland, #9 Australia, #13 Sweden, #15 UK, #17 Norway, #27 New Zealand, #38 Holland, #47 China, #87 France
"This Time Around" (July 2000) #20 U.S., #42 Australia
"Save Me" (December 2000) #1 Brazil
"Penny and Me" (January 2005) #10 UK, #2 UK Independent Chart, #15 UK Download Chart, #28 Ireland, #94 France #99 Germany
"Lost Without Each Other" (April 2005) #39 UK
"Great Divide" (November 2006, iTunes download only)
"Go" (April 2007 - UK) #44 UK, #3 UK Independent Chart
The 14 hours worth of Hanson I have in my iTunes library nearly doubles my Beatles collection and exceeds second-place Metallica by a third. My favorites are Underneath Acoustic and several songs off their newest album The Walk: I Am and Something Going Round have a lot of interesting stuff going on, and Running Man is almost a perfect pop song (except for that friggin' fade-out). Their cover of Radiohead's Optimistic (off Live and Electric) is killer, but was better live.

A lot of people are dismissive of "That MMMBop band" without bothering to give them a listen. But I'm over it. They are a good, solid rock band with a lot of good, solid songs and a few truly brilliant moments per album. That's good enough for me.

Hippy Hollow
04-07-2008, 11:49 PM
I was going to take the piss, Rachael, but I went to the Wikipedia page and then their official site. It's funny to see them "all grown up" (I remember when they first came out, it was like the oldest was a teenager and the other two were preadolescents - made for those amusing shots of the gangly eldest one and the two kids). Good for them for keeping true to their music and being positive. It's cool how they're all the same height now, heh!

And now, my usual rant on this topic:

I've railed against the "one-hit wonder" label, perhaps because so many of my favorite bands (a-ha, Level 42, Midnight Oil) are considered such. It's always in a US context - no attention is given to the major English-speaking markets in the world (UK, Canada, Australia/NZ, and Europe). It also places a band or artist in one particular moment, when typically artists grow and change with time.

To me, a true one-hit wonder is a band/artist that jumped on a bandwagon fad or trend, pumped out one novelty-type track, and left the music business altogether. (Like the "Shaddap Ya Face" guy.) It's kind of a pejorative label and I don't like to see it applied to artists who still manage to make a living performing their music.

Rachael Rage
04-08-2008, 12:05 AM
I was going to take the piss, Rachael, but I went to the Wikipedia page and then their official site. It's funny to see them "all grown up" (I remember when they first came out, it was like the oldest was a teenager and the other two were preadolescents - made for those amusing shots of the gangly eldest one and the two kids). Good for them for keeping true to their music and being positive. It's cool how they're all the same height now, heh! Not to mention they are all married fathers now (Taylor has 3 kids...so far).

To me, a true one-hit wonder is a band/artist that jumped on a bandwagon fad or trend, pumped out one novelty-type track, and left the music business altogether. (Like the "Shaddap Ya Face" guy.) It's kind of a pejorative label and I don't like to see it applied to artists who still manage to make a living performing their music. Hear, hear.

Sam Stone
04-08-2008, 01:25 AM
Warren Zevon

neutron star
04-08-2008, 09:19 AM
They are about to release a compilation album, Dream Theater - Greatest Hit (...and 21 other pretty cool songs), on April 1.
About to? I think you forgot to set your clock forward for Daylight Saving Week. :)

I'll nominate the Eels. They hit #39 on the regular singles chart and #1 on the Modern Rock chart in the U.S. with "Novocaine for the Soul" in 1996. Since then, they've recorded five albums worth of great music featuring really fun, happy subjects, like suicide and cancer.

Death of Rats
04-08-2008, 09:34 AM
Thus, I would think Hanson would be a shoo-in, but they are nowhere to be found on the list. According to Wikipedia (not that this is a definitive source), they only had one top 10 hit in the U.S.:
The 14 hours worth of Hanson I have in my iTunes library nearly doubles my Beatles collection and exceeds second-place Metallica by a third. My favorites are Underneath Acoustic and several songs off their newest album The Walk: I Am and Something Going Round have a lot of interesting stuff going on, and Running Man is almost a perfect pop song (except for that friggin' fade-out). Their cover of Radiohead's Optimistic (off Live and Electric) is killer, but was better live.

A lot of people are dismissive of "That MMMBop band" without bothering to give them a listen. But I'm over it. They are a good, solid rock band with a lot of good, solid songs and a few truly brilliant moments per album. That's good enough for me.

To answer your question, your own quote shows 2 top 10 hits in the U.S. "MMMBop" at #1 and "I will come to you" at #9. Also, the 'one-hit wonder' label general uses the standard of a song in the U.S. top 40 which also gives them "This time Around" at #20. So they are a 3-hit wonder. :)

Finagle
04-08-2008, 10:05 AM
Well, by the fairly loose definition of "One hit wonder" in this thread, you'd have to include Jimmy Buffet. He's only had a couple of songs do well on the charts (Come Monday and Margaritaville come to mind), but he's got a heck of a catalog.

An Gadaí
04-08-2008, 10:33 AM
I'll nominate the Eels. They hit #39 on the regular singles chart and #1 on the Modern Rock chart in the U.S. with "Novocaine for the Soul" in 1996. Since then, they've recorded five albums worth of great music featuring really fun, happy subjects, like suicide and cancer.

Maybe this thread should be amended to US "One Hit Wonders" because Eels have had a string of hits on this side of the pond, although no number 1 hits.

Hal Briston
04-08-2008, 10:49 AM
The Knack really was a two-hit wonder (the ever-popular My Sharona and the slightly less-well-known but equally great Good Girls Don't) but both their albums have some great tunes.Scooped. Love me some Knack -- their albums were filler-free in an age when four good songs could signify a "great album".

Little Nemo
04-08-2008, 01:57 PM
The Bonzo Dog Band had one hit single, "I'm the The Urban Spaceman".

Timbuk 3 had one hit single, "I Gotta Wear Shades".

neutron star
04-08-2008, 03:21 PM
Maybe this thread should be amended to US "One Hit Wonders" because Eels have had a string of hits on this side of the pond, although no number 1 hits.How come every single band I've ever liked in my life, no matter where they're from, has done better in the U.K. than the U.S.? The British have good taste.

Hockey Monkey
04-08-2008, 03:42 PM
About to? I think you forgot to set your clock forward for Daylight Saving Week. :)

I'll nominate the Eels. They hit #39 on the regular singles chart and #1 on the Modern Rock chart in the U.S. with "Novocaine for the Soul" in 1996. Since then, they've recorded five albums worth of great music featuring really fun, happy subjects, like suicide and cancer.


Heh, I'm still operating in a May mindset. :D *makes a note to go pick up the album now that it is out*

Only Mostly Dead
04-08-2008, 04:03 PM
As I was reading the thread, Shawn Mullins came up on my iPod. And not "Lullaby." I have two solid albums from him (Soul's Core and Beneath the Velvet Sun). The former has hardly any missteps, and the latter is full of good tracks, too.

I haven't gotten any of his others yet, but a quick search tells me there are ten albums of original material (and two compilations). Only Soul's Core charted.

Argent Towers
04-08-2008, 04:05 PM
Marcy Playground only ever had one hit, with "Sex and Candy," but I've enjoyed all three of their albums quite a bit.

I came in here just to say that. I play the album Marcy Playground frequently. It really is a great album. But hardly anyone would know anything other than Sex and Candy (which is a great song, too.) But my favorite tracks from the album are Poppies and Dog and his Master. Also, Ancient Walls of Flowers sounds like a Jack Johnson song, four years before Jack Johnson released his first album.

malkavia
04-08-2008, 04:22 PM
Candlebox's self-titled album was one of my favorite. I've heard 3 Loreena McKennit albums and didn't realize she was considered a one-hit wonder. I bought the Nine Days cd for the Story of a Girl song, but ended up loving just about every other song even more.

I agree on Better Than Ezra and highly recommend a song of theirs called "At the Stars"

And last, but certainly not least, The Eels are an amazing band. Holy cow, I love The Eels.

An Gadaí
04-08-2008, 06:59 PM
How come every single band I've ever liked in my life, no matter where they're from, has done better in the U.K. than the U.S.? The British have good taste.

I don't have the stats but I reckon they were or are bigger (per capita) in Ireland than in the UK or US. Alot of American "indie" gets popular here even when it isn't so well known at home.

Rachael Rage
04-08-2008, 09:44 PM
To answer your question, your own quote shows 2 top 10 hits in the U.S. "MMMBop" at #1 and "I will come to you" at #9. Also, the 'one-hit wonder' label general uses the standard of a song in the U.S. top 40 which also gives them "This time Around" at #20. So they are a 3-hit wonder. :)
Somehow... I missed that. :smack: :p :D Thanks Rats.

But you gotta admit, most non-fans tend to think of them as "those kids what did that one song..."

Justin_Bailey
04-08-2008, 11:47 PM
I bought the Nine Days cd for the Story of a Girl song, but ended up loving just about every other song even more.

The Madding Crowd is really a perfect CD from top to bottom. Just great, great pop music. "Bitter" is one of my favorite songs ever.

malkavia
04-09-2008, 12:59 AM
The Madding Crowd is really a perfect CD from top to bottom. Just great, great pop music. "Bitter" is one of my favorite songs ever.
I used to listen to Bitter, Crazy and Wanna Be on repeat! Good times.

I didn't mention them earlier because I didn't see them on the Wikipedia list, but The Refreshments were considered One Hit Wonders with "Banditos", which is, in my opinion, their least engaging song.

I have (to the best of my knowledge) every song they ever put out as well as every song their front man and drummer's new band, Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers have released as well. They are, by far, my favorite band. The only problem with them is that when I tell people I'm going to a Roger Clyne show, they inevitably respond with "Who?!"

I sigh and say.. "Eh, he was in that band with song about how the world is full of stupid people.."

"OHH!! I remember that song. Hunh." :dubious:

Yep, the conversation always goes like that. :smack:

robby
04-09-2008, 09:44 AM
I nominate Men Without Hats. Their only real hit was "Safety Dance," but I like the rest of their songs, too. So does my 11-year old son--it's his favorite group on his iPod.

Ludovic
04-09-2008, 09:55 AM
The only song from Odds that got decent airplay in the States is Heterosexual Man, which is one of their weakest offerings. Everything off Nest is great, and the stuff off of Good Weird Feeling and Bedbugs isn't bad, either. Metropolitan is out of issue though :sad:.

Ironically I was introduced to them by a station in Florida that played Someone Who's Cool in hot rotation but I haven't heard that song other than on that one station. (Remember when stations used to actually have program directors? :rolleyes: )

(Same thing goes for Fountains of Wayne: I've heard Leave the Biker a lot more than any of their other songs on the radio, but everyone talks about Radiation Vibe and Stacy's Mom, which may have got better airplay but are weak compared to Leave the Biker)

warmark
04-09-2008, 10:49 AM
I sigh and say.. "Eh, he was in that band with song about how the world is full of stupid people.."



No, no, no... He was in that band that did the theme song for King of the Hill!

Hampshire
04-09-2008, 11:19 AM
The Swedish duo Yello are best known for their single "Oh Yeah" from the 80s which was used in various movies and TV commercials.
They've been making electronica albums since the early 80s and have about 9 albums out as recent as 2003.

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