Top One Hit Wonders!
Ah! The One Hit Wonders! Where would we be without them? There’s even a cartoon band that was a one-hit wonder (The Archies – Sugar, Sugar…). According to the dictionary, a one-hit wonder is any entity that achieves mainstream popularity, for only one piece of work, and becomes known among the general public solely for that momentary success. Whether they’re good, bad or ugly, there’s someone out there that loves them! Here are some of my favorites!
Mississippi Queen – MOUNTAIN – #1
Although Mountain played one of the most memorable sets at Woodstock in 1969. Unfortunately, the success didn’t last as long as it should have. Either way, the song Mississippi Queen became an instant rock classic. Peaking at No. 27 on the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart in 1970. Although Leslie West is inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame in 2006, and appears on dozens of other recordings from a vast universe of artists. As well as taking the helm as a producer. He still doesn’t get the recognition he deserves. While West being the genius he is, still recorded a lot of music. He is mostly associated with being a beast on the guitar and for the song “Mississippi Queen” and furthermore bringing the cowbell into rock. Yes, we can always use more cowbell!
Blinded By The Light – Manfred Mann – #2
Springsteen wrote it and Manfred Man rocked it! To some it’s considered a one hit wonder because it didn’t race up the charts for Springsteen. But for Manfred Man, and many others, like myself, it has one of the greatest & under-rated guitar solos of all time! The tone, feel, emotion & expression are all there, subtle but devastating! The guitarist shreds the hell out of it. Thankfully some classic radio stations still play it on a regular basis.
To this day, it’s still one of the most triumphant covers ever recorded. Also, it is so far Bruce Springsteen’s only songwriting credit to have a #1 hit. The other record was the longest a group up to that time had gone between #1 hits; previous to “Blinded by the Light,” their other #1 was “Do Wah Diddy Diddy.” Also, In 2015, Guitar World placed guitarist Dave Flett’s Wah-driven solo at #17 on its list of greatest Wah solos of all time. Air Guitars Unite!
Norman Greenbaum – Spirit in the Sky #3
It originally starts out as a religious song that’s inspired by a Porter Wagoner song about a preacher. But then it just takes off with a mind of its own allover radio! Originally Greenbaum starts out performing in local coffee houses in Boston. After a while he decides to relocate to the West Coast during the mid – ’60s to form Dr. West’s Medicine Show and Jug band. Which is a psychedelic jug band. Either way, when you listen to it, you feel some kind of spiritual moment when you hear it. While it does better in the U.K., it’s featured in a lot of television shows, commercials and movies making it a success for all in involved! Even though the video is messy, the song is still great.
Shocking Blue – Venus (Official Video) – #4
While the Show “Queen’s Gambit” has made this song quite popular recently. It’s still a classic track that doesn’t mature with age but instead just keeps coming back. throughout different generations. Bananarama made it a hit in the 80s, and to this day, it still pops up here and there once in a while. Most like it because it’s catchy and one of the most infectious tunes ever written. Interesting too is that it was more popular in the United States with both versions hitting number One. In Shocking Blue’s home country, this never made it to #1. After its success in the States, the song was re-released, but climbed no further that #3 on the Dutch pop charts.
Stuck in The Middle With You – Stealers Wheel – #5
Whatever streaming option you use, this song is always listed in most Classic Rock playlists. This song is by “Stealers Wheel” and written by “Gerry Rafferty” & “Joe Egan” and released in 1972. Chart-wise, it made it to number 6 on the Billboard hot 100, and number 8 in the UK charts. The band broke up in 1975 and re-formed without Egan or Rafferty in 2008. In 1992, the song had a resurgence and is back into the spotlight when it’s featured in Quentin Tarantino’s, Reservoir Dogs. By the time the album is released, both Gerry Rafferty and Tony Williams had left the band. It’s still a good jam worthy of this list.
Thin Lizzy – The Boys Are Back In Town – #6
Written by group leader Phil Lynott, “The Boys Are Back In Town” reflects Thin Lizzy’s rough-and-tumble composure and working-class roots. The song was a way of connecting with their fans, who had similar sensibilities. The song was their calling card. Nowadays, they are considered one of the most influential bands in rock. In the summer of 1976, the song reaches No.12 on the Billboard Top 40 Chart, and it still remains to be popular after all these years. It barely made Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, garnering the 499th spot.
Jean Knight – Mr Big Stuff – #7
Considering that this is one of the largest-selling hits ever released by the legendary Stax label, it’s also Knight’s only monster hit. Interesting enough, Stax rejected this song originally when it was shopped to them from Malaco Records but after another track they shopped to Stax went gold, they reconsidered it (Which was King Floyd’s Groove Me).” Needless to say, it spent five weeks at number one on the R&B Charts and falling on slot short of the same position on the pop side. Nevertheless, it’s a fantastic song!
Booker T & The MGs – Green Onions – #8
“Green Onions” is an instrumental composition recorded in 1962 by Booker T. & the M.G.’s. Described as “one of the most popular instrumental rock and soul songs ever” and as one of “the most popular R&B instrumentals of its era”, the tune is a twelve-bar blues with a rippling Hammond M3 organ line by Booker T. Jones that he wrote when he was 17, although the actual recording was largely improvised in the studio. Green Onions was the #13 song in 1962 in the Pop charts. The song was performed by Booker T. Jones. And Steve Cropper put it in the right hands to make it a hit! Since then, it’s been in several movies, TV Shows and commercials. The gift that keeps on giving!
Other notable “One Hit Wonders”
“Tequila” — The Champs * Bruce Channel – Hey Baby * “Monster Mash” — Bobby “Boris” Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers * “Wipe Out” — The Surfaris * “96 Tears” — Question Mark and the Mysterians * “It Never Rains in Southern California” — Albert Hammond * “Me and Mrs. Jones” — Billy Paul * “Hooked on a Feeling” — Blue Swede * “Magic” — Pilot * “Play That Funky Music” – – Wild Cherry * “Afternoon Delight” — Starland Vocal Band * “Video Killed The Radio Star” — The Buggles * “It’s Raining Men” — The Weather Girls * “Walking in Memphis” — Marc Cohn * Stories – Brother Louie * Love Hurts – Nazareth * Rock And Roll, Hootchie Koo – Rick Derringer * Uriah Heep – Easy Living * Layla – Derek and The Dominoes * Seasons In The Sun – Terry Jacks * Black Betty – Ram Jam * Dancing In The Moonlight – King Harvest * Rock On – David Essex * “Sugar, Sugar” — The Archies * David Rose – The Stripper * The Lemon Pipers – “Green Tambourine” * Hugh Masekela – “Grazing in the Grass” * Jeannie C. Riley – “Harper Valley P.T.A. * Carl Douglas – “Kung Fu Fighting” * Rick Dees and His Cast of Idiots • “Disco Duck” and many more!