Two-Hit Wonder

For every artist that's a One-Hit Wonder – that is, an artist that is primarily known for one successful song and are never truly heard from again – there is the Two Hit Wonder. Those are the artists that have one really big single, and another song, often but not always the follow-up, is just as big, perhaps even a bigger smash hit as the first successful song. But like the one-hit wonder, success is fleeting for the two-hit wonder and the artist is unable to keep up the momentum.

As with one-hit wonders, two-hit wonders on the American charts may be a different story in other countries; many popular British artists, like Cliff Richard, charted only two top 10 solo hits (along with a few other lesser-performing top 40 singles) in the United States but remains enormously popular in his homeland. For that matter, many American artists have only charted once in their homeland but are popular in Europe (or vice versa: European artists that were more popular in the United States). Likewise is the case of a artists from other genres – most notably, country – who have had countless hits in their own genre but when it comes to the mainstream Top 40, they've had only a handful of successes.

There are countless examples, so this article will only list a handful of representative samples. Compare No Hit Wonder, wherein an artist manages long-term success without even so much as one big hit. Also see Hitless Hit Album, where a artist has a hit album with no hit songs. Contrast Breakthrough Hit, where one hit leads to a string of later hits.

Music examples by genre:

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  • Rhett Akins with "That Ain't My Truck" and "Don't Get Me Started", his only big hits as a singer from 1995 and 1996, respectively. But as a songwriter from about 2006 onward, he's had plenty more — including a few for his son, Thomas Rhett.
  • Liz Anderson, with "The Game of Triangles" (featuring Bobby Bare and Norma Jean) and "Mama Spank", from 1966 and 1967; Liz also wrote Merle Haggard's first No. 1 hit, "The Fugitive." Her daughter, Lynn Anderson, fared much better.
  • Atlanta, quite possibly the largest country band ever to exist, with a staggering nine members. They had Top 10 hits right out of the gate with "Atlanta Burned Again Last Night" and "Sweet Country Music", quite an impressive feat for an independently-signed country band at the time. Although they later got distribution rights from MCA Records, nothing else they put out afterwards made a dent.
  • David Ball had a breakthrough in 1994 with "Thinkin' Problem" after a failed album back in The '80s. He then had a second hit much later in 2001 with "Riding with Private Malone". These are the only two songs by which most people would know him, as they both went to #2 on the country charts and Top 40 on the pop charts; while he did have another Top 10 country hit with "When the Thought of You Catches Up with Me" and a near-miss at #11 with "Look What Followed Me Home", neither is remembered today.
  • Boy Howdy had only two major hits with "She'd Give Anything" and "They Don't Make 'em Like That Anymore" in 1994. Both of these were only ever released on EP, a very unusual move in 90's country. They had a couple minor chart showings before and after it, but by 1996, Lead Bassist Jeffrey Steele went solo, becoming a popular Nashville songwriter while repeatedly trying and failing to start a solo singing career.
  • Jack Blanchard and Misty Morgan, a Florida-based husband-and-wife duo, had back to back hits with "Tennessee Bird Walk" and "Humphrey the Camel" in 1970, both silly, monotone novelty songs about animals. There were a few more top 40 hits, including a cover of The Fortunes' 1965 hit "You've Got Your Troubles" later in 1970, but none are played today.
  • Paul Brandt: While he's had plenty of hits in his native Canada, including six number one country hits and even a chart-topper on the pop side, his first two hits, "My Heart Has a History" and "I Do," are his only songs to have chart success in the U.S.
  • Chad Brock: The former professional wrestler had only two top 10 country hits, "Ordinary Life" and "Yes!", the latter of which went to #1 in 2000. He's never made it past No. 19 otherwise.
  • Jason Michael Carroll: His first two hits, "Alyssa Lies" and "Livin' Our Love Song", were also his only two big ones. He never saw Top 10 again, although he barely missed with "Where I'm From" off his second album, and probably could've had another with his followup "Hurry Home" had he not abruptly left the label with the song in the Top 15.
  • Mark Collie: Despite a steady chart presence from 1990 to 1996, Mark only notched two Top 10 hits on the country charts: "Even the Man in the Moon Is Cryin'" and "Born to Love You", both from his 1993 self-titled third album.
  • Bucky Covington: The American Idol finalist notched two Top 10 hits off his debut: "A Different World" and "I'll Walk" ("It's Good to Be Us", released in between, just missed at #11). Underperforming singles and the closure of his label long delayed his second album, and with it, seemingly any chance at further success.
  • Steve Earle: One of the pioneers of Alternative Country in The '80s, he was only able to score two big hits at country radio: "Guitar Town" and "Goodbye's All We've Got Left".
  • Radney Foster: From 1986 to 1990, he was one-half of the duo Foster & Lloyd, which scored five straight Top 20 hits but split over Creative Differences. Foster signed to Arista Nashville in 1992 and had Top 10 hits with his first two releases: "Just Call Me Lonesome" and "Nobody Wins", but failed to score any more big hits from his next two Arista albums or three more from Dualtone. However, he remained fairly popular as a songwriter, and Keith Urban covered two tracks off his last Arista album ("Raining on Sunday" and "I'm In", the latter of which was also covered by The Kinleys in between).
  • Steve Holy: He's had a bunch of songs reach the top 30 of the Hot Country Singles chart — but only two that are truly hits. Those two are his No. 1 hits: the incredibly sexy ballad "Good Morning Beautiful" (2002, a five-week No. 1) and the good-timin' "Brand New Girlfriend" (2006, one week). Both those songs get a good amount of recurrent airplay today; his other songs are completely forgotten. In between the two, he released a whopping five singles that never appeared on an album.
  • Jack Ingram. Popular in Texas since the mid-90s, Ingram had scraped the bottom of the charts a few times, but finally achieved a breakthrough in 2006 with the #1 hit "Wherever You Are". After several near-misses and duds, he returned to the Top 10 in 2009 with "Barefoot and Crazy", but once again failed to follow through after that. ("Love You", the followup to "Wherever You Are", just missed at #12. It didn't help that "Wherever You Are" and "Love You" were the only studio tracks off an otherwise-live album.)
  • Buddy Jewell, the first winner of Nashville Star. He had two #3 hits with "Help Pour Out the Rain (Lacey's Song)" and "Sweet Southern Comfort", both of which also went Top 40 on the Hot 100, but had no other big hits.
  • Carolyn Dawn Johnson. The Canadian singer had only two hits in the U.S.: "Complicated" and "I Don't Want You to Go". The former was also a minor AC crossover. Her momentum quickly disappeared in the U.S., but she has remained popular in her homeland.
  • Love and Theft. Their debut album produced a Top 10 hit with its lead single, "Runaway". They managed to overcome the departure of Brian Bandas and the closure of their label (Lyric Street), and scored their only #1 hit in 2011 with "Angel Eyes" on RCA. Executive Meddling killed their momentum afterward, and they exited the label.
  • Wayne Massey, an actor-singer (One Life to Live), recorded two albums for Mercury Records, but none of his solo releases went anywhere. However, he paired up with his more famous wife, 1980s hit-maker Charly McClain (best known for "Who's Cheatin' Who", which was Covered Up by Alan Jackson), and they had two hits together: "With Just One Look in Your Eyes" and "You Are My Music, You Are My Song", both from 1985.
  • Lila McCann, a teenage singer who made her debut in the wake of LeAnn Rimes' success. McCann had only two major hits from any of her four albums: "I Wanna Fall in Love" in 1998 and "With You" a year later.
  • Jerrod Niemann has had two #1 hits with "Lover, Lover" in 2010 and "Drink to That All Night" three years later. Although he also had a #4 hit with "What Do You Want" right after the former, it has been forgotten in comparison.
  • Mary Kay Place, an actress/singer known for playing Loretta Haggers on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. She had one release in 1976 titled "Baby Boy" which was actually credited to Hagers, and went to #3. Later in 1977, she recorded under her real name as a duet partner on Willie Nelson's "Something to Brag About", which went to #9.
  • On their own, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals are a No Hit Wonder. But indepdendently of the band, Grace Potter has had two hits, both duets with Kenny Chesney: "You and Tequila" in 2011, and "Wild Child" four years later. (Strangely, she also sang on "El Cerrito Place" in between, but was not credited.)
  • Mike Reid. The former defensive lineman for the Cincinnati Bengals switched to a musical career in the early 1980s, with Ronnie Milsap choosing several of Reid's songs for his own. One of those songs, the #2 hit "Old Folks" in 1988, also had Reid singing duet vocals. Over two years later, Reid officially began his singing career, launched by the big #1 hit "Walk on Faith", but none of the singles off his two solo albums fared as well. Although his singing career never really panned out, he maintained a hot streak of songwriting as late as the mid-90s, and still occasionally pens songs to this day.
  • John Wesley Ryles had a big Top 10 hit with his 1968 debut single "Kay", and another Top 5 hit in 1977 with "Once in a Lifetime Thing". Although he charted as late as 1988, he never had any other big hits, and ultimately became a session backing vocalist.
  • Jo-El Sonnier, a Cajun accordionist, has been recording semi-regularly since the early 1970s. He never had a strong chart presence, with only two top 10 hits of note: "No More One More Time" and "Tear Stained Letter", the latter a cover of Richard Thompson.
  • The Wreckers, a one-off pairing of pop singers Michelle Branch and Jessica Harp. They had two big hits: "Leave the Pieces" and "My, Oh My". The duo broke up after their only full album, and both resumed their solo careers. (Of course, the former is better remembered for her solo career, in which she is not a one or two hit wonder; although her success predated that of the Wreckers.)

  • Gloria Gaynor: Although thought to be one of the '70s defining artists and a feminist icon, she's only managed to get two songs into the Top 40 (both of which went Top 10). The first was her #9 hit "Never Can Say Goodbye" in 1974, and then four years later she had a chart-topping smash with "I Will Survive". Unfortunately, the backlash against disco happened not long after, completely undermining further chance at success (though she had more success in the UK).
  • Silver Convention: This West Germany-based euro-disco trio had two top 5 hits on the Billboard Hot 100: the No. 1 smash from 1975 "Fly Robin Fly" and the No. 2 hit from 1976 "Get Up and Boogie (That's Right)." That's right, they had no more hits after that in the United States.
  • A Taste of Honey: During the height of the disco craze, this dual-female-fronted R&B band's song "Boogie Oogie Oogie" became a number-one hit in 1978, in which the ladies laid down the groove both vocally and on guitar and bass. In 1981, they returned to the top 5 with a Westernized ballad version of Kyu Sakamoto's peppy No. 1 hit from 1963, 'Sukiyaki' — which lyrically has nothing to do with the hot beef preparation of title in either English or the original Japanese.

  • Avicii: While a very big name in the world of EDM, the Swedish artist has only gotten two songs into the American Top 40. "Wake Me Up!", which holds the record for the biggest EDM hit in history (a feat only rivaled by Major Lazer's "Lean On" two years later), topped many charts and placed at #4 on the Hot 100. Later, his follow-up "Hey Brother" wasn't quite as big as its predecessor, but it was enough to hit #16. All singles since then have failed to enter the Hot 100 (largely due to radio executives screwing him over to give the former song near-unprecedented recurrent airplay), but he still remains very successful in the electronic scene.
  • 3OH!3: The electronic-crunkcore band had precisely two hits, "Don't Trust Me" which peaked at #7 in 2008, and "My First Kiss" (featuring Kesha; who is not a two-hit wonder) which hit #9 two years later. After that, they faded into obscurity with the other crunkcore bands. They also saw the Top 10 once again as a feature on Kesha's #7 hit "Blah Blah Blah". However, since it wasn't their hit and it's mostly forgotten today, it doesn't really disqualify them from their two-hit wonder status — and since "My First Kiss" is even more forgotten, they are usually considered a one-hit wonder for "Don't Trust Me".

    Hip Hop 
  • Bubba Sparxxx: The white southern rapper scored a #15 hit in 2001 with "Ugly". He dropped off Hot 100 after that, but still remained visible in the world of hip-hop. Then, in 2005 following the crunk invasion, he came back in a big way with his #7 hit "Ms. New Booty". Once its time in the limelight was up, he faded away for good.
  • Far East Movement: They had a surprise megahit in 2010 with their club anthem "Like a G6", which topped the charts and sold over 10 million digital downloads worldwide. Their follow-up "Rocketeer", which featured vocals from Ryan Tedder, reached the top 10. Afterwards they faded back into obscurity, apart from one minor hit "Live My Life" with Justin Bieber. Today they're commonly regarded as a one-hit wonder for "Like a G6", and even their follow-up album barely scratched the Billboard 200.
  • Diddy-Dirty Money: The collaboration between rapper Sean "Puff Daddy/P.Diddy/Diddy" Combs and singers Dawn Richard (of Danity Kane fame, see below) and Kaleena Harper produced only two Top 40 hits before disbanding. The first was "Hello Good Morning" (featuring T.I.), which peaked at #27, while its follow-up "Coming Home" (featuring Skylar Grey) hit #11. The latter was the bigger hit, but didn't do as well on R&B and urban stations as the former (and it tends to be associated more with its featured vocalist).
  • Fort Minor: The side-project Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda is primarily known for two songs — The soft pop crossover "Where'd You Go?" and the popular sports anthem "Remember the Name". While the former was technically their only hit, the latter is far better remembered. After that, the project went on an indefinite hiatus with no material being for nearly a decade. However, Fort Minor has returned, so it's possible they might be able to produce another hit in the future.
  • The Game: The Compton-born rapper had two massive crossover hits in the mid-00s, both of which featured eventual Evil Former Friend 50 Cent — "How We Do" and "Hate It or Love It". He also had two other minor hits with "Dreams" and "My Life", but neither of which are well-remembered today.
  • Gym Class Heroes: In 2005, they released "Cupid's Chokehold" which became a Sleeper Hit, peaking at #4 on the charts in 2007. It seemed like they were going to be a one-hit wonder as their album sales were poor and its follow-up The Quilt failed to produce any hits. That is, until four years later when they released "Stereo Hearts", which also peaked at #4 and was an even bigger hit than "Cupid's Chokehold", likely because it featured Adam Levine. Then they faded into obscurity with no follow-up hits whatsoever ("Ass Back Home" reached #12, but it's mostly forgotten today).
  • Lil Mama: Before she was out of her teen years, she scored two hits that both hit the Top 10 at exactly 10: "Lip Gloss" and "Shawty Got Loose" during 2007-8. She has not charted since, and the latter song is completely forgotten today.
  • LMFAO: Despite having two minor hits in 2009 and scraping the top 40 on a David Guetta track in 2010, this EDM-pop-rap duo are primarily known for two back-to-back, highly memetic songs with "Party Rock Anthem" and "Sexy and I Know It". Both of them were chart-toppers, and are among the best-selling digital singles of all time (the former is notable for being the best-selling song of all time in Australia). This was before they went on an indefinite hiatus in 2012 due to Creative Differences, and faded back into obscurity.
  • Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch: Mark Wahlberg, before his successful acting career, had a number-one hit with "Good Vibrations" and then hit the top 10 with the Lou Reed-sampling "Wildside." Marky Mark is more often considered a one-hit wonder than a two-hit wonder.
  • Maino had two hits: "Hi Hater" and "All The Above". While the latter was the larger hit of the two, it's more commonly attributed to featured guest artist T-Pain, who "sings" the chorus.
  • Mystikal: He broke through in a big way with his subtle ode the shaking butts with "Shake Ya Ass", which hit #13. He then followed that success with "Danger (Been So Long)" which fell one space shorter at #14. His next single "Bounchin' Back" managed to scrape the Top 40 at #37, but was quickly forgotten. After that, he never saw the Hot 100 again, mainly due to him getting arrested for crimes involving sexual battery and extortion.
  • PSY: Already very successful in South Korea, this rapper is technically a two-hit wonder worldwide with "Gangnam Style" and "Gentleman" (or three-hit, if you add the minor hit "Hangover"), but he is instead remembered as a one-hit wonder for the formermost song.
  • Soulja Boy: The Atlanta rapper has two big hits to his name. The first was his debut #1 hit "Crank That (Soulja Boy)" in 2007, which brought snap music into the mainstream. People hoped — no, prayed — that he would become a one-hit wonder. Then a year later, he released "Kiss Me Thru the Phone", which hit #3. He had two other minor hits, "Soulja Girl" and "Turn My Swag On", to his name, but neither (especially not the former) is remembered today. After that, he was hit with a massive backlash that prevented him from ever seeing the Top 40 again.
  • Tone Lōc: Before he became a D-list actor. the former Anthony Smith had a pair of massive rap hits in 1989: The Van Halen-sampling "Wild Thing" and the sound-alike follow up "Funky Cold Medina" which was based off of a sample of Free's "All Right Now." Its parent album Lōc-ed After Dark even topped the Billboard 200! Despite the success, the follow up album, Cool Hand Lōc never even made it onto the chart.
  • Vanilla Ice: After "Ice Ice Baby" became the first rap single to top the Hot 100, Vanilla Ice sent a remake of "Play That Funky Music" into the Top 5. Despite the success, "Play That Funky Music" is almost completely forgotten today (mostly because of the Wild Cherry original remaining the definitive version of the song in the public eye), and "Ice Ice Baby" is usually one of the first songs people associate with the tag "one-hit wonder."

  • KT Tunstall: The Scottish singer is known in America for just two songs: "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" and "Suddenly I See."
  • aha: The Norwegian new wave group had two top 40 hits in 1985: the #1 smash "Take On Me" led way to the #20 hit "The Sun Always Shines on TV". Since "Sun" is mostly forgotten today, a-ha is often considered a one-hit wonder for the former song.
  • Natasha Bedingfield: In 2004 and 2008, the British singer had two hits in the U.S. with "Unwritten" and "Pocketful of Sunshine" respectively, which both peaked at #5. Afterwards, she completely fell out of the public's eye outside a 2011 guest appearance on Rascal Flatts' "Easy" (#3 country, #43 pop). She is more successful back home however.
  • Tracy Chapman: One of adult-alternative's biggest female pioneers also saw mainstream success with two songs. First, "Fast Car" became a surprise hit in the summer of 1988. Then, for eight years, she remained a one-hit wonder. However, in 1996, her song "Give Me One Reason" became an even bigger hit than "Fast Car" was. That was the last time Tracy Chapman ever had pop radio success.
  • Neneh Cherry: Swedish pop-rap musician Cherry had two major 1989 hits in the U.S., "Buffalo Stance" and "Kisses on the Wind," the latter of which became a minor hit for Lumidee in 2007. She's had significantly more success in other countries.
  • Cobra Starship: The NYC dance-rock group had a minor hit with the "Snakes on a Plane" theme. Two bona-fide hits came later in 2009's "Good Girls Go Bad" and 2011's "You Make Me Feel", both hitting #7 on the Hot 100. That's where the success stopped. The guest singers on the songs (Leighton Meester and Sabi, respectively) are both one-hit wonders, although the former is notable as an actress.
  • Paula Cole: The Grammy winner for Best New Artist burst onto the scene in 1997 with "Where Have All The Cowboys Gone?" which hit No. 8. The follow up "I Don't Want To Wait" just missed the top 10, but is probably the better remembered of the two today thanks to Dawson's Creek.
  • Danity Kane: The second season of "Making the Band" gave way to girl group Danity Kane. Two songs, their debut "Show Stopper" and 2008's "Damaged" went top 10 on the Hot 100. They never visited the top 40 again, and broke up in 2009.
  • Robbie Dupree: His 1980 top 10 hit "Steal Away" and its top 20 follow-up "Hot Rod Hearts" are the only songs fans remember today.
    • Dupree would make a brief comeback in 1987 when he recorded the song "Girls in Cars" for the WWF's music album, "Piledriver II: The Wrestling Album," and an instrumental version was used as the entrance theme for the the tag team Strike Force (Tito Santana and Rick Martel), but the song failed to chart on the Hot 100.
  • fun. had "We Are Young" (featuring Janelle Monáe) and "Some Nights" in 2011-2012. The former was a #1 hit and the latter went to #3. "Carry On" followed at #20, but it has been quickly forgotten unlike its predecessors, and the band has not charted since.
  • David Geddes: Two songs – both about death – were this Michigan soft rock singer's lone top 20 pop hits, both in 1975. The first was "Run, Joey, Run" (a story about a young girl trying to warn her boyfriend that her father plans to kill him, only for the father to accidentally fatally shoot his daughter), with the second being "Last Game of the Season (The Blind Man in the Bleachers)" (where a junior varsity high school football player's father, who is blind, dies; the news motivates the player to his biggest game ever and results in a come-from-behind win for his team). He would later have a minor hit under his own name, David Idema, called "House on Holly Road," but that one is not nearly as well known as his first two hits.
  • Hamilton, Joe Frank and Reynolds: A soft-rock trio from the early- to mid-1970s, who hit No. 4 on the Hot 100 in July 1971 with "Don't Pull Your Love." After several years of failing to hit the top 40, they released the single "Fallin' in Love" in June 1975 (Ironically, Reynolds had left by that time), and two months later had their only No. 1 hit. While they had another top 25 hit after that, only those first two songs are remembered today.
  • Albert Hammond: Although he had more success in his native United Kingdom, in the U.S. he is best known for his 1972 top-5 pop hit "It Never Rains in Southern California." He had only one other top 40 hit as a performer – 1974's "I'm a Train," peaking at No. 31. However, he did have a No. 1 hit as a songwriter, co-writing with Carol Bayer Sager "When I Need You," which became a huge hit for Leo Sayer in 1977.
  • Corey Hart: Canadian pop singer Hart only had two top 10 hits in the U.S.: Firstly, he hit No. 7 with the new-wave classic "Sunglasses at Night." One year later, he's No. 3 with his ballad "Never Surrender." Ironically, the former song is far better remembered than the latter despite having a lower peak position.
  • Sophie B. Hawkins: American pop-rock singer Hawkins had two top 10 hits: 1992's "Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover" and 1995's "As I Lay Me Down." Nothing else ever hit the top 40 for her.
  • Dan Hill: This Canadian soft-rock singer had a massive hit in 1977 with "Sometimes When We Touch," before making a surprise comeback nearly 10 years later with "Can't We Try," a duet with Vonda Sheppard.
  • Rupert Holmes: After "Escape (The Piña Colada Song)" topped the charts in 1979, he followed it up with a second top 10 hit, "Him." No more hits followed.
  • Janis Ian: In 1967, this folk-styled singer-songwriter recorded a hit called "Society's Child," and had a No. 14 hit with it. Nothing more seemed to come up for the New York City native, and she was even featured in a 1973 American Top 40 special on one-hit wonders. Ian would be one of the only artists featured in that special to have a follow-up hit, as it turned out ... and it came in 1975 with her memorable song about a shunned teen-ager who could only watch (she wasn't even so much as thrown a bone) as all her popular classmates got all the attention and accolades. "At Seventeen" would reach the top 10 of the Hot 100 and be a No. 1 adult contemporary hit, and even landed her the first episode of Saturday Night Live. Ian had a couple more top 25 AC chart hits, but never did reach even the mainstream Hot 100's top 40 again. Today, Ian's name is probably better known as that of Lizzy Caplan's character from Mean Girls than of a singer.
  • Information Society: In 1988, this dance quartet from Minneapolis had a smash hit called "What's On Your Mind (Pure Energy)." They returned to the top 10 one more time with "Walking Away," which was practically the same song as its predecessor. While they did have another top 30 hit in 1990 called "Think," their career was already done.
  • Carly Rae Jepsen: A former contestant on Canadian Idol, Jepsen was known as a moderately successful musician in Canada when she released the song "Call Me Maybe". One Justin Bieber tweet later and it was topping singles charts worldwide and a massive pop culture phenomenon. She followed it up with the Owl City duet "Good Time" which, while not as massive as "Call Me Maybe" was another big hit as well. Unfortunately, she remained so closely tied to her megahit that she was ultimately perceived as a novelty act. Thus, the public dumped her in a jiffy. Today, "Good Time" is all but forgotten and "Call Me Maybe" has become a textbook one-hit wonder.
    • She did attempt a Career Resurrection three years later with "I Really Like You", which was well received and made the top 40, however it only made #39 for one week before dropping off immediately.
  • Jesus Jones: This British dance-rock group, alongside EMF, seemed to be starting a new trend of music when their hit song "Right Here, Right Now" hit #2. The #4 follow up "Real, Real, Real" gave the band a second hit, and they never again touched the Hot 100. A few more hits back home and on the modern rock airplay charts followed, but they went untouched by US pop radio.
  • Tara Kemp: This pop singer from California had a No. 3 hit with "Hold You Tight" and a No. 7 hit with "Piece Of My Heart," but after one follow up barely made it onto the Hot 100, her career was over in a flash.
  • LFO: A three-man pop/rap group from Massachusetts followed the boy band craze by hitting the top 3 with "Summer Girls." They followed up with "Girl on TV" which made it to #10. Despite nearly going top 40 one more time with 2001's "Every Other Time", they failed to have any more success.
  • The McCoys: In 1965, this up-and-coming rock band from Indiana topped the charts with their first entry "Hang On Sloopy." The follow-up "Fever," a cover of the Peggy Lee/Little Willie John classic that sounds almost exactly like "Sloopy", was their only other big hit.
  • Glenn Medeiros: A Hawaiian singer of Portuguese descent, this teen pop star had a hit in 1987 with "Nothing's Gonna Change My Love for You," which topped the charts in the UK but only hit No. 12 in the U.S., In 1990, he made a surprise comeback with the Bobby Brown collaboration "She Ain't Worth It," which topped the charts in the U.S. but only hit No. 12 in the UK, a complete 180º from his 1987 placement. A minor hit, "All I'm Missing Is You," with Ray Parker, Jr., cracked the U.S. top 40 later that year, but failed to chart anywhere else.
  • Melanie: Another folk-pop songstress, she had a hit in 1970 with "Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)," featuring the Edwin Hawkins singers, and topped the charts on her own in 1971 with "Brand New Key." She hasn't hit the top 30 since, but had four other hits in the Top 40.
  • Men Without Hats: The Canadian band released the massively memetic "Safety Dance" in 1982, which peaked at #3. It seemed like they were a one-hit wonder, since none of their follow-ups charted. This is, until they released "Pop Goes the World", which hit #20 five years later. They are still considered to be a One-Hit Wonder for their first hit.
  • The Mindbenders: Fronted by Wayne Fontana, this Manchester-based pop-rock band topped the charts in 1965 with "Game of Love." Exactly one year later, the Mindbenders, sans Fontana, reached the number-two spot with "A Groovy Kind of Love." Eric Stewart, the band's guitarist, would later have success with 10cc.
  • Naked Eyes: This duo's 1983 cover of the beloved Burt Bacharach/Hal David standard "Always Something There to Remind Me" set the blueprint for their smooth brand of weepy synthpop. Unfortunately, the competition for running-mascara hits was pretty stiff in 1983, and after barely missing the Top Ten with the more maudlin original "Promises, Promises," the Brits sulked off into eternity.
  • Natalie Imbruglia: While still fairly popular in her native Australia and internationally, only two of her songs impacted American audiences. Her debut single "Torn" (which was a cover from a little-known band called Ednaswap), which hit #1 airplay and remained there for a whopping eleven weeks. Her follow-up "Wishing I Was There" wasn't quite as big as her former song, but it still reached #15 airplay.note  After that she faded into complete obscurity in the US and is thought of as a One-Hit Wonder for her first song, and she hasn't toured North America since the early-2000s.
  • O-Town: Two massive hits in 2001 graced this boy band formed on the show "Making the Band." Debut single "Liquid Dreams" went straight to the top 10, while follow-up "All or Nothing" became an even bigger hit. Unfortunately, the hype faded by 2002, and after the moderately successful "These Are The Days," the group faded into obscurity.
  • Owl City: Adam Young's electronica project scored two hits in its run. The first was "Fireflies" in 2009, which became an unexpected chart-topping hit. After that, it seemed like he was doomed to the term "one-hit wonder", since none of his songs released afterwards came even close to the Top 40. Then, in 2012, he collaborated with "Call Me Maybe" star Carly Rae Jepsen to make the song "Good Time", which hit #8 on the chart that summer. He is still often regarded as a one-hit wonder for "Fireflies" however.
  • Phillip Phillips: After winning the eleventh season of American Idol, he became known solely for two hits (neither of which he wrote). The first was "Home" which peaked at #6, and the second was "Gone Gone Gone", which peaked at #24. However, both songs dominated AC radio. He even managed to get his debut album to go platinum. After that however, he faded into obscurity. His second album charted lower and dropped off immediately, and the lead single "Raging Fire" only peaked at #58 (though it did fare better on the aforementioned AC radio), while its second single "Unpack Your Heart" failed to chart anywhere.
  • Sugarloaf: The Denver-based pop-rock band had a major hit in 1970 with "Green-Eyed Lady" before completely vanishing off the face of this earth. However, five years later, they made an unexpected comeback with "Don't Call Us, We'll Call You," which proved to be another top 10 hit.
  • 10cc: Just like the Mindbenders, Stewart's second group also had only two major American hits with 1975's "I'm Not In Love" and 1977's "The Things We Do for Love."
  • Suzanne Vega: One of adult-alternative radio's pioneering females had only two songs that crossed over onto pop radio. In 1987, her tune "Luka" became a surprise summer hit. Then, in 1990, she teamed up with dance producers D.N.A. for a radio-friendly remix of her acapella "Tom's Diner."
  • Til Tuesday: The Bostonian band had a big hit with their debut single "Voices Carry" in 1985, reaching #8. The next year, "What About Love" wasn't quite as big, but it was enough to reach #26. After that, they disbanded and their lead singer went solo. Today, "What About Love" is all but forgotten while "Voices Carry" is a textbook example of an '80s one-hit wonder.
  • Kim Wilde: The British singer is an interesting case. Much like Sisqo (see below), she's had two hits in the United States, but is often thought of as a one-hit wonder... for the song with the lower chart peak. Her signature 1981 song "Kids in America" only reached #25, while "You Keep Me Hangin' On", released five years later, is almost completely forgotten despite the fact that it topped the Billboard Hot 100.
  • Tammy Wynette: When the mainstream Hot 100 charts are considered, she's placed two top 20 hits and never had anything else come close to the top 40: Her iconic "Stand By Your Man" in 1968, and with the KLF "Justified and Ancient" in 1991. Of course, on the country chart, she's had dozens of hits.

  • Amerie: In 2002, she released "Why Don't We Fall in Love?", which hit #23. Three years later, she made "1 Thing" for FilmHitch soundtrack, and it reached #8. After that, nothing. She is more often thought of as a one-hit wonder rather than a two-hit wonder.
  • Blaque: A girl-group similar to TLC, Blaque had a pair of hits in 1999 and 2000, the R. Kelly-penned "808" and the JC Chasez collaboration "Bring It All To Me."
  • Taio Cruz dominated 2010 with the one-two punch of "Break Your Heart," which shot to the top of the charts in a heartbeat, and "Dynamite," one of the best-selling digital songs of all time. After that, he had a minor hit with "Higher" and then, nothing.
  • The Foundations: In existence for a very brief time in the late 60's and early 70's, the seven-piece ensemble scored two hit songs in the earlier half of their career: "Baby, Now That I've Found You" (#11, 1967) and "Build Me Up Buttercup" (#3, 1968).
  • Jimmy Jones: The Alabama-born Jones had a massive hit in 1960 with "Handy Man", which hit No. 2 on the Hot 100. He followed up with "Good Timin'" which made it to No. 3. However, after that, his career went nowhere and he faded back into obscurity.
  • Kelis: She scored a #3 hit with her booty-anthem "Milkshake" in 2004, and then in 2006 she landed at #16 with "Bossy" which was supposed to be her comeback song. As it turned out, it was only her second and final song to enter the Billboard charts. Today, "Bossy" is almost completely forgotten while "Milkshake" has become a oft-cited example of a modern one-hit wonder.
  • Leona Lewis: The X-Factor winner had a lot of hits in her native UK, but she's only had two big hits stateside. The first was her chart topping megahit "Bleeding Love" in 2007, which was one of the best-selling singles of the 00s, and the second was her direct follow-up "Better In Time", which hit #11 in early 2008. She did manage to scrape the lower-end of the Top 40 at #31 with "Happy" two years later, but she's never appeared on the Top 40 ever since. Nowadays, she's only known as "that girl that made Bleeding Love", and for gamers, she's known for making "My Hands", the Final Fantasy XIII ending theme, but that doesn't really count as a "hit". Nowadays, X Factor is probably best known in the U.S. for its discovery of a different act who has had far more success than her.
  • The Manhattans: While they have had considerably more success commercially on the Hot R&B Singles charts, this Jersey City, N.J.-based group has but two major hits on the Hot 100, and both are staples of classic hits/oldies radio: "Kiss and Say Goodbye" (a No. 1 hit from 1976) and "Shining Star," a top 5 hit from the summer of 1980.
  • Curtis Mayfield: Despite being a highly influential R&B singer, he has had only two major pop hits, "Freddie's Dead" and "Superfly," both from the film Superfly.. His biggest UK hit however was Move On Up, as sampled by Kanye West for his hit "Touch the Sky"
  • Maxine Nightingale: She is yet another example of an artist whose two hits are greatly spaced apart. Her first hit, the 1976 No. 2 "Right Back Where We Started From" has been used in countless movies, while the slow ballad "Lead Me On" was written by future one-hit wonder David Lasley.
  • Candi Staton: While she's had considerable success as an R&B artist, as a mainstream artist she reached the top 20 just twice in her career: Her 1970 cover of Tammy Wynette's "Stand By Your Man" and in 1976 her pop-disco smash "Young Hearts Run Free."
  • Sisqo: Dru Hill's frontman is another interesting case, in that he had two big hits but is usually considered a one-hit wonder, for the song that had the lower chart peak! His signature "Thong Song" hit number 3, while his follow up "Incomplete" is almost completely forgotten (as is the fact that he was in Dru Hill) despite the fact that it topped the Billboard Hot 100.
  • Sylvia: One of two artists who reached the Billboard Hot 100 using this name (Indiana native and country singer Sylvia Kirby was the other), Sylvia Robinson is known primarily for two hits. Her first was in 1957, as part of a duet with rhythm and blues guitarist Mickey Baker with "Love is Strange"; they'd be credited as "Mickey & Sylvia. For 16 years, Robinson was a one-hit wonder, but joined the two-hit club in 1973 with one of disco's earliest hits: "Pillow Talk," a song she had written for Al Green (but he rejected due to its strong sexual overtones and orgasmic beat); the song was a No. 1 R&B chart smash and a No. 3 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, and did well internationally as well. Robinson later founded Sugar Hill Records, which became a pioneering recording label for hip-hop music, with hits like "Rapper's Delight" by The Sugarhill Gang and The Message by Grandmaster Flash And The Furious Five.
  • Robin Thicke: He's only had two songs that reached the Top 20; "Lost Without U" released in 2007 which peaked at #14, and "Blurred Lines" released in 2013 which topped the Billboard charts (along with many other charts) and was the best-selling single of that year. Since his latest album was a flop and the former song's success was limited to R&B/urban stations, his latter song will likely make him one of the biggest examples of a modern one-hit wonder in the public's eye.
  • For a long time after their peak, The Coasters were written off as a classic One-Hit Wonder for "Yakety Yak", despite the fact they had six top 10 hits. As evidenced by their Last.FM charts, the Coasters became a Two-Hit Wonder after their song "Down in Mexico" was featured in Quentin Tarantino's film Death Proof, despite failing to crack the Hot 100.

  • Snow: The Canadian artist's debut single "Informer" topped the US Hot 100 for a whopping seven weeks, despite being in jail at the time of it's release and no one could understand what he was saying. His follow-up "Girl I've Been Hurt" reached the #19 position, but after that he never charted again. Today, he is only remembered for his first hit, and if the latter song is brought up, it's credited for destroying his career.

  • The Automatic looked like they would be stuck as a One-Hit Wonder with the incredibly Ear Worm-y "Monster", but then managed a comeback a few years later with the success of "Steve McQueen". Then, after another hitless album, they seemingly vanished again.
  • Bad English: The John Waite-fronted supergroup of the late '80s had two top 10 hits with the power ballads "When I See You Smile" and "Price of Love."
    • Waite's first group, The Babys, also had only two successful songs: "Isn't It Time" and "Every Time I Think of You," both of which hit No. 13 on the Hot 100.
  • Barenaked Ladies: The Canadian band only managed to get two Top 40 hits down south. Their single "One Week" became an unlikely chart-topper, spending (fittingly) one week atop the Hot 100 in 1999. The next year, they released "Pinch Me", which hit #15. Their success ended afterwards, and are often thought of as a One-Hit Wonder for the former. They have had consistent success back home, however.
  • Blue Swede: This pop-rock cover band only lasted two years from 1973 to 1975, and during that time they had exactly two hits, both in 1974. The first was their chart-topping cover of BJ Thomas' "Hooked on a Feeling", and the second was their cover of The Association's "Never My Love", which went Top 10. Today, the latter is almost completely forgotten (with the Association's original remaining the most enduring version of the song), while the former has remained relevant through its use in pop culture (featured in Reservoir Dogs and prominently in the blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxy) and has completely eclipsed the original in the public's eye. They are often thought of as a one-hit wonder.
  • Lindsey Buckingham: The lead guitarist and male lead singer for the iconic Anglo-American blues-rock band Fleetwood Mac, Buckingham has attempted a solo career. His only two notable solo efforts, at least from a Hot 100 standpoint, are "Trouble" (1982, his only top 10 hit) and "Go Insane" (a top 25 hit from 1984, although this was a top 5 hit on the Mainstream Rock charts).
    • That said, a third single – "Holiday Road" – is well known, despite its low charting position (No. 82 on the Hot 100); it can be heard during the opening of the classic comedy film National Lampoons Vacation starring Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo.
  • The Clash: You certainly can't say the British rockers lack recognition, seeing as how they're one of the most famous and acclaimed Punk Rock bands of all time and a first-ballot entry into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. However, from a single standpoint, they've only managed to get two songs into the American Top 40, which is two more than most punk bands can hope for. Specifically, their two Top 40 hits are "Train in Vain" which peaked at #23 in 1980, and "Rock the Casbah" which hit #8 two years later. Funnily enough, neither song is a contender for their most well known or even second most well-known. That title goes to either "London Calling" or "Should I Stay or Should I Go?", neither of which reached the Top 40.
  • Legendary rock band Cream only had two crossover hits, "Sunshine of Your Love" and "White Room."
  • Crowded House: While they were much bigger everywhere else, Crowded House only managed two big hits in the U.S. with "Don't Dream It's Over" and "Something So Strong."
  • Cutting Crew: After "(I Just) Died in Your Arms" went #1 US for this British group, they had a second top 10 hit with "I've Been In Love Before." While it did reach #9 on the US charts, unlike its predecessor it wasn't a big hit anywhere else. They did manage to eek out a #38 with "One for the Mockingbird," but that never went top 40 in any other country.
  • The Cyrkle didn't last very long, but in 1966 they hit the Top 20 twice with the Paul Simon-penned "Red Rubber Ball" (#2) and the less memorable "Turn Down Day" (#16).
  • Deep Purple: One of the founders of Heavy Metal as a whole, the British band only had two big hits on US pop during their run: "Hush" in 1968 and "Smoke on the Water" in 1971, both of them peaked at #4. Of course, on rock radio, they get tons of airplay for their body of work.
  • Europe: In 1987, this Swedish rock band had two top 10 hits: the stadium rocker "The Final Countdown" and the ballad "Carrie." Ironically, although "Carrie" was the bigger hit of the two, it is far less remembered than "The Final Countdown", whick is one of the most iconic songs of the decade.
  • Evanescence: The female-fronted Gothic Nu Metal band was one of the biggest music acts in the world in 2003/4, but only two songs they've released successfully crossed over to pop radio and had consistent airplay: "Bring Me to Life" and "My Immortal". Their second album had a #10 song with "Call Me When You're Sober", but it gets little airplay today and is mostly forgotten. In fact, they're mostly remembered for the formermost song, with the latter only being brought up in relation to an infamously bad fanfiction of the same name.
  • Extreme: Despite being a hard-rock band, Extreme are better known for their acoustic songs, as evident by their two pop hits. In 1991, "More Than Words," an acoustic ballad, topped the Hot 100, and a folkish tune called "Hole Hearted" took them into the top 5.
  • Fastball had two big hits in the late '90s, the #5 airplay hit "The Way" and the #20 "Out of My Head." Due to a chart technicality preventing songs without a physical single from entering the charts until 1999, only the latter song actually charted. Today, however, "Out of My Head" is almost completely forgotten and "The Way" is remembered as a textbook '90s one-hit wonder.
  • Filter, the rock side project of Nine Inch Nails' Richard Patrick, had a few hits on the rock charts in the '90s, but today, only two songs of theirs are well remembered: 1995's highly controversial "Hey Man, Nice Shot" and the 1999/2000 crossover hit "Take a Picture."
  • Finger Eleven: The Canadian rock band released "One Thing" in 2003, which went Top 20. After that, they had all the makings of a One-Hit Wonder, abysmal album sales, no other song that entered the Hot 100, and in general seemed to have faded into obscurity. Then in 2007 they had a surprise hit with "Paralyzer", which charted in the Top 10 and went 2x platinum. Today, they're still thought of as a one-hit wonder, but now for the latter song.
  • The Five Americans: The two biggest hits of this Oklahoma-based group were "Western Union" (#5, 1967) and a rerelease of "I See The Light" (#21, 1966).
  • Golden Earring: In 1974, their driving song "Radar Love" became a top 20 hit in the U.S., a rarity for a Dutch band. Like most acts from non-English speaking countries, they were destined to be one-hit wonders. Then, in 1982, the "Bourne Identity" inspired "Twilight Zone" sparked a brief comeback. After that, they were gone for good.
  • Kansas were massively popular during the 1970s and 1980s and still hugely respected by many classic rock fans. However, to most modern day casual audiences, their reputation rests almost entirely on two songs: "Dust in the Wind" and "Carry On Wayward Son." Even more ironic is that while "Dust" outpeaked "Carry On" by four chart positions, the latter is unquestionably the more recognizable of the two today.
  • Love And Rockets: They had a modest hit in 1987 USA with "No New Tale to Tell", then a smash hit with "So Alive" in 1989. They changed to a more electronic sound with their following album, and their fans quickly stopped listening.
  • Madness: Of their three charting songs in the United States, the forgettable "It Must Be Love" hit #33 in 1981 and "Our House" reached. #7 in 1982 while "The Sun and the Rain" peaked at #72 early in 1983.
  • The Motels: Fronted by Martha Davis, the California-based rock band had two No. 9 hits on the Hot 100, 1982's "Only The Lonely" and 1983's "Suddenly Last Summer."
  • Mr. Mister exploded onto the charts in 1985-86 with the back-to-back #1 hits "Broken Wings" and "Kyrie" before completely vanishing into obscurity; while they had another top 10 with the #7 "Is This Love" it is all but forgotten today.
  • Murray Head, a British actor (yes, that is his name) had exactly two chart hits, both making the top 40 of the U.S. Billboard Hot 100: 1971's "Superstar" (the title song from the rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar, in which Head appeared as Judas Iscariot, betrayer of Jesus Christ) and his 1985 new wave hit "One Night in Bangkok."
  • Neon Trees: In 2010, they scored a surprise hit with "Animal" off of their debut album Habits, which charted at #13 and went 2x platinum. They then released "Everybody Talks" off their sophomore effort, Picture Show which charted even higher at #6 and also went 2x platinum. Those were the only two songs of theirs you were likely to hear on the radio, though "Your Surrender" and "Lessons in Love (All Day, All Night)" saw minor pop radio airplay. Their luck eventually came to an end, as "Sleeping With A Friend", the lead single off their third album Pop Psychology only charted at #51 and failed to reach any certification, while the rest of the singles went completely unnoticed.
  • Pink Floyd: From an album standpoint, the English-based rock band was one of the top arena rock band acts of the 1970s through early 1990s, and sold millions of albums. And historically, they are one of the most legendary and influential rock acts of all time. But they were mainly an album rock act. Of the nearly 30 singles they released, just two reached the Billboard Hot 100's top 40, but they are classics: "Money," which peaked at No. 13 in the summer of 1973 (from their landmark album The Dark Side Of The Moon); and "Another Brick in the Wall," the rock operatic protest against goverment-funded and controlled public education that spent four weeks at No. 1 in the spring of 1980 (from The Wall).
  • The Power Station: Robert Palmer collaborated with John and Andy Taylor from Duran Duran and Chic's Tony Thompson to score two big hits in 1985, the dance-rock original "Some Like It Hot" and a cover of T. Rex's "Bang A Gong." They didn't have any more hits afterwards, but it did lead to Robert Palmer's career explosion the following year.
  • Puddle of Mudd are a very successful act on the rock radio charts, but only two songs of theirs, "Blurry" and "She Hates Me", crossed over to pop.
  • The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus had two hits in the 2000's: "Face Down", the protest song against domestic violence that made them famous, and "Your Guardian Angel", a romantic power ballad. They were both on the same album, and are the only two songs that the general public knows them for. "In Fate's Hands" was fairly popular as well, but wasn't a hit. However, with a new album coming out, they might manage another hit or two.
  • Scorpions scored their first hit in 1984 with "Rock You Like a Hurricane," which reached #25 on the pop charts. In 1990, the German group scored another hit, "Wind of Change," which peaked at #4.
  • Sixx A.M., the side project of Mötley Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx had an enormous rock radio hit in late 2007 with "Life is Beautiful," only to disappear as quickly as they came. Four years later, they re-emerged with the equally massive "Lies of the Beautiful People" and once again quickly vanished from the charts.
  • The Spencer Davis Group was the first band Steve Winwood was in. Not only did "Gimme Some Lovin'" and "I'm a Man" make the Top 40, those two songs also made the Top 10.
  • Steppenwolf had seven top 40 hits and three top 10s, but their two biggest hits, "Born to Be Wild" and "Magic Carpet Ride", are all that they're remembered for today.
  • The Tremeloes had been around since 1958 but didn't have much chart success (despite auditioning for and being chosen by Decca over The Beatles) until they released a cover of Cat Stevens' "Here Comes My Baby" in 1967. Later the same year they released another cover, the Four Seasons' "Silence Is Golden," before they faded back out of the spotlight.
  • The Troggs: In 1966, this relatively unknown garage-rock band topped the U.S. charts on their first try with the now-classic "Wild Thing," Nearly two years later, they would have their only other major hit there with the softer "Love Is All Around." It would later become a hit for Scottish band Wet Wet Wet in 1994, spending 15 weeks on top of the British charts.
  • White Lion: A Brooklyn-based hair band fronted by Danish singer Mike Tramp, White Lion had a massive MTV video hit with 1987's "Wait." This led to the song (and its parent album, "Pride") roaring up the charts. A power ballad, "When The Children Cry," did even better a few months later. While their follow up album "Big Game" got a top 20 placing, it didn't produce any top 40 hits.
  • Trust Company were extremely close to being a One-Hit Wonder with their song "Downfall". They even broke up shortly afterward. Then, they got back together and released another hit, "Heart in My Hands", EIGHT YEARS LATER.
  • Vertical Horizon: In 2000, their song "Everything You Want" became an out-of-nowhere chart-topper after spending half a year there, and following that success was the #23 hit "You're a God". They're more commonly regarded as a one-hit wonder for the former.
  • Warrant: The Glam Metal band only had two really big hits in their career, "Heaven" in 1989 and "Cherry Pie" in 1990. Although "Heaven" was the bigger hit of the two, it's mostly forgotten today and they are often regarded as a one-hit wonder for "Cherry Pie" (boy did they hate that song). Unfortunately for them, the Grunge invasion took over soon after they hit the scene, killing their chance at further success.

Non-music examples:

    Live Action TV 

  • Storm Impact, a 1990s Macintosh software company, had only two successful products: the skiing game MacSki and the RPG TaskMaker. Executive Meddling and undercapitalization did the company in just after they rushed out an Obvious Beta of The Tomb of the TaskMaker, a sequel game to the first.
  • Adam West is primarily known for two roles: the title character of the 1960s TV adaptation of ''Batman'', and his self-parodying role as the Mayor of Quahog on Family Guy.
  • Milton Bradley is a board game company and a long time rival of Parker Brothers. Like their competitor they were also visible in the video game scene, but only known in there for releasing the Vectrex, a very popular homebrew console, and for publishing Abadox in the US, which is a 2-D shooter that quite often gets mentioned when people talk about the best 2-D shooters on the NES.