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Some stats for people who love one-hit-wonders

A one-hit-wonder is usually defined as an artist who has had one and only one song reach any position in the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. Yes, you can be classified as such if your song hits #40 and then drops off, but the one-hit-wonders that inspire the most fascination are those that reach at least the Top 10. The best of all are those that reach number one. My personal favourite is this one from 1969.

Another definition of a one-hit-wonder can be someone who had a single song that made a credible impact on culture. They may have had songs in the Top 40 but none of them (a) ever charted very high and (b) are remembered has a hit. And just because you’re a one-hit-wonder in America doesn’t necessarily hold true if you look at your chart success in, say, the UK. (E.g. The Verve)

Deezer, the Paris-based streamer, took at look at the state of one-hit-wonder listening among its users in 2023 and found the following:

Globally, the most popular one-hit-wonder is a relatively recent song: “Dance Monkey” from Tones and I. In second spot, Gotye’s “Somebody I Used to Know,” followed by “Shut Up and Dance” by Walk the Moon.

In America, the biggest music market in the world, the number one OHW is “You Get What You Give” from New Radicals. Then comes “Take on Me” by A-ha (they other big singles elsewhere in the world, but under our above definition, they quality). In third spot, it’s “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten.

Here’s the full top 20.

  1. Tones And I – Dance Monkey
  2. Gotye – Somebody That I used To Know
  3. Walk The Moon – Shut Up And Dance
  4. Gnarls Barkley – Crazy
  5. Hoobastank – The Reason
  6. Aqua – Barbie Girl
  7. Icona Pop – I Love It
  8. Aventura – Obsession
  9. Survivor – Eye Of The Tiger
  10. Effiel 65 – Blue (da ba dee)
  11. The Calling – Wherever You Will Go
  12. The Verve – Bittersweet Symphony
  13. Haddaway – What Is Love
  14. Nena – 99 Luft Balloons
  15. Vanessa Carlton – A Thousand Miles
  16. Los Del Rio – Macarena
  17. Iyaz – Replay
  18. Dexy’s Midnight Runners – Come On Eileen
  19. Corona – Rhythm of the Night
  20. House of Pain – Jump Around

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38413 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

2 thoughts on “Some stats for people who love one-hit-wonders

  • Love the Zager and Evans In the Year 2525, and was this close to covering it. Then saw Ian Brown did exactly that so figured there’s no topping that !

  • One Hit Wonders.
    That’s better than being a One Trick Pony.
    It’s easier to teach an Old Dog New Tricks.
    They’re glue soon enough anyways.

    I’m surprised that What It’s Like, Everlast didn’t make the list.


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