ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

One Hit Wonder

Updated on March 7, 2012

By: Wayne Brown

Today I found myself thinking about the various professions in which the ‘artist’ is engaged. It did not take me long to get to music. I started thinking about the various pitfalls that one could encounter in launching a musical career. The possibilities were staggering and far too immense to consider. So, I thought, forget about the people who want to and consider those who have and look at it from that perspective. So I did.


Through the wonders of the Internet, I was able to research all of the people who have launched careers in Pop/Rock Music and at least make it to the charts one time. Yep, I took a look at the one-hit wonders as they spanned the decades. But, let me say this, even just looking at that sector, the information base is still quite broad and it contains a multitude of artists who barely charted. So, to make this a more interesting process, I took the top 100 One-Hit Wonders from each decade from 1950 thru 2000, basically that era that has been the backdrop of rock and pop in the USA. Now we have some manageable information. Let’s take a look and see what we can learn from it about the potential success of our musical careers.


One thing quickly becomes obvious about our data. It is all from the past so we cannot go back and take advantage of the opportunities that occurred in that time span. On the other hand, we can look at what occurred and see if we can use that to guide our choices for the future. After all, there is a popular belief that history often repeats itself, so why not in the area of music. At the same time, I suspect there are a numerous bits of information here that will serve as a good basis for future superstitions in the music arena.


So, let’s just say we are considering launching us a musical career. Let’s think of some questions that, with the aid of our data, will be our guide to making the best choices. For example, is one year better than another for launching your career? The short answer is a resounding ‘Yes!”. In our fifty year period, the absolute worst time to launch a career was in any year that ended in a ‘zero’. So, for all you aspiring musical artists out there, who do not want to end up as one-hit wonders, do not launch a career this year. A whooping 53% of the top 100 acts that ended up as one-hit wonders launched their careers in a zero-ending year.


No other year within each of the five decades considered is even a close second. The next in line was years ending in ‘2’ that accounted for only 10% of the top 100. Over the fifty year period, there were two years that were significant in terms of occurrence. The first, 1970, was the year in which 21% of the top 100 one-hit wonders came upon the scene. To put that in perspective, the year beginning the previous decade, 1960, saw only a 7% occurrence of the one-hitter, while the decade following the 70’s, starting with the year 1980, saw only an 8% occurrence. The situation occurred again in 1990 when 17% of the Top 100 over this fifty year period achieved the one-hit wonder status. Based on the interval, it is apparent that the year 2010 will produce an above average crop of one-hitters most likely approaching double the normal amount of other years.


So what was the best year? I have that answer too! I also have some good news and some bad news to share with you in that regard. The good news is there is a tie for the best years which is shared between 8 and 9. In any years that ended in either of those numbers during the 50 years there was only a 2% occurrence of the one-hit wonder phenomenon. Sounds pretty good, huh? Well, to some maybe, but consider that anyone planning a new career will now have to wait another 8 to 9 years to take advantage of this possibility. Oh, and stay away from next year, those ending in one hold the third highest portion at 8% of the flock. You really should have launched last year based on our data.

Okay, let’s not get too depressed, there are other considerations that just might change your luck. For example, what is the best letter or number to use as the first letter or number in the name of your group? Oh, you thought it didn’t matter, huh? Well, I am here to open your eyes with facts. Over the entire fifty year period, those groups or individuals making it into the top 100 who used the letter ‘B’ to start the artist name accounted for 17% of the one-hit wonders, the largest single group. Next worse was ‘T’ at 13% followed by a tie between letters ‘C’ and ‘J’ at 7%. So what was the best letter you might want to ask? There are a few that did not show up in the data so you can conclude one of two things a.) All the names associated with that letter suck b.) Groups using that letter had more than one hit. You decide. The letters are H, O, Q, V, X, Y, Z. I’ll bet you are instantly thinking about groups like Z-Z Top going, ‘yeah, I chose answer B!


Let’s look at song choice as there may be some allure in making a good decision in that area. Based on the top 100 one-hit wonder song titles of the 50 year period, only 1% started the title with a number and that number was ‘9’. So, in terms of numbers, you are safe using 0 thru 8 for future hits. With regard to letters for the beginning words of the song, you should absolutely stay clear of the letter ‘I’ in your choice of song titles. The letter ‘I’ accounted for 12% of the one-hit occurrences in the total population. ‘I’ barely edged out ‘T’ for the first place honor as ‘T’ logged in at 11%. These were the only two letters with double-digit results in the population. The next grouping was represented by a tie at the level of 8% by letters ‘M’ and ‘S’. So, you asked, were there good letters here as well like there was in the artist names. Yes, there were but fewer choices. There were no occurrences associated with the letters Q, U, X, Y, and Z. Not much there!


Well, that about wraps it up as I do not want to take you on an endlessly boring waltz through statistical ‘la-la’ land. On the basis of the data that we have gathered and analyzed, I would make a musical career recommendation to you that should be worth considering. Here it is: Launch your career in 2018 using the name “Hop-A-Long Quixote” with your first song being “X-ra-Z Until You Quit”. That should really up your chances of becoming a star and allow you to avoid a ‘one-hit wonder’ fate.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • activewriter profile image

      activewriter 

      8 years ago from Heber Springs, Ar

      ...and a researcher to boot! Good job.

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      8 years ago from Texas

      Thank you Poppy...they say it's all in the timing!

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 

      8 years ago

      Terrific hub, Wayne. It is far easier now to make it in music today because the labels have lost their power and glow. Having said that, it's still a long shot.

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      8 years ago from Texas

      Thanks Michael J...glad you enjoyed it and I hope you will stop by again!

    • Michael Jay profile image

      Michael Jay 

      8 years ago

      Great hub,Wayne! I enjoyed reading it. Thanks for sharing. --Michael Jay

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      8 years ago from Texas

      thanks voice yu da man!

    • thevoice profile image

      thevoice 

      8 years ago from carthage ill

      thanks for read great hub

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)