Main One Hit Wonder Discussion

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06:19:11 AM Jun 7th 2016
This page has so many problems. Firstly, we should use the actual definition of one-hit wonder— someone who fades into obscurity after their hit. A lot of these bands/artists are still famous, and a lot of them are extremely well-known outside of their one hit, even if their other songs didn't reach the Top 40. A lot are extremely famous and important presences in the music industry, even if they only had one Top 40 hit. Breaking Benjamin and Panic! At the Disco are bigger than ever— Dark Before Dawn and Death of a Bachelor are their respective best-selling albums to date. Black Sabbath, Jimi Hendrix and The White Stripes had several hits and shouldn't be anywhere near here. Also not One-Hit Wonders are Blur, blink-182, the Kings of Leon, The Replacements, Weezer, Sublime, T. Rex, Modest Mouse, Arctic Monkeys, The Hives, Florence + The Machine, System of a Down, Rush, The Mars Volta, The Grateful Dead, Boston, Seether, 10 Years, MIA, Run-DMC, Pharrell Williams, Amy Winehouse and Faith No More, even if they only had one Billboard hit. If most people called any of them One-Hit Wonders, they would be asked if they were joking. And as much as I'd like them to be One-Hit Wonders, The Spice Girls, Bv B, Disturbed, Shinedown, Rita Ora, Charli XCX and Korn are certainly not, either. Janelle MonŠe and Cee-Lo Green's hits are really recent and they are both still around and still have some power in the industry— it's far too early to tell with them. Also, a lot of these are Two-Hit Wonders. You can't use Billboard's definition and then change it some more. Look at the wonder part of the name— you wonder how they managed to have a hit.
09:36:13 AM May 17th 2016
edited by crazyrabbits
There are a lot of problems with this page. I'm sitting here trying to sort it, and aside from the inevitable personal biases that creep in (namely how one person views a "one-hit wonder" independent of the rest of the industry/world), there's a bunch of other problems.

1) A large number of these, especially in the pop section, could be considered a Two-Hit Wonder or not applicable at all.

2) There are many examples that never even topped the charts and were vaguely popular at best.

3) Artists being listed as "one-hit wonders" more than once, or in two or more different genres altogether.

4) Trying to count spinoff works from already-successful groups, like Bono/The Edge's solo work independent from Music/U2, as a one-hit wonder.

There's no consistent criteria for what exactly constitutes a OHW. Some people call it a hit based solely on international charts, while others base it solely off its placement on the Billboard Top 40 (the metric I use). Some consider acts with worldwide success, like this, to be OHW's:

  • While the Spice Girls certainly weren't one-hit wonders in their late '90s heyday, anyone who grew up afterwards and aren't from the U.K. or Ireland would be hard-pressed to name a song besides their chart-topping hit "Wannabe".

This needs a serious look to figure out what the best way forward is for this, because the description and criteria is too muddled.
06:31:50 AM Jan 2nd 2016
Should we split this page into multiple sections? When I edit it lags real bad, since it's so long. I think this can be split like Deader Than Disco. We could give country it's own page since that's the longest, and have the various forms of rock on a page of their own. This would make it easier in my opinion, but I wanted to see if anyone else agrees.
01:29:19 AM Jan 3rd 2016
Yes, at 601835 it needs a split. I've submitted a listing on Overly Long Pages.
11:35:13 AM Dec 2nd 2015
Does Psy really count as a one-hit wonder? He's had three Top 40 hits (all of which have many views on Youtube), and "Daddy" will probably make it his fourth.
04:36:09 AM Dec 3rd 2015
Unlike "Gangnam Style", no one remembered any of those songs when they died down, so he's certainly a cultural one-hit wonder.
12:25:38 PM Nov 22nd 2015
I accidently deleted Imogen Heap's entry. I think she goes under the Electonica folder. If not, please correct me.
04:09:46 AM Nov 19th 2015
edited by Spinosegnosaurus77
Papercut1 recently removed three examples on the grounds that the artists in question had more than one hit. However, as the description clearly states, that doesn't necessarily mean an artist doesn't qualify.

"In fact, there are a handful of artists who were massive in their prime, and even though they still had clearly defined Signature Songs, nobody would ever consider labelling them as one-hit wonders; however, as time goes on, the artists fade back into obscurity and their discographies are almost completely forgotten outside of the signature song. Thus, they are looked back upon as a one-hit wonder."
05:38:00 AM Nov 19th 2015
edited by Papercut1
Yes, but I didn't think they fit the term of cultural one-hit wonder since those songs still get airplay and aren't generally viewed as one-hit wonders as much as other cultural OH Ws (and I think "Just a Kiss" was a legitimate hit, it spent 42 weeks on the chart and topped the AC chart and placed #2 on Hot AC).
06:06:37 PM Sep 30th 2015
I'm not sure if Journey belongs on this article or even qualifies as a one-hit wonder. They had five top-10 hits, and almost all of their hits are still culturally popular.
05:39:26 AM Oct 1st 2015
Their other songs are still famous, but not among younger people. The entry specifically mentions this.
09:21:20 AM Oct 1st 2015
Oh, all right. Thanks for the clearup.
03:45:51 AM Sep 25th 2015
Why are the Spice Girls listed twice?
12:57:51 PM Sep 21st 2015
edited by Spinosegnosaurus77
Does Avicii really count? Not only does he have three two Top 40 hits and is one of the biggest names in EDM, but "Hey Brother" (which isn't considered a hit on this page) charted as high as some songs that are.
04:18:00 AM Sep 25th 2015
Actually he's only had two Top 40 hits, the second being completely forgotten.
04:44:43 PM Aug 3rd 2015
edited by BigBertha
I found an interesting article about the criteria for a one-hit wonder:

  • 1. If the artist had more than one top-10 hit, they are disqualified.
  • 2. If the artist managed a second top 40 hit (as the lead artist) within six months of their first hit, they are disqualified.
  • 3. If the artist had three top-10 or platinum albums, they are disqualified.

Otherwise, in my opinion, the artist's Signature Song must overshadow the rest of their discography, even if some of those songs were top 10/40 hits.
05:33:59 PM Aug 3rd 2015
edited by NightSpectre
But there are two kinds of one-hit wonders, as stated on the page: "Billboard" and "Cultural". Vanilla Ice for example, isn't a one-hit wonder for "Ice Ice Baby" by Billboard's standard, as his #4 follow-up "Play That Funky Music" disqualified him. However, to the general public, he is a textbook example of such an artist.
10:00:07 PM Sep 28th 2015
That makes sense. Most of the listed wonders had other hits that didn't survive in recurrent rotation on the radio, so those must be cultural OHW's. That's why I added "Take On Me" a few days ago.
05:19:36 AM Jul 19th 2015
edited by Spinosegnosaurus77
Never mind.
01:11:39 AM May 26th 2015
How is Carly Rae Jepsen a one hit wonder when she had three top 40 hits and 2 of those hits made the top 10?
07:55:44 AM May 28th 2015
edited by Larkmarn
There are two issues at play here:

Firstly, it depends on whether we're counting "Good Time" as hers or not. Given it's a collaboration with Owl City (and anecdotally, generally considered more Owl City's song. Less anecdotally, it was written by Owl City), this is not self-evident.

Secondly, if we deem it not her song, there's whether we're going with the "Billboard" definition or the "Cultural" definition. As the definition points out "usually, a "one-hit wonder" is defined by cultural impact rather than chart placements." "Call Me Maybe" was comically huge and had massive memetic mutation. Her getting a song to #39 and me already forgetting its name is enough that she's a "cultural" OHW. The definition makes no attempt to clarify whether we're going by the Billboard or Cultural definition.

So yeah, it's not cut-and-dry.
05:00:36 PM Jun 7th 2015
A #8 hit follow-up doesn't always get someone past the one-hit wonder status. I mean Vanilla Ice's #4 and Sisqo's #1 aren't enough to have them looked at differently.

There are plenty of cultural OH Ws that are not Billboard OH Ws, i.e. Psy, Tommy Tutone, Kelis and vice versa, i.e. Jimi Hendrix, Grateful Dead, Incubus. And then some are both, like Toni Basil, Sir Mix-a-Lot, Gotye. Both CRJ and Owl City fall in the former category.
08:16:04 PM Mar 15th 2017
@Larkmarn generally considered more Owl City's song by WHO? Maybe you, but certainly not the general public. When it was popular people were listening for Carly and today the song is very much forgotten for both of them.
04:48:16 AM Apr 12th 2015
Among other things, this page suffers from a complete failure to provide a consistent definition of "hit". Becky G's "Shower", which reached #16 on the Hot 100, is considered a hit, but Avicii's "Hey Brother", which reached the exact same position on the exact same chart, is not considered a second hit for him. Why?
12:46:02 AM Mar 19th 2018
edited by ryanisbetter
And I might as well add that "Hey Brother" lasted on the Hot 100 for 23 weeks as compared to "Shower's" 20. And if one were to argue that "Hey Brother" isn't remembered, "Shower" really isn't either. Avicii has been removed from the list since you posted this, but it is still an example of a greater inability to provide a consistent definition of a "hit."
03:38:17 AM Feb 20th 2014
edited by
Riana1 added a note that acts should only be listed if they have more than one album and removed several examples accordingly. Problem is, the examples she removed do have more than one album (Carly Rae Jepsen and Hot Chelle Rae have two each, while Owl City has four).
04:35:43 AM Feb 20th 2014
To be frank, I have to ask why the note is there.
07:14:58 AM Feb 25th 2014
Well, actually, I agree with the idea — it's unfair to label a musician a flash in the pan if they haven't had a chance to release another album yet.

But Riana1, you're NOT supposed to go changing the definition of a trope like that without discussion first — people have been suspended for doing what you did.
01:02:58 PM Aug 7th 2013
I removed Jimmy Buffett. He's actually had three Top 10 hits at country ("It's 5:00 Somewhere" with Alan Jackson, a cover of "Hey Good Lookin'", and "Knee Deep" with the Zac Brown Band). "Margaritaville" only got to #13 country, and #8 pop, and he's had multiple Top 40 hits at pop.
09:02:08 PM Aug 11th 2013
Wrong. For the purposes of being a One-Hit Wonder, the only charts that count are the Hot 100 Charts. "Its 5 O'clock Somewhere" is an Alan Jackson song, not a Jimmy Buffett song. "Hey, Good Lookin!" topped the charts at #63, and "Knee Deep" topped the charts at #18.

11:09:29 PM Aug 11th 2013
Because The Hot 100 is the only chart in the world, and a duet between Artist A and Artist B is by NO STRETCH of the imagination an Artist B song. Yeah, the song with Jimmy Buffett's NAME on it alongside Alan Jackson's is totally not a Jimmy Buffett song. No sir.

And even if we do count only Top 40 Hot 100 hits by himself, then Buffett still doesn't qualify on his own. Looking at his discography, I count four other songs that hit the 30s. And I'm sure even most casual fans could identify at least Cheeseburger in Paradise.
04:33:08 PM Aug 12th 2013
Twentington is correct. Please don't come on this wiki picking fights; they don't end well.
02:44:00 PM Nov 5th 2011
to be honest, just about everything here is in YMMV territory. I've just challenged a fact where somebody has asserted Lou Reed only ever had one single hit. I said that he has had at least three, with "Perfect Day" topping the British charts twice .... then I realised.

A one-hit wonder in Britain may not necessarily have been so in the USA, and vice-versa. It may well have been the case that Lou Reed only troubled the singles chart once - in the USA - even if he had three times that amount of singles chart success in Britain.

So with tropers posting from both sides of the Atlantic, aren't we going to be tripping over each other and mutually thinking "what the hell is he/she on about, they haven't done their research, that band had more than just one hit."

Does this whole trope need a little thinking about, or for every entry to have a bracketed (UK), (USA) or (other) after it?

One here for the Trope Repair Shop?
06:57:49 PM Oct 7th 2011
Do we really need to split this up into this many genres, when most only have a single example?
10:34:13 AM Jan 19th 2011
There's got to be a way to write this page without it constantly coming across as "Americans don't like anything more complicated than a single".
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