Successful Pop Stars Who Were One Hit Wonders
One hit wonder may seem easy to define. It's a singer or band who have had one big hit and disappear forever. Right? It's actually a little more complex than that. So, the Village Voice decided to come up with it's Three Rules To Define The Term "One-Hit Wonder." The article's author Chris Molanphy points out some interesting facts.
Many One Hit Wonders Have a Successful Follow Up Single
When music channel VH1 compiled their list of top 100 one hit wonders much of the list consisted of acts who had more than one hit. According to the Village Voice, 75 of the VH1's top 100 list actually had a successful follow up single. Vanilla Ice made the list with Ice Ice Baby but his follow up Play That Funky Music peaked at #4 on the Hot 100.
Carly Rae Jepsen of Call Me Maybe fame had a successful top 10 follow up with Good Time. New artists who've had a big hit often enjoy what Molanphy calls a "honeymoon period" on pop radio. Robin Thicke is an example. Blurred Lines was his first mainstream hit. Radio initially embraced the follow-up single Give It 2 U, but the song never really clicked with listeners causing radio programmers to lose interest. The song peaked at #25 on the Hot 100.
Some Very Successful Artists Are One Hit Wonders
Some examples given by Molanphy are Radiohead, The Grateful Dead, and Jimi Hendrix. They are:
"acts whose popularity is reflected on the album chart more than the Hot 100."
Others have success on genre charts like rock, country, and R&B. These artists have successful careers and dedicated followers. Many have been influential in music.
Other notable one-hit wonders are Iggy Pop, Janis Joplin, Public Enemy, Norah Jones, Garth Brooks, Ben Folds Five, Snow Patrol, Merle Haggard, Arlo Guthrie, and Fountains of Wayne. That's quite an impressive list.
And it's not just nonmainstream artists who have more album than single success. Justin Bieber and One Direction are examples of successful album sellers who often didn't always have a huge presence on American top 40 radio.
New Zealand native Lorde is another example. Her song Royals spent nine weeks at the top of the Hot 100. Her follow-up Team was also a top 40 hit. Her second album Melodrama was a critical and commercial success despite not spawning any major hits. The album debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200. Lorde may never be a successful singles artist again, but she will likely continue to be an album seller.
Perceived One Hit Wonders
Some singers are thought to be one hit wonders even though they actually had multiple top 40 hits. This is often because they've had one massive hit that overshadows everything else they've done. The Village Voice uses the example of Rick Springfield who is best known for Jessie's Girl. When NPR mistakenly referred to him as a one-hit-wonder, angry fans pointed out that he's had 21 Hot 100 hits, 17 of which made the Top 40. Five of those were top 10 hits. Needless to say, Springfield had a very impressive career.
Some One Hit Wonders You May Remember
- Top 100 One Hit Wonders
VH1's list of 100 one hit wonders
- The Village Voice
100 & Single: Three Rules To Define The Term "One-Hit Wonder." In 2012
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© 2013 LT Wright