What one-hit-wonder songs were actually really good, even GREAT, songs?

One hit wonders have been with us for decades. The thing is that in retrospect, most such songs are either pretty mediocre or actually bad, and caught on either because of a good hook and a little luck, or some novelty aspect, or a combination of those things. In retrospect I think all these songs blow:

“Mickey” by Toni Basil
“867-5309” by Tommy Tutone
“In the Year 2525” by Zager & Evans (the worst song ever)
“Tainted Love,” Soft Cel, which was actually a cover
“Ice Ice Baby,” Vanilla Ice
“Major Tom,” Peter Schilling
“Somebody’s Watching Me,” Rockwell
The other day I was listening to “Steal my Sunshine” by Len, a one hit wonder if there ever was one, and I thought; you know, this a decent song. It’s not genius, but it’s catchy and not at all irritating. It’s quite good. I was trying to think; are there any one hit wonders - and I mean gen uine one hit wonders; don’t tell me Janis Joplin was a one hit wonder because she only had one top 10 Billboard single - that were actually GREAT songs?

Tubthumping by Chumbawumba. I really like this song. I can’t argue the inherit musical attributes or anything. Such a fun song to listen to.

There are a bunch I can think of:

“Would I Lie To You?” by Charles and Eddie
“Let’s Go All The Way” by Sly Fox

I actually think most of the songs the OP listed are quite good - apart from the Zager & Evans abomination. “Mickey” and “867-5309” are on almost any “Remember the 80s” compilation, the synth hook from “Tainted Love” was lifted in the #1 single “SOS” by Rihanna last year.

“Ice Ice Baby” is so tied to Vanilla Ice that people seem unable to appreciate it. Great hook.

“Major Tom” has that great scratch guitar line.

“Somebody’s Watching Me” has the awesome hook sung by Michael Jackson when he was truly the King of Pop. Considering Rockwell couldn’t sing a lick, that made the song.

Of course it has a great hook, it was stolen from Queen.

Actually, Queen and David Bowie. No doubt the bass line was written by John Deacon. :wink:

…or so I thought until I read this:

They had one or two other lesser hits but Cockney Rebel - Make Me** Smile (Come Up And See Me) *is a great song and they never topped those heights again.

Jimi Hendrix was a one-hit wonder*, so whichever song of his charted (“All Along The Watchtowers”, I think) would qualify here.

*(By the strict definition. By the definition that usually applies, no, he wasn’t.)

I have always considered “Spirit in the Sky” one of the great classics of it’s period.

“MacArthur Park” is the worst song ever. But I admit that :
“Mickey” by Toni Basil
“867-5309” by Tommy Tutone
“In the Year 2525” by Zager & Evans (the worst song ever)
“Major Tom,” Peter Schilling

are all pretty damn trite.

From Wikipedia:

Can’t be hedgehogged to track down which hit each of them had, but I doubt RickJay had any of them in mind when he posted.

Childhood memories or course have a part here, but “Lunatic Fringe” by Red Ryder. Catchy, great climactic screaming/guitar riff, and seriously, an aura of paranoia- reminds me of “Run Like Hell” by Pink Floyd.

Sinead O’Connor – “Nothing Compares 2 U”

The Verve Pipe – ‘‘The Freshmen’’

4 Non Blondes – ‘‘What’s Up’’

Dishwalla – ‘‘Counting Blue Cars’’

All excellent songs, if you ask me.

Yes, All Along The Watchtower is the only one to crack the Top 40. However, six Jimi Hendrix albums (including posthumous ones, 4 during his lifetime) broke the Top 5, with Electric Ladyland peaking at #1.

For Radiohead, it’s Creep. For Faith No More, it’s Epic. For the Dead, it’s Touch of Grey.

SOAD surprised me when I bothered looking it up - I expected Chop Suey or BYOB - the only tracks of theirs I’d ever heard - but apparently, it’s Aerials, which was a #1.

At this point, I’m just too annoyed with the amount of effort it’s taking to confirm the answers (all of these except SOAD, I knew or suspected before looking for proof) and leave the others to others.

Although they may not have cracked the Top 40, I think Hendrix was also pretty well known for Purple Haze as well as the Star Spangled Banner which he played to much acclaim at Woodstock.

A few one-hitters that spring to my mind, and which may or may not be considered great are:

Year of the Cat - Al Stewart

C’est la Vie - Robbie Neville (Who knew even at the time that he was likely destined for this fate.)

(Red Hot) Smoking Gun - Robert Cray (Yes, he’s had a very successful career outside the Top 40, but I believe this was his only big time hit.)

My Way - Frank Sinatra

(I keed, I keed) :wink:

You know, I was about to come in here and mention that “Steal My Sunshine” song. It’s not that bad, really.

The Verve - Bittersweet Symphany
Marcy Playground - Sex and Candy
Everlast - What It’s Like

What the hell, I’m in a generous and borderline playful mood tonight, so if you like Robert Cray…or the blues…or you just like to watch talent at work, please click here.

I thought for certain their hit would be “Paranoid Android” because of all the play MTV gave it. That was a cool video.

That’s not true. Queen’s version went bum bum bum bada dum dum

Vanilla Ice’s version went bum bum bum bada dum dum tish

Quoth Vanilla: “See? it’s different.”

Baker Street by Gerry Rafferty? If he had another hit, I never heard it. Great song, thought.

I have to disagree with Steal my Sunshine. The “if you steal my sunshine” part is catchy, but the lead singer sounds like he’s croaking out the lyrics while taking a dump.

Year of the Cat* might be Stewart’s most famous song, but I wouldn’t call him a one hit wonder. He’s had several other songs which have gotten chart positions, such as Time Passages (#17 on the Billboard charts), Song on the Radio (#29), and Midnight Rocks (#31).