Do one hit wonders really play their signature song multiple times in concert?

I’ve always heard that joke story, “I saw the Baha Men and they played Who Let The Dogs Out four times in a 30 minute set”.

I’m curious if they actually do that, does anyone here have any experience of seeing a “one hit wonder” band in concert and they played their most famous song over and over again?

I’ve never seen it personally, but a friend who saw The Knack in a club in the early 2000s claimed they played “My Sharona” twice, as the opening and the closing songs.

They were a three-hit wonder, damn it!!

I’ve also heard that, the band who sang the opening to the Sopranos sings that song as both their opener and closer too. Wonder if that’s the MO for bands with one mega popular song.

I have seen thousands of concerts of all types over the last 40 years and I have never seen that. I have lots of friends in the music scene and we talk about live music all the time and I’ve never heard of that happening.

I can’t say it’s never happened in the history of live music but it’s very very uncommon at best.

Achey Breaky Heart guy. Billy Ray Cyrus would probably be the best bet on doing this.

I remember a radio station played it non-stop, literally repeated it for 24 hours. It is said they announced they would never play it again after that.

I don’t know what happened.

Not that I’ve been to a lot of concerts in my life, but I’ve only noticed this once. I saw Simon and Garfunkel during their reunion tour in the early-'80s, shortly after their concert in Central Park. They played Late in the Evening during the show, and then again as the last encore. They did the same in the Central Park concert, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the set lists were the same.

That’s not their signature song, of course. It was originally on one of Simon’s solo albums.

Encore numbers often are repeats of a song performed earlier. After all, that’s literally how the practice got its start: audiences would cheer a singer who’d just finished performing a hit number with shouts of “encore!” (“again!”) until the singer complied.

Not sure when concert musicians as a group transitioned from treating an encore as an opportunity (or obligation) to repeat the performance they’d just finished, to presenting an additional “bonus track”-type performance of different material. But certainly, repeating one of the songs you just did as a closing encore has a venerable history.

Norman Greenbaum shows are supposed to consist entirely of an extended version of Spirit in the Sky.

I’ve never seen a one-hit wonder, but They Might Be Giants played a medley version of their 1990(or so) hits and they played it so fast and briefly, I could tell they did not want to play them at all. It must have been 4 minutes, 1 minute for each song’s main gist, and then they moved on.

I can’t blame them. Despite being around for a long time, they are mainly known for their earlier songs and nothing new has made too much an impact.

I saw Elvin Bishop doing an encore where they repeated the previous song. I suspect that was because they were a new group of musicians and had not practiced enough songs together.

I’m a big enough Hanson fan that I have seen them in concert six times, and they have played “Mmmbop” exactly once per concert each time.

Didn’t encores also used to be spontaneous? They seem to be well planned in advance these days; I can’t remember the last show I went to where the band didn’t finish, say goodnight, leave the stage, and come back for a couple more songs. Simon and Garfunkel didn’t play Sounds of Silence until the first encore of their concert.

Back when encores got their start, the musicians may have had to reprise an earlier song. They may not have had anything they’d rehearsed and could play on no notice. Nowadays, they could easily prepare a different song for the (not really an encore) encore.

Ah yes, the very definition of a one-hit wonder.


I remember reading a long time ago that the band Europe would play The Final Countdown (remember: “doo-doo-doooo-dooo, doo-doo-do-do-do…”?) during their show and again as an encore, and was getting a lot of mock and humiliation for it. I thought that was pretty lame, too, but maybe they thought that’s what an encore is.

Train did this when they only had a couple of hits (I assume it’s different now that they’ve got a stronger catalog). They started the show with Meet Virginia. Who starts a show with their biggest hit? Then, every time they were losing the crowd they segued back to Meet Virginia. The big finale? You guessed it. There was maybe a third of the crowd left at the end. We were just happy that we hadn’t paid to see them.

I’ve seen a couple one hit wonders and that’s never happened for them. The only time I’ve seen a band repeat the same arrangement of a song was when the other bands hadn’t shown up and the band needed to repeat their set.

One time I did almost see a one hit wonder play their signature song multiple times. I saw Coheed and Cambria play a concert when their only hit was A Favour House Atlantic, and they played one short acoustic set and then a short regular set, and they played A Favour House Atlantic during both sets. Come to think of it, they were also the only act, so maybe acts replay their signature song when they feel the audience hasn’t gotten enough minutes of entertainment for their money yet.

Coheed doesn’t really count, though, since they had only been popular for a couple of years, so there wasn’t enough time to know if they’d have a follow-up hit, and I don’t think an acoustic and an electric version of the same song counts as playing the same song twice.

I had the same experience at a TMBG show in 1997 or so. It was a fun show, but most of us were there to hear songs from Flood, and they were all crammed into a quick medley and never mentioned again.

The TMBG show I saw in 2013 had a full rendition of Birdhouse but absolutely nothing else from Flood, which I found a little disappointing.

I’ve seen a bajillion concerts and I can’t recall any band repeating their big hit (which is often the opening song or saved for the encore). I suspect these stories about playing the “one hit” over and over come from the sixties and the phenomenon of session musicians releasing hit singles under a made up band name. When that happened, the label would have to throw together a touring band to promote the song under that band name. These “fake” bands mostly just had to perform the one hit for various TV shows and then get off the stage. But if they got booked into a package revue, they would have to come up with 3 or more additional numbers to fill out their set. That one hit (and maybe some standards like a Chuck Berry tune or two) might be the only song(s) everybody in the band knew how to play.

The last concert I went to, the band hung out upstage after saying goodnight, ignored the audience for a minute or so, then started to gradually acknowledge the cheering and eventually came back to their instruments for the last couple of songs.

Of course, it was “Weird Al” Yankovic, so he was satirizing the concept of the modern encore…

I’ve heard this as well though I haven’t experienced it. I remember hearing two radio personalities talking about the concert on air and one mentioned how it was lame that Europe opened with Final Countdown and then ended the set with it as well. It’s kind of lame, I think but if you’re Europe what else are you going to go with?

The last show I went to was Dead Boys (Cheetah Chrome is the only original member left, as far as I can tell) and they opened with Sonic Reducer which left me thinking “Well now where are they going to go?” I’m not as well versed in their songs as the rest of the audience but the rest of the crowd was really into the songs. I suppose they could have ended with Sonic Reducer again but they have so many other tunes in their catalog.