There is a certain tragedy (well, when it's a good writer) known as the One Book Author, when a person produces one work in a specific field that becomes extremely popular but never forays into that field again. In the world of literature, the author might have a couple additional short stories or poems that were published, but no other novels. Compare One-Hit Wonder, where someone has produced several works but only one had managed to become popular.
May overlap with Author Existence Failure, where the author doesn't live long enough to compose another work (i.e.: works published posthumously), or Tough Act to Follow, where they're afraid they've peaked on their first attempt. The latter may also be a Reclusive Artist. At times can cross with Short-Lived Big Impact.
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
Matsushita Youko only has one series to her name: Yami No Matsuei. When fans asked her if she had written any doujinshi they might want to check out (not an unusual thing to ask a manga author, especially with a Ho Yay heavy work like Yami no Matsuei) she was surprised and just wondered who'd spend their time (and money!) on producing doujinshi.
Tatsuya Nakazaki, the Japanese voice actor who voiced Akito Hayama in Kodomo no Omocha, only voiced that character and both Hajime and Shiro Ryojoji in Jubei-Chan. Apart of those roles and some Japanese dubbing roles (he voiced young Simba in the first The Lion King Japanese dub and he was the only voice actor that was replaced in the remasterized version of the dub) he retired from voice acting after that.
Petrea Burchard's performance as Ryoko in the Tenchi Muyo! franchise is iconic. Unfortunately, this was her only major voice role, with her other characters being minor roles in one or two other shows.
Jay Hopper voiced Tenchi's father and grandfather. These are his only anime roles.
In addition, Mihoshi is the only anime character Ellen Gerstell ever voiced.
Myriam Sirois' only major anime role is as Akane in Ranma ˝.
Likewise, Sarah Strange was a one-hit-wonder as the title character in Ranma One Half. She did do some other voice roles in other cartoons, and moved on to mainstream live-action work, but that was the only anime she was ever in. She left the show after Season 3 and was replaced with Richard Ian Cox, who has had a lot of anime roles.
Angela Costain also had a short-lived voiceover career, with Nabiki Tendo being her only major role. Her sister, Elena Wotten-Costain filled in during Season 6, and also never did any other voicework.
Tiffany Vollmer got a lot of voicework as Bulma in the Dragon Ball franchise. Unfortunately, this is pretty much her only role.
Currently, Kagome from InuYasha: The Final Act is Kira Tozer's only anime role. While Kagome's original voice, Moneca Stori, did do other voice work, Kagome was her only major lead role (the closest she came was Laura from Hamtaro, Catherine Flower from Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, and Videl in the AB Groupe/Westwood dub of the second half of Dragon Ball Z).
Speaking of that DBZ dub, Enuka Okuma's role as Android 18 was her only major voice role before moving on to other things.
Same with Pam Hyatt as Lady Kaede... and her replacement for The Final Act, Linda Darlow.
While Liza Balkan has done a lot of work on stage, Sailor Mercury (well, the second one) was her only voice role.
In addition, Naz Edwards' only voice role is Queen Beryl, but like Liza Balkan, her acting is mostly on the stage.
Actually, lots of the Sailor Moon voice actors didn't do other anime, simply because the talent pool used mostly does western animation.
Rieka Yazawa was the voice of Kon in Soredemo Machi Wa Mawatteiru, followed that up with two other minor roles, and then announced that she was leaving the voice acting business to focus on her studies.
In-universe example: In JSA: The Golden Age, Jonathan Law (Tarantula) had only one book to his name that he wrote and published, Behind The Mask, after which he was unable to come up with anything else. Libby Lawrence's mentioning him being a "one-book, one-hit wonder" ended up being what broke up their relationship with each other. During the battle with Dynaman near the end of the story, Tarantula dies thinking that this battle would have made for a great book to write.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee; she was so afraid that following books wouldn't be as good that she never wrote again. This has led to some conspiracy theories that say someone else (Truman Capote is the name most often brought up, as he was her lifelong friend and her employer) wrote it. These theories fall apart once it's pointed out that Capote was a notorious publicity hound. Capote was also working on In Cold Blood at the time, which required such intense research it's unlikely he could handle that and a novel at the same time.note There are also conspiracy theories that Lee ghost-wrote some or most of In Cold Blood
Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa's only novel, The Leopard, published posthumously in 1958, is a classic in Italian postwar literature.
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (he tried to write a second book, Juneteenth - it was over 2,000 pages long and was still not considered finished. Greatly abridged versions are sometimes published) Although he did publish many essays and a book of short stories, this was his only novel.
Leonard Gardner, Fat City
Stephen Gately of Boyzone fame, The Tree of Seasons. He finished the ending on the day that he died.
Vanessa Duričs finished and released only one book, the BDSM classic Le Lien (released internationally as The Ties That Bind) before dying in a car accident at the age of 21. Another book, L'Etudiante, was left unfinished with its five completed chapters published posthumously.
The Book of Margery Kempe, written by (who else?) Margery Kempe.
John Kennedy Toole was this for a while, because he committed suicide before A Confederacy of Dunces was even published. After his mother died in 1989, however, publishers released his sole piece of juvenilia, The Neon Bible, a novel Toole wrote when he was 15. Oddly enough, despite A Confederacy of Dunces being far better known and acclaimed, The Neon Bible has had a film adaptation, whereas plans to adapt the former have never escaped Development Hell—usually because the suitable leading men (viz, genuinely funny large comic actors) keep dying: first John Belushi, then John Candy, and then Chris Farley, were all set to play Ignatius J. Reilly and then died before the project could move forward.
Aleksandr Griboyedov and the play Woe from Wit.
Ross Lockridge spent the better part of a decade writing the 1,088-page DoorstopperRaintree County (best described as Gone with the WindmeetsUlysses). It was published to mostly good reviews and sales in 1948, but depression, writer's block and possibly a pan in The New Yorker drove him to suicide a few months after it was published. A decade later the novel was adapted into a would-be epic film.
Given the impact that Juan Rulfo had on Latin American literature and the genre of Magical Realism, it's amazing that he wrote only two rather short books - El Llano en Llamas (The Burning Plain) (a short story anthology), and Pedro Páramo.
Save Me The Waltz, Zelda Fitzgerald. (Only novel, although her complete works, including the play, short stories, and magazine articles she wrote still only fill a medium sized paperback.)
Austin Tappan Wright's utopian novel Islandia. He worked on the project for years strictly as a hobby; a heavily-condensed version was published after his death in an automobile accident.
"Heavily-condensed" and it's still a 1,000+ page door-stopper.
Fictional example: In the Teenage Worrier series, Letty's father is the author of a widely acclaimed novel called "Moving On", but since his daughter's birth it has taken him almost sixteen years to finish his next work (and, it is implied, he probably never will.)
A Canticle for Leibowitz, by Walter Miller Jr. After the book's publication in 1960, Miller isolated himself for 40 years and never wrote another book, though at the time of his suicide he was at work on his second novel, which had to be finished by a ghost writer and posthumously published.
Portuguese poet Cesário Verde only had one book published. This is because his poems read as modern ones and 19th century romantic society simply didn't like it.
M.L. Humphreys. Some people believe that this was the pseudonym of a more-prolific author, but - in lieu of any hard evidence to support this - he (or she) fits under here. His/her only written work was a short story called The Floor Above, mainly remembered today because it was one of H.P. Lovecraft's favorite horror stories.
Carl Sagan was a prolific author of many books on science and scientific inquiry, Contact was his only novel.
A fictional example shows up in Sharyn McCrumb's Bimbos of the Death Sun: the titular book is considered an Old Shame by its author and schlock cult classic by others.
Henry Darger's sole opus is The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinnian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion, A.K.A. In the Realms of the Unreal. Granted, it's a 15,000+ page beast filled with hundreds of detailed illustrations, all of which took decades to compose; it's pretty much the same man-hours equivalent of an author who might write dozens of shorter works over his whole life.
Bill Watterson. Aside from a few preceding political/college cartoons, Calvin and Hobbes is the only thing he has done, ever. After he retired his comic strip in 1995 after a ten-year run, he released no other work, despite writing a few essays on sporadic special occasions. The only really notable thing he's done since retiring is to write the introduction to the first Cul De Sac collection and contributing an artwork to "Team Cul De Sac", a fundraising book for Parkinson's disease relief commissioned after Richard Thompson, the strip's creator, came down with the disease.
Gary Larson. Aside from a proto-version of The Far Side that had a different name, the only thing of note that he's ever produced is The Far Side. After it finished its run, he retired and hasn't done much else except for a children's book.
Kevin McCormick. His only credit as a professional cartoonist is Arnold, which ran in newspapers from 1982 to 1988. After it ended he did some gag-writing on other strips but ultimately left cartooning and became a pastor.
The end of the film Croupier has the protagonist, a novelist and casino dealer, having completed and published his Roman ŕ Clef, realize that it is probably better for him to quit while he's ahead and not write another novel.
Stone Reader is a documentary about this trope following a dedicated reader who tracks down an obscure but brilliant One Book Author and helps get his book republished.
The plot for the indie movie The Kiss is even more restrictive: The protagonist finds the author's one book in manuscript form without an ending. She seeks him out to persuade him to become a One Book Author.
The Night of the Hunter, directed by Charles Laughton. While the film is today considered a classic, it did terribly when it was first released. Subsequently, Laughton was never given the chance to direct another film.
Kotch was Jack Lemmon's sole film as a director.
Bill Murray has been working in movies for over thirty years but Quick Change remains his sole directorial credit.
Dan Aykroyd directed Nothing But Trouble (1991), which proved a Box Office Bomb and is his only such effort to date.
Short Cut to Hell (1957) was the only movie James Cagney ever directed.
One-Eyed Jacks is the only film directed by Marlon Brando (who also played the lead role).
Screenwriter and author Dalton Trumbo directed only one film, Johnny Got His Gun, an adaptation of his own novel.
Peter Lorre returned to Germany after World War II and tried to reshape his career by writing, directing, and starring in Der Verlorene. The film was poorly received and he returned to Hollywood, resigned to taking whatever roles he was offered.
Writer Steve Gordon had a very weak heart, and died shortly after completing his first directorial effort, Arthur, in 1981.
Steven Seagal directed On Deadly Ground, a pet project which was an environmental action film. It quickly flopped and his star power took a tremendous hit as well, starting his decline until he was consigned to the direct-to-DVD bin.
Tommy Wiseau has not directed a feature film since The Room, and none of his online projects have gained as high a cult following.
Katharine Cornell was one of the most famous stage actresses of her day, called "the First Lady of the American theater", starring in many major Broadway productions in The Thirties, The Forties, and The Fifties. She made exactly one film appearance, a cameo in the 1943 all-star revue Stage Door Canteen, in which she performs a short excerpt from Romeo and Juliet.
Fernando Ramos da Silva was a young street urchin who starred in the Brazilian crime classic Pixote in 1981. Da Silva, who played the title role, couldn't break out as an actor due to his illiteracy. He later returned to a life of crime before being killed in a shootout with police at the age of 17.
Carrie Henn won a Saturn Award for playing Newt in Aliens, but to date (2012) never acted again.
Alien: The man inside the alien costume is Bolaji Badejo, a Nigerian art student found by the crew in a bar. He never did anything else and his whereabouts after the movie are totally unknown. Especially strange since he gave life to one of the most iconic monsters in film history.
Child actor Peter Ostrum was offered a lucrative multi-picture film deal after playing Charlie Bucket but found film acting to be too much hard work, and took the option to go to college instead and work as a farm animal veterinarian in upper New York state, which he is to this day. He only returns to the public eye to do local school assemblies on his life and career, or on rare occasions for Wonka-related events (such as the commentary for the 25th anniversary DVD). Thus, this was his only film role.
Michael Bollner, who played Augustus Gloop, never acted again after this movie. He was cast because he was a native of Munich, where the movie was shot and where he still lives to this day, and had to be taught his lines phonetically. Like Ostrum, he went to school and became a professional (he runs a tax accounting firm) and has only been seen in Willy Wonka-related material since.
Kelly Reno, the star of The Black Stallion, was set to make a good transition into adult acting when he was badly disfigured in a car accident. By the time he was out of recovery, all his offers had dried up and he never got any others.
Paperhouse was the only major film role of lead actress Charlotte Burke.
According to IMDB, the child actress Cassie Barasch, who played evil Thelma in Little Sweetheart, never did anything else. Ellie Raab, the other child actress in the film alongside her, fared only a little better before disappearing.
Charmian Carr's first (and largest) acting role was as Liesl von Trapp in the film adaptation of The Sound of Music. She then starred in the one-time television production of Evening Primrose, but left the business to raise her children.
Although he'd appeared in various commercials, Russian actor Vladimir Garin died in a diving accident after shooting had completed for his first feature film, The Return
Maria Falconetti was a theatrical actress who had appeared in supporting roles in two short films, but had no feature-length film credits when cast as the lead in The Passion of Joan of Arc. The experience was so traumatic that she quit film work forever, though her performance is widely considered to be one of the greatest of all time.
Serbian film The Wounds was Dušan Pekić's first and only film credit. Like the character he plays in the film, he was shot at a young age, most likely due to gang violence, making the film even Harsher in Hindsight.
Milos Milos's only significant film role was as the title character in Incubus, the Esperanto language horror film starring William Shatner. Shortly after filming the role, he murdered Barbara Ann Thomason - Mickey Rooney's fourth wife - and committed suicide. His only other credit is a bit part in The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming.
Mark Pillow, who played Nuclear Man in Superman IV: The Quest for Peace doesn't have any other film credits and only appeared in a few TV series before apparently quitting acting.
Eric Freeman, the actor who played Ricky, the Villain Protagonist of the legendarySilent Night, Deadly Night Part 2, has a few other minor and non-noteworthy credits to his name from around the same time, but this is the one movie where he had a starring role. He disappeared completely after 1992, and no one has seen or heard anything about him since. The most notable thing about his performance was how over the top it was, which makes it unfortunate that he's played by a different actor, Bill Moseley, in the third film, who doesn't even come close to copying Freeman's style (primarily since he only has a couple of lines). The filmmakers were unable to even track him down for the 2003 DVD Commentary. Thanks to the hilarity of Freeman's performance, it's been the Cinema Snob's lifelong ambition to one day find Freeman and pull him out of retirement.
The cast of 1776, with few exceptions, were all made up from either the original Broadway cast or other productions. While most of them had or would go on to do work in film or tv, this is the only time Ralston Hill (Charles Thomson) and Charles Rule (Joseph Hewes) are seen on screen.
Los Angeles deputy district attorney Lou Holtz Jr. wrote a screenplay called The Cable Guy, and through various connections it wound up in the hands of Chris Farley, then later Jim Carrey. Once Carrey and director Ben Stiller took on the project they brought in Judd Apatow to do a major rewrite. After the film was finished Apatow appealed to the Writer's Guild for a screenplay credit, but they said no (he wound up being credited as producer), so Holtz is the sole credited writer. Holtz went back to being a DA and The Cable Guy is still his only screen credit.
Stu Silver was a prolific TV comedy writer and producer in the 1970s and 80s (he created Webster and wrote dozens of episodes of Soap), but Throw Momma from the Train is his only feature film screenwriting credit.
An insurance manager (and eventual fertilizer salesman) named Hal Warren got involved in a bet with screenwriter Stirling Silliphant, in which Warren wagered that he would make a horror film on a shoestring budget. The rest is history.
Live Action TV
Fictional example, from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: One possible future for Jake Sisko has him write Anslem as his sole novel. (He also writes an anthology of short stories, though that is his only other literary work). In fact the way we find out about this is exactly as given in the example at top.
Another fictional example, this time on Frasier, in which an author whose only work (that he hates to talk about) was a landmark success befriends Martin. Niles and Frasier discover a manuscript for his planned second novel. When the author catches them reading it, he asks for their opinion. However, while praising it, they unintentionally make him realise he ripped off Dante's The Divine Comedy and throws the manuscript into the fire.
Wheel of Fortune hostess Vanna White originally fell under this trope when she took over from Susan Stafford in 1982; White's only other TV "role" at the time was as a contestant on The Price Is Right two years prior. However, the fame from the Wheel gig led to a few other roles that now make her an aversion.
Speaking of Wheel, former San Diego Chargers place kicker Rolf Benirschke hosted the daytime version from January 10 to June 30, 1989. This was his only TV role.
Also speaking of football and Wheel, the only TV role for Cynthia Washington (ex-wife of San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Gene Washington) was filling in for an injured Stafford for just over a week.
And on top of that, Tricia Gist (now-wife of Wheel creator Merv Griffin's son Tony) filled in for Vanna for a few weeks in 1991, thus giving Gist her only TV role to date.
Again contingent on whether or not "contestant" counts as a role, the only on-camera role for Mike Reilly was hosting the short-lived 1990 game show adaptation of Monopoly. Series creator Merv Griffin chose Reilly after he was a Jeopardy! contestant.
Yet another game show example: Paola Diva, the original Lovely Assistant on Concentration. And another still in Marjorie Goodson-Cutt on the 1980s-1990s revival, Classic Concentration. The latter was producer Mark Goodson's daughter.
Speaking of game shows, many people have been prolific in other fields, but only hosted a game show once. Among them are Kevin O'Connell (a weatherman whose only hosting gig was Go), Henry Polic II (aka Jerry Silver on Webster; only hosting gig was Double Talk), and Bob Hilton (who announced on several game shows, but hosted only the 1990 revival of Lets Make A Dealnote he also hosted a couple pilots, but none were picked up).
The various incarnations of Win Lose Or Draw between 1987 and 1992 had a combined four hosts: Bert Convy (1987-89, syndication), Robb Weller (1989-90, syndication), Vicki Lawrence (NBC), and Marc Price (Teen Win, Lose or Draw on Disney Channel, 1989-92). Among these four people, Convy is the only one of the four to have helmed any other game shows (most notably, Tattletales and Super Password). Lawrence was best known for her roles on The Carol Burnett Show and Mamas Family, and was a panelist on several other game shows, but Win, Lose or Draw remains her only hosting gig to date. Weller's only other major role was a short gig as host on Entertainment Tonight, and Price's only other notable role was Irwin "Skippy" Handelman on Family Ties.
The Disney version also had a few different Mouseketeers from The Mickey Mouse Club announce, none of whom did any other announcing work (or in the case of Brandy Brown, much of anything at all). The exception was Mark L. Walberg, who was not a Mouseketeer, and who had experience in both announcing and hosting for many years afterward.
Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols. By the time the album came out, the band was already falling apart.
No Gods, No Managers was the only album by the punk band Choking Victim, which disbanded the same day the album was recorded.
Give Up by The Postal Service. Even though they have done remixes, John Lennon cover, and two newly recorded tracks attached to an expanded anniversary edition of Give Up since then, it is unlikely that Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello will ever get together to do another Postal Service album again.
Sixties experimental rock band The United States Of America broke up after their self-titled debut, which sold poorly but was later Vindicated by History.
Band leader Joseph Byrd released a Spiritual Successor follow-up called The American Metaphysical Circus, credited to Joe Byrd & The Field Hippies. That grouping also lasted for just one album, and Byrd's future works were instrumental albums and film scores.
Brian Jones, before being fired from the band, went to Morocco to make a field recording of the Master Musicians of Joujouka at the Rites of Pan Festival. The subsequent recording, Brian Jones Presents the Pipes of Pan at Joujouka, was released a few years after his mysterious death. It is the closest thing to a Jones solo project (though he was only involved as sound recorder and album engineer), and the album remains an influential in the world music genre.
Skip Spence, whose album Oar was released in 1969. He was a prominent member of the psychedelic band Moby Grape who turned out to be the American equivalent of Syd Barrett. He weirded out his bandmates by indulging in LSD and attacking someone with a fire axe. He got institutionalized, recorded Oar, and dropped out of the public life until his death in 1999.
The Fitness's Call Me For Together. They have never produced anything more.
Mos Def and Talib Kweli released one album, Mos Def and Talib Kweli Are Black Star, in 1998. Aside from a mixtape tribute to Aretha Franklin, their Black Star album is their only proper release.
Scott La Rock, DJ of rap duo Boogie Down Productions, was involved in only one album, Criminal Minded, which was their debut. He was murdered a few months after the album was released. KRS-One, the remaining member, continued Boogie Down Productions without him. Much of the songs made after La Rock's murder, such as "Stop The Violence," had anti-violence messages which contrasted with the proto-gangsta rap lyrics of Criminal Minded, made before La Rock was murdered.
Chris Bell, founding member of 1970s power pop legends Big Star, released one single in his lifetime, "I Am the Cosmos" with "You and Your Sister" as its B-side. Bell was poised to develop a solo career when his life was cut short by a tragic car accident in 1978. The single, along with the work of Big Star, developed a cult following in the 1980s and there was enough demand for a release of a complete discography of Bell's solo work in 1992, also called I Am The Cosmos. The album consists of the aforementioned single along with unreleased songs and demos.
Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too, released in 1998, is the sole album by New Radicals, containing the hit "You Get What You Give." Lead singer Gregg Alexander, a singer-songwriter known for his mixture of catchiness and cynicism, released two albums beforehand before forming the New Radicals. He split up the band as he was gaining fame, becoming a professional songwriter for other artists, his most notable song being "Game of Love" for Santana and Michelle Branch.
This is an interesting example because New Radicals kept changing lineup, the only members consistent throughout the whole time were Gregg Alexander and Danielle Brisebois. Danielle released two solo albums featuring Gregg Alexander as co-writer and guest performer on almost every track, meaning that they are technically also New Radicals albums. Rick Nowels co-wrote most New Radicals songs, however, despite not actually being a member of the band, so take from that what you will.
Minuteflag, a supergroup composed of LA punk legends The Minutemen and Black Flag, released one self-titled EP of mostly instrumental tunes. They made a pact to release the collaboration as soon as one of the bands broke up. Sadly, it was released after Minutemen broke up due to the tragic death of leader D. Boon. The EP, released in 1986, remains out of print.
The Glove, a supergroup consisting of The Cure singer Robert Smith, Siouxsie and the Banshees bassist Steve Severin, and singer Jeannete Landray, released one album, Blue Sunshine.
Another short-lived Cure side-project was Cult Hero, consisting of the members of The Cure c. 1979, various members of Smith's family, a couple members of local bands (including future Cure members Matthieu Hartley and Simon Gallup and former member Porl Thompson (he'd later rejoin the band)) and Smith's postman, Frank Bell on vocals. The group was supposedly formed see how well Gallup would gel with the other members of The Cure. After one single, 1979's "I'm A Cult Hero"/"I Dig You", Cult Hero disbanded and never recorded a thing again.
Seattle band Mother Love Bone released one EP and one LP, later compiled to one album. The band, destined to help lead the up-and-coming grunge movement of the 1990s, fizzled after singer Andrew Wood fatally overdosed in 1990. After Wood died, Soundgarden members Chris Cornell and Matt Cameron, who were good friends with Andrew Wood, partnered with singer Eddie Vedder and MLB members Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard to release one self-titled album as Temple of the Dog as a tribute to Wood, featuring hits such as "Hunger Strike" and "Say Hello 2 Heaven." As the album was being recorded and released, Ament, Gossard, and Vedder formed their own band, Pearl Jam, and Temple of the Dog broke up, with both respective bands skyrocketing to success on their own. After the success of Mother Love Bone and Temple of the Dog, Wood's earlier band, Malfunkshun, had all its songs compiled to one posthumous release, Return to Olympus.
Splendora, an all-girl 90s grunge group notable for singing the theme song to Daria, only ever produced one album, In the Grass. They did later reunite to create songs for the two Daria TV Movies, "Turn the Sun Down" and "College Try".
Above, the lone album by grunge supergroup Mad Season. The band's singer was Alice in Chains' Layne Staley, and his 2002 death ended any chance of a second album.
Ashley Jade's Dreaming album. It is unlikely she will ever return to the spotlight.
Forest For The Trees' self-titled album, which itself was a Troubled Production that almost never saw the light of day due to Carl Stephenson having a nervous breakdown. There is the somewhat hard to find EP Sounds Of Wet Paint, which combined remixes with a few outtakes from the debut, and a second album was reportedly finished but never released.
The Eurodance/trance duo Trouser Enthusiasts produced countless remixes, but "Sweet Release" was their only original production, after which they disbanded.
Jumalatar only produced two EP's, Are We Thinking the Same Thing and Frenzy, before parting ways.
Singer-songwriter Willis Alan Ramsey released his debut album in 1972, and has never released anything else, even though he's still an active performer with a cult following. Supposedly whenever anyone asks him why he hasn't released another album he says "What was wrong with the first one?" One of the songs on the album was "Muskrat Love" (originally called "Muskrat Candlelight"). Luckily for Ramsey, it was Covered Upand became a big hit, so he can collect royalty money while the rest of the world thinks of this Old Shame as a Captain & Tennille song.
Carole King's band The City released one album, Now That Everything's Been Said (1968), before they broke up and she embarked on a solo career.
Eric Clapton led two supergroups after the breakup of his band Cream. The first, Blind Faith, released one self-titled album with six songs in it. After Blind Faith fell apart, Clapton led Derek and the Dominoes, recording Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs. Though the album and especially the title track are now considered classics, on its initial release the critical and commercial reaction was moderate at best; a year later, Duane Allman (not an official member of the band but an important contributor to Layla; most notably, he helped to create the famous opening guitar riff from the title track) died in a motorcycle accident, exacerbating Clapton's substance abuse issues, and Derek and the Dominoes subsequently dissolved during an attempt to record a second album.
Scottish band Life Without Buildings released one album, 'Any Other City', before breaking up.
Grace is the lone studio album by Jeff Buckley before his death. He was recording a second, My Sweetheart The Drunk, but he drowned in the Mississippi River before the recording sessions had even reached the halfway point. The unfinished material did get released as Sketches For My Sweetheart The Drunk, however.
"Dominatrix Sleeps Tonight", the sole single of Dominatrix.
Another one single band would be The Normal (who were really a solo project by Daniel Miller) - not counting an improvised live collaboration with Robert Rental, the only release was the single T.V.O.D. \ Warm Leatherette. Miller has had other musical projects, but is now mainly a Record Producer. The lone single was pretty influential to such genres as New Wave, Post Punk and electroclash - "Warm Leatherette" in particular gets covered a lot.
After a turbulent career filled with constant recording and re-recording of their debut album, scrapping sessions with famous producers like Mike Hedges, John Leckie and John Porter before settling on Steve Lillywhite, The La's managed to produce one Self-Titled Album before collapsing due to Lee Mavers' insane perfectionism.
The band Lincoln released a Self-Titled Album in 1997 and became an opening act for They Might Be Giants. After they broke up in 1998 without releasing a follow-up, guitarist Dan Miller and bassist Danny Weinkauf joined TMBG's backing band and have been there ever since.
Early 90s Britpop band Starclub had a Top 10 US alt-rock radio hit, "Hard To Get", but broke up after only one album.
A banker named Stuart Gorrell wrote the lyrics for his old college buddy Hoagy Carmichael's song "Georgia on My Mind". It was his only songwriting credit. The royalty money Gorrell earned for "Georgia" was enough to put his daughter through college.
The widely-covered "(Now and Then There's) A Fool Such as I" (most famously done by Elvis Presley) is literally the only song ever written by its writer, Bill Trader.
The Oak Ridge Boys' "Gonna Take a Lot of River" was not the only song written by John Kurhajetz (ASCAP lists four other works), but it was the only one anyone recorded.
Another supergroup who only managed one album was Zwan, who released their sole album, Mary Star of the Sea in 2003 and broke up later that year.
The International Submarine Band released their debut Safe at Home, generally considered the first country rock album, in 1968. They broke up a few months later after leader Gram Parsons left to join The Byrds.
R&B duo Damian Dame is a tragic example. Damian Dame, a duo consisting of "Damian" Broadus and "de Dame" Debra Jean Hurd, released their self-titled debut on LaFace Records in 1991. On June 27, 1994, before the two would work on a second album, "deah Dame" was killed in a moped accident. Damian would perish from colon cancer exactly two years later.
The California Ska Punk band Suburban Rhythm, who were a major influence on subsequent popular groups in the Orange County scene such as Sublime, No Doubt and Reel Big Fish, only had one album, a compilation which was released three years after they broke up.
It's hard to tell whether Rob Dougan is one of these or not, considering that he appears to be a rather slow worker anyway. It took him seven years from the release of the single "Clubbed To Death" in 1995 to complete and release the accompanying full-length album Furious Angels. The album came out in 2002, in 2003 he contributed one new track to the soundtrack of The Matrix Reloaded and did the string arrangement for a Sugababes single. There has been nothing heard from him since up to mid-2011, and given that he could probably retire on the royalties from "Clubbed To Death" alone, it's easy to suspect that he's chosen to do exactly that.
The origins of outsider musician Y. Bhekhirst are shrouded in mystery, but it's known that he's only released one album, Hot in the Airport.
Australian electronica duo the Avalanches released their debut album Since I Left You in 2000 (with UK and North American releases the following year) to massive acclaim. As of 2011 a followup has yet to materialize.
"Music Sounds Better With You" by Stardust, a one-shot project from Thomas Bangalter of Daft Punk fame. It was never intended to have a following single, indeed this "dream team" of French electronic wizards never worked together again.
Rapeman was a noise-rock supergroup active for a very brief time in the late 1980s. Its members were Steve Albini (Big Black, and later Shellac), David Wm. Sims (Scratch Acid) and Rey Washam (big Boys and Scratch Acid). Their complete discography consists of their lone LP Two Nuns and a Pack Mule, an EP called Budd (included in full on the CD reissue of Two Nuns) and two 7'' singles.
The closure of DreamWorks Records in 2005 killed two Country Music bands after only one album: Hot Apple Pie (founded by former Little Texas singer/keyboardist Brady Seals) and Hanna-McEuen (first cousins Jaime Hanna and Jonathan McEuen, whose fathers co-founded the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band). MCA pushed two more singles off Hot Apple Pie's album, but neither went anywhere. Seals went solo again, occasionally using ex-Hot Apple Pie members on his solo work. Hanna-McEuen disbanded pretty much the instant their second single flopped, with McEuen going solo and Hanna joining Gary Allan's road band.
And speaking of Little Texas, former lead singer Tim Rushlow managed to be a part of this trope three times after leaving that band. (They broke up and reunited without him or Seals.) Tim did a solo album for Atlantic Records, which was blunted after the Top 10 hit "She Misses Him" due to that label closing its country division. In 2003, he and cousin Doni Harris formed a six-piece band called Rushlow, which cut only one album for Lyric Street; said album got "I Can't Be Your Friend" into top 20, but label restructuring prevented any more hits, and the band broke up. Rushlow and Harris cut two low-charting singles for Toby Keith's Show Dog label in 2006 under the name Rushlow Harris before splitting again. (As for the other four members of Rushlow? Billy Welch is now in Jake Owen's road band, while Kurt Alison, Tully Kennedy, and Rich Redmond are now in Jason Aldean's road band.note They, along with bandmate David Fanning, also produce under the name New Voice Entertainment.)
Lauryn Hill only released 2 albums, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill and MTV Unplugged 2.0, and the latter was a live recording. Only her first album received overall acclaim, and after that album, she had a Creator Breakdown and left the public eye.
The German industrial group Microchip League (MCL) only produced one studio album, Code Numbers, although in 2009, more than two decades later, they released a compilation of previously unreleased tracks, titled Raw Tapes.
Country music singer Cyndi Thomson zig-zagged this trope. She quit after her first album for Capitol Records because she didn't think she could handle the pressure of a second album, but contributed to two multi-artist albums and wrote Gary Allan's Top 10 hit "Life Ain't Always Beautiful". She briefly returned to Capitol but never released anything.
A more direct country music example is The Buffalo Club, which included John Dittrich (then-former drummer of country band Restless Heart), lead singer Ron Hemby (formerly of The Imperials) and guitarist Charlie Kelly (not to be confused with Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum). They were active only for one album in 1997, with Dittrich bowing out just before their third and final single release. By the end of the year, their label closed, and Dittrich ultimately rejoined Restless Heart.
The same year also produced Burnin' Daylight, also including former members of 80s country bands (namely, Kurt Howell of Southern Pacific and Sonny LeMaire of Exile, plus lead singer Sonny LeMaire, who co-wrote singles for Exile and Restless Heart). They broke up after one album.
Cellsite System, a Portland, Oregon based trance project, apparently only made one album, Between Frequencies. The website is long gone, so good luck finding the album.
"Pump Up the Volume" was a worldwide top 10 smash in 1987, and a major influence on later examples of sampling in pop music (as well as electronic music as a whole). It was also the only song ever released by M|A|R|R|S, a collaboration between two artists on the independent record label 4AD (Dream Pop duo AR Kane and reggae group Colourbox).
"Carte Blanche", plus its B-side "Drafting", was the only original material by Veracocha, a one-off collaboration between Ferry Corsten and Vincent de Moor, although they did at least one remix (Ayla - Ayla).
Another Country Music example is Caitlin & Will. They won the first season of CMT's singing competition Can You Duet, released one single ("Address in the Stars") and an EP, and broke up once the single fell from the charts.
Also from country music is Tommy Shane Steiner, who had a huge hit with "What If She's an Angel" in late 2001-early 2002, followed by two more flops. He never returned to singing.
Lies appears to be all we'll hear from the synthpop duo Heartbreak, although Ali Renault has a solo album, and Muravchik, under the alias Anthonio, released an Answer Song single to Annie(Anne Lilia Berge-Strand)'s "Anthonio" titled "Annie".
The psychedelica band Uriel only recorded and released one album—a self-titled album that was named while the band was using an alias, no less! The album, Arzachel, was released in 1969 and became a long sought-after collector's item for psychedelica enthusiasts; its sole (legal) re-release in 2007 sold out almost immediately.
Country music band Cole Deggs & the Lonesome broke up after only one album.
Songwriter Jonathan Singleton founded a band in 2009 called Jonathan Singleton & the Grove. They released two singles: "Livin' in Paradise" and "Look Who's Back in Love". The latter was included on a full album, with the Grove disbanding immediately afterward and Singleton returning to songwriting.
Blue County was a one-off collaboration between Aaron Benward (formerly of father-and-son Christian music duo Aaron Jeoffrey) and Scott Reeves (who is mainly a soap actor). They did one album, and after a couple followup singles went nowhere, disbanded.
Similarly, The Wreckers was a one-off between solo artists Michelle Branch and Jessica Harp. They did guest vocals on a David Santana song, recorded one album, and broke up before recording another.
Yet another country example: the JaneDear girls split up after only one album.
The Age of Love was a one-off supergroup consisting of Bruno Sanchioni and Giuseppe Chierchia; their self-titled single is considered to be one of the very first trance tracks. Sanchioni later founded the trio BBE (7 Days & One Week), as well as collaborating with many others.
In the 1980s, Nashville songwriters Bob DiPiero and John Scott Sherrill formed a country music band called Billy Hill, in which they alternated as lead vocalists (both in the guise of the a fictional character also named Billy Hill) with backing from former Detroit Wheels member Dennis Robbins, former Steve Earle bassist Reno Kling, and session drummer Martin Parker. They did one album for Reprise and broke up before a second was completed, although one of the tracks from the second ("The Church on Cumberland Road") was later a #1 for Shenandoah.
Brooks & Dunn's 1994 single "I'll Never Forgive My Heart" is the only writing credit for duo member Ronnie Dunn's wife, Janine.
Chagall Guevara was a band formed by several veterans of the early Christian alternative music scene (including Steve Taylor) in an attempt to break through to the not-quite-as-limiting mainstream secular alt-rock world. The band's 1991 self-titled album failed to catch on with alternative rock fans or radio, despite being critically acclaimed. It has, at best, become a minor cult item with fans of early 90's alternative rock. However, the album became fairly popular with Christian rock fans despite the fact that there were very few things that could be considered overtly Christian on the album, nor was the CCM market ever planned to be the target audience - its popularity likely having to do with the backgrounds of the performers (particularly the wildly successful Taylor). The group broke up in 1993 without making another album.
Fockewolf, an Industrial/Dark Wave side project/supergroup consisting of Rob Wilhelm of Noxious Emotion and vocalist Severina X Sol, only released one demo cassette EP, Dominus et Deus, and one album, Die Toten Weg, although Severina went on to perform with Cylab and The Break Up. Wilhelm also made a cameo appearance on the former's Satellites album.
In addition, Back And To The Left, a Future Pop act founded by Wilhelm and the other former NE members, also only produced one album, 2005's Obsolete, before themselves disbanding the following year.
Metal supergroup Damageplan only released one album before disbanding.
"Outta Sight", circa 2009, is so far the only single released by New Zealand singer Kelly Rose (not to be confused with others of the same name), although she may return one of these days.
Runforyerlife, a third-wave ska band from Chicago, only released one album in 1999 before falling off the face of the earth.
Seminal Depressive/Suicidal Black Metal band Silencer only ever made one album, 2001's Death - Pierce Me. The institutionalisation of vocalist Nattramn shortly after the recording of the album is almost certainly the reason for this.
"Nightshade" and "I Wanna Be Your Star" are the only singles that will ever heard from Melody & Mezzo. They have officially discontinued the project and will not be releasing any further material, although producer J-Mi is now working with Midi-D.
Stars on 54, a trio effort between Ultra Nate, Amber, and Jocelyn Enriquez, covered "If You Could Read My Mind" for the Studio 54 soundtrack, and never collaborated again.
Another one-single collaboration was "So Deep" by Silvertear, produced by Pascal Schutters, Jonas Steur, and Christophe and Erik from Ian Van Dahl. Best known for its appearance in the Dance Dance Revolution series.
Obscure rap group Ninja High School only did one album, Young Adults Against Suicide, as well as some singles and extended plays, before dropping off the face of the Earth.
1990s dance experimentalists One Dove were lauded in the British music press but released only one album,Morning Dove White. Reports vary on how close to a releaseable state the follow-up reached before they decided they'd had enough of the label's Executive Meddling and split.
Cult Midwest Emo band Cap'n Jazz only released one full length LP Shmap'n Shmazz, along with a scattering amount of compilation appearances and 2 E Ps, before splitting up right after the release of the LP in 1995. Their entire discography, minus a few early tracks, were collected into a single compilation Analphabetapolothology in 1998.
This is usually typical of 90s Emo bands. One of the side project of Cap'n Jazz, cult Indie Rock group American Football, also only released a single LP, along with an EP, both self-titled. Though American Football managed to last a bit longer than Cap'n Jazz, breaking up in a few years after the release of their LP without releasing a follow-up.
R&B/neo-soul star D'Angelo only managed to record two well-received LPs before retiring from music for Ten Years due to Creator Breakdown from the reception from the Untitled (How Does It Feel) music video. He reemerged from his Reclusive Artist status in 2012. He started touring again, playing material that is supposed to be on his third LP, the tentatively titled James River. As of this writing, it has not seen the light of day.
German darkwave duo Electronic Suicide produced but one promo CD EP (i.e. not released to the public), featuring the songs "Ich Wollt", "Fear", and "Wild Kisses", then went their separate ways.
Kandystand only managed to produce one full-length album, Watch Out, Here I Come. They broke up due to a dispute shortly after releasing the stand-alone single "Love Invasion".
Egg Hunt were a Minor Threat offshoot who released one single with a B-Side (It was technically a self-titled single, but it's been variously referred to as Me And You, Me And You / We All Fall Down or 2 Songs): Ian MacKaye and Jeff Nelson spontaneously founded the project when they were visiting England and the owner of a studio invited them to do some recording, and the band name was chosen because the single was recorded over Easter weekend. Plans were made to put together a full-band version of Egg Hunt upon returning to their home city of Washington D.C., with Steve Niles and Geoff Turner of the band Grey Matter filling out the lineup. However, MacKaye started concentrating on his next project Fugazi, so what was to be the new Egg Hunt lineup replaced him with Mark Haggerty note Another former Grey Matter member, changed their name to Three, and also ended up being a one album band, as their debut album Dark Days Coming came out shortly after their breakup. Despite continuing to make music separately, the Egg Hunt single would be the last time Ian MacKaye and Jeff Nelson ever recorded anything together.
Negative Entropy, a Dutch ambient noise supergroup. Two albums, both limited production runs, of 1000 and 488 copies, respectively. The death of Geert Feytons in 2006 sealed the project's fate for good.
One-Hit Wonder Sarina Paris's self-titled album is her only full-length, although she later produced a couple stand-alone singles.
Eclectic country rock band Quacky Duck & His Barnyard Friends released their only album, Media Push, in 1974. They had an interesting lineup, though: Tony Bennett's two sons (Danny and Daegal); David Mansfield, who later worked with Bob Dylan and Bruce Hornsby and scored numerous films; and Gordon Javna, who went on to write the Uncle John's Bathroom Reader books.
Vicious Pink's only album was their self-titled album. They were also a One-Hit Wonder with "Cccant You See?".
Ty England's 1995 debut single "Should've Asked Her Faster" had three writers. Two of them ("Big" Al Anderson, formerly of NRBQ, and veteran songwriter Bob DiPiero) have plenty of cuts; the third, Joe Klimek, has no other entries on BMI at all.
Lonestar's "Tell Her" is in a similar situation: their 2001 hit "Tell Her" was written by prolific songwriter Craig Wiseman and another songwriter credited only as "Kwesi B." (real name: Mark McClendon), who has only one other entry in ASCAP's database which was apparently not recorded by anyone (or if they did, it's so obscure that not even Google can find it).
Obscure 90s country music singer Daron Norwood had an unknown person named Jeff Carlton produce both of his albums, albeit in collaboration with more famous producers: James Stroud on the first, and Richard Landis on the second. Carlton apparently never did anything else in Nashville again.
Speaking of Norwood, his 1995 single "Bad Dog, No Biscuit" was written by one Richard Ferrell, who has no other entries on BMI. (He is not to be confused with Rick Ferrell, a more prolific songwriter.)
Edmund Gettier was a philosopher looking for tenure at Wayne State University. To help with this he was encouraged to publish any ideas he had. He published a 3-page paper called Is Justified True Belief Knowledge? which completely changed epistemology (the study of knowledge) by showing that apparently, no it wasn't, contrary to everything since Plato. He never touched epistemology again, and in fact has published nothing else.
Barry Godber designed the iconic sleeve cover of King Crimson's In the Court of the Crimson King, as well as a painting on the inner jacket of the album. That album contains the only known artwork of Godber, who died shortly after the album was released.
Many of the Japanese VAs of the Kingdom Hearts series (especially, those from the Japanese Disney dubs) have never worked in other works (anime, games and otherwise) besides those games or they only did foreign dubs but not Anime or anything locally created:
Some of the more egregious examples are Riko Hanamura (Japanese VA for Nala) who only does foreign dubs, but not anime or Japanese games. Takashi Aoyagi (Mickey Mouse), Risa Uchida (Kairi), Iku Nakahara (Namine) and Mayumi Suzuki (Mulan) are practicaly typecasted as those characters, and in the case of Ms. Suzuki, she is typecasted as the eternal Japanese voice of Disney heroines, and nothing else.
Back in The Nineties, Sierra was one of the first studios to experiment with adding voice acting to games. As they didn't have the budget for professional actors (nor were games treated as a serious medium at that point), they roped in many of their programmers and staff as pinch-hit voice talent. Some of them were atrocious, but writer/designer Josh Mandel became known as the definite voice for King Graham.
Four Leaf Studio, the group of people behind Katawa Shoujo, was created specifically just for this one game and will not be making any other projects. Justified since it's a collaborative effort by people from all over the world (many of whom were long gone when the final product was released) and it has been 5 years in the making.
The only thing people know for a fact about Kikiyama is that (s)he was the creator of Yume Nikki.
John Chacon voiced Gabe in the first three Syphon Filter games...and by all accounts, hasn't done anything since.
Metal Arms: Glitch in the System was the first and last released game from developer Swingin' Ape. Their next game was to have been StarCraft: Ghost; Blizzard even acquired the studio before disbanding it and canceling the game.
Electronic Arts' combat driving game Auto Destruct was the only title developed by Neurostone.
Studio Archcraft developed the 2009 Nintendo DS RPG Black Sigil: Blade of the Exiled in 2009, and quietly disappeared afterward.
Thom Huge voiced Jon Arbuckle in all animated adaptations of Garfield from Garfield on the Town (the second animated special) onward through the end of Garfield and Friends, where he also voiced Roy the rooster and various other characters. To this day, those are his only credits in any medium, likely because Huge was Jim Davis's associate at Paws Inc. who got roped into the role.
Dee Dee from Dexter's Laboratory is the only voice role for Allison Moore, who was a college friend of series creator, Genndy Tartakovsky. She only voiced the character in the first season, but briefly came back several seasons later when her replacement Kathryn Cressida (who has done some other voice work) was unavailable.
Several actors from Daria have never done other acting, due to actually being people working behind the scenes who got roped into voice-acting, as opposed to professional voice-actors. For instance, Tracy Grandstaff, who voiced the main character on Daria as well as on Beavis And Butthead, was a writer for various MTV programs.
Michael Wallis' only voice acting role (or acting credit of any kind for that matter) is as the the Sheriff of Radiator Springs in Cars, its sequel and other spinoff media. That said, Wallis is also a renowned journalist and historian.
Aside from a handful of brief cameos on a couple television shows, Sarah Vowell's only acting role is as Violet in The Incredibles. Like Wallis, she's better known a writer and essayist (most famous for her appearances on This American Life) instead of a professional actor.
Most of the voice actors on KaBlam! haven't done any acting/voice acting since the show ended, save for a few cameos in other shows or minor voice acting roles (June's voice actress, Julia McIlvaine was in a few episodes of MAD). Some of the few voice actors still doing work after the show are Danielle Judovits, who voiced Loopy, and Ashley Tisdale (Credited as "Ashley Michelle"), who voiced Jetcat.
Similar to the case of Daria, some of the actors behind Superjail! were friends of the staff or the staff members themselves. Most notably, Teddy Cohn (voice of Jared) was hired due to being a friend of Stephen Warbrick, and otherwise had never done voice acting before. David Wain, Dana Snyder, and Chris McCulloch, however, are more known outside of the show for their other roles in animation and acting. Christy Karacas and Stephen Warbrick have never acted outside of the series, and Sally Donovan (voice of most female characters) was an otherwise obscure actress who had voiced in MTV interstitials and shorts before being cast. Alice's initial voice actress was even an old college acquaintance of Karacas' who was roped in to do the role, until the Adult Swim executives ordered the role recast.
Minty Lewis' only voice-acting role has been Eileen on Regular Show. She also helped with storyboarding on four episodes of Season 2.