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[[quoteright:350:[[Music/BabylonZoo http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/babylon_zoo_one_hit_wonder1.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:[-Their biggest hit by a landslide.-]]]

->''"So many lovely melodies...\\
So many messages to convey...\\
But they don't care about any of these...\\
Play that one damn song\\
is what they all say."''
-->-- '''Music/ReelBigFish''', "One Hit Wonderful"

A one-hit wonder is an artist primarily known for one hit song. If they're lucky, their next single may chart as well, but despite the ubiquitous fame of their first hit, they never really take off.

It is not uncommon for a group to be a one-hit wonder then break up, allowing one or more members to [[BreakupBreakout become (more) successful solo acts]]. It is also not uncommon for the one hit to be [[BlackSheepHit atypical of their oeuvre]]. Also compare ToughActToFollow and OneBookAuthor. Of course, if sufficient backlash is applied, they will NeverLiveItDown. Note that a one-hit wonder on the American charts may be a different story in other countries; many popular European artists, like Music/GaryNuman and Music/FrankieGoesToHollywood, charted only once in America. For that matter, many American artists like Music/{{Queensryche}} have only charted once in their homeland [[GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff but are popular in foreign markets such as Europe, Asia and Australia.]] Likewise, there are many artists who only once reached the mainstream Top 40, but are respected figures and even trendsetting within their genre; several such examples are listed below.

But usually, a "one-hit wonder" is defined by cultural impact rather than chart placements. For example, if an artist has a massive #1 hit, getting a #40 will technically disqualify them as per ''Billboard'''s definition of a one-hit wonder, but it's highly unlikely that the #40 will continue to be remembered over time and they will likely become a textbook example of such an artist (well-known examples of this situation include the cases of Chamillionaire, Tommy Tutone, Rockwell, and Music/VanessaCarlton). Their "second hit" doesn't have to only scrape the bottom of the top 40 to ensure they be remembered as such. In fact, there are a handful of artists who were massive in their prime, and even though they still had clearly defined {{Signature Song}}s, nobody would ever consider labelling them as one-hit wonders. However, as time goes on, the artists [[DeaderThanDisco fall so hard into obscurity]] or the signature song's [[MemeticMutation memetic status and ubiquity]] so overshadows their other work that their discographies are almost completely forgotten outside of the signature song. Thus, they are looked back upon as a one-hit wonder -- acts like Music/VanillaIce, Music/SouljaBoy, Music/RickAstley, and even Music/MCHammer are commonly thought of as one-hit wonders for this very reason.

There are other artists, like Music/JimiHendrix, Music/TheGratefulDead and Music/{{Rush}}, who are well-regarded legends with plenty of classics under their belts, but through some fluke or stroke of luck, ended up with just one Top 40 hit a piece. Some observers and music writers believe these acts don't count as one-hit wonders, merely artists that had one Top 40 hit and more of a piece of chart trivia than a specific label.

For further reading, and a good definition of who may and may not be a one-hit wonder, check out [[http://www.villagevoice.com/music/100-and-single-three-rules-to-define-the-term-one-hit-wonder-in-2012-6637330 this 2012 article]] for ''The Village Voice''. It largely focuses on the specific cases of Music/OwlCity and Music/CarlyRaeJepsen, both of whom are generally considered one-hit wonders despite the fact that their collaboration "Good Time" became a top 10 hit, but also looks at the term "one-hit wonder" from a broader aspect (for example, Rick Springfield, who had five top 10 hits but is still primarily known for his only #1 hit, "Jessie's Girl").

There are countless examples, so this article will only list a handful of representative samples. Compare NoHitWonder, wherein an artist manages long-term success without even so much as ''one'' big hit, and TwoHitWonder, where an artist is lucky enough to score a second hit. Also see HitlessHitAlbum, where an artist has a hit album with no hit songs. Contrast BreakthroughHit, where one hit leads to a string of later hits. Also compare SignatureSong which is the biggest hit. May overlap with SmallReferencePools, especially non-music examples. Many of the artists listed here are mislabeled because they have a signature song but still had lesser hits. There have been rare instances where the band had a Top 40 hit, [[ChartDisplacement but it is not their most popular song and the signature song the band is known for didn't chart well or at all.]] Often, this is due to a chart technicality affecting the signature song, as Arlo Guthrie, the Rembrandts, and Fastball have seen. When the artist's best known hit is in a markedly different style than the rest of their work, that's a BlackSheepHit.

{{Subtrope}} of HeAlsoDid, which is when an artist has a mixture of very famous work and not-at-all-famous work.

Has ''nothing'' to do with OneHitPointWonder and usually has little to do with a OneSceneWonder, which is a small but very memorable role in a large work that may actually be by an A-list star (possibly ''because'' he or she is one).


%% As stated above, a one-hit wonder also covers people who are only remembered for one song despite technically having more than one hit by Billboard's definition. It also covers people who only had one pop hit, but still had a successful career in other areas, or are popular in one country but only had one hit somewhere else. Please don't remove artists just because ''you'' don't think they're a one-hit wonder unless there is a really good reason.

!!Music examples by genre:

* OneHitWonder/{{Country}}
* [[OneHitWonder/ElectronicDance Electronic/Dance]]
* OneHitWonder/{{Pop}}
* OneHitWonder/{{Rap}}
* OneHitWonder/RhythmAndBlues
* OneHitWonder/RockMusic

* '''J.J. Cale''' had only one top 40 hit in his career with 1972's "Crazy Mama". Overall, he's better known for writing the Music/EricClapton classics "Cocaine" and "After Midnight".
* '''Delbert [=McClinton=]''' is a true rarity, as he managed to be a one-hit wonder on three different charts with three different songs. First, he hit #8 on the pop charts in 1980 with the blues-rock song "Givin' It Up for Your Love". Then he got to #13 on Mainstream Rock Tracks in 1992 with "Every Time I Roll the Dice"[[note]]which barely made Top 40 in Canada as well[[/note]]. ''Then'' he got to #4 on the country charts in 1993 as a duet partner on Tanya Tucker's "Tell Me About It". He remained a fairly popular artist regardless, having written Emmylou Harris's 1978 hit "Two More Bottles of Wine" in addition to winning a handful of Grammys.
* '''Alannah Myles''', though she had another Top 40 hit afterwards in the US, is mainly known only for her late-1989 Music/ElvisPresley tribute song "Black Velvet", a #1 smash on the Hot 100 that was also a Top 10 hit in many other countries. Myles charted several more times in her native Canada (including 1992's "Song Instead of a Kiss", which topped the Canadian charts), but never saw the US charts again after "Black Velvet".
** Coincidentally, the same label released a soundalike version by '''Robin Lee''' to the CountryMusic format, and that version ended up being ''her'' only big country hit as well. However, Lee had more songwriting success and was married to Ed Bruce's son Trey, who is also a songwriter.
* Boston band '''Treat Her Right''' scored a #15 hit on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart in 1988 with "I Think She Likes Me". It was the group's only chart entry. They're better known nowadays as the first major group led by singer Mark Sandman, who later [[BreakupBreakout became much better known]] as the frontman for the acclaimed alt-rock trio Music/{{Morphine}}.

* '''Music/JarsOfClay''': This Christian alt-folk band had a massive crossover hit with "Flood" in 1996, reaching #37 on the pop charts and #12 on the Modern Rock chart, with their appearance on the latter chart being the first time the Modern Rock and Christian charts ever housed the same song at the same time (the effect of NotChristianRock has made such crossovers much more common in later years). It's also been the only song of theirs to ever gain any sort of mainstream support.
* '''Music/{{POD}}''''s "Youth of the Nation," a song inspired by the Columbine and Satana High School shootings, was their only hit on mainstream charts, reaching #28 on the Hot 100 in 2001. They narrowly missed having another Top 40 hit with their song "Alive" that same year: It peaked at #41. Although "Nation" was their only Top 40 hit, they're now remembered outside of the rock radio format as a TwoHitWonder for both it and "Alive".
* '''Music/SixpenceNoneTheRicher''' reached #2 with their 1998 hit "Kiss Me" thanks to its appearance in ''Film/ShesAllThat''. Their next single, a cover of Music/TheLas "There She Goes", peaked at #32 on the Hot 100, but it managed to go Top-10 on the AC charts. The band had one more noteworthy adult contemporary hit, "Breathe Your Name" in 2002, but it did not cross over to the pop charts. All their other followup singles flopped and are completely forgotten today.
* '''dc Talk''' were one of the biggest names in Christian music in the late 80s and early 90s, and won four Grammy awards over the course of their career. But only one of their songs ever crossed over to the non-religious charts: "Just Between You and Me", a Top 30 hit on both the Billboard Hot 100 and the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart in 1996.
* Christian new wave singer Leslie Phillips had a ton of Christian chart hits in the mid-80s, but by the end of the decade, she had transitioned into a secular alternative rock career by signing to Virgin Records and changing her stage name to '''Sam Phillips''' (her childhood nickname). Despite critical acclaim for several of her secular albums, she only scored one chart single on the Billboard Alternative chart: "Holding On To The Earth", which made it to #22 in 1989.
* '''[[https://www.discogs.com/artist/1247466-Zafra-2 Zafra]]''' is a completely obscure Italian group founded in the 70s which specialized in ethnic music, folk and religious songs. However, pretty much every pre-schooler and young boy in Italy knows the song "I due liocorni" ("The Two Unicorns") which became a classic for kids in kindergartens, scout camps, summer camps and so on, so much so that it's considered some kind of traditional folk classic while in fact it was [[NewerThanTheyThink written in 1978]]. It's never credited to the original composers and the religious undertones (it's about the animals that Noah brought on the Ark) are very downplayed. The song was also translated in [[http://www.dischiespartiti.com/dischi/musica-per-bambini/i-due-liocorni-international-cd.html several languages]] and, while not that popular outside of Italy, it's still several hundred times more known than anything else Zafra did.

* '''Jimmy Boyd''' had a novelty hit in 1952 with the Christmas classic "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus". Between its novelty stigma and the fact that Boyd was 13 at the time, the song cannibalized his career. He had a moderately successful acting career afterwards but never captured the stardom he had with his megahit.
* '''Elmo & Patsy''' had a Christmas classic with "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer", first released in 1979, but nearly anyone would be hard-pressed to name any other release. Interestingly, Patsy isn't even on that song, so it's often just credited to '''Dr. Elmo'''. Despite its popularity (so popular that it even spawned an [[WesternAnimation/GrandmaGotRunOverByAReindeer animated special]]), it never entered the Hot 100 until TheNineties, and its highest peak on ''any'' chart was a mere #48 on Hot Country Songs in 1999. In Canada, the higher-charting version was a #20-peaking release by the Irish Rovers in 1982.
* '''Creator/JeffFoxworthy''': Although the comedian best known for his "you might be a redneck" one-liners released several "songs" that included snippets of his comedy set to music, usually with a chorus from a country music singer, the only one that entered the country music top 40 was "Redneck 12 Days of Christmas", a half-song, half-recitation that he performed as a SoloDuet. (And unlike the others, it didn't "sample" existing standup work of his for the verses.) It also set a record for the highest-charting Christmas song on the country charts[[note]]later tied by Jimmy Wayne's "Paper Angels"[[/note]].
* Before he became better known as the original voice of [[WesternAnimation/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles1987 Donatello]], '''Barry Gordon''' had a #6 hit in 1955 with "Nuttin' For Christmas". He was only 6 at the time.
* '''Bobby Helms''' will forever be known as the guy who did "Jingle Bell Rock". His other big hits "My Special Angel" and "Fraulein" have fallen into obscurity.
* '''[=NewSong=]''': "The Christmas Shoes" was a huge crossover hit (#1 AC, #42 pop, #31 Country), and they've been pretty silent outside their usual Contemporary Christian demographic ever since. Interestingly, a cover of "The Christmas Shoes" was ''also'' the only Top 40 country hit for the short-lived GirlGroup '''3 of Hearts''' one year later.
* '''Gayla Peevey''' had her only hit in 1953 with "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas", which reached #24 on the Hot 100 when she was 10. She had a few later singles under her real name of Jamie Horton, but none were successful.
* '''MC Einar''' was a pioneer of Danish hip-hop in the Eighties, but is almost only remembered for his Christmas hit ''[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orHhn4zll7w Jul, Det' Cool]]'', where he raps a sarcastic text about the commercialization, repetitiveness and forced ''hygge'' of Danish Christmas over a sampling of Leroy Anderson's ''Sleigh Ride''. Sadly Einar never made any money from the song; it was intended for a one time joke performance only, so he signed over the rights to Leroy Anderson's estate, before the song became popular.
* '''Song Trust''', a project spearheaded by defunct independent CountryMusic label Giantslayer Records (which was owned by songwriters Rory Lee Feek and Tim Johnson), released a Christmas single under that name in late 2007. That song, "Bring Him Home Santa", was sung by an anonymous six-year-old girl, and proceeds from singles sales went to St. Jude's. Although other "Song Trust" material was released, none of it charted. Giantslayer folded in 2009 as Johnson died and Feek focused more on his work with his wife, Joey Martin Feek, in their duo Joey + Rory.
* '''Music/TransSiberianOrchestra''' are a hugely successful album and touring act, but they've just had one major singles chart entry, with their SignatureSong "Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)". The prog-metal medley of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" and "Carol of the Bells" made it to #25 on the adult contemporary chart, #29 on the Mainstream Rock chart and was certified Gold by the RIAA. It also charted at #49 on Billboard Radio Songs, a feeder chart into the Billboard Hot 100, but didn't make the Hot 100 proper. They've had a few other adult contemporary chart hits, but they've never had another song that's reached widespread popularity the way that "Sarajevo" has.
* '''Vince Vance & the Valiants''' are known almost entirely for "All I Want for Christmas Is You" (not to be confused with the Music/MariahCarey song), which is one of the most-played Christmas songs in the CountryMusic genre. They got a tiny bit of buzz beforehand for their "[[Music/TheBeachBoys Barbara Ann]]" parody "Bomb Iran" in 1980, but they are not the only act to have done a parody of that name.

* 18th-century Italian composer '''Tomaso Albinoni''' has the dubious honour of being considered a one-hit wonder for a piece he didn't even write. "Albinoni's Adagio in G minor", frequently used as the background music for TearJerker scenes in films and television, was in fact written in the 1950s by Italian composer Remo Giazotto, who claimed to have based the work on a manuscript fragment recovered in 1945, but could offer no proof of this claim.[[note]] Whether or not he was telling the truth remains a matter of contention.[[/note]] The Adagio therefore qualifies Giazotto as a one-hit wonder rather than Albinoni (whose works are mostly known only by Baroque music enthusiasts).
* You don't know who '''Euphemia Allen''' is, but if you ever took piano classes, chances are you were taught to play ''[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JM5fjgiFrxg Chopsticks]]''. This little waltz song was her only work, which she composed in 1877, at the age of 16, under the pseudonym Arthur de Lulli.
* Although American composer '''Samuel Barber''' is moderately well-known in the classical community for his violin concerto and Symphony No.1, he is mostly remembered for the Adagio for Strings, which started life as the slow movement of his String Quartet in B minor. To put into perspective how much the Adagio has overshadowed its parent work, there are over 250 recordings of various settings of the Adagio (mostly the string orchestra version, but the choral setting, using as its text the "Agnus Dei" from the Catholic Mass, is also frequently performed and recorded), and just over a dozen of the complete string quartet.
* '''Luigi Boccherini''' is mostly remembered solely for the Minuet in A major from his String Quintet in E major, Op. 11 No. 5, used prominently in such films as ''Film/TheLadykillers'' among others.
* If you have heard anything by '''Alfredo Catalani''' it is most likely the soprano aria [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYUYbCksb "Ebben? Ne andrò lontana"]] from ''Le Wally'', which was featured prominently in Jean-Jacques Beineix's 1981 thriller ''Film/{{Diva}}''.
* Like his compatriot and contemporary Mouret, '''Marc-Antoine Charpentier''' is mostly known for a fanfare that has been adopted as a theme by a broadcasting organisation: the opening [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwU37osOkQA Prelude (Marche en rondeau)]] from his ''Te Deum'' in D major, used as the theme of the European Broadcasting Union and played before broadcasts of the Series/EurovisionSongContest, ''Jeux Sans Frontières'', and any other programmes simultaneously broadcast across Europe by the EBU. Though he was very prolific, his other works are primarily known only to Baroque enthusiasts.
* British composer '''Jeremiah Clarke''', active around the turn of the 18th century, is today remembered mostly for writing the ''Prince of Denmark's March'', nowadays a popular wedding tune and usually known incorrectly as ''Trumpet Voluntary''. Making matters worse for him, it was long incorrectly attributed to Henry Purcell.
* Today, French composer '''Paul Dukas''' is remembered mostly for writing ''The Sorcerer's Apprentice'' of ''Disney/{{Fantasia}}'' fame, although the fact that he was a fanatical perfectionist and destroyed or abandoned many compositions after he became dissatisfied with them means there is not much other music by which to remember him.
* '''Julius Fucik''' is only remembered for his [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_B0CyOAO8y0 Entry of the Gladiators]], the [[StandardSnippet standard]] circus music.
* The Danish composer '''Jacob Gade''' is only known for one work, the world-famous ''[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mTEh5awKGQ Tango Jalousie]]''. Given that the royalties made him financially independent and allowed him to set up a handsome scholarship for young talented Danish musicians, he probably didn't mind much.
* '''Benjamin Godard''' and his ''[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVGsKhyK5Wo Lullaby (Angels Guard Thee)]]'', a popular tenor hit, originally from his opera ''Jocelyn''.
* '''Gustav Holst''''s most famous work by far is the great orchestral suite ''[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Isic2Z2e2xs The Planets]]''. It overshadowed his other compositions to the point where he himself [[CreatorBacklash came to resent it]] and flat-out refused to write an extra movement when Pluto was discovered in 1930.
* '''Music/JamesHorner''' was one of the most highly regarded and best known film composers of the 1980s, 90s and 2000s. Excerpts from film scores rarely make the pop charts, but ''Film/{{Titanic|1997}}'' became such a phenomenon in 1997 and 1998 that Horner managed to do just that: His composition "Southampton" became a minor American radio hit in early 1998, making it to #22 on the adult contemporary chart, #39 on the Mainstream Top 40 chart and appearing on the chart that ''Radio/AmericanTop40'' was using at the time. Horner never made the pop charts again after this.
* '''Engelbert Humperdinck''' (the composer, not the singer) scored a great success with his first opera, ''Theatre/HanselAndGretel''. None of his later operas were anywhere near as successful, though the now-forgotten fairy-tale opera ''Königskinder'' was somewhat known in its day.
* Austrian musician '''Anton Karas''' had an enormous hit in 1950 with the "Harry Lime theme" from the film noir ''Film/TheThirdMan'', a single release of which reached #1 in the US and became the first record to sell half a million copies. His other compositions are almost completely unknown outside a few devoted zither players.
* '''Ruggero Leoncavallo''''s only well-known work is the two-act opera ''Pagliacci'', which is often paired with ''Cavalleria Rusticana'' in a one-hit wonder double bill. (The song "Mattinata" is relatively well known, as it was written for and a favorite of Caruso.), In fact, Leoncavallo is mainly known not just for the opera, but for ''one moment'' in it (the aria "Vesti la giubba").
* The prolific composer, pianist and music publisher '''Henry Charles Litolff''' is today known mainly for his still existing music publishing business ''Collection Litolff'' - and for the bubbly [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIX1Q4kT17s scherzo]] from his Concerto Symphonique No. 4 in D minor.
* '''Pietro Mascagni''' is really only well-known for his one-act opera ''Cavalleria Rusticana'' (''Rustic Chivalry''), which was also one of his first major works.
* Like Litolff and Orff below, French composer '''Jules Massenet''' is known only for a single movement from a work rather than a whole work. He's mostly known for "Meditation", a passage for solo violin and orchestra from his opera ''Thais'', often used in film and television scores for emotional scenes.
* Most of the works of French Baroque composer '''Jean-Joseph Mouret''' are not performed today. At least in the U.S., he's mainly known for the opening Fanfare-Rondeau from his first ''Suite de symphonies'', used by Creator/{{PBS}} as the theme for the ''Series/{{Masterpiece}}'' series (and also a popular wedding tune).
* '''Leopold Mozart''', the father of the more famous Music/WolfgangAmadeusMozart, was an acknowledged musician and composer in his own right, but today only his ''[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NhTGbp6ta5Y Toy Symphony]]'' is played regularly. Worse, it was for many years incorrectly attributed to Music/JosephHaydn.
* '''Otto Nicolai''' were a popular opera composer in his days, but only his last opera, ''The Merry Wives of Windsor'' after [[Theatre/TheMerryWivesOfWindsor Shakespeare]], is performed today, mainly in Germany. Outside the German-speaking world only the [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSadbV70__I overture]] is sometimes heard. [[note]] Nicolai's greatest contribution to music history might be the opera he ''didn't'' write: in 1841 he was offered an opera text by Merelli, the impressario of the La Scala Opera in Milan, but he rejected it for being too grisly. Merelli then sought out a young Music/GiuseppeVerdi, who had just decided to give up composing after flopping with his second opera ''King for a Day'', and more or less bullied him into setting the text to music. The opera, ''[[Theatre/{{Nabucco}} Nebuchadnezzar]]'', was a colossal hit, and Verdi went on to becoming perhaps the greatest Italian Opera composer ever.[[/note]]
* '''Carl Orff''' is known mainly for one work, his cantata ''Music/CarminaBurana'' - after its premier Orff himself told his publisher, "Everything I have written before can be destroyed." Indeed, he's known mainly for the StandardSnippet from this, the opening (and closing) cantus "Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi: O Fortuna", although "Gassenhauer" is also pretty well-known.
* '''Johann Pachelbel''''s [[Music/PachelbelsCanon Canon in D major]] is perhaps one of the most famous and frequently performed classical works. Though some of his organ works are popular with organists, the overwhelming majority of the general population, if they know him at all, only know the Canon.
* The only thing '''Amilcare Ponchielli''' is remembered for is "The Dance of the Hours" from his opera ''La Gioconda'', which was both used in the original 1940 ''Disney/{{Fantasia}}'' and adapted by comedy singer Creator/AllanSherman for his 1963 song "Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh".
* '''Emil von Reznicek''' wrote a multitude of works in almost every classical genre, but the only piece of his that is regularly played today is the cheerful overture to his comical opera [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2QAszol-yoo ''Donna Diana'']].
* '''Juventino Rosas''' [[AuthorExistenceFailure died when he was only twenty-six]] and of a handful of works he wrote, most people would only know [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zX8Uk5ly-As Sobre las Olas]].
* Author '''Claude Joseph Rouget''', called '''Rouget de Lisle''', wrote plays, songs, essays and so on, but with so little success that he ended up in debtor's prison for a time and his works are now forgotten. Yet there are many streets named after him, monuments were erected in his honour, and his body was transferred to the Dôme des Invalides. All because of one song he wrote and of which few people [[SecondVerseCurse remember more than the first verse]]. It is entitled ''[[UsefulNotes/TheFrenchRevolution War Song for the Army of the Rhine]]'', but became famous as ''[[NationalAnthem La Marseillaise]]''.
* Out of his [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_compositions_by_Erik_Satie many compositions]], French composer and pianist '''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erik_Satie Erik Satie]]''' has only one very famous piece: the ''[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-Xm7s9eGxU Gymnopédie No. 1]]'', used as ambient music for nostalgic, quiet scenery.
* The only known compositions by '''Paul de Schlözer''' is two small pieces for piano, one of which, [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjjJ9xGb-7I Etude de concert Op. 1 No. 2 in A flat minor]], is a brilliant and extremely difficult piece, that is often played as an encore. This, and the fact that very little is known about de Schlözer and his life, has given rise to the story that de Schlözer did not write the piece himself, but won the manuscript from the more well-known pianist and composer Moritz Moszkowski in a card game.
* '''Johann Strauss Senior''' suffered a fate similar to Leopold Mozart above, being a talented and popular composer whose memory has been completely overshadowed by a more talented son. He is almost exclusively known today for his ''[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XjQ7ssv9ag Radetzky-Marsch]]'', which is always played at the end of the Vienna Philharmonic's New Years Day Concert.
* The dance music of '''Émile Waldteufel''' is not entirely unknown, but his most well-known piece by far is ''[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zirn3M3ewQc The Skater's Waltz]]'', a longtime StandardSnippet in film and television for winter landscapes and skating.
* Although the works of French composer '''Charles-Marie Widor''' are popular with organists, most listeners probably only know the concluding Toccata from his Organ Symphony No.5 in F minor, Op. 42 No. 1, a popular recessional.
* '''Mason Williams''' was a talented comedy writer who wrote many of the most memorable sketches on ''Series/TheSmothersBrothersComedyHour'' and was briefly the head writer for ''Series/SaturdayNightLive''. He was also a talented classical guitarist, and he showcased those skills on his lone hit in 1968, "Classical Gas".

* '''Benny Bell''' is known only for his song "Shaving Cream", which is basically "SubvertedRhymeEveryOccasion: The Song". He originally recorded it in the 1940s, but after it gained fame on Creator/DrDemento's show, it was reissued and charted at #30.
* '''Creator/MelBlanc''' was a legendary voice actor. He was also a one hit wonder in 1951 when his song "[[WesternAnimation/SylvesterTheCatAndTweetyBird I Taut I Taw a Putty Tat]]" hit #9.
* British pop/rock band '''Boys Don't Cry''' reached #12 in 1983 with their genre-hopping novelty song "I Wanna Be A Cowboy", and never troubled the charts again.
* Isaac Hayes is not a One Hit Wonder[[note]]despite most people recognizing only the theme from ''Film/{{Shaft}}'' from his catalog[[/note]], but his ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' character '''Chef''' became one when his "Chocolate Salty Balls (P.S. I Love You)" peaked at #1 on the UK singles chart and Irish charts in December 1998. ''Say everybody, have you seen my Balls?''
* '''The Joe Dolce Music Theatre''': "Shaddup You Face" became a million-selling number one in many countries, but nothing else he made could even chart, let alone become a major hit. The song is now particularly infamous because it kept Music/{{Ultravox}}'s much-acclaimed new wave ballad "Vienna" from reaching #1 in the UK.
* Comedian '''Creator/BillEngvall''', like his friend Jeff Foxworthy, had some of his comedy routines mixed into songs, often with a chorus sung by a popular country artist or uncredited session vocalist. The only such recording that was a real hit was "Here's Your Sign (Get the Picture)", which remixed a series of "here's your sign" jokes off his debut album with a sung chorus by non-one-hit-wonder Music/TravisTritt. The single peaked at #29 on the country charts and #43 on the Hot 100, representing his only big hit (although "Here's Your Sign Christmas", a parody of "Jingle Bells" with original comedy bits, got some seasonal airplay).
* Comedian and late-night talk show host '''Creator/JimmyFallon''' is well known for his musical comedy, but he's only had one bona-fide chart hit to his name: "Ew!", a collaboration with [[Music/BlackEyedPeas will.i.am]] that made it to #26 on the Hot 100 shortly after he introduced it on ''Series/TheTonightShow'' in October 2014.
* Creator/SachaBaronCohen, in character as '''Ali G''', scored a UK #2 hit with the Shaggy collaboration "Me Julie", from the soundtrack of ''Film/AliGIndahouse''. It remains his only entry onto the charts.
* '''Series/TheGoodies''': They had a string of comedy hit singles in the 1970's that were a natural spin-off from their TV comedy show. What makes them a one-hit wonder is the fact that their first single, "(Do, Do, Do) The Funky Gibbon", a parody of disco dance crazes, was initially taken as a straight song in the USA and made it into the lower reaches of the Dance and Disco charts... before they realised... it remains the boys' only American chart success.
* '''Creator/MervGriffin'''. Known mainly as a talk show host, businessman, and the creator of the extremely popular game shows ''Series/WheelOfFortune'' and ''Series/{{Jeopardy}}''. But as a singer, his only hit was the novelty song "I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts".
* '''Larry Groce''', who is primarily a country, folk, and children's music singer, had a #9 hit in 1976 with the novelty song "Junk Food Junkie".
* '''Screamin' Jay Hawkins''' is technically a NoHitWonder, but his 1956 song "I Put a Spell on You" has become a rock and roll classic. Since it's the only song of his still remembered today, he is often considered a one-hit wonder.
* Music/RayStevens is by no means a one-hit wonder, with multiple successful songs in both country and pop. But as '''The Henhouse Five Plus Too''', he had his only Top 40 hit doing a cover of "In the Mood" entirely in [[CluckingFunny chicken clucks]].
* Despite many of their songs becoming viral hits, the only Billboard Top 40 entry for comedy troupe '''Music/TheLonelyIsland''' was "[[HaveIMentionedIAmSexuallyActiveToday I Just Had Sex]]", which peaked at #30. Despite this, the song is probably one of their [[ChartDisplacement less remembered songs]] today, especially when compared to singles that didn't make the Top 40 like "I'm On a Boat", "Jack Sparrow" or "Everything is Awesome".
* '''Creator/SteveMartin''' has increasingly dedicated his career to music since the 2000s, and has had some success in the bluegrass scene. But before that, he had a single mainstream hit with "King Tut" (from his stand-up album ''A Wild and Crazy Guy'') in 1978.
* [[OopNorth Mancunian]] folk singer/comedian '''Creator/MikeHarding''' had only one British hit, with a spoof C&W song called ''The Rochdale Cowboy'', about a seriously geographically confused cowboy living in Rochdale, England.
--> It's hard being a cowboy in Rochdale/Cos the spurs don't fit right on me clogs;''
--> It's hard being a cowboy in Rochdale; 'cos folk all laugh when I ride past, on our Alsatian dog.''
* Creator/RickMoranis and Dave Thomas, in character as their ''Series/{{SCTV}}'' characters '''Bob and Doug [=MacKenzie=]''', had a Top 20 US hit in 1982 with "Take Off". The recording was basically one long spoken-word sketch held together by a chorus sung by [[Music/{{Rush}} Geddy Lee]]. While both Moranis and Thomas subsequently had long and successful film careers, neither reached the pop charts again, in or out of character.
* '''Morris Minor and the Majors''': Their only big hit was the Music/BeastieBoys parody "Stutter Rap (No Sleep Til Bedtime)". The followup, a Music/StockAitkenWaterman parody called "[[TropeName This Is The Chorus]]", did less well. In his book ''One Hit Wonderland'', former member Tony Hawks explains that the first record sold to kids who wanted to wind up older siblings who listened to the Beastie Boys. The second record made fun of the music that said kids actually listened to, so it flopped. The group then had their own BBC sitcom, ''Morris Minor's Marvellous Motors'', but it suffered from low ratings and only lasted one season.
* '''Music/MrBlobby''' from the TV show ''Noel's House Party'' had a UK Christmas number-one single with his eponymous song, beating out Music/TakeThatBand for the spot, despite being dubbed one of the worst number 1 singles of all time. He did have a number 36 hit two years later with "Christmas in Blobbyland", but in hindsight he is seen as a one-hit wonder.
* '''Music/NapoleonXIV''': "They're Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!" was a number 3 hit on the Hot 100 in 1966. Not only couldn't he score another hit, but the song didn't even have a proper flipside. Instead it was just "!aaaH-Ah ,yawA eM ekaT ot gnimoC er'yehT", which was just the song played backwards.
* '''General Larry Platt''' made headlines in 2010 when he auditioned on ''Series/AmericanIdol'' with his unconventional self-penned composition "Pants on the Ground". The 62-year old Platt was decades over the age limit for the show, and the response from the judges to the song was...mixed, to say the least. The song nonetheless became a meme; Platt soon released a version through rapper Mims' record label, and it reached #46 on the Hot 100. After "Pants on the Ground" faded from public consciousness, Platt never released another song.
* '''The Rabbit Joint''' are a rock band whose only claim to fame is a novelty song about ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda.'' It is commonly considered a Music/SystemOfADown song due to the Serj Tankian soundalike lead singer. When it turned out that it ''wasn't'' by them, interest in the group vanished.
* Comedian '''Johnny Standley''' had a #1 hit in 1952 with "It's In The Book", a comedic analysis of ''Little Bo-Peep''. It was his one and only recording to ever chart.
* '''Series/{{Teletubbies}}''': Tinky-Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa, and Po sold over a million copies in the UK with "Teletubbies Say Eh-Oh!", narrowly getting beaten out to Christmas number 1 by "Too Much" by Music/SpiceGirls, despite negative reviews, coming in third in Creator/VH1's list of the worst song, behind Cliff Richard's "The Millennium Prayer" and the aforementioned "Mr. Blobby". They had no further hits.
* Despite an influential career as a folk singer, '''Loudon Wainwright III''' had exactly one chart entry, with 1973's "Dead Skunk". Surprisingly, the song isn't even a BlackSheepHit because he always had the propensity for throwing novelty songs onto his records.
* '''Music/{{Ylvis}}''' with the viral hit "The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)" in the fourth quarter of 2013. They've released many other singles, but "Trucker's Hitch" is the only other one ever to have charted. Like most viral hit-makers, they almost certainly will not have a second hit.
* '''John Zacherle''', a famous television personality known for hosting a popular block of horror movies in the New York City and Philadelphia markets. He had a top ten novelty hit in 1958 with "Dinner With Drac" but never released a follow-up.

* '''Ralph [=McTell=]''' is only known for his song "Streets of London," as shown [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1YNEtaHbzA here]]. His follow up "Dreams of You" cracked the top 40 a year later, but stalled at #36.
* '''Gale Garnett''', a folk singer born in New Zealand and raised in Canada, had only one hit with the Grammy-winning "We'll Sing in the Sunshine", a #1 AC and #4 pop hit in 1964.
* '''The Proclaimers''' are known outside of the British Isles pretty much only for "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)".
* '''The Lumineers''' 2012/2013 hit "Ho Hey" reached #3 in the U.S. They haven't made the Top 40 since. They've been luckier as an album and genre chart band: Their debut album went platinum and its follow-up topped the album charts. In 2016, their song "Ophelia", which made it to only #66 on the Hot 100, was named [[http://www.billboard.com/charts/year-end/2016/alternative-songs the top song]] for the year on the Billboard Alternative chart.
* '''Peter Sarstedt''', with "Where Do You Go To, My Lovely" in 1969, as shown [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8XQZYIiNgo here]]. Follow-up "Frozen Orange Juice" did crack the top 10 later that year, but was not the hit its predecessor was.
* "Part of the Union" by '''The Strawbs''' was one of the biggest UK singles in 1973, and a UK no. 2. It is also a definite BlackSheepHit, and despite the fact that "Lay Down" nearly hit the top 10 a few months earlier, a major crisis led to two departures in the band. However, they weathered the storm, and are still gigging and recording 35 years and 30 albums later.
* British singer-songwriter '''Passenger''' (yes, it's just one guy) managed to cross the pond with the #5 smash hit "Let Her Go". He hasn't yet had another big hit in Europe, let alone North America.
* '''Rusted Root''' are known almost exclusively for their 1994 song "Send Me On My Way."
* '''Susan Aglukark''', an Inuit from Manitoba, had a huge hit in Canada with the bilingual "O Siem" in 1995. The song was a crossover smash in Canada, reaching #1 on the country and AC charts, and #3 on ''RPM'' Top Singles. While she had a few other chart entries, most of them are very obscure now.
* Danish guitarist '''Jorgen Ingmann''' is best known for his 1961 crossover hit "Apache" -- and being one-half of the winning duo of the 1963 Eurovision contest.
* Peter, Paul, and Mary are not one hit wonders, but '''Paul Stookey''' was as a soloist with his hit "The Wedding Song."
* '''Barry [=McGuire=]''' is known almost entirely for his 1965 ProtestSong "Eve of Destruction". [=McGuire=] became a born-again Christian in TheSeventies and recorded a few albums of Christian music.
* Although '''George Ezra''' is incredibly popular in his native U.K., his presence on the American charts was restricted to "Budapest".
* '''The Brothers Four''', a folk-rock quartet from Seattle, had a #2 hit with "Greenfields" and no other major hits.
* '''The Village Stompers''', a group from Greenwich Village who played what was described as "folk-dixie", had a number of hits in 1963-1965, but are today only known for "Washington Square", a #2 hit on the ''Billboard'' Hot 100 and a #1 on the Adult Contemporary charts in September 1963.[[labelnote:*]]Their other hits, for those who are curious, were "From Russia with Love" (#81, April 1964), "Fiddler on the Roof" (#97 and #19 AC, December 1964), "The La-Dee Song" (#104, Februrary 1964), "Oh! Marie" (#132, October 1964) and "Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines" (#130 and #35 AC, July 1965).[[/labelnote]]
* Actor '''Bill Hayes''', best known for his role on ''Series/DaysOfOurLives'', had a #1 hit in 1955 with "The Ballad of Davy Crockett". His follow up stalled in the 30's and he never charted again.
* '''Staff Sgt. Barry Sadler''' had a huge crossover in 1966 with "The Ballad of the Green Berets", a patriotic song that was obviously drawn from his real life experience as a soldier in the UsefulNotes/VietnamWar. It was a 5-week #1 smash on the Hot 100 and the biggest pop hit of 1966, as well as a #1 Easy Listening and #2 country hit. He charted only one other single, "The 'A' Team", but it has since been forgotten. Sadler later became a novelist before dying of a gunshot wound.
* '''Asaf Avidan and the Mojos''' are a popular folk act in their native Israel, but their only hit outside of it was a 2012 remix of their 2008 song "One Day/Reckoning Song".
* Finnish group '''Music/{{Loituma}}''' became this thanks to MemeticMutation. Their version of the Finnish folk classic "Ievan Polkka" ("Eva's Polka") from their self-titled 1995 album became a huge meme back in 2006 thanks to a random Russian Website/LiveJournal user, who combined the scatting portion of the song with a brief looping clip taken from ''Anime/{{Bleach}}''. So, "Leekspin" was born. Loituma even released a new single with the English title "Ieva's Polka" in 2006 to capitalize on the fad, but since the craze died down nobody cared anymore about them outside of Finland.
* While there are many British artists who are stars in their home country, but only managed one hit in America, the reverse is true too. The best example of this is '''Music/JohnDenver'''. In his native United States, Denver was one of the biggest music stars of the 1970s, with four #1 singles and a series of gold or platinum albums. Across the Atlantic in the UK, however, he only had one top 40 single: "Annie's Song", which went to #1 there in 1974. After that, he only had one other song ever hit the UK charts, when "Perhaps Love", a collaboration with famed opera tenor Plácido Domingo, made it to #46 in 1981.
* Canadian folk pop group '''Walk Off the Earth''' had an international hit in 2012 when their cover of Music/{{Gotye}}'s "Somebody That I Used to Know" went viral - driven by its gimmick of five band members playing the song on the same guitar at the same time. The cover's novelty didn't translate into a career: While followup "Red Hands" was a minor hit on American adult alternative radio, the only other chart action they've seen since are a couple low-charting singles on the Canadian Hot 100.
* The country and folk duo '''Music/TheCivilWars''' were one of the most buzzed-about bands of the early [=2010s=]; Their 2011 debut album ''Barton Hollow'' was critically acclaimed, went Gold and won them two awards at the 2012 Grammys. While they were riding high on the success of the album, they got a Top 40 pop hit in early 2012 through a feature credit on BigNameFan Music/TaylorSwift's song "Safe & Sound". But then the band's career came to a screeching halt: Due to creative and personal conflicts between its two members, the group effectively broke up [[TroubledProduction while recording their self-titled second album]]. "Safe & Sound" ultimately wound up being their only entry onto the Billboard Hot 100, [[ChartDisplacement despite not being as well known]] as anything off their actual albums.
* Canadian folk singer '''Indio''' scored a top ten hit on both the Canadian pop chart and the American alternative chart with his 1989 debut single "Hard Sun", which featured no less of an icon than Music/JoniMitchell on backing vocals. Then, just as the song was at the peak of its popularity, Indio more or less dropped off the face of the Earth. He had become disillusioned by the music industry and [[OneBookAuthor never recorded another album]]. The next time he popped up was in 2009, when he sued [[Music/PearlJam Eddie Vedder]] for changing the lyrics to "Hard Sun" in his cover version for the ''Film/IntoTheWild'' soundtrack.
* '''Bruce Cockburn''' ([[ItsPronouncedTroPay pronounced "Co-burn"]]) is highly regarded in the folk music world for his guitar playing and songwriting, and has racked up several hits in his native Canada. Below the border in America, however, he's only had one hit single: 1979's "Wondering Where the Lions Are", which made it to #21.
* '''The Irish Rovers''' have recorded for more than 50 years, but they only made an impact with the Creator/ShelSilverstein-penned "The Unicorn" in 1968. In Canada, they were slightly more successful with "Wasn't That a Party", credited as just '''The Rovers''', but success was limited after that.
* South African folk quintet '''Four Jacks and a Jill''' took their song "Master Jack" to #18 on the US pop chart in 1968. Their followup "Mister Nico" topped out at #98 and they never made the Hot 100 again, although they did have a few more Top 20 hits in South Africa.
* '''The Springfields''' had several hits in their native UK, but just one became a hit across the Atlantic in the United States, when "Silver Threads and Golden Needles" made it to #20 in 1962. Interestingly, it failed to chart back home in Britain. A few years later, member Dusty Springfield left the band to start her own solo career and [[BreakupBreakout became a 1960s pop music icon]].
* '''Todd Snider''''s only chart hit came in 1993 with "Talkin' Seattle Grunge Rock Blues", a Music/BobDylan-esque talking blues novelty tune about a grunge band that becomes huge when they decide to become "the only band that wouldn't play a note, under any circumstance." Despite being a HiddenTrack, the song caught on with rock radio stations that played the very same bands it was lampooning, and reached #31 on the Mainstream Rock Chart in late 1994. After that, Snider went back to his cult following. Two other tracks off the same album as "Blues" were CoveredUp by CountryMusic singers: "Alright Guy" by Music/GaryAllan, and "Trouble" by Music/MarkChesnutt.
* '''The Spokesmen''' had a Hot 100 hit with "Dawn of Correction", their conservative, Vietnam War-defending answer to Barry [=McGuire's=] "Eve of Destruction". And like [=McGuire=], it would be their only hit. Their cover of Music/TheBeatles "Michelle" also got significant airplay on WIBG, but was nowhere of a hit as "Dawn of Correction". Group members John Medora and David White were more successful as songwriters.
* '''Arlo Guthrie''', the son of legendary folk singer Woody Guthrie, had his one and only significant hit with a railroad blues song, "City of New Orleans" in the fall of 1972, peaking at No. 18 on the Hot 100, No. 4 on the adult contemporary chart and being a minor country hit as well. "... New Orleans," written by Steve Goodman, was successfully covered in 1984 (in a much more upbeat arrangement) by Music/WillieNelson. That said, Guthrie -- who like his father performed many socially conscious songs -- was also well known for his 1969 composition and recording "Alice's Restaurant", an anti-Vietnam War protest song that also shines a light on the 1960s counterculture.
* '''The Rose Garden''' had a Top 20 hit in 1967 with "Next Plane to London" but were never heard from again. The songwriter, Kenny O'Dell, was also a one-hit wonder twice over; see the "Country" subpage.

* '''Cameo''' had a massive crossover hit in 1986 with "Word Up!", which hit #6. While their direct follow-up "Candy" did manage to hit #21, it's virtually unknown to those outside their audience.
* '''Eddy Grant''': If you know any of his songs, it's likely "Electric Avenue", which was a #2 hit in the US and UK in 1982. His only other American Top 40 entry was the theme song to the movie ''Film/RomancingTheStone'' in 1984, which faded into obscurity afterwards. However, he had more hits internationally.
** Before he went solo, Grant was the guitarist for the 1960s band '''The Equals''', who were one of the few mixed-race British rock bands of the era. The band had several hits in the UK, but just one in the US: "Baby Come Back", which made it to #32 in 1968. Another one of their songs, "Police on My Back", is [[CoveredUp better remembered]] for the 1980 cover version by Music/TheClash.
* Technically, '''The Ides of March''' are a one-hit wonder with their 1970 hit "Vehicle" (#2), but in Chicago, they had other hits on local radio ("You Wouldn't Listen", "Superman", "L.A. Goodbye"). The Ides of March's lead singer and main songwriter (Jim Peterik) later joined Music/{{Survivor}}.
* Kentucky-based electro-funk group '''Midnight Star''' had several hits on the R&B charts, but their sole #1 "Operator", proved to be their only pop crossover at #18. Another tune, "Freak-A-Zoid", has also had some staying power, but it made it no further than #66 on the Hot 100. After the group disbanded, members and brothers Reginald and Vincent Calloway formed a duo of their own called '''Calloway'''. The group had a massive #2 pop hit with "I Wanna Be Rich", but their momentum dried up not long afterwards and they turned to production work.

* '''Dave Brubeck''', with "Take Five". He is well known in jazz circles for his other songs as well, but "Take Five" has become his signature song by a considerable margin.
** The fact that this song actually was written by his saxophonist Paul Desmond doesn't help Brubeck much in this respect.
* Bill Chase was a jazz musician who had a cult following but never tasted mainstream success, tragically dying in a 1974 plane crash at 39. His only hit, recorded with his band '''Chase''', was 1971's "Get it On."
* '''Boots Randolph''''s only Top 40 hit was "Yakety Sax" in 1963. The song was popularized through its use in ''Series/TheBennyHillShow'', and by extension, has become a tune used to automatically make anything funny.
* '''King Pleasure''' (born Clarence Beeks), an early master of vocalese, is best known for "Moody's Mood for Love", a 1952 classic which added lyrics to James Moody's alto sax improvisation of "I'm in the Mood for Love" recorded in 1949.
* '''Music/PatMetheny''' is an icon of the jazz fusion genre, has won a mind-boggling 20 Grammys, and often rates highly on lists of the greatest guitarists of all time. He scored his only American Top 40 appearance in 1987, when "This Is Not America", a collaboration with Music/DavidBowie, made it to #32.
* Country-pop band Restless Heart is no one-hit wonder, with multiple hits on the country, Hot 100, and AC charts. But their 1993 single "Tell Me What You Dream" was the only major chart entry for Canadian smooth-jazz saxophonist '''Warren Hill''', who was credited for his solos and appeared in the song's music video. Being an instrumentalist, Hill was largely limited to his own genre after that.
* '''Norah Jones''' is a weird example in that she's only had Top 40 hit in her career -- "Don't Know Why", which only peaked at #30. At the same time, the album that the song came from, ''Come Away with Me'', went ''Diamond'' (as in ''selling ten million copies'') in the United States alone. Her lack of chart success relative to her album sales is primarily because her music isn't really fit for pop or rock radio, yet has massive appeal to adult contemporary and adult alternative audiences. Jones has had four #1 hits on the Billboard Adult Alternative chart ([[ChartDisplacement "Don't Know Why" was not one of them]]), and not a single one crossed over to the Hot 100.

* For 15 years, '''Music/{{PSY}}''' has been one of the most popular musicians in South Korea, with such hits as "Bird," "Right Now," and "Champion." Overseas, he is best known for his smash hit song from 2012, "Gangnam Style", and pretty much nothing else. Although its 2013 followup "Gentleman" was a #5 hit on ''Billboard'' and has over a ''billion'' plays on YouTube, it fell off the charts almost immediately afterwards, and it's very unlikely that PSY will ever be known for anything else given the massively memetic nature of "Gangnam Style". 2014's "Hangover" (featuring Music/SnoopDogg) debuted at #26 before dropping off, while 2015's "Daddy" spent one week at #97.
* '''Music/TwoNEOne''' is a very popular GirlGroup in Korea, and K-Pop fans in the west, but are only known for "I Am the Best" outside their audience due to its use in western media (namely for being included in ''VideoGame/DanceCentral 3'', an episode of ''Series/SoYouThinkYouCanDance'', and the commercial for Microsoft's Surface Pro 3.)
* '''Music/WonderGirls''' became the first ever South Korean artist to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 when their song "Nobody" made it to #76 in 2009. Although they were incredibly successful in Korea, and popular with Western K-pop fans before and after its release, it remains their only entry on any American singles chart.

* Quite possibly the quintessential one-hit wonder is '''Los del Rio''', who you know as the duo who released the scourge on humanity known as "Macarena" and absolutely nothing else. They were a well-known flamenco duo in their native Spain, and had been performing together since the early 1960s; the song was such a phenomenon that it made the two middle-aged singers incredibly wealthy within a few months. Although they never had a global hit again — not even charting in the Latin countries again — they've continued to record and perform to the present day. Additionally, it's not the original version that we all know and love (or hate). The well-known version is actually a remix by '''The Bayside Boys''', probably because it added English lyrics. The original version of the song also charted on the Hot 100, peaking at #23. A third version of "Macarena", called "Macarena Christmas" also hit the Hot 100 and went top 5 in Australia. There was also a cover version by '''Los del Mar''' at the same time, which proved to be ''their'' only hit.
* "Heaven" by '''Los Lonely Boys'''. They had two more minor chart entries on the AC and Adult top 40 charts, but "Heaven" will forever be the only song most will recognize them by. The corresponding album is also one of the more notable 21st-century aversions of the LoudnessWar.
* '''Son By Four''' - A popular Puerto Rican salsa group, their only hit in the English-speaking world was the top 40 "Purest Of Pain," a remake of their Spanish song "A Puro Dolor."
* In 1999, German producer '''Lou Bega''' added word to mambo standard "Mambo No. 5" with later hit #3 in the US and spent 20 weeks at #1 in France. Other than that, nothing.
* Music/EnriqueIglesias is definitely not a one-hit wonder, but '''Desember Bueno''' and '''Gente de Zona''', two of the featured artists on his 2014 hit "Bailando", are one-hit wonders. Both acts have been fairly popular in their native Cuba, and the latter later scored some hits on the Latin charts, but neither came close to the success of "Bailando" since.
* '''Kaoma''' are only known for their 1990 hit "Lambada" and nothing else.
* '''The Chakachas''' were a Belgian group of Latin studio musicians who were popular all throughout Europe, but only made a dent on the international charts with the 1971 instrumental "Jungle Fever".
* Basque singing group '''Mocedades''' were entered into the 1973 Eurovision song contest with "Eres Tu -- Touch the Wind". Although they finished in second, the song became a massive worldwide hit. Naturally, all further success was limited to Spain.
* In his native Spain, '''Miguel Ríos''' is one of the most revered musicians of all time. Internationally, he's only really known for his remake of "Ode To Joy", titled "A Song of Joy", which hit #14 on the Hot 100.
* Argentinean fusion rock group '''La Mosca Tsé-Tsé''' exists since 1995, but the only song of theirs that was a success outside their country borders was "[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zj4zbiMEK9A Para no verte mas]]", which gained good airplay in 2000.
* Music/{{Santana}} isn't a one-hit wonder by any means, however RAndB duo '''The Product G&B''' is known solely for providing the vocals of the 10-week chart-topper "Maria Maria". Their only other top 40 was a feature on "Got To Get It", a minor Sisqo hit released around the same time.
* Brazillian guitar duo '''Los Indios Tabajaras''' only had one hit in America -- a version of "Maria Elena".
* Music/{{Shakira}} is not a one-hit wonder, but some of her collaborators have been:
** "La Tortura" was the sole American hit for Latin singer '''Alejandro Saez''', although he's a big deal on the genre charts and south of the border.
** '''Freshlyground''' are an iconic folk band down in South Africa, but otherwise are only known for singing backup on "Waka Waka".
** "Loca" provides a double example. The Spanish version is the only hit of '''El Cata''', a Dominican singer, who while popular in his homeland, never quite made it big elsewhere. He had another later hit collaboration with Shakira with "Rabiosa", but it didn't chart on the pop side. Meanwhile, the English version was the only American hit of '''Dizzee Rascal''', a British rapper who is certainly ''not'' a one-hit wonder in his homeland. Strangely enough, the song was never released in the UK.
* '''The Blackout All-Stars''', a one-off supergroup consisting of several veteran Latin musicians, scored a Top 30 hit on the Hot 100 in 1996 with their cover of Pete Rodriguez' "I Like It Like That". The cover had been recorded two years prior and it had [[RevivalByCommercialization a spike in interest]] due to its use in a Burger King ad. The recording was also the first and only time that legendary Latin jazz drummer '''Tito Puente''' ever ventured into the US Top 40.
* '''Gerardo''' had a hit in 1991 with the Latin-rap song "Rico Suave". While "We Want the Funk" was also a top 20 hit, it was quickly forgotten.
* Puerto Rican boy band '''Music/{{Menudo}}''' were stars throughout Latin America in the 1980s, but had just one Hot 100 hit in the United States with the English-language #62 entry "Hold Me" in 1986. The band is better known now for its [[RevolvingDoorBand rotating lineup of members]] who were removed from the band when they either turned 16 or grew too tall, and for being the [[BreakupBreakout former group]] of hitmaker Music/RickyMartin.

* '''Edwin Eugene Bagley''' wrote many marches, but he's most well known for [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U40OIESDwlU National Emblem]], probably the most famous American march not written by John Philip Sousa.
* [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chH7wMoFm9s "Under the Double Eagle/Unter dem Doppeladler"]] by '''Joseph Franz Wagner'''. Even martial music buffs would be hard pressed to name another piece by him. The encyclopedic ''Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians'' can, but just the one.

* During his lifetime, '''Scott Joplin''''s one and only hit was his 1899 breakthrough "Maple Leaf Rag", though he continued to write and publish rags until his death in 1917, always marketed as being "from the composer of the Maple Leaf Rag". (He also attempted to branch out into more "serious" music by writing a couple of operas, but these were even bigger failures than his follow-up rags.) In retrospect, thanks to his music being featured in ''Film/TheSting'' and the subsequent ragtime revival of TheSeventies, a much larger library of his work has become remembered by modern audiences, including one of his lesser works, "The Entertainer", even supplanting the "Maple Leaf Rag" in the popular consciousness. (His operas remain niche works, but have been staged and are appreciated for their ambition at a time when Joplin's race was an impediment to being taken seriously as a "legitimate" artist.)
* In 1974, composer '''Marvin Hamlisch''' took a cover of Joplin's "The Entertainer" - from his score for the aforementioned ''The Sting'' - to #3 on the Hot 100. Although Hamlisch is an American music icon, being the rare example of a PEGOT (winning an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony in addition to his 1975 Pulitzer Prize), he never again made the pop charts.

* '''Big Mountain''' are known entirely for their cover of Peter Frampton's "Baby, I Love Your Way", which was an international smash in 1994.
* '''Ini Kamoze''' topped the ''Billboard'' charts in 1994 with "Here Comes the Hotstepper". His follow-up single "Listen Me Tic" made it to just #88 and he never charted again after that.
* '''Snow''' topped the ''Billboard'' charts for a whopping seven weeks in 1993 with his {{Reggae}} meets HipHop song "Informer", and became the best-selling reggae song of all time despite the fact that [[IndecipherableLyrics nobody could understand what he was saying]]. While his follow-up "Girl I've Been Hurt" charted in the Top 20 (peaking at #19), it's widely considered to be a CreatorKiller. All songs since then have failed to chart at all. The fact that Snow was in jail at the time it was released, and couldn't actually leave his native Canada to tour the world at the height of his popularity, certainly didn't help. Also featured in the song was producer and old-school rapper '''MC Shan''', who contributed a [[AWildRapperAppears guest rap verse]] that gave him his only hit as well... or rather, it ''would'' have, had he actually been credited for his contribution.
* '''Nina Sky''', a female duo consisting of identical twins from New York, had a #4 hit in 2004 with "Move Ya Body". That was also their only song to chart on the ''Hot 100'', not counting a guest appearance on N.O.R.E.'s #12 "Oye Mi Canto", which wasn't ''their'' hit and is mostly forgotten today; thus it doesn't disqualify their status as a one-hit wonder. By extension, '''Jabba''' the featured artist on the song is also a one-hit wonder.
* '''MAGIC!''', a Canadian reggae group fronted by well-known songwriter Nasri Atweh, hit #1 for six weeks in 2014 with "Rude", but a massive backlash against the song and the band took place almost immediately afterwards. Thus, MAGIC! never even hit the Bubbling Under charts with any of their other songs. Only thirteen other artists can claim such a dubious honor. And given the fact that "Rude" was so left-field a hit, they're unlikely to ever chart again (although their followups managed modest success in their native Canada). It's telling that, not even a year since "Rude" became a massive hit, they've been reduced to a support act for Music/{{Maroon 5}}.
* '''OMI''' had a massive chart-topping hit in the summer of 2015 with a remix of his 2012 song "Cheerleader", which topped numerous charts including the United States. However, it was seen as too much of a left-field novelty for consistent success and OMI had no public image whatsoever. His follow-up "Hula Hoop" flat-out bombed in most countries (Sweden, Denmark, Canada, Australia, Austria and Belgium being the exceptions; in the U.S. it missed the entire Hot 100), and his album ''Me 4 U'' only debuted at #51, making it one of the lowest selling albums to house a #1 hit (and it placed behind, of all people, Music/{{Stryper}}, [[HumiliationConga a Christian hair-metal band whose only Top 40 hit came in 1987]]); that's not even taking into account that the peak was inflated by streams and single sales (most of which came from, unsurprisingly, "Cheerleader" itself), when in actuality it completely failed to hit the top 100. His third single, "Drop in the Ocean" (featuring fellow one-hit wonder [=AronChupa=]) bombed everywhere (even harder than "Hula Hoop"). In fact, '''Felix Jaehn''', the DJ behind the remix, has fared far better than OMI, having scored a massive European hit of his own with his cover of Rufus and Chaka Khan's "Ain't Nobody (Loves Me Better)", and has quickly climbed up the electronic music scene. That being said, Jaehn remains a one-hit wonder in the U.S.
* '''Kevin Lyttle''' managed a #4 hit in 2004 with "Turn Me On". It was his only ever entry on the Hot 100.
* While '''R. City''' are successful songwriters, the Virgin Islander sibling duo had their first bonafide hit as musicians with 2015's "Locked Away" (featuring Creator/AdamLevine), which went Top 10. However, since Adam Levine is the reason it charted, it's mostly associated with him and/or misattributed to his [[Music/{{Maroon 5}} band]]. Given how "[[SarcasmMode well]]" this situation worked out for Mark Ronson (see the pop subpage) and being yet another act in the Nico & Vinz/MAGIC!/OMI mold, combined with the fact that R. City doesn't have any following in the mainstream and that their album ''What Dreams Are Made Of'' was released to little fanfare, it was hardly surprising that their next single "Make Up" made no noise on the charts, and thus they have next-to-no chance of ever scoring a successful follow-up.
* Although Michael Franti of '''Michael Franti & Spearhead''' had a few minor hits in the U.K. in the 90s, most people in North America probably can't name anything he's done besides his 2009 #18 hit "Say Hey (I Love You)".
* Although he hit the Top 40 several times, probably the only song that anyone could name by '''Johnny Nash''' is "I Can See Clearly Now", his sole #1 hit.
* UK group '''Hotshots''' had their only hit in 1973 with a ska version of "Snoopy vs. The Red Baron". The original version by '''The Royal Guardsmen''' had also been ''their'' only big hit a few years earlier. The sequel song "Return of the Red Baron" scraped the top 40 a few months later.
** While in the US, the Guardsmen are remembered pretty much only for "Snoopy vs. The Red Baron," both "Return of the Red Baron" and the non-Snoopy related "Baby Let's Wait" (a CoveredUp version of a song originally recorded by The Rascals) were top 40 hits there. The song "Snoopy's Christmas," however, is also fondly remembered (had Billboard not restricted Christmas songs to a separate chart in TheSixties, "Snoopy's Christmas" probably would've given them a second Top 10 hit).
* Despite being one of the most influential and important artists in Jamaican music, '''Desmond Dekker''' only managed a single Top 40 hit in the US, with his classic 1968 single "Israelites". The song is considered to be one of the earliest hits in the then-nascent reggae genre. Dekker had several other hits in the UK.
* '''Musical Youth''' had an international smash in 1982 with "Pass the Dutchie". The song topped the charts in several countries around the world, and made the Top 10 in the United States. While the band racked up several other hit singles in their native United Kingdom and neighboring Ireland, "Dutchie" was their only hit in the United States or Canada.
* '''Ziggy Marley and The Melody Makers''' scored their only major international pop hit in 1988 when "Tomorrow People" made it to #39 in the US and #22 in the UK. At the same time, Ziggy and his siblings and bandmates Stephen, Sharon and Cedella became the first members of the Marley family to ever have a Top 40 single in the US; Their legendary father [[Music/BobMarley Bob]] got [[NoHitWonder no further than #51]], and their brother Damian would only manage to reach #55 when his own career took off in the mid-2000s. Despite having no further pop success, both Ziggy and Stephen have remained superstars in the reggae world.
* '''Wayne Wonder''' has been recording since the late 1980s, but his first hit didn't come until 2003, when "No Letting Go" charted all around the world, including #11 in the US and #3 in the UK. His follow-up "Bounce Along" was only a hit in the UK and he hasn't made any chart since.
* Teenage Jamaican duo '''Althea & Donna''' went all the way to #1 in the UK in 1978 with their single "Uptown Top Ranking", following airplay on Creator/JohnPeel's radio show. The duo's next two singles did not chart, and neither did their only album.

[[folder:Spoken Word]]
* In 1974, Canadian news anchor '''Byron [=MacGregor=]''' recorded "The Americans", a commentary written by Canadian broadcaster '''Gordon Sinclair'''. The recording consisted solely of him reading the commentary with an instrumental backing of "America the Beautiful" performed by an orchestra. This recording went to #4, and he never saw chart action again. A version by Sinclair was also released ("The Americans [A Canadian's Perspective]"), which stalled at #24.
* '''Wink Martindale''' had a big hit in TheFifties with the often-covered "Deck of Cards". Martindale never had another chart hit, but he later became famous as a GameShow host, most notably ''Series/TicTacDough''.
* The year 1971 begat a pair of #8 spoken word Hot 100 hits by somewhat similarly-named artists '''Tom Clay''' recorded a record called "What the World Needs Now Is Love/Abraham, Martin, and John", which combined clips of the two hits with his narration and interview clips of JFK, MLK, and other important '60s icons. A few months later '''Les Crane''' released a narration of the spiritual poem "Desiderata". The poem, which was thought to be an ancient text, was actually written by a little known Indiana writer named Max Ehrmann, and after a lawsuit his family got royalties from the song.
* During the heat of the 1972 Presidential Election, a novelty group called '''The Delegates''' was formed to create the record "Convention '72." It consisted of a fictional convention between the many Presidential candidates of the year, depicted via snippets of popular songs of the time in the "break-in" style popularized by Dickie Goodman.
* Australian film director '''Creator/BazLuhrmann''' is credited as the artist of the 1998 hit "Everbody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)", but it's an (understandable) misconception that he is the performer on the track. The actual narrator on the track is voice actor Lee Perry, who reads Mary Schmich's "Wear Sunscreen" essay (aka "Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young"). Luhrmann was merely the producer of the song, and the person who came up with the idea of setting the essay to music. The single was a massive international hit, but Luhrmann went back to directing immediately afterward.
* In 1967, then-Senate Majority Leader '''Everett Dirksen''' scored a Top 40 hit with "Gallant Men" a recitation of a patriotic poem he had written backed by music. He was the first sitting United States Senator to score a pop hit. Although Dirksen recorded several spoken word albums, "Gallant Men" was his only chart entry before his death in 1969.
** Around the same time, comedian Bill Minkin created an impersonation of him as '''Senator Everett [=McKinley=]''' alongside a UsefulNotes/RobertFKennedy parody called '''Senator Bobby''' and recorded a single featuring two covers of the Troggs' "Wild Thing", with the Kennedy impression on one side and the Dirksen impression on the other. With the Bobby version getting lead billing, "Wild Thing" also went top 40.
* Veteran radio broadcaster '''Victor Lundberg''' had a Top 10 hit in 1967 with "An Open Letter To My Teenage Son", a patriotic, and often histrionic, pro-Vietnam draft monologue that [[MoodWhiplash contrasted sharply in tone]] with the [[http://www.billboard.com/charts/hot-100/1967-12-02 rest of the Top 40]] in the week that it peaked on the Billboard Hot 100. No less than ''eight'' response records were made, including one by Creator/DickClark. Lundberg never returned to the charts after the single's run,

* Boulder, Colorado-based group '''The Astronauts''' had only one charted hit with "Baja", which reached #94 for one week in July 1963. None of their other singles charted and only the first of their nine albums charted (''Surfin' with the Astronauts'', which featured "Baja", at #61).
* "Pipeline" by '''The Chantays'''. This surf rock classic won them the #4 spot on the ''Billboard'' Hot 100 and an appearance on ''The Music/LawrenceWelk Show'' (of all shows!), but none of their follow-ups charted.
* '''The Rumblers''' had one minor hit in 1963 with "Boss", which peaked at #87 in February 1963. All of their other releases failed to chart.
* "Wipe Out" by '''The Surfaris''', which managed to chart ''thrice'' on the ''Billboard'': #2 in August 1963, #16 in July 1966 and #110 in August 1970. The follow-up, "Point Panic", did chart at #49, but that one is largely forgotten outside the surf rock fanbase.
* '''The Trashmen''', a surf rock band from Minneapolis, had two top 40 hits, the #4 "Surfin' Bird" and the #30 "Bird Dance Beat", but today are remembered only for the former, [[RevivalByCommercialization especially due to its]] [[RunningGag constant usage]] in ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy''. Younger audiences have forgotten that it was even a hit rather than a Seth [=MacFarlane=] original or an obscure song he dug up, or that it was memorably used two decades earlier in ''Film/FullMetalJacket''.

[[folder:Swing Revival]]
* "Zoot Suit Riot" by '''The Cherry Poppin' Daddies''' released in 1998. It's their best known song, having peaked at #32 on the U.S. Billboard Top 40 Mainstream, and hit the top 20 of the Modern Rock and Adult Top 40 charts. It just barely missed the top 40 of the Hot 100, however.
** This song is an interesting example because first and foremost, the Cherry Poppin' Daddies were a ''ska'' band. They did occasionally [[GenreRoulette wander into swing and jazz]] on their albums here and there, but "Zoot Suit Riot" is probably among their most swing influenced songs. It originally appeared as a new song on ''Zoot Suit Riot'', a compilation of all the swing-oriented songs that had appeared on their other albums. When the song became a hit, so did the album, and now [[BlackSheepHit they're identified as apart of the Swing Revival fad forevermore]].
* The '''Squirrel Nut Zippers''' were a similar case. Their musical style was more diverse than just "swing revival", but their one hit, the top 20 rock hit "Hell," ended up associating them with the genre.
* Italian Nu-Jazz duo '''Gabin''' had a hit in 2002 with their single "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDdc4WPY_SY Doo Uap, Doo Uap, Doo Uap]]". They still exist and a couple of their songs were used in films such as ''Film/FantasticFour2005'', but none of their other songs gained the same acclaim and recognition.

[[folder:World Music]]
* After having struggled in the Israeli pop music scene for nearly a decade, rocker '''Haim Zinovich''' felt that nobody would ever take him seriously, and effectively disappeared by the end of the '90s. In 2000, an Israeli talk show announced that they have booked a singer with a very unusual backstory: he was a man who lost use of his legs and nearly burnt to death when his house caught on fire. Dubbing himself '''[=HaSaruf=]''', or the Burnt Man, his debut single "Hevel [=HaChen=], Sheker [=HaYofi=]" was an instant hit on Israeli radio, and Israelis rushed out to buy his mysterious debut album. After his big television appearance, [=HaSaruf=] unmasked himself to reveal that he was Zinovich in disguise all along. The ploy worked big time, as his album sold over 400,000 copies, becoming one of the best selling in the country's history, and "Hevel [=HaChen=]" was named the fifth-biggest hit of 2000. Unfortunately, his popularity waned considerably afterwards as the novelty had worn off; although he had a few more minor hits and released one more album under the [=HaSaruf=] name, they failed to live up to the success of his debut, and the project was shelved not long after. Zinovich and his songwriter Tomer Biran then started to make dance-funk music together under the name "Zino & Tommy"; while their music made appearances on ''Series/TheSopranos'' and in several hit movies like ''Film/{{Click}}'' and ''Film/{{RV}}'', they never really seeked getting hit singles in Israel or anywhere else.
* Legendary South African singer '''Miriam Makeba''''s only American hit was her signature smash "Pata Pata", which reached #12 in 1967, ten years after she first recorded it. The song became one of the most famous "world music" songs of all time and ultimately became a StandardSnippet for African pop music as a whole.
* Israeli pop singer '''Ofra Haza''' had a surprise worldwide hit in 1988 with her dreamy update of the 17th century Hebrew poem "Im Nin'alu". In addition to being a smash all across Europe (including reaching number one in four countries), it was also a Top 20 hit on the Billboard Modern Rock charts in the United States. It was also Haza's only hit outside of Israel.
* Canadian Celtic singer '''Loreena [=McKennitt=]''' scored a Top 20 hit on both the Hot 100 and the alternative chart in 1997 with a remixed version of her song "The Mummers' Dance". Although this was the only time one of her singles made the American charts, she's continued to have a strong cult following, and she has three Gold-certified albums.
* Hawaiian ukuleleist '''Israel Kamakawiwoʻole''' recorded his medley of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and "What a Wonderful World" in 1990, but it did not become a hit until after his death in 1997. His unique interpretation of the songs picked up a considerable following over the years, and the medley found its way into several film soundtracks. It slowly became a hit around the world, making it to #22 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart in 2004 and #1 in France in 2010. It's been Kamakawiwoʻole's only charting single, and despite never making the Hot 100, it's been ceritified quadruple platinum for ''four million sales'' in the United States alone.
* The Nigerian highlife group '''Prince Nico Mbarga & Rocafil Jazz''' only had one major hit, 1976's "Sweet Mother", but it was a big one: The 10 minute-long single is reputed to have sold ''13 million copies'' and is one of the best-selling recordings in world history, despite being largely unknown outside of West Africa.

!!Non-music examples:

* See also: IAmNotSpock
* Maria Falconetti was a stage actress with only two very minor film roles before starring in ''Film/ThePassionOfJoanOfArc''. The film, and her performance, are ranked among the best in history, but her experience working on the film was so terrible that she returned to the stage and never took another film role again.
* Creator/EllenPompeo had some bit parts in some films and TV shows, but after she landed the lead role of Meredith Grey in ''Series/GreysAnatomy'' in 2005, she hasn't gotten a single other acting credit. Based on her statements in interviews and convention panels, this is by choice, and she has no desire to act after ''Greys'' finishes.
* Most of the main cast of the Creator/{{Nickelodeon}} show ''Series/HeyDude'' had never acted ''anywhere'' prior to the show, and never did again after it ended. Only three of the main actors (one of them being Creator/BenStiller's wife Christine Taylor) went on to have acting careers beyond the ranch.
** This is in fact true of most Nick shows of the 1990s--with rare exceptions (namely Creator/MelissaJoanHart, Kenan Thompson and [[Music/RiloKiley Blake Sennett]]) the vast majority of the channel's child actors dropped off the map after serving their time on Nick.
* While the cast of the original ''Series/SavedByTheBell'' had careers long after the series ended (with varying successes), Dustin Diamond, Lark Voorhies, and Dennis Haskins are still known almost exclusively as Screech, Lisa, and Belding, respectively. However, the one-season actors (Ed Alonzo and Leanna Freel), the newcomers from ''The College Years'' and the majority of the actors from the "The New Class" were, for the most part, never heard from again. Even the ones who still acted afterwards didn't really do anything memorable (with the exceptions of Bianca Lawson ("Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer") and Sarah Lancaster ("Series/{{Chuck}}")). Isaac Lidskey, who played Screech-clone Weasel, probably didn't mind too much considering he graduated from Harvard law school at 19 and eventually worked with Justice Sandra Day O'Connor at 28 despite becoming legally blind.
* Carrie Henn, who played Newt in ''Film/{{Aliens}}'', has never had another acting role. According to ''Entertainment Weekly'''s 2011 Reunion Issue, Henn was bullied by her schoolmates about her role, and has since become a schoolteacher.
* Jeremy Black, who played the infant [[YouClonedHitler Hitler clones]] in ''Literature/TheBoysFromBrazil'', has his only film credit with that movie - IMDB lists a TV appearance, but he really focused on theater.
* Another infant, 3 years old at the time, Oliwia Dąbrowska, was the girl in red in ''Film/SchindlersList''. Creator/StevenSpielberg asked Dąbrowska not to watch the film until she was eighteen, but she watched it when she was eleven, and was ''horrified''. Upon seeing the film again as an adult, she was proud of the role she played, although she never has acted again.
* Mary Badham's debut role was Scout Finch in the film adaptation of ''Film/ToKillAMockingbird'', for which she was nominated for an [[UsefulNotes/AcademyAward Oscar]]. She appeared in a few other roles before retiring from acting at 14. She went on to become an art restorer and a college testing coordinator, though she had a small role in an independent film in 2005.
* Danny Lloyd first appeared in Creator/StanleyKubrick's ''Film/TheShining'' as [[TheDanza Danny Torrance]]. He played only one other small role in a TV film before quitting acting and becoming a teacher.
** Also, the actresses who played the naked girl in the bathtub and the old hag she turns into never did anything else before or after.
* Lots of horror and slasher roles:
** Nancy Kye's only major role is Annie from ''Film/{{Halloween 1978}}''. She did do other on-camera work (including other Creator/JohnCarpenter films), but nothing nearly as popular.
*** Ellie Cornell, the FinalGirl in ''Film/Halloween4TheReturnOfMichaelMyers'', has no other major film credits, with the exception of playing a cop in the two ''Film/HouseOfTheDead'' films, which she and her husband helped produce.
** Adrienne King, who played the FinalGirl in the original ''Film/FridayThe13th1980'' has no other major film credits, although this was mostly because she quit acting the following year after being targeted by a stalker, and didn't come out of retirement until 2010.
** Marilyn Burns, who played the FinalGirl in ''Film/TheTexasChainSawMassacre1974'' had no other major film roles outside that franchise before her death in 2014.
** Heather Langenkamp is only known for playing Nancy in the original ''Film/ANightmareOnElmStreet1984'' and [[Film/ANightmareOnElmStreet3DreamWarriors two]] [[Film/WesCravensNewNightmare sequels]]. She had some other small roles, but nothing nearly as notable. Playing ice skater Nancy Kerrigan in a TV movie ''Tonya & Nancy: The Inside Story'' is probably her second most famous role.
*** Patricia Arquette (Kristen Parker in ''Film/ANightmareOnElmStreet3DreamWarriors'') would later become an Oscar-winning actress and is not a one-hit wonder. However, Tuesday Knight, who [[TheOtherDarrin replaced her as Kristen in]] ''Film/ANightmareOnElmStreet4TheDreamMaster'' has no other major acting credits.
** The entire cast of the original ''Film/NightOfTheLivingDead1968''.
** John Stockwell is famous for playing Dennis Guilder from the film adaption of ''Literature/{{Christine}}''. Outside of a small role in ''Film/TopGun'' as Cougar, his acting career never took off, mainly due to starring in films that were box-office bombs and/or critical failures, such as ''Dangerously Close'', which he unfortunately co-wrote. It's probably why he since became a director.
* Nia Vardalos came out of nowhere in 2002 with ''Film/MyBigFatGreekWedding'', which she wrote and starred in, and which subsequently became the highest-grossing romantic comedy of all-time. She fell as fast as she rose with a number of flops (the ''My Big Fat Greek Life'' television show, ''Connie and Carla'', ''My Life in Ruins'', ''Larry Crowne''). In 2016, she returned with ''My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2'', which did decently at the box office, but was thrashed by critics and quickly forgotten, and as a result didn't do very much to re-establish Vardalos as either an actress or writer.
* All of the child actors from ''Film/WillyWonkaAndTheChocolateFactory''. Peter Ostrum (Charlie Bucket) and Michael Bollner (Augustus Gloop) [[OneBookAuthor have no other credits]]; Paris Themmen's only other acting credit besides Mike Teavee was a small cameo in ''Series/StarTrekVoyager''; Creator/DeniseNickerson appeared on ''Series/DarkShadows'', ''Series/TheBradyBunch'', and ''Series/TheElectricCompany1971'', but is still best known as Violet Beauregarde; and while Julie Dawn Cole had a long, steady career on British television, Veruca Salt is her only notable character.
** Happened again with the child actors in the [[Film/CharlieAndTheChocolateFactory 2005 adaptation]]. The only ones that have successful careers outside that film are Creator/FreddieHighmore (Charlie) and Creator/AnnaSophiaRobb (Violet). Jordan Fry (Mike) had a voice role in ''Disney/MeetTheRobinsons'', but nothing else notable. Philip Wiegratz (Augustus) has no other credits outside some small films in his native Germany. Julia Winter (Veruca) has no other credits at all.
* Liam Aiken's only notable lead role is as Klaus Baudelaire in ''Film/ASeriesOfUnfortunateEvents''. His other credits include the human lead in the quickly forgotten dog comedy ''Film/GoodBoy'', Creator/TomHanks' son in ''Film/RoadToPerdition'', and later one of the security system workers in ''WesternAnimation/TheEmojiMovie''.
* Several non-professional actors have been cast in a film that remains either their [[OneBookAuthor only role]], or their only role of note:
** Harold Russell's film debut in ''Film/TheBestYearsOfOurLives'' netted him ''two'' Oscars, the only time two Oscars have ever been awarded for the same performance.[[note]]The Academy's Board of Governors wanted to recognize Russell's performance in the film, but thought that as a non-professional in his first role he would never win a competitive award. So they gave him an honorary Oscar for "bringing hope and courage to his fellow veterans." Then he won Best Supporting Actor.[[/note]] It would be 34 years before he had another film credit; his two remaining credits were very minor roles in since-forgotten movies.
** Dr. Haing S. Ngor, a Cambodian gynecologist, who won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his only major film role, ''Film/TheKillingFields''. Along with the aforementioned Harold Russell, he is one of only two non-professional actors to win an Academy Award.
** Wrestler Stanislaus Zbyszko was cast in the 1950 noir ''Night and the City'' because the director, Jules Dassin, wanted to teach a wrestler to act rather than teach an actor to wrestle. He had actually seen Zbyszko when he was young and wanted someone like him, without knowing Zbyszko was still alive. It turned out Zbyszko even lamented the transformation of wrestling into showmanship the same way his character in the movie, Gregorius, did.
*** For similar reasons, light-heavyweight boxing champion Antonio Tarver was cast as Mason "The Line" Dixon in ''Film/RockyBalboa'', which remains his only professional acting role to date - Creator/SylvesterStallone thought it would be easier to teach a boxer to act rather than train an actor to box convincingly. He might have come to this conclusion after casting boxer Tommy Morrison in ''Film/RockyV''.
*** In the film ''Film/{{Miracle}}'', about the 1980 gold-medal winning US Olympic hockey team, many of the actors who portrayed members of the team were real-life hockey players; Billy Schneider played his father Buzz Schneider, for instance. (For that matter, coach Herb Brooks is played by proven actor Creator/KurtRussell, who was briefly a real-life pro baseball player before turning to acting full-time.)
** Michael Wallis, a historian and journalist who has written 17 books on the Western United States, only has one acting role: the voice of the Sheriff of Radiator Springs in ''WesternAnimation/{{Cars}}'', its sequel and other spinoff media. He was selected for this role because of his [[CastTheExpert expertise on the area in which the film is set]].
** Pixar seems to like selecting writers for major roles in their films. Sarah Vowell, a well known pop culture writer, essayist and frequent contributor to ''Radio/ThisAmericanLife'', was cast in the role of Violet in ''WesternAnimation/TheIncredibles''. The casting director of the film selected her after hearing [[http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/81/guns this story she told]] on ''This American Life''. She never actually auditioned for the part, as she is not a professional actress and ''The Incredibles'' remains her only film role.
** Zekeria Ebrahimi and Ahmad Khan Mahmidzada, the Afghan child actors who played young Amir and young Hassan respectively in ''Literature/TheKiteRunner'', [[OneBookAuthor have no other roles]]. In fact, acting in the movie caused major problems after shooting finished, because many questioned sending them back to Kabul, where their families feared attacks because of the homosexual themes in the movie. They were relocated to the United Arab Emirates.
* Jaye Davidson (technically a ''two'' hit wonder). Played Dil in ''Film/TheCryingGame'', a role for which he was nominated for an Oscar. His only other famous role was Stargate, which he took only because he was offered [[MoneyDearBoy 1 million dollars]]. He then went back to his daytime job of modeling.
* Dustin Lance Black was an obscure indie screenwriter who struck gold when he won an Oscar for ''Film/{{Milk}}''. Since then, he's mostly written critically-panned films such as the unreleased ''What's Wrong With Virginia?'' (which he also directed) and ''Film/JEdgar''.
* Rochelle Davis, who played Sarah in ''Film/TheCrow'', decided to retire from acting shortly afterwards because she was a close friend of Brandon Lee who died during filming. She now works as a massage therapist. She would later act again in a minor role in an independent film "Hell House" 16 years later.
* Karen Lynn Gorney is best known for playing Creator/JohnTravolta's love interest in ''Film/SaturdayNightFever'' and absolutely nothing else. She didn't act again until 1991, as a literally nameless character in the Creator/MichaelJFox movie ''Film/TheHardWay''.
* Outside his native Australia, where he has enjoyed lasting success as a comedian, Paul Hogan is only known for his role as ''Film/CrocodileDundee''.
* ''Franchise/StarWars'':
** Creator/MarkHamill is a very successful ''voice'' actor ([[WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries the Joker]]), but Luke Skywalker is his only major ''live-action'' character.
** Creator/AnthonyDaniels, Creator/KennyBaker, and Creator/PeterMayhew remain known to the public almost exclusively as C-3PO, R2-D2, and Chewbacca respectively.
* Although he has acted in other films and TV shows, Scott Fuller from ''Film/FromDuskTillDawn'' is Ernest Liu's only major role to date.
* Nikki Blonsky whose most famous role was ''Film/{{Hairspray}}''. It doesn't help that her other roles tried to play up her weight which is a very hard thing to build a career around.
* Most actors from ''Franchise/PowerRangers'' have not had any success with any other projects. Exceptions are Creator/AmyJoJohnson, Creator/JohnnyYongBosch (who's now better known as an anime voice actor; ''Power Rangers'' is still his only major live-action role), Creator/BryanCranston (who voiced two monsters), Creator/EkaDarville, [[Series/{{Hellcats}} Emma Lahana]], [[Film/NotAnotherTeenMovie Cerina Vincent]], Rose [=McIver=], Brandon Jay [=McLaren=] and [[{{Reign}} Adelaide]] [[ThePurge Kane]].
* According to various speeches he's made, Jack Gleeson plans to quit acting as soon as his StarMakingRole as Joffrey Baratheon on ''Series/GameOfThrones'' wraps up, due to his dislike of celebrity culture.
** Most of the actors who star on the show have yet to find a second hit; even then, those who have found non-''Thrones'' success were established before the show began (i.e. Creator/PeterDinklage, Creator/LenaHeadey, Creator/NatalieDormer, Creator/SeanBean), and nevertheless aside from Bean their parts on ''Game of Thrones'' are easily their best known roles. Fortunately, since most of these actors' careers are just getting started, there's a lot of time to escape it.
* Quinton Aaron, best known for playing Michael Oher in ''Literature/TheBlindSide'', has acted in other movies, but nothing of note.
* No matter what Steve Burns does, he will always be known as Steve from ''Series/BluesClues''. Donovan Patton, who played Joe, also hasn't had any success after the show ended.
* Creator/MichaelRichards will always be known as Cosmo Kramer from ''Series/{{Seinfeld}}''... [[NWordPrivileges if he's lucky]].
* The only role Alicia Silverstone is remembered for today is Cher Horowitz from ''Film/{{Clueless}}''. That, and her StarDerailingRole in ''Film/BatmanAndRobin''.
* Of the nine main cast members of ''Series/ArrestedDevelopment'', only a few have gone on to superstardom on their own. But the only one who is considered a one-hit wonder is Alia Shawkat, who played Maeby.
* British expat model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley's only noteworthy role is as Carly Spencer in ''Film/TransformersDarkOfTheMoon'', the SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute love interest for Sam Witwicky (Shia [=LeBeouf=]) after Mikaela broke up with him in-between films (ie Megan Fox was fired). For the longest time, it was her only acting credit ''period'' until ''Film/MadMaxFuryRoad'' (but even then, she won't be the lead heroine). Fortunately, it doesn't take away from her fame as a model. The fact that she's dating action movie star Creator/JasonStatham also helps.
* Most of the actors who have played ComicBook/{{Superman}} (i.e. Creator/GeorgeReeves, Creator/ChristopherReeve, Creator/DeanCain, Creator/TomWelling, Creator/BrandonRouth) have not really found much success in other roles. Creator/HenryCavill was lucky enough to have ''Series/TheTudors'' on his resume beforehand.
** Routh broke out of the one-hit wonder mold in when he played fan favorite Ray Palmer on ''Series/{{Arrow}}''.
** One of Superman's voice actors, George Newbern, also broke this mold by getting a very prominent role as Sephiroth from ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII''.
* Allison Mack's only role of note is as Chloe Sullivan on ''Series/{{Smallville}}.'' What little chances she had of scoring a second hit evaporated after her role in a sex trafficking organization was exposed in 2018.
** Michael Rosenbaum averted this through his voice acting career, but Lex Luthor is still his only real claim to fame in live-action.
* Tatum O'Neal had a moderately successful career as a child actor in the 1970s but today people only remember her for her role in ''Film/PaperMoon'' due to winning the Best Supporting Actress Oscar at the age of 10.
* Unlike other Creator/JJAbrams leading ladies such as Creator/JenniferGarner and Creator/EvangelineLilly, Anna Torv of ''Series/{{Fringe}}'' hasn't really found further success outside the show.
* Kimberly J. Brown is mostly remembered for starring in the first 3 ''{{Halloweentown}}'' movies. She had some other roles, such as a regular stint on ''Series/GuidingLight'' for a couple years, and the lead in ''Quints'' (another Disney Channel movie), but nothing else.
* Creator/RainnWilson has acted in several TV shows and movies, but he will forever be best known as Dwight Schrute from ''Series/TheOfficeUS.''
* ''Series/PartyOfFive'' was a big hit back in the '90s, but is today remembered for most of its cast landing better known roles after the series' conclusion... that is, except for Scott Wolf, who completely vanished from public consciousness after the show's conclusion.
** Because ''Party'' is largely forgotten today, Neve Campbell, who played middle child Julia, is nowadays remembered almost solely as Sidney Prescott from the ''Franchise/{{Scream}}'' series.
* Jason Mewes isn't really known for any other role besides [[Film/TheViewAskewniverse Jay]]. Kevin Smith, who played Silent Bob, fortunately avoids this by his non-acting work, but Mewes wasn't so lucky.
* Jon Heder's only memorable role was as the title character of ''Film/NapoleonDynamite''. He followed it up with ''Film/{{Benchwarmers}}'' and ''Film/BladesOfGlory'', which did gain some praise, but not nearly as much as ''Napoleon Dynamite''.
* So closely associated is Creator/DanielRadcliffe with ''Film/HarryPotter'' that it ultimately proved detrimental to his post-''Potter'' career. He's primarily stuck to indie fare and live theatre, where he's had considerable success, but none of the productions he's been in have been a hit anywhere close to ''Potter'''s scale. In fact, aside from Creator/EmmaWatson and Creator/RobertPattinson, the other child actors from the film have fared even worse. Creator/RupertGrint hasn't made even a million dollars combined with his non-''Potter'' work, Creator/TomFelton's only other notable role was in ''Film/RiseOfThePlanetOfTheApes'' (although he did score a recurring role on ''Series/TheFlash2014'', so things might be looking up for him) while other stars like Matthew Lewis, Bonnie Wright, Evanna Lynch, the Phelps twins, and Harry Melling have done next to nothing of note otherwise.
* New Zealand actress Creator/KeishaCastleHughes is only known for her role in ''Film/WhaleRider'', which made her the youngest actress at the time to be nominated for a Lead Actress Oscar. She had a a minor role in ''Film/RevengeOfTheSith'' and her career took a nosedive after ''Film/TheNativityStory'' proved to be a critical and commercial disaster. Around the same time she also got pregnant at the age of just 16; something not really ''that'' big of a deal in her native New Zealand, but in the U.S. it produced such a backlash from MoralGuardians that it ensured no studio would go near her for any mainstream family-friendly projects. She tried to make a comeback with ''Series/GameOfThrones'', but her performance was considered underwhelming, especially by the show's standards, and is today one of the very few ''Game of Thrones'' actors' whose part on the show has not become their most famous role.
* Creator/GloriaSwanson was one of the biggest stars of the silent film era who managed a comeback in 1950 with ''Film/SunsetBoulevard''. That being said, today she is commonly considered a one-hit wonder for her role in the latter, as it's the only movie people remember her by, while her silent film work is long forgotten.
* Despite being a superstar throughout the 1920s and 1930s, Al Jolson is known by modern-day audiences only as Jack Rubin in ''Film/TheJazzSinger'', the first feature-length motion picture with sound.
* Creator/AnthonyPerkins played Norman Bates in ''Film/{{Psycho}}''. He became so closely associated with the Bates character that his career got destroyed due to chronic typecasting.
* Mira Sorvino is known for her Oscar-winning role in ''Mighty Aphrodite'' and not much else, except maybe ''Film/RomyAndMichelesHighSchoolReunion''.
* Linda Blair played Regan [=MacNeil=] in ''Film/TheExorcist'' and went straight to low-profile made-for-TV movies afterwards.
* ''Series/TheMickeyMouseClub'': Very few Mouseketeers have been successful; Annette Funicello was by far the biggest star to come from the 1950s version, although a few others like Johnny Crawford and Paul Petersen have had minor success. For the '90s version, you had Music/BritneySpears, Music/ChristinaAguilera, Music/JustinTimberlake, Creator/RyanGosling, Creator/KeriRussell, [[Music/NSync J.C. Chasez]], [[Series/TheVoice Tony Lucca]], Matt Morris, and [[WesternAnimation/StevenUniverse Deedee Magno]]. That being said, the latter five are almost never brought up when talking about the show's famous alumni, and it's not uncommon for Gosling to be ignored in favor of the show's musical breakouts.
* Nearly all of the child actors on ''Series/BarneyAndFriends'', who were for the most part Dallas natives, disappeared from the spotlight afterwards. The only ones who went on to any success were Music/SelenaGomez, Music/DemiLovato, Creator/KylaPratt, Madison Pettis, Trevor Morgan and Creator/DebbyRyan. In the public consciousness, it's only widely known that the former two are ex-''Barney'' stars, and the fact that they met on the show and became best friends afterwards. Of the latter four, Ryan is the only one who's still well-known, but she was never nearly as big a star as Gomez or Lovato and few people rember she was on the show, as her part was a minor background role whereas the rest were part of the main kids cast. Of the dinosaur actors, the only one who ever did anything else notable was Michaela Dietz, who voiced Riff; even then, she is known for only one other role -- Amethyst in ''WesternAnimation/StevenUniverse''.
* Borderline example with Creator/KateHudson. Although she was a highly prominent celebrity in the 2000s, her public perception has gone down the MC Hammer path, with her breakout role of Penny Lane in ''Film/AlmostFamous'' being the only one she is still remembered for. Nearly all of her other movies were hugely panned by critics (even if they were box office hits), and they have all long faded into obscurity, while ''Almost Famous'' went down [[VindicatedByHistory the opposite path]].
* Most of the actors in ''Film/AmericanPie'' didn't go on to do much afterwards, with Creator/ShannonElizabeth seen in the eyes of the public as the most triumphant example. That being said, Jason Biggs was previously the franchise's most notorious laughingstock until he landed a memorable role on ''Series/OrangeIsTheNewBlack''.
* ''Film/MeanGirls'': Jonathan Bennett is best remembered for his role as Aaron Samuels in the teen comedy and not much else.
* Music/ArianaGrande's only successful role as an actress was as Cat Valentine in Creator/{{Nickelodeon}}'s ''Series/{{Victorious}}'' (which she wasn't even the star of). She had a few bit roles, and starred in the quickly cancelled spin-off ''Series/SamAndCat'', but nothing major. That being said however, she has transitioned into a pop superstar with numerous hits and certified albums under her belt, and has never looked back since. As a musician, she is most certainly '''not''' a one-hit wonder. In fact, she's easily the most successful music act ever produced by Nickelodeon.
* Borderline: Creator/RayLiotta was fairly successful back in the '90s, but modern-day audiences know him for playing Henry Hill in ''Film/{{Goodfellas}}'' and not much else.
* Alfonso Ribiero is only known for playing [[Series/TheFreshPrinceOfBelAir Carlton Banks]].
* Creator/TaylorLautner started out as a moderately successful child/teen actor and voice actor (''Film/TheAdventuresOfSharkboyAndLavagirl'' being his most notable credit), but he was far from celebrity status until he was cast as Jacob in the ''Franchise/TheTwilightSaga'', which established him as a teen heartthrob in the early 2010s. Since then however, he's gotten no other major roles, and is still best known as Jacob in ''Twilight''.
* Despite her three-decade-long career and being a tabloid fixture, Tori Spelling's only notable role is Donna Martin on ''Series/BeverlyHills90210''
* Most of the actors on ''Series/OneTreeHill'' barring Sophia Bush and Chad Michael Murray are known almost exclusively for their roles on the show. While Jana Kramer is nowadays better known as a singer, Alex Dupre remains her only notable acting role.
* While most actors on ''Series/TheOC'' have broken into other roles (or famous beforehand in the case of Tate Donovan), Mischa Barton is mostly known for playing Marissa Cooper. Same goes for Autumn Reaser and Taylor Townsend.
* [[Wrestling/{{Edge}} Adam Copeland]] may have had a long wrestling career, but he's basically known for one acting role: ''Series/{{Haven}}''. For a while, Wrestling/{{Batista}} was in the same situation with ''Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy'', but he's now also known for his role in ''Film/{{Spectre}}''.
* Aside from Creator/JudyGarland, the entire main cast of ''Film/TheWizardOfOz'' are known exclusively for that one movie:
** Ray Bolger was primarily a Broadway actor when he landed the role of the Scarecrow. Because he got caught up doing USO shows overseas, he worked very sporadically in Hollywood throughout the 1940s, only making five films. After that, he hardly got any roles at all, focusing more on TV.
** Jack Haley, the Tin Man, was a well known actor not only on film, but also on radio and vaudeville. He primarily worked for RKO, so his switch to MGM was an anomaly. While he got more frequent work than Bolger post-''Oz'', he quit acting after refusing to participate in a version of ''Seven Keys to Baldpate''.
** Bert Lahr played the Cowardly Lion. Aside from that, his work in Hollywood was scarce and unsuccessful. Like Bolger, he focused primarily on stage acting afterwards.
** Frank Morgan, who played the title role, was a contracted character actor for MGM, and thus his roles were rarely, if ever, leads. Sadly, Morgan died only ten years after ''Oz'' at the young age of 59.
** Creator/MargaretHamilton, the Wicked Witch of the West, had a far more successful acting career than most of her co-stars, but she was never quite able to shake off her "Wicked Witch" image. She [[AdamWesting self-parodied]] her role during the last decade before her death.
** Billie Burke was probably the most successful, as she had been in the acting industry since the 1910s. Burke was a major Zigfield Follies star and also appeared in other classics like the ''Topper'' series and grabbed an Oscar nomination for ''Merrily We Live''. But she'll always be best known as Glinda the Good Witch.
* Hallie Kate Eisenberg appeared in a few movies, but is today only remembered for being the "Pepsi Girl" in the company's late-'90s[=/=]early 2000s ad campaign. Other than that, she's best known for being [[Creator/JesseEisenberg Jesse's sister]].
* Although he had a number of supporting roles before (mostly in Westerns), James Arness remains remembered largely as Marshall Matt Dillon in ''Series/{{Gunsmoke}}'', with his filmography after being cast as Dillon being quite limited. He also had a lead role in the TV series of ''Series/HowTheWestWasWon'', which [[GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff garnered a cult following in Europe]] but failed to make much of an impact in the US.
* While her ''Series/{{Charmed}}'' co-stars have continued to find success afterwards, Creator/RoseMcGowan is still known mostly as Paige Matthews. Other than that, she's more known for being one of the most visible accusers against Harvey Weinstein for sexual abuse.
* Ilan Mitchell-Smith will always solely be known for playing the "other" kid in ''Film/WeirdScience'' (Wyatt), though a few might also recognize him as the lead in the film adaptation of ''Literature/TheChocolateWar''. He's now a professor of Medeival Studies at the University of Houston, and also a major tabletop gamer.
* The kids in ''Series/{{Roseanne}}''. Lecy Goranson will forever be known as the original Becky, although she did have a small role in ''Film/BoysDontCry'', all her other roles are in indie films and shorts. Sara Gilbert has had it a little bit better, with recurring roles on ''Series/{{ER}}'' and ''Series/TheBigBangTheory'', along with co-hosting ''The Talk'' on CBS, she's still best known as Darlene. DJ is Michael Fishman's only major credit. Averted with Sarah Chalke (Becky in later seasons), who's probably better known these days for her work on ''Series/{{Scrubs}}''.
* Ahney Her, the Chinese girl of Hmong ethnicity who appeared in ''Film/GranTorino'' alongside Creator/ClintEastwood, impressed several critics with her performance. She later appeared in ''Night Club'', a 2011 low budget film that nobody saw despite the presence of Creator/ErnestBorgnine and Creator/MickeyRooney, and then nothing else so far.
* Patrick Renna is best known for his role as Ham in ''Film/TheSandlot'' or better yet the “You’re killing me Smalls” guy.
* Just like with music, several actors have died before being able to take new roles leading them to this status.
** Heather O’Rourke had just completed the ''Franchise/{{Poltergeist}}'' trilogy when she was misdiagnosed and died at the age of 12
** Cory Monteith died of a drug overdose before production of Glee’s fifth season.
** Creator/GeorgeReeves allegedly committed suicide not long after ''Series/TheAdventuresOfSuperman'' ended. A [[Film/{{Hollywoodland}} feature film]] was made around the mysterious circumstances around his death and how his deep-seated fear of TypeCasting from his role as Superman may have played a role in it.
* Although he made over forty movies, the only film from Creator/AudieMurphy's acting career most people remember today is ''To Hell And Back'', which is based off his autobiography. Of course, what he's ''most'' famous for is being a CrazyAwesome war hero.
* Creator/ChiakiKuriyama can be considered this from a Western perspective. She will be forever known as [[CuteAndPsycho homicidal]] [[GirlWithPsychoWeapon schoolgirl]] Gogo Yubari from ''Film/KillBill''. Her only other Hollywood movie was a small part in a direct-to-DVD flick starring Creator/StevenSeagal, then she went back to Japan and had a decent career that goes on to this day. She also had a brief singing career which however didn't leave much of an impression.
* Actor Creator/MichaelGough (not the voice actor) had a long career, but he is remembered today almost exclusively as the first actor to play Alfred the Butler in the ''Film/{{Batman}}'' movies.
* Briana Evigan, the daughter of television actor Greg Evigan, is mostly known only for her leading role in ''Film/StepUp 2: The Streets''.
* Creed Bratton had huge musical success with ‘60s folk rock group The Grass Roots, but his only notable acting role is his AdamWesting role on ''Series/{{The Office|US}}''.

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* ''Manga/SailorMoon'' remains Creator/NaokoTakeuchi's only successful manga series. While some of her other work has gained followings, most of that is limited to the ''Sailor Moon'' fandom, and she has yet to have any other title match the success of ''Sailor Moon''. The closest any series came to it was ''Manga/TheCherryProject''... and that only lasted three volumes....
* Yasumi Yoshizawa debuted as a professional manga cartoonist with ''Manga/DokonjoGaeru'' in 1970. To date that's his only successful series, spawning two anime series and a ton of merchandising in Japan. Since ending it he created dozens of other mangas but none of them are well-known.
* Masashi Kishimoto will always be known as "the man who created ''Manga/{{Naruto}}''". He's working on other material since he finally finished the series after [[LongRunner fifteen years]], but it's unlikely it'll be anywhere close to ''Naruto''[='=]s level, [[CashCowFranchise seeing as how it's one of the most successful manga/anime series of all time]].
* Mizuki Kawashita is only known as the creator of ''Manga/StrawberryOneHundredPercent'' and all of her other works are completely obscure. It can't be helped by the fact some of these works got canceled, like Ane Doki.
* Nobuhiro Watsuki was able to find success in ''Manga/RurouniKenshin'', and only that. The series went on for 6 years, received an anime and some movies, and the characters are nearly always used in ''Weekly Shonen Jump'' crossovers. He has attempted to write other series, like ''Manga/GunBlazeWest'' and ''Manga/BusoRenkin'', but they never received enough acceptance to go on for more than two years. Watsuki has since become aware of this and now just writes the occasional ''Rurouni Kenshin'' spin-off 1- or 2-chapter story.
* Eiichiro Oda believes he'll be known only for ''Manga/OnePiece'' (and with it being one of the longest LongRunners in manga history and being such a cultural icon that the manga's bestselling status got it into the Literature/GuinnessWorldRecords, he's extremely likely to be correct), so once he finishes ''One Piece'', he plans on doing only short stories until he retires or dies and will never attempt another long series again.
* To this day, ''Manga/YuGiOh'' remains as the only succesful manga created by Kazuki Takahashi. His other works are very obscure one-shots or didn't last more than two volumes.
* ''Manga/CaptainTsubasa'' is this for Yōichi Takahashi, inspiring 3 anime series and several games, and it is still [[GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff very popular in Latin America and Europe.]] His other creation, named ''Anime/HungryHeartWildStriker'' did not have the same impact and its manga version barely lasted 6 volumes, in comparison with the 37 volumes of Captain Tsubasa.
* ''Manga/{{Gantz}}'' is the only really sucessful manga created by Hiroya Oku to date, having received an anime adaptation, three films, a spin-off series and some light novels, while his other works are either obscure and/or short-lived. Although this may change, as his current manga, ''Manga/{{Inuyashiki}}'', is starting to get some fame.
* ''Manga/{{Berserk}}'' is not only the OpusMagnum of Creator/KentaroMiura, it is also his only succesful creation. His other manga ''Manga/{{Gigantomakhia}}'' did not have the same amount of impact and recognition, and [[ToughActToFollow was considered an average work in comparison with Berserk.]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created in 1938 one of the most popular and iconic characters ever made: ''ComicBook/{{Superman}}''. His next creation, named ''ComicBook/FunnyMan'' is a completely obscure work that only comic book historians would be able to recognize and eventually faded into complete oblivion.
* In a similar way than the previous example, Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird are basically known for creating the worldwide famous ''Franchise/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles'' franchise. None of their other comics managed to get the same amount of success.

* Creator/MichaelCimino is remembered for directing the 1978 Oscar-winning Vietnam War epic ''Film/TheDeerHunter'', the 1980 career-destroying disaster that was ''Film/HeavensGate'', and nothing else.
* The Neveldine/Taylor directorial team made a big splash with ''Film/{{Crank}}'', and got an okayish reaction with its sequel, but all their subsequent works were critical and commercial disasters. Their partnership dissolved after ''Film/GhostRiderSpiritOfVengeance'', which ironically was the highest-grossing film they worked on (though still failed to break even and got a terrible critical reaction), and they've since fared no better as solo directors, both working on NoBudget horror films that have gotten little to no attention.
* Mel Stuart directed about ten films in his lifetime, but is only remembered for one: ''Film/WillyWonkaAndTheChocolateFactory''.
* Director Mark Waters made about twelve films in his career, but ''Film/MeanGirls'' (see the Acting section above) tends to be the only one still fondly remembered today.
* Franc Roddam had one big hit with ''Film/{{Quadrophenia}}'', and did continue working quite regularly for the following decade, but didn't direct anything else of note before figuring that he'd be better off retiring and living off the royalties from ''Series/MasterChef''.
* While he already had quite a few big-name screenplay credits under his belt, Kurt Wimmer really came to attention and picked up quite a fanbase with ''Film/{{Equilibrium}}''. His next film, ''Film/{{Ultraviolet}}'' quickly wiped out that fanbase, and he hasn't directed another film since.
* Creator/JoshTrank came out of nowhere in 2012 with ''Film/{{Chronicle}}'', a {{found footage film|s}} that grossed $100 million and got an 85% on Rotten Tomatoes. Unfortunately, he followed it up with ''Film/FantasticFour2015'', one of the worst-reviewed and most disastrous superhero movies of all time. With no films in the pipeline, Trank's career is all but dead and he is considered the modern-day equivalent to Cimino.
* Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanches, the co-directors of ''Film/TheBlairWitchProject''. They never collaborated again and neither of them are known for anything else.
* Jim Sharman will always be best known for directing ''Film/TheRockyHorrorPictureShow''.
* While Christian Nyby was one of the most prolific editors in Hollywood, ''Film/TheThingFromAnotherWorld'' is his only notable directing credit.
* Legendary character actor Creator/CharlesLaughton directed the 1955 film noir ''Film/TheNightOfTheHunter''. It was his one and only directorial credit.
* Cinéma vérité filmmaker Ross [=McElwee=] has had a long career, but he's never really repeated the success or acclaim of ''Film/ShermansMarch''.
* Alexander Hall directed a couple dozen feature films between 1932 and 1956, but ''Film/HereComesMrJordan'' is all he's remembered for today.
* Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris had already been directing music videos and the occasional TV episode for well over two decades, and big things were expected after they made a highly-acclaimed breakthrough into film with ''Film/LittleMissSunshine''. Since then, however, they've only directed two more films, which have gotten decent enough receptions, but had very limited theatrical releases, with ''Little Miss Sunshine'' screenwriter Michael Arndt having been the person who really benefited from that film's success in retrospect. That being said, Dayton and Faris have reportedly had plenty of offers over the years, but their strict refusal to bow to MoneyDearBoy has meant they've had fewer credits than they could have.
* Tony Kaye isn't known for much other than ''Film/AmericanHistoryX''.
* Steven Lisberger, director of ''Film/{{Tron}}'' and nothing else of note.
* Paul Brickman, for ''Film/RiskyBusiness''.
* ''Film/DonnieDarko'' is by far Richard Kelly's best-known film.
* James McTiegue for ''Film/VForVendetta''.
* Troy Duffy scored a SleeperHit with ''Film/TheBoondockSaints'' and hasn't made anything nearly as popular since, including that movie's own sequel.
* Brad Anderson for ''Film/TheMachinist''.
* Mary Harron for ''Film/AmericanPsycho''.
* Creator/BillyBobThornton for ''Film/SlingBlade''.
* Robin Hardy for ''Film/TheWickerMan1973''.
* ''Franchise/{{Halloween}}'', ''Franchise/ANightmareOnElmStreet'', and ''Franchise/TheTexasChainsawMassacre'' are all iconic and long-running series, and [[Creator/JohnCarpenter the]] [[Creator/WesCraven directors]] [[Creator/TobeHooper who]] kickstarted these franchises are now considered veritable legends within the horror genre. Now see if you can answer this question: Who directed ''Film/FridayThe13th1980''? The answer is Sean S. Cunningham, who, despite kickstarting what is arguably the most iconic horror franchise of all time, has overall had an utterly lackluster career outside of Crystal Lake. His best known film outside of ''Friday the 13th'' is ''Deep Star Six'', a film that is mostly remembered for being part of a sudden and brief trend of underwater sci-fi horror films in the late 80's, alongside ''Film/TheAbyss'' and ''Film/{{Leviathan}}''.

* See OneBookAuthor for other examples.
* Joseph Heller is best-known for ''Literature/CatchTwentyTwo'', but wrote many novels that nobody read (including [[FirstInstallmentWins Catch-22's sequel]], ''Closing Time''). Some years later, someone put it to Joseph Heller that despite his lengthy bibliography, he'd never written anything else as good as ''Catch-22''. Heller's response: "Who ''has''?"
* Only one of Creator/MaryShelley's novels is well-known today: ''Literature/{{Frankenstein}}, or the modern Prometheus'', which is extremely famous. Although she was taken very seriously in her day, nowadays it's either ''Frankenstein'' or being the wife of Creator/PercyByssheShelley (even though it was her efforts after his death that kept ''him'' from being considered a OneHitWonder...)
* Creator/AndrzejSapkowski is only known for his ''Literature/TheWitcher'' series, despite writing more books and essays. This caused some CreatorBacklash.
* Aldous Huxley wrote several novels, dramas and poems, but is famous for ''Literature/BraveNewWorld''.
* Margaret Mitchell. ''Literature/GoneWithTheWind''.
* Harper Lee with ''Literature/ToKillAMockingbird''. For most of her life, it was the only book she ever published, and to this day authors like Creator/StephenKing wonder why, since it was brilliant.
** As of 2015, the book received a sequel, taking away her OneBookAuthor status; although whether or not it is still a one-hit wonder remains to be seen.
* James Allen was a British philosophical writer known for his inspirational books and poetry and as a pioneer of the self-help movement. He is mainly remembered for his literary essay ''As a Man Thinketh''.
* J.D. Salinger and ''Literature/TheCatcherInTheRye'' was his [[OneBookAuthor only novel]], although he wrote many short stories and novellas such as ''Literature/FrannyAndZooey''.
** Since his death, it's been speculated that he wrote a number of novels (somewhere in the lower double digits, depending on who you ask) that were never published. One can only hope they eventually see the light of day and remove his One Hit Wonder status.
* G.V. Desani and ''All About H. Hatter''.
* Dow Mossman and ''The Stones of Summer''.
* Menander wrote dozens of Ancient Greek comedies, but the only one that survives in its entirety is ''Dyskolos'' ("The Grouch").
* Matthew Lewis was actually a prolific novelist and dramatist with several titles to his name, but then as now he is mostly associated with ''Literature/TheMonk'', his first novel written at the age of nineteen. It even gave him the nickname "Monk" Lewis.
* 99.99% of people couldn't name a book by Creator/BramStoker other than ''Literature/{{Dracula}}'' even if their life depended on it.
* Creator/EmilyBronte with ''Literature/WutheringHeights.'' Of course she died before she could have another. Same deal with her sister [[Creator/CharlotteBronte Charlotte]], a.k.a. the woman who did ''Literature/JaneEyre.''
* Carlo Collodi was actually an Italian soldier, but all we remember about him today is the fact that he wrote ''[[Literature/TheAdventuresOfPinocchio Pinocchio]]''.
* Creator/ChuckPalahniuk, in a textbook example of ToughActToFollow, has struggled to escape the shadow of his debut novel, ''Literature/FightClub''. (And never mind the numerous fans who [[AdaptationDisplacement don't even realize it was a book first]].) He's self-deprecatingly acknowledged this himself, and in 2015 went so far as to release a sequel to the book, nineteen years after the original's release.
* Creator/StephenieMeyer is known for the ''Literature/{{Twilight}}'' series, and little else. She also wrote ''Literature/TheHost'', which was a bestseller on author-name recognition alone, but it didn't sell anywhere near as well as ''Twilight'', its film adaption was a flop, and the sequels have been stuck in DevelopmentHell.
* Creator/SuzanneCollins is only known for ''Literature/TheHungerGames'' trilogy. She wrote another series, ''The Underland Chronicles'', which languishes in almost complete obscurity.
* Creator/GeorgeRRMartin has written many books, but he's known to the general public almost exclusively for the ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'' series, or more specifically "[[AdaptationDisplacement the books that became]] ''Series/GameOfThrones''". It doesn't help that since he started the series, virtually his entire bibliography has consisted of stories set in the same universe. There's the ''Literature/WildCards'' series and several anthology books but he's actually the editor of them.
* Creator/JKRowling will forever be known as the woman behind ''Literature/HarryPotter''. For quite a while, the series, plus three defictionalized books from the ''Potter'' universe, was literally her entire body of work. Her follow-up ''Literature/TheCasualVacancy'' wasn't very well-received, and while her ''Literature/CormoranStrike'' was seen as an improvement from ''Vacancy'', it's still seen as a far cry from ''Potter''.
* The pseudonyms Carolyn Keene and Franklin W. Dixon will always be associated with the ''Literature/NancyDrew'' and ''[[Literature/TheHardyBoys Hardy Boys]]'' series, respectively. Their actual authors wrote plenty of other books under other names, but nothing nearly as successful.
* Science fiction writer Tom Godwin is known for his short story "Literature/TheColdEquations" (one of the most famous sci-fi stories), but his other work is pretty much forgotten today.
* Creator/FrankHerbert was recognized as the author of ''Franchise/{{Dune}}'' but it turns out that he wrote other novels as well, except none of them reached the same level of success as ''Dune''.
* While Creator/ArtSpiegelman is a well known figure in the comics industry, mainstream audiences will only remember him solely for ''ComicBook/{{Maus}}''.
* ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy_in_America Democracy in America]]'' by Alexis de Tocqueville is very famous, [[GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff especially in the United States]]. How many people have heard of de Tocqueville's ''other'' book, ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Old_Regime_and_the_Revolution The Old Regime and the Revolution]]''?
* [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Defoe Daniel Defoe]] wrote ''over 500'' pieces of literature over his life, but pretty much the only book by him anyone remembers today is ''Literature/RobinsonCrusoe''.
* The German author [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klaus_Mann Klaus Mann's]] only well-known book is ''Mephisto'' from 1936, a classic story about opportunism in the Third Reich, and [[TakeThat a thinly-disguised portrait of his former brother-in-law, the actor Gustaf Gründgens.]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Gene Roddenberry's only real "hit" was ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries''. His other shows either were short-lived ("The Lieutenant", which lasted a single season) or never got past the pilot stage ("Genesis II"/"Planet Earth", "Questor Tapes", and "Assignment: Earth", which was both a Star Trek episode and a back-door pilot for a spin-off series). Some of Gene's ideas and story notes were eventually adapted by others with mixed results ("Earth: Final Conflict", and "Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda"). (Roddenberry is also credited as the creator of ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'', though this is more to do with him having to sign off on Paramount continuing the franchise on television.)
* Mitch Hurwitz was the creator of ''Series/ArrestedDevelopment'', which is perhaps considered one of the great comedies of the 2000s (even after its divisive revival). His other projects? Two poorly received series (''Series/SitDownShutUp'' and ''Series/RunningWilde'') and one slightly-better reviewed series (''The Ellen Show'') that didn't survive their first seasons.
* Marta Kauffmann, David Crane and Kevin S. Bright made television history with massively successful NBC sitcom ''Series/{{Friends}}''. Unfortunately, their other NBC sitcoms, ''Joey'', ''Jesse'' and ''Veronica's Closet'', weren't as successful, critically acclaimed or fondly remembered.

* A strange case: Gerald Mayo was very infamous, for many reasons, in the early 1970s. You should see the number of news articles printed about him at the time; it was ''huge''. Nowadays, he is only known for something he was ''not'' famous for in the 1970s: [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_ex_rel._Gerald_Mayo_v._Satan_and_His_Staff suing Satan]].
* Creator/JimGaffigan still feels obligated to do his "Hot Pockets" bit for fans despite it being one of his earliest bits.
* [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_B._Anderson John Anderson]] was a fairly obscure member of the House of Representatives when he mounted an independent Presidential campaign in 1980. Dissatisfaction from some voters over the choice between the unpopular UsefulNotes/JimmyCarter and the staunchly right-wing UsefulNotes/RonaldReagan gave Anderson 6% of the final vote, but rather than becoming a major national political figure, he spent the rest of his life being remembered as "the guy who ran against Carter and Reagan".

* William Ernest Henley's literary reputation rests almost entirely on his single poem '[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invictus Invictus]]'.
* Joyce Kilmer, remembered almost exclusively for the poem "Trees".
* Ernest Thayer is only known for "Casey at the Bat".
* Mary Elizabeth Frye's only known poem is "Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep".
* Clement Clarke Moore was a prolific writer of poetry, prose and scholarly works, but ''Literature/TwasTheNightBeforeChristmas'' is all he's remembered for.
* "High Flight" by [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Gillespie_Magee_Jr John Gillespie Magee]], though that was a case of AuthorExistenceFailure since he was killed in a military aviation accident before the poem became famous.

* Jimmy Glass, the English football player responsible for keeping Carlisle United F.C. in the Football League by scoring a goal in the last seconds of the final match of the 1998-99 season against Plymouth Argyle F.C. Made all the more remarkable by the fact that he was Carlisle's goalkeeper, and thus would ordinarily have been at the opposite end of the pitch, and at the time he was on loan from Swindon Town F.C. Carlisle were unable to negotiate a long-term contract for Glass, and he returned to Swindon and retired at the end of the following season. His subsequent biography was titled ''One-Hit Wonder''.
** For people who don't understand football, he was basically playing in one of the lowest professional divisions in England, had an unremarkable career as a player, and after having his contract expire, retired to become an office worker.
* Roger Maris, forever known as the man who hit 61 home runs, isn't even in the Hall of Fame because other than his MVP years of 1960 and '61 (the year which he hit 61 homers), he was an above-average but hardly spectacular baseball player.
* Washington Redskins rookie running back Timmy Smith was only in the starting lineup for UsefulNotes/SuperBowl XXII due to injuries to the Redskins' other running backs. Smith made the most of that opportunity, rushing for a Super Bowl record 204 yards with two touchdowns in the Skins' 42-10 victory over the Denver Broncos. Smith's career lasted only 15 more games before he was out of the NFL in 1990.
** Similarly, David Tyree of the New York Giants. A bottom of the depth chart receiver who managed to catch a ball from Eli Manning by [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helmet_Catch pinning it to his helmet]] and never did anything else of note.
** Buffalo Bills kicker Scott Norwood is a unique example, being known for one failure rather than an accomplishment. Norwood is famous for a missed 47-yard field goal at the end of Super Bowl XXV, and pretty much nothing else.
** Mike Jones of the St. Louis Rams is basically defined for [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Final_play_of_Super_Bowl_XXXIV a tackle]] he made of Titans receiver Kevin Dyson stopping him from scoring the game-tying touchdown at the one yard line.
* Dick Shiner was a career backup quarterback. During a stint with the Atlanta Falcons, he became the first quarterback to officially achieve a perfect passer rating, when he led the Falcons to a 62-7 victory over the New Orleans Saints. He also set the record for highest score in a football game that the Falcons have reached. This is the only thing he ever did of note - he was a career second stringer who had one brilliant game.
* Bucky Dent was a solid defensive shortstop and a decent situational hitter. However, all he will ever be known for, especially in Boston, is the home run he hit for the Yankees in 1978 that knocked the Red Sox out of playoff contention that year.
** To young non-Yankee/Red Sox fans he may best known for being in a [[Series/{{Seinfeld}} Steinbrenner rant]].
** Likewise, Carlton Fisk may be a Hall of Fame player with the Red Sox, but his entire career has been defined by his home run off the foul pole in the 1975 World Series.
*** Enough so that most casual baseball fans (at least outside Chicago's South Side) forget that Fisk spent the majority of his career with the White Sox.
** This seems to be the fate of any player who comes up big in a high-profile situation. Other players defined by World Series moments include Bill Wambsganss (a solid defensive second baseman best known for turning an unassisted triple play in the 1920 World Series--still the only triple play of any kind in World Series history), Don Larsen (a journeyman pitcher who pitched a perfect game in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series--was the only no-hitter of any kind in postseason history for 54 years), and Cookie Lavagetto (pinch-hit two-run walkoff double in Game 4 of the 1947 World Series, which also broke up what ''would'' have been the first no-hitter in World Series history, as the two baserunners he drove in reached via walks--the ninth and tenth allowed by starter Bill Bevens. Also, neither Bevens nor Lavagetto played in the major leagues after 1947.)
** Jack Morris's 10-inning shutout for the Twins in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series completely overshadowed the rest of his excellent career; this one game was so epic that hardly anyone remembers that Morris was also the ace of ''the following year's champion'', the Toronto Blue Jays. Then again, he was also the ace of the Detroit Tigers earlier in his career.
** The ultimate baseball one-moment wonder might be Francisco Cabrera of the 1992 Atlanta Braves. The Braves were one out away from being eliminated in the NLCS when they sent Cabrera, the last position player left on the bench, up to bat. Cabrera could barely even be considered a part-time player; he only had ten at-bats during the regular season, and only one prior at-bat in the playoffs. He stroked a two-run single to put the Braves in the World Series, then immediately faded back to obscurity. He was out of the majors the following year.
** Armando Galarraga catapulted into the headlines after umpire Jim Joyce's blown call cost him a perfect game (retire 27 batters in order without allowing any of them to reach base) in July, 2010. Since then he's had nothing but hard luck - cut by 3 teams, kicked around the minors, and barely had the proverbial "cup of coffee" in the bigs since.
*** Also Jason Donald is known for that one "hit".
** Luis Gonzalez had a respectable career as a member of the Diamondbacks, but ask if they know who he is and they'll probably say he's the guy whose walk-off single ended the 2001 World Series.
** Kirk Gibson was a two-time MVP and World Series Champion, but he is best known for hitting a pinch-hit walk-off homer off Dennis Eckersley in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series. The main reason he's known is because he had been vomiting all day and could barely walk due to both his illness and lingering leg injuries, and didn't appear again in the series.
** Former Pirates second baseman Bill Mazeroski. While he eventually made the Hall of Fame, he's known almost exclusively for the walkoff home run he hit in Game 7 of the 1960 World Series, which will likely never be forgotten due to the remarkable statistical fluke that the series produced. In Game 1, the Yankees outhit the Pirates 13-8 but lost 6-4, and in Game 4 they again outhit the Pirates 8-7 but lost 3-2, and in the deciding Game 7, Mazeroski's home run leading off the bottom of the ninth, breaking a ''9-9'' tie, was just the Pirates' 11th, to the Yankees' 13. So even in three of their four ''victories'', the Pirates were outhit. "Even" in their victories, that is, because the Yankees won Games 2, 3, and 6 by the scores of ''16-3, 10-0, and 12-0''.[[labelnote:*]]Oddly enough, the Pirates had more hits in the 16-3 loss than in any of their four wins.[[/labelnote]] The result was a Series in which the Yankees scored 55 runs on 91 hits, batting .338 as a team--just a few of the many records they set--and ''lost''.
* Jacques Villeneuve took the UsefulNotes/FormulaOne World Championship in only his second year in the sport in 1997, then proceeded never to win another race. He has found success in other forms of racing, though.
* Many cricket fans consider the late Sir Donald Bradman's Test cricket batting average of 99.94 (across 80 innings) to be the greatest statistical achievement in any sport, but in cricket statistics it's customary to consider Test averages only from players who have played more than 20 innings. Cricket's highest Test batting average technically belongs to a one-hit wonder, West Indian wicketkeeper Andy Ganteaume, who was called up for a single Test against England in 1948 and scored 112 runs in his one and only innings at the crease.
* Salvatore "Totò" Schillaci was the star of the 1990 [[UsefulNotes/TheWorldCup World Cup]], scoring six goals (the top scorer) and bringing Italy to third place — amazingly, he only ever scored one other goal for Italy, and apart from Italia 90 the rest of his career was unremarkable.
** The same could be said about Fabio Grosso, the man who almost single-handedly brought Italy to victory in the 2006 World Cup. He scored all the important goals, including the one in the semifinal and the decisive penalty kick in the final match, but never did anything else of note in his home country.
* Oleg Salenko, who played for the Russian national team in the 1994 World Cup. During the 1994 World Cup, he scored 5 goals in a game against Cameroon (the most goals anyone has scored in a single World Cup match) and 6 goals overall, the joint top scorer of the tournament (and the only time where a top scorer played for a team that was knocked out in the group stages). The 6 goals turned out to be the only goals of his national team career.
* Prior to 2004, the Greek national team had only qualified for two tournaments (the 1980 European Championships, and the 1994 World Cup), and been officially ranked the worst team at the tournament at both. Then they miraculously won the 2004 European Championships. Since then, they have been unable to get past the first knockout round of any tournament. Greece won more games at Euro 2004 than they have won at all other tournaments before or since combined.
* Joe Johnson was a previously unremarkable and little-known snooker player who suddenly hit form in the 1986 World Championship, taking the title having never previously advanced beyond the first round. It was his only ranking event win; despite making the final again the following year, he slipped down the rankings quite swiftly thereafter.
* On February 11, 1990, 42-1 underdog James "Buster" Douglas knocked out Mike Tyson, who was an undefeated champion at the time. (For some perspective, this was the first time Tyson had even been knocked down.) He retired just a few months later, after losing the heavyweight title to Evander Holyfield.
* UsefulNotes/MixedMartialArts fighter Matt Serra had a decent MMA career, even winning ''Series/TheUltimateFighter'', but he is only known for knocking out Georges St Pierre, considered by many to be the greatest upset in the sport's history. He lost his first title defense never got another significant win.
* In UsefulNotes/AustralianRulesFootball, the St Kilda Saints have won only one premiership, in 1966. The same goes for Port Adelaide Power (2004), but they are generally not considered to be this since they only joined in 1997, and their SANFL incarnation is the most successful club in that league. The Western Bulldogs long had the "one-hit wonder" tag as well, having only won the premiership in 1954, but they picked up their second flag in 2016.
** Among players, the most famous one-hit wonder would be Ted Hopkins, who was [[PutMeInCoach brought on after half time]] for Carlton in the 1970 Grand Final, and proceeded to rip Collingwood to shreds as Carlton [[MiracleRally came back from a 44-point deficit to win]]. Afterward, Hopkins realised he could never do anything to top his achievements in that game, and retired.
* Several professional golfers who have risen from obscurity and win (or even just nearly win) a major championship have had difficulty sustaining that success in smaller-level tournaments afterward. Among the notable champions on this list are Steve Jones (1996 U.S. Open), Shaun Micheel (2003 PGA Championship) and Hilary Lunke (2003 U.S. Women's Open, her only ''top ten'' in an LPGA tournament).
* In [[UsefulNotes/{{Tennis}} tennis]], players who win just one Grand Slam title in their careers are labeled (fairly or unfairly) as "one-Slam wonders". The biggest one of them is probably Gastón Gaudio, who won the 2004 French Open — [[MiracleRally recovering from a 2-set deficit]], no less — but failed to reach the quarterfinals of any other Slam he entered.
* Roy Essandoh, a previously anonymous lower-league soccer player, is mostly known for scoring a winning goal for Wycombe Wanderers against Leicester City in 2001, after he answered a teletext ad by then-manager Lawrie Sanchez for a non-cup-tied striker. That goal propelled Wycombe to a FA Cup semifinal, after which Roy slipped back into obscurity.
* Philip Humber of the Chicago White Sox threw a perfect game at the start of the 2012 then proceeded to suck for the rest of the season. He became the only player to throw a perfect game and be released (although claimed by another team) at the end of the next season. If he's mentioned for anything else, it'll be how he was traded for Johan Santana. He did win a College World Series (UsefulNotes/{{NCAA}} Division I championship) with Rice University, so not all is lost.
* Dallas Braden, pitcher for the Oakland A's, is only known for two things: yelling at Alex Rodriguez during a game, and getting a perfect game two weeks later.
* [[http://grantland.com/the-triangle/the-brady-andersons-of-the-nhl/ Among NHL examples]], an outstanding case is Jonathan Cheechoo, who may have been a solid NHL player, but his 56-goal Richard Trophy winning season couldn't be matched, and he's bounced around from the NHL and minors.
* Running back Jonas Grey will probably never have another performance like he did in a game with the Patriots where he ran for 201 and 4 touchdowns. To put things into perspective, he didn't play the next game at all for breaking team rules.
* Running back Jerome Harrison is known for a single game in 2009 where he rushed for 286 yards, breaking the Cleveland Browns' single game rushing record, which was held by the legendary Jim Brown.
* Chris Johnson is best known for his 2009 season with the Tennessee Titans where he rushed for 2000 yards.
** Interestingly there's [[NamesTHeSame a Chris Johnson in baseball]] who's also a one-hit wonder. The Atlanta Braves third baseman had a career year in 2013 which led to him winning a batting title before returning to his normal self the following season.
* Eric Bruntlett hit a World Series-clinching win for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2008, and performed only the 15th unassisted triple play in history in 2009 at 31 years old. A year later, he was out of baseball entirely.
* [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loyola_Ramblers_men%27s_basketball Loyola University]] of Chicago won the NCAA men's basketball championship in 1963, but fell into mediocrity between that and their 2018 Final Four run.
** College basketball's other great Loyola moment, when [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loyola_Marymount_Lions_men%27s_basketball Loyola Marymount]] made an emotional run to the Elite Eight in 1990, after their star Hank Gathers collapsed and died during a conference tournament game. After that season, their other star Bo Kimble graduated and coach Paul Westhead took an NBA job, and LMU hasn't been back to the tournament since.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* In 2003, Paul Czege of Website/TheForge had published ''TabletopGame/MyLifeWithMaster'', which instantly became one of the hallmarks of the North American indie TabletopRPG scene. He has not published (commercially) any other game since, instead releasing his later experimental designs for free on the net, which failed to garner nearly as much attention as his original breakthrough hit, ''MLWM''.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Alexey Pajitnov would have to be the biggest example. He is is known for creating ''VideoGame/{{Tetris}}'', one of the most popular games of all time, and absolutely nothing else.
** He worked for Microsoft's games division for a while in the late 90s and early 2000s, creating critically acclaimed puzzle games like ''Pandora's Box'' and ''Hexic'' that met with commercial indifference, even when [[InCaseYouForgotWhoWroteIt his semi-famous name was played up in advertising.]]
** He eventually gave in and tried to create a direct followup to Tetris, called ''Welltris'', which is basically the same game but with the player now viewing the action from above. It was not well received.
* Stern Electronics (''VideoGame/{{Berzerk}}'', 1980). Technically they did distribute a few other hits, but all of those were Creator/{{Konami}} games manufactured under license.
* Mythos Games (''VideoGame/XCOMUFODefense'', 1994).
* Despite a long, successful history as a pinball manufacturer, Creator/{{Gottlieb}}'s only hit VideoGame was 1982's ''VideoGame/QBert'', despite many attempts at breaking into the market.
* The late Fukio "MTJ" Mitsuji gave us ''VideoGame/BubbleBobble'' plus a few other arcade games (and one UsefulNotes/GameGear one) nobody remembers.
* Cavedog Entertainment (''VideoGame/TotalAnnihilation'', 1997)
* How many games has Dragon's Eye Productions released? Answer: ''Two''. One was a short-lived game called ''Dragonspires''. The other--its SpiritualSuccessor--is ''VideoGame/{{Furcadia}}''.
* Realtime Worlds' first game was ''VideoGame/{{Crackdown}}''. Their second game was the infamous MMO flop ''VideoGame/AllPointsBulletin'', which quickly drove the studio to bankruptcy.
* Day 1 Studios scored a big hit with their debut game, ''{{Mechassault}}'', which benefited hugely from being a launch game for UsefulNotes/XboxLiveArcade back in 2002. All three of their subsequent games (''Mechassault 2'', ''Fracture'', and ''F.E.A.R. 3'') flopped badly at retail. Acknowledging this, Day 1 set to developed a F2P mech game titled ''Reigns of Thunder'' (whose teaser trailed advertised it as "Day 1 going back to its roots"), but the studio was then bought by [[VideoGame/WorldOfTanks Wargaming]] and refocused on porting Wargaming's games to other platforms.
* If Phil Fish is indeed retired from game development, as he claims, then ''{{VideoGame/Fez}}'' will certainly qualify him as a one-hit wonder.
* Although CCP Games has made several attempts to expand their brand beyond the wildly successful ''VideoGame/EVEOnline'' (2003), so far, all have been failures.
* Brad [=McQuaid=] isn't known for much of anything other than the original ''VideoGame/{{Everquest}}''.
* Minh Le and Jess Cliffe, the creators of the original ''VideoGame/CounterStrike'' and, well, nothing else.
* Trilobyte Software quickly rose to fame with their debut game ''VideoGame/TheSeventhGuest'', which was one of the first home computer games to take advantage of the additional space of the CD-Rom format. All of their subsequent games were massive failures, with their last game (''Uncle Henry's Playhouse'') selling a whooping 27 copies in the U.S.
* Creator/{{Suda 51}} is known for his wacky games that while they have a cult following, their appeal is limited. Only one game he's made managed to sell a million copies, ''VideoGame/LollipopChainsaw'', which took nearly two years to do so. The rest of his games are lucky if they break the 500,000 mark.
* Vigil Games made only two games, the first of which, ''VideoGame/{{Darksiders}}'', was a SleeperHit. Then they made ''VideoGame/DarksidersII'', which was a commercial failure that resulted in the studio being left to die when THQ folded in early 2013.
* Mojang has made a handful of video games, but none of them have come close to the monumental success of ''VideoGame/{{Minecraft}}.''
* Vietnamese developer Dong Nguyen had a surprise sleeper hit in 2014 with ''VideoGame/FlappyBird'' and quickly faded into obscurity after its popularity died down.
* Rovio Entertainment's reputation rests almost entirely on [[CashCowFranchise a little franchise]] called ''VideoGame/AngryBirds''.
* Most people would be hard-pressed to name a [=ZeptoLab=] game other than ''VideoGame/CutTheRope''.
* Future Games of London is known for ''VideoGame/HungrySharkEvolution'' and little else.
* Clockwork Tortoise (''VideoGame/TheAdventuresOfBatmanAndRobin'', UsefulNotes/SegaGenesis, 1995)
* Outside Directors Company (''VideoGame/LSDDreamEmulator'', 1998)
* Splash Damage (''VideoGame/{{Wolfenstein}}: Enemy Territory'', 2003)
* Andrew and Paul Gower aren't known for anything other than ''VideoGame/{{Runescape}}''. Their company, Jagex, has made a few other games, although without the Gowers, but even they are mostly known just for ''Runescape''.
* Stellar Stone released eight games during the early 2000s before dissolving entirely, including a pinball game, two real-time strategies, a puzzle game, a first-person shooter, and three racing games, pretty much all of which were {{Obvious Beta}}s in every sense of the word. You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone that knows this, and in fact most of the Internet would have you believe the only game of theirs of this nature was ''VideoGame/BigRigsOverTheRoadRacing''.
* Mike Bithell's ''VideoGame/ThomasWasAlone'' managed to sell over a million copies, but his other major production ''Volume'' didn't have even a fraction of that unexpected success among the general public.
* Many websites on the Internet agree that Hanafram only ever released one game: VideoGame/SnowBros 2.
* Big Huge Games (''VideoGame/RiseOfNations'', 2003).
* Micrographic Image (''VideoGame/{{Spelunker}}'', 1983).
* Realtime Games's only original game of note was 1988's ''VideoGame/CarrierCommand''.
* Big Five Software (''VideoGame/Miner2049er'', 1982).
* A&F Software (''VideoGame/ChuckieEgg'', 1983).
* Toby Gard led the development of the original ''VideoGame/TombRaider'' and designed its iconic protagonist, Lara Croft. He left Core Design shortly after the game's release and never found any success in the industry afterward, his most notable project being the 2004 Xbox flop ''VideoGame/{{Galleon}}''.
* Pop Top Software (''VideoGame/{{Tropico}}'', 2001)

[[folder: Voice Acting]]
* As voice actors go, Creator/ThurlRavenscroft did a fair number of roles (including the Christmas classic "[[WesternAnimation/HowTheGrinchStoleChristmas You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch]]"), but he will forever be best-known as Tony the Tiger, for bellowing "They're ''gr-r-r-reat!''" on cereal commercials.
** To be fair, he is also commonly confused with Creator/WaltDisney thanks to his appearance as a singing bust in Ride/TheHauntedMansion, [[MisattributedSong as well as]] Creator/BorisKarloff for "Mr. Grinch".
* ''Franchise/DragonBall'':
** Stephanie Nadolny's big claim to fame is as Kid Goku and Gohan in the ''Franchise/DragonBall'' franchise. She's had other anime roles though, including lead roles in shows like [[Anime/{{Gravion}} Gravion Zwei]], [[Anime/BubblegumCrisis Parasite Dolls]], and one Anime/LupinIII feature, but she'll always be known for her work in ''Dragon Ball''.
*** She also voiced the title character of ''WesternAnimation/OKKOLetsBeHeroes'' , but only for a few episodes before Courtenay Taylor would take over, so she's still known pretty much only for Dragon Ball Z.
** Tiffany Vollmer, who voiced Bulma, had no other major voice roles. Her only other roles ''period'' include a two-episode bit character in ''Manga/DetectiveConan'' and additional voices in ''Manga/YuYuHakusho''. She has since moved away, and Bulma is now voiced by Creator/MonicaRial.
** Jeremy Inman is also known mostly for only one role; in his case, it is Android 16, although he's voiced many other supporting roles in the series and in other shows.
** Same with Phil Parsons and Nappa. Despite having credits in some other shows, Nappa is all anyone knows him for.
** KaraEdwards was this for years, only being known for voicing Kid Goten and Videl, and pretty much retired from voice acting in anime. However a few years ago, she experienced a comeback of sorts, and is voicing leads in other anime as well.
** Elise Baughman's only major anime role is Pan in ''Anime/DragonBallGT'', though she voiced smaller roles in other shows for Creator/FUNimation around the same time. Nowadays however, she ''only'' gets work voicing Pan in various ''DragonBall'' video games.
** Julie Franklin voiced Agent Mai in the original ''Dragon Ball'', and her cameo in ''GT''. That remains her only named role, her only other credits being background voices and bit parts in ''Dragon Ball'' and ''Manga/YuYuHakusho''. At that time, she was dating Creator/ChristopherSabat. In recent media however, Mai is instead voiced by Creator/ColleenClinkenbeard.
** Monika Antonelli's only anime credits are Puar and Chiaotzu in the ''DragonBall'' franchise (and some odd bit parts in the series here and there). She quit voice acting in 2006, and both roles are now voiced by Creator/BrinaPalencia.
* Maile Flanagan is known for voicing the title character of ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' and little else (except ''maybe Series/LabRats''). Though she won a Daytime Emmy for voicing the title character in ''WesternAnimation/JakersTheAdventuresOfPiggleyWinks'', a preschool cartoon, and has some bit on-camera parts, ''Naruto'' is her only major anime role (her only other anime work period was additional voices on the 2003 ''Anime/AstroBoy'').
** Tom Gibis voiced Shikamaru Nara and hasn't done anything else of note.
* ''Manga/RanmaOneHalf'':
** Akane is Myriam Sirois' only major voice acting role, although she had roles in live-action shows like ''StargateSG1''. She retired from acting in 2008 to become a flight attendant.
** Boy-type Ranma's original voice actress Sarah Strange had only a couple other small voice roles (with Ranma being her only ''anime'' role), and left the series after the third season to focus on her fairly successful live-action television career. Afterwords, Ranma was voiced by Creator/RichardIanCox.
** Brigitta Dau's only anime role is girl-type Ranma in the first 6 episodes of the anime and first two OVA episodes. Though she also had a role on the 90s ''MyLittlePony'' cartoon and some small on-camera roles, ''Ranma'' is all she's recognized for. She moved away after her stint on the show, and Venus Terzo (a well-established voice actress) took over her role.
** Nabiki Tendo is Angela Costain's only voice role, and one of her very few acting roles before she became a pilot. The same can be said for her sister, Elaina Wotten-Costain, who filled in during Season 6.
* Many voice actors in the ''Anime/TenchiMuyo'' franchise, since it was one of the first to use Union voice actors.
** Ryoko is Petrea Burchard's only major animation role, with her only other role period being a bit part on ''Anime/SerialExperimentsLain''. She also had some minor on-camera parts.
** Matt Miller, who voiced Tenchi, had some other anime roles, but Tenchi is his only lead and only claim to fame. He's mostly a stage actor.
** Ellen Gerstell's only anime role is the original voice of ''Mihoshi'' before Creator/RebeccaForstadt took over following her retirement. She had some roles in western animation however, notably Rapture in ''WesternAnimation/{{Jem}}''.
* In ''Anime/RevolutionaryGirlUtena'', Sharon Becker and Leah Applebaum, the voices of Anthy and Nanami respectively, have no other major voice roles. Leah's only other roles period are a few small roles in early ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'' episodes.
* Speaking of ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'', Sarah Natochenny, the current voice of Ash, has no major roles in any other anime titles. Most of her other work is in fashion modeling and some on-camera roles. Creator/VeronicaTaylor (his original voice) however, is a very prominent anime and video game voice actress.
** Lee Quick's only acting role was the original voice of Officer Jenny. Ditto for her first replacement, Jamie Davyous Owens.
** Matthew Sussman had some other anime credits, but is mostly known for being the original Meowth.
** Emily Bauer is mostly known for being the voice of Dawn and not much else.
** Jay Goede, the voice of Mewtwo and his creator Dr. Fuji who went under the pseudonym Phillip Bartlett, has had no other voice acting roles to date, he is mostly a stage actor and has had some on camera roles in films and television shows.
* Almost the entire cast of the original ''Manga/SailorMoon'' dub from [=DiC=] and Cloverway, since anime is very rarely recorded in Toronto. Many of the actors have other roles in western animation and live-action though.
* Mimi Woods had a handful of anime and video game voice acting roles in the 90s, but her only major role was Major Motoko Kusanagi in the original ''Anime/GhostInTheShell'' film and video game. She has since moved away from Los Angeles and retired from voice acting in 2001. Since then, MaryElizabethMcGlynn has voiced the Major in most other ''Ghost in the Shell'' media.
* Another anime example is Adam Conlon, who was Kouta in ''Anime/ElfenLied''. He had a handful of other anime roles for ADV, but that was his only lead, and all he's been remembered for. He was [[TheOtherDarrin replaced]] with BlakeShepard when the OVA was finally dubbed in 2013.
* Several ''Anime/{{Robotech}}'' voice actors including Melanie [=MacQueen=] (Lisa Hayes in ''Macross''), Robin Levenson (Sammie Porter in ''Macross''), and Melissa Newman (Dana Sterling in ''Masters''). Carl Macek even acknowledged that he hadn't had contact with Newman since the show ended, and he didn't know what happened to her. However, [=MacQueen=] also played "Lady Luck" in a long-series of commercials for the Virginia Lottery, and is somewhat well-known for that too.
* Blossom in ''WesternAnimation/ThePowerpuffGirls'' is Cathy Cavadini's only major animation role, though she's had supporting parts in other shows.
** Jennifer Martin, on the other hand, has barely done anything except for Ms. Sara Bellum, which hasn't gotten better due to said character being written out of [[WesternAnimation/ThePowerpuffGirls2016 the reboot]].
* Cheryl Chase is only known for voicing Angelica Pickles in ''WesternAnimation/{{Rugrats}}'', though she's had some supporting roles in other cartoons and early anime dubs (including the original ''Anime/MyNeighborTotoro''), nothing nearly as recognized.
* Creator/RodgerBumpass has done voice acting for many shows, but to most people, he's just the guy who voices [[WesternAnimation/SpongeBobSquarePants Squidward]].
* The lead ''[[WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons Simpsons]]'' voice actors:
** Creator/DanCastellaneta (Homer) and Creator/NancyCartwright (Bart) are both very prolific voice actors with a few scattered live-action roles. However, none of their characters are nearly as iconic as their ''Simpsons'' roles; Castellaneta is next-best known for replacing Creator/RobinWilliams as the Genie in ''Disney/{{Aladdin}}''.
** Julie Kavner had some success as a television actress on ''Series/{{Rhoda}}'', but today is only known for being the voice of Marge.
** Yeardley Smith (Lisa) has this the worst. Apart from a couple one-off characters that are similar to Lisa, she does not play any other voice roles on ''The Simpsons''. Her only other major leading role came with 1993's ''WesternAnimation/WereBackADinosaursStory'', which was a {{box office bomb}}. She does occasionally work as an on-camera actress with bit parts in several popular movies (such as ''Film/TheLegendOfBillieJean'', ''Film/AsGoodAsItGets'', and ''Film/CitySlickers''), and a supporting role in the now-forgotten cult sitcom ''Series/HermansHead''.
* Roy Conrad is best known as the voice of Ben, the protagonist from cult adventure game ''VideoGame/FullThrottle'', and beyond a few scattered voice-over roles for ''Creator/LucasArts'' games and on-screen extra roles, not much else.
* Most of the Velma and Daphne voice actresses from ''ScoobyDoo'', including Nicole Jaffe (Velma #1), Stefanianna Christopherson (Daphne #1), Heather North (Daphne #2), Pat Stevens (Velma #2), and Marla Frumpkin (Velma #3). Jaffe, North, and Stevens had some scattered live-action credits, but not much of note. Completely averted with Creator/GreyDeLisle (Daphne #4), Creator/MaryKayBergman (Daphne #3), Creator/BJWard (Velma #4) and Kate Miccuci (Velma #6). Mindy Cohn (Velma #5) is a mixed example, with Velma being her only major voice role, but being just as recognized for her live-action role as Natalie in ''Series/TheFactsOfLife''.
* Louis Chirillo is pretty much only well-known for Dukey from WesternAnimation/JohnnyTest. [[SnarkBait That can't be good for his reputation.]]
* Thom Huge, who voiced Jon Arbuckle in the WesternAnimation/GarfieldSpecials (except ''Here Comes Garfield'') and ''WesternAnimation/GarfieldAndFriends'', did a couple other voices on the latter show but has no other credits.
* Most of the ''Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog'' cast from 1998 to 2004, as voice acting is ''rarely'' done in San Diego. Creator/JonStJohn and Creator/LaniMinella are the only exceptions, as their video game credits are a mile long.
* Most people only know Creator/CharlesMartinet as the voice of [[Franchise/SuperMarioBros Mario (and Luigi, Wario, Waluigi, etc.)]]
* Creator/TerryScott was a very well-known comic actor in his native U.K., but is solely remembered in America for being the voice of [[WesternAnimation/DangerMouse Penfold]].
* Amy Kincaid is known for two things: being the wife of veteran voice actor Creator/LiamOBrien and voicing Shirley Fenette in ''Anime/CodeGeass''.
* Zach Tyler Eisen voiced Aang in ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender.'' He had a few bit voice acting parts in some Nick Jr. shows (like ''WesternAnimation/TheBackyardigans'') and voiced the lead in the animated flop ''Ant Bully.'' Other than that, nothing.
** Jessie Flower, who voiced Toph, hasn't done much afterwards either.
** Janet Varney, who played the title star of sequel series ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'', is also known only for that one role.
* Almost any Franchise/DisneyPrincess voice actress:
** Adriana Casselotti, the voice of ''[[Disney/SnowWhiteAndTheSevenDwarves Snow White]]'', has no other acting or voice acting credits, except as an additional voice in the song "If I Only Had a Heart" in ''Film/TheWizardOfOz''. This is largely because Walt Disney himself put a clause in her contract that forbade her from ever doing any other work in the entertainment industry so as not to "spoil the illusion of Snow White."
** Ilene Woods' only role of note was as the title character in ''Disney/{{Cinderella}}''.
** Mary Costa is known as the voice of Princess Aurora in ''Disney/SleepingBeauty'', and not much else. To make matters worse, Aurora herself only had a handful of lines, with the part mostly being through singing.
** Jodi Benson comes the closest to averting this as a strictly voice actress, since she's had some decent success doing voices for several cartoons, but she will always be known as the voice of Ariel in ''Disney/TheLittleMermaid''. Her other major credits include ''Franchise/{{Barbie}}'' in the ''Franchise/ToyStory'' films and the title role in Creator/DonBluth's ''WesternAnimation/{{Thumbelina|1994}}'' (another princess role).
** Paige O'Hara's only major role is Belle in ''Disney/BeautyAndTheBeast''. Most of her other work is on Broadway.
** Linda Larkin, the speaking voice of Jasmine in ''Disney/{{Aladdin}}'' has no other major credits. Her ''singing'' voice however, Creator/LeaSalonga, has had much more success as a singer for other Disney characters, as well as a career on Broadway, and is one of the most successful Filipino singers of all time.
** ''Disney/{{Pocahontas}}'''s speaking and singing voice actresses, Irene Bedard and Judy Kuhn respectively, have no other claims to fame, though Kuhn had a decent career on Broadway and a couple Tony nominations.
** Averted with ''Disney/{{Mulan}}'''s voice actress Creator/MingNaWen, who was also Chun-Li in the live-action ''Film/StreetFighter'' film, Jing Mei Chen in ''Series/{{ER}}'', and is currently Agent May in ''Series/AgentsOfSHIELD'', which she might actually be ''more'' known for now. Ming-Na's had a few roles in other films and TV shows as well. Mulan's singing voice was the above-mentioned Lea Salonga.
*** Also averted with Anika Noni Rose as Tiana in ''Disney/ThePrincessAndTheFrog'', who's probably better known for her Broadway career and her role in ''Film/{{Dreamgirls}}''.
*** Rapunzel in ''Disney/{{Tangled}}'' is Music/MandyMoore's only major voice acting role (though Aerith in ''VideoGame/KingdomHearts'' comes close), but her singing career is very successful.
*** Lastly Elsa in ''Disney/{{Frozen}}'' is Creator/IdinaMenzel's only voice role, but her Broadway career is her biggest claim to fame.
* Dana Gaier and Elsie Fisher are known as the respective voices of Edith and Agnes in the ''WesternAnimation/DespicableMe'' series and nothing else.
* Rob Wiethoff voiced John Marston in ''VideoGame/RedDeadRedemption'' before retiring from acting to focus on raising his family.
* Rapper Chris "Young Maylay" Bellard is a NoHitWonder as a musician, but he did have one very memorable voice acting performance: Carl "CJ" Johnson in ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoSanAndreas''.
* Michael Hollick was the voice of Niko Bellic in ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIV''. His only other credits were a few cameo appearances in the ''Series/LawAndOrder'' franchise and minor motion capture in lower-profile games.
* Ellen [=McLain=] will always be known as [=GLaDOS=] in the ''VideoGame/{{Portal}}'' franchise. She's done some bit voice acting in other Valve games and had a memorable cameo in ''Film/PacificRim'', but nothing major.
* Christopher Robin Miller's only known role to many fans is the title character in the Franchise/ProfessorLayton series. Nothing he's done so far has come close.
* Since video games are rarely recorded in Seattle, the original cast of the ''VideoGame/BackyardSports'' series never really did much afterwards (except [[VideoGame/{{Halo}} Jen Taylor]], [[VideoGame/StarFox Mark Lund, and Dex Manley]]).
* Aside from a few audio books David Kolin's only voice acting role or any other acting role for that matter was the voice of Felix the Cat in ''WesternAnimation/FelixTheCatTheMovie''. [[SnarkBait This is a bad thing.]]
* Maggie Blue O'Hara has had roles in Vancouver and Hong Kong, and shares [[Anime/VideoGirlAi two]] [[Anime/SaberMarionetteJ roles]] with Creator/MegumiHayashibara, (three if you count R!Lime) the one role everyone knows her for is [[WesternAnimation/XMenEvolution Shadowcat]]. Every thing else is cult at best, and the one that isn't (Anime/DragonBallZ) is a forgotten dub that isn't even on DVD.
* Except for Creator/JohnnyYongBosch (one of anime's most prolific voice actors), the cast of ''Anime/YoKaiWatch'' has never done anything else of note.
* All of the lead voice actors in ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' aside from Creator/TaraStrong (Twilight Sparkle) and maybe Creator/CathyWeseluck (Spike) are known outside Canada almost exclusively for that one series, as most of their roles are anime dubs, obscure shows and [[ThePeteBest roles that]] [[TheOtherDarrin were replaced]]. For the supporting cast, it varies.
* Ironically, despite being a major Anime VA, and a former Vancouver resident during its golden age, Creator/ErinFitzgerald's only major Western Animation roles, May and Nazz, are both in ''WesternAnimation/EdEddnEddy''. Nothing else comes close in that Medium, not even ''Toys/MonsterHigh''.
* Jeremy Shada is so far known pretty much only for [[WesternAnimation/AdventureTime Finn]].
* Jason Ritter, the son of the late Creator/JohnRitter, has played bit parts on TV shows and movies for most of his career, with only a few leading roles, but most people will be hard-pressed to name any role of his other than [[WesternAnimation/GravityFalls Dipper Pines]].
* Ryan Potter's only notable role to date is as Hiro Hamada in ''Disney/BigHero6''. His only other big role ''period'' was his lead on the short-lived Nickelodeon series ''Series/SupahNinjas'', which quickly faded into obscurity.
* Kaitlyn Dias voiced Riley in ''WesternAnimation/InsideOut'' and afterwards went back to doing low-profile short films.
* Creator/NewtonPittman is only known for voicing Gray Fullbuster in ''Manga/FairyTail''. He's had some supporting, guest, and minor roles for other shows for Creator/FUNimation, but Gray is his only lead. His last non-Fairy Tail credit was in 2015, meaning that Gray is the only voice work he's getting right now. This is largely because voice acting is not his main career. According to Newt himself, most of his work is in microbiology and cardiac ICU, and that voice acting is just something he does on the side for fun.
* When Alison Lohman voiced the title role in ''Manga/NausicaaOfTheValleyOfTheWind'', she was a rising star with roles in small films and two short-lived TV shows. A few years later, she starred in Creator/SamRaimi's ''Film/DragMeToHell'', but then immediately retired from acting. These days, she might be best known as Nausicaä, which is unheard of for any other "celebrity" cast in a Disney Ghibli dub.
* Romi Dames has a few voice acting credits, but she's primarily known only for voicing Musa in the Nickelodeon dub of ''WesternAnimation/WinxClub'' , and maybe Lena Luthor on ''WebAnimation/DCSuperHeroGirls'' .
* Ted Whitney's only major acting credit was as King Terenas Menethil II in ''VideoGame/{{Warcraft}} III'', a role often misatributed to Creator/TonyJay.
* Except for Creator/BillyWest (Doug Funnie and Roger Klotz in the Nick era), almost ''everybody'' who voice acted on ''WesternAnimation/{{Doug}}'' has no other notable credits because mainstream voice acting is rarely done in New York City. However, Chris Phillips (Roger Klotz in the Disney era) was also the voice for Creator/NickJr's Face during the 1990s, while Constance Schulman (Patti Mayonnaise) resurfaced as Yoga Jones on ''Series/OrangeIsTheNewBlack''.
* Similar to the above, much of the voice cast for ''WesternAnimation/CourageTheCowardlyDog'' haven't done anything else significant. The most noteworthy regular cast member was Creator/BillieLouWatt, who was already known as a successful {{Anime}} voice actress. Thea White, who voiced Muriel, is otherwise only known for being the wife of Andy White, the drummer on [[Music/TheBeatles The Beatles']] first single, "Love Me Do".

[[folder:Web Original]]
* [[https://www.youtube.com/user/HDCYT/videos?view=0&flow=grid&sort=p HDCYT]] uploaded an extremely viral video in 2007, titled [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OBlgSz8sSM Charlie bit my finger - again !]]. The video is about, as the titled would suggest, a baby named Charlie biting his slightly older brother in the finger. For reasons completely unknown, it amassed over '''800,000,000 views'''. This makes it the most viewed non-music video of all time, and the 4th most viewed video of all time period. While [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_mkYz2B-JfM Charlie bit my finger - The Accident]] wasn't a slouch either, getting over 45,000,000 views, it's obviously nowhere near as successful as the original. Since even breaking the 100 million mark is a feat normally reserved for music videos by popular artists, don't expect them (or anyone else for that matter) to achieve that kind of success again.
!!Fictional Examples:

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* Wish from ''Anime/HimeChenOtogiChikkuIdolLilpri'' only has one song he sings in-show, while the titular PowerTrio gets four.
* Anime/SpaceDandy and his band ''Dropkix'' are best remembered for "Lonely Nights" — played repetitively for two hours at one gig — and disbanding immediately after their big break. However, this performance unknowingly stopped an all-out war.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Tanner Clark, Amelia's CoolAunt from ''ComicBook/AmeliaRules'', is an ex-rock singer, who gave out one highly acclaimed album, before leaving her promising career for undisclosed personal reasons. [[BeserkButton Don't call her a One-Hit Wonder, though.]]
--> CAN YOU BELIEVE HER?? I'll give HER one hit, and she'll WONDER where her TEETH went!

* Baby Jane Hudson's song "I've Written a Letter to Daddy" in ''Film/WhatEverHappenedToBabyJane''.
* The Wonders in ''Film/ThatThingYouDo'', for whom the one hit is the title song. The irony of the band's name is pointed out by their own manager after the band fails to produce a second hit. In real life, the song (written and performed by Candy Butchers frontman Mike Viola and Music/FountainsOfWayne bassist Adam Schlesinger) made the real Hot 100, but ironically, it peaked at ''#41''.
* The protagonist of ''Film/AboutABoy'' is a 36-year-old bachelor who lives off the royalties of a hit Christmas song composed by his father.
** The book of the same name from which the film was adapted goes to great lengths to show just how absurd a situation this put the protagonist and his father in: the protagonist gets angry and depressed every time he hears the song being sung by buskers, and his father, absolutely desperate to be taken seriously as a musician, once writes an entire musical in the course of one day.
* In the first ''Literature/BridgetJones'' movie, Bridget's friend Tom is a former OneHitWonder pop singer from the '80s.
* The main character of ''Film/SemiPro'' is a former one-hit wonder who used the money from his song "Love Me Sexy" to buy an ABA team.

* The murder victim in ''Literature/TheSilkworm'' was a writer whose first book was a great success with the critics, but nothing he wrote after came even close to match it, critically or commercially. He still expects ''everyone'' to treat him like a literary luminary though.
* The Creator/KimNewman story "One Hit Wanda" is about an Everly Brothers-style duo who, having offended their muse, found the song they wrote for her to be a curse. It was insanely popular, but it was the only song anyone wanted to hear and, eventually, the only song they were capable of playing.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Drive Shaft, Charlie's band in ''Series/{{Lost}}'', who hit it big with "You All Everybody". In one deleted scene, Shannon remarks about having "their one song" [[EarWorm stuck in one's head.]]
* The Zit Remedy/The Zits-Joey, Snake and Wheels' band on ''Series/DegrassiJuniorHigh''/''Series/DegrassiHigh''-was a one hit wonder not only in the fact that "Everybody Wants Something" was their only hit, but it was their only song - a fact that still gets them mercilessly teased even as adults.
** "Everybody Want Something" was a hit?
* On ''Series/TheFreshPrinceOfBelAir'', Ashley ends up being a one hit wonder. It becomes a FunnyAneurysmMoment because that was exactly what happened to the actress who played her, Tatyana Ali.
* Marcus Little of ''Series/TheSuiteLifeOnDeck'' turns up at Seven Seas High, having faded into obscurity after his career as [[FormerChildStar Lil' Little]] peaked with his sole hit "Retainer Baby".
* "Superstar Machine" by "Li'l Davey Cross" in ''Series/MrShow''. It charts at number one, becomes club music, gets parodied by [[LawyerFriendlyCameo Weird Al-lookalike]] and ends up as "on-hold" music on the phone.
* The 1999 comedy-drama ''Hunting Venus'' centred on a fictional New Romantic band from the early 1980's, The Venus Hunters, who are getting together for a reunion gig despite the fact they only ever had one hit. Lead singer Martin Clunes finds a problem... they've forgotten the words and how to play the music. Nobody can find a copy of the single. And their charismatic guitarist Neil Morrisey has had a sex-change operation....

* Chris Gaines, BreakupBreakout member of an '80s one-hit wonder band. Played by RealLife artist wonder Music/GarthBrooks.
** Ironically, his only pop hit was in thus persona.
* The song "King of Rock 'n' Roll" by bookish new wave act Prefab Sprout was about a 50's rocker who is forced to sing his one stupid novelty hit over and over to crowds who only want to hear that one song. In a sad bit of irony, "The King of Rock 'n' Roll" became Prefab Sprout's biggest hit in the UK (they had six other Top 40 singles, but none of them troubled the Top 20), because people only [[LyricalDissonance cared about the goofy chorus]] and nothing more.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/DeadIsland'', one of the player characters is Sam B, a rapper famous for his one hit, "Who Do You Voodoo, Bitch?". The fact that his one hit is a {{Horrorcore}} track he wrote as a joke after years of trying to gain momentum as a serious, politically conscious rapper, and that no-one shows any interest in anything he's produced apart from "Who Do You Voodoo, Bitch?" has left him extremely bitter.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Phineas and the Ferbtones in ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb'', for "Gitchee Gitchee Goo". ''Intentionally,'' because who would want to do that every day?
--> "''Follow-up single?!'' Who do you think we are, some two-bit hacks who will keep writing you songs simply because you pay us obscene amounts of ''cash?!'' Phineas and the Ferb-Tones are strictly a one-hit wonder. ''Good day to you, sir!''"
** Also, their mother Linda apparently was a one-hit wonder in the 80's with "I'm Lindana and I Wanna Have Fun." Her explanation of this trope was used by the boys as a how-to checklist.
* In ''WesternAnimation/MyLifeAsATeenageRobot'', Brad sings a "one hit wonder" song called "[[Anime/MagicalPrincessMinkyMomo Minky Momo]]". Not kidding.
* Foxxy Love of ''WesternAnimation/DrawnTogether'' was formerly a one hit wonder with her band The Foxxy 5, with the song "La La Labia".
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Kaeloo}}'': In one episode from Season 2, Kaeloo, Quack Quack, Mr. Cat, Eugly and Pretty form their own rock band and make up a song that becomes very popular. The group winds up quitting the music business because at their second concert, which was also going to play the same song, the fans cheer so loudly that they (and Stumpy, who was backstage) all go deaf.

!Media about One-hit wonders:
* ''WebVideo/ToddInTheShadows'' has a side series called "[[http://thatguywiththeglasses.com/videolinks/teamt/tis/one-hit-wonderland/ One Hit Wonderland]]", where he gives retrospectives on artists known for only one hit: their careers before and after the hit, the context of their hit, and whether or not they deserved better in his opinion.
* Music/{{Everclear}} isn't one, but they did have a song ''called'' "One Hit Wonder" about such an artist. The song was partly autobiographical about the band's feelings after "Santa Monica" hit it big.
* In the video for ''[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5KmB8Laemg Short Skirt/Long Jacket]]'', by group Music/{{CAKE}}, the last person to be interviewed in the video describes the group as a One-Hit Wonder (which they weren't; In fact, they had already had several, much bigger hits than that song).
* Mike Posner's "I Took A Pill In Ibiza" is a song about him being a One Hit Wonder. He actually had a couple of hits, but "Cooler Than Me" is the only one people remembered from him...until, ironically, the Seeb remix of "Ibiza" became an even bigger hit.
-->''I'm just a singer who already blew his shot\\
I get along with old timers\\
Cause my name's a reminder of a pop song people forgot''