The Top 10 One Hit Wonders

In the 2002 movie “About a Boy,” the character of Hugh Grant lived a comfortable and luxurious life because of the royalties he received as a result of his father’s one successful song. It was a one-hit wonder but its impact was so huge that it afforded even the offspring of the composer to live an easy life.  Could this be the same experience of other artists who tasted the top of the pops just once in their career?

Here is a list of the top 10 one-hit wonders in the world.


10 Video Killed the Radio Star – The Buggles

This song is actually just a remake. Woolley & the Camera Club originally recorded it. In September 1979, the British new wave group The Buggles included the song as part of their debut album called “The Age of Plastic.” It hit number one in Australia, France, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. It only reached number 40 in the United States. Its claim to fame, however, lies in the fact that it was the very first song shown on MTV when the music channel debuted on August 1, 1981. On February 27, 2000, it was re-aired as the one-millionth video shown on the channel. It also marked the opening of MTV Classic in the UK and Ireland in 2010.


9 99 Luftballons – Nena

It was the height of the Cold War. In 1983, a German band wondered what if two boys were to play with 99 red balloons over the Soviet border that the radar would mistake as weapons? The result would be a nuclear war. The German song reached number one all across Europe, including Austria, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland. An English version reached the top of the charts in the UK, Ireland, Canada and Australia. Surprisingly, it was the German version that reached number two in the US, as well as number one in English-speaking New Zealand.


8 Because I Got High – Afroman

This is about the use of cannabis and its harmful effect on the user. The song became popular after it was distributed in the Internet through file-sharing services like Napster. It was also featured in “The Howard Stern Show.” It then became the theme song of the movie called “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.” It was also featured in movies like “Disturbia,” “The Perfect Score” and “A Thousand Words.” It reached number one in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, UK and Ireland. It went to number 13 in the US charts.


7 My Sharona – The Knack

The song was the debut single by The Knack. It went to number one in the US charts and stayed there for a period of six weeks. It was the number one song of 1979. It was the fastest debut single to reach gold status since The Beatles did it in 1964 with “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” And just like that, it was gone. The next time the band hit the chart was 15 years later in 1994 when the same song was re-released as a part of the “Reality Bites” soundtrack.


6 Mickey – Toni Basil


The song is a remake of the 1979 song by the band Racey, though the original song was entitled “Kitty.” Toni Basil decided to change the title to “Mickey” so that the song would be about a man. The song’s catchy sound was complemented by an upbeat video that featured cheerleader-inspired costumes and choreography. It reached number one in the US and number two in the UK.


5 Tubthumping – Chumbawamba

It included memorable lines like, “Pissing the night away” and “We’ll be singing when we’re winning.” It reached number two in the UK and number six in the US charts. Unfortunately, it has also been voted as one of the 20 most annoying songs ever written. Maybe they should take inspiration from their own lyrics when they said that nothing’s going to keep them down.


4 Always Look on the Bright Side of Life – Monty Python

It was the perfect ending to the cult movie entitled “Monty Python’s Life of Brian.” It has since become a favorite song by the British during funeral services. It was even sung by crewmembers of the HMS Sheffield after an Argentinean missile struck it in the 1982 Falklands War. It then became a popular football song in the 1990s when fans of the Sheffield Wednesday football club starting singing it. Just how popular is it? It was one of the most applauded numbers during the closing ceremonies of the 2012 London Summer Olympics.


3 Sugar, Sugar – The Archies

The song reached number one in 1969 and stayed on top for one month. Not bad considering that The Archies is a fictional band made up of fictional teenagers from a popular cartoon series. It became the number one song of 1969. It has also become one of the biggest bubblegum hits of all time. The song also reached number one in Canada, Spain and UK.


2 2.Tainted Love – Soft Cell


Gloria Jones originally recorded the song in 1964, but it failed to hit the charts. Jones then re-recorded it in 1976, but still did not get a hit. In 1981, the synth-pop duo called Soft Cell rearranged “Tainted Love” and released it as a single. It then went to the top of the UK charts and became the number one song of 1981. In the US, the song gathered pace slowly as it took 19 weeks before it broke into the top 40. It eventually peaked at number and spent a total of 43 weeks in the Hot 100.


1 Macarena – Los del Rio

It was one of the most iconic dance songs in the 1990s. It is one of a handful of non-English songs to have reached number one in the US charts. It is also ranked as the number one Latin song of all time by Billboard magazine. It stayed at number one in the Hot 100 charts for 14 weeks.

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