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 with "Atlanta Burned Again Last Night" and "Sweet Country Music", and were never heard from again.
  • Boy Howdy had only two major hits with "She'd Give Anything" and "They Don't Make 'em Like That Anymore" in 1994. Oddly, both of these were only ever released on EP, a very unsuual 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 ones 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!" 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 a fourth 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, 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 soon petered out. 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 Canada.
  • 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, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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.

    Hip Hop 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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, and "Ice Ice Baby" is usually one of the first songs people associate with the tag "one-hit wonder."

  • 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. 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 better remembered 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.
  • 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 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 Piρa 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 180Ί 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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."
  • 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.

  • 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".
  • 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 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 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.

  • 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.
  • 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 is their chart-topping cover of BJ Thomas' "Hooked on a Feeling" and the second is 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.) and 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.
  • 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).
  • 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 all but forgotten today, while "The Final Countdown" is one of the most iconic songs of the decade.
  • 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.
  • 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: In 2004, the released "One Thing" which went Top 20. Then in 2007 they had a surprise hit with "Paralyzer" which charted in the Top 10 and went 2x platinum. They are more commonly regarded as a one-hit wonder for the latter.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • 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."
  • 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. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Non-music examples:

    Live Action TV 
  • Johnny Carson: But oh, what hits they were – his game show stint, "Who Do You Trust" and, of course, "The Tonight Show."