November 11, 2009
The Biggest One-Hit Wonders We Wish Had Made More
Have you ever heard a song you liked so much that you got REALLY into the band, only to have the song turn out to be their only hit? Yeah, we’ve all been there. Many bands that ended up being one-hit wonders produced a trendy song that had no artistic value at all (e.g. Blue [Da Ba Dee]). But some are really baffling, because they’re great songs. You find yourself asking, “Why? WHY did they only have ONE hit song??” Consider “Relax” by Frankie Goes to Hollywood. I mean, Zoolander wouldn’t have been the same without it! Here’s a list of our favorites—both trendy and epic.
10. “Mambo No. 5″ by Lou Bega
To Lou Bega’s discredit, he didn’t actually write “Mambo No. 5″ himself. The song (or at least the music from the song) was written by Pérez Prado back in 1949. Lou Bega covered the song and gave it the same name, but added his ridiculous lyrics. He took nine women’s names and added words around them.
Regardless, who can really say that they didn’t expect Lou Bega to make at least one more hit song? I mean, it reached #1 on charts in the U.S., Canada, the UK, and Australia, along with a bunch of other European countries. I think we need a little bit of Lou Bega in our life.
9. “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” by Deep Blue Something, 1996
I’m not sure how or why, but this song was gigantic in 1996. It’s about this guy who is breaking up with his girlfriend, and they end up having a conversation about the classic movie, Breakfast at Tiffany’s. (If you haven’t seen it, you should. Audrey Hepburn is great. It’s not just a chick flick, okay? It’s a classic.) The guy who wrote the song, Todd Pipes, actually said that Roman Holiday was the movie that inspired the song, but he thought Breakfast at Tiffany’s was more recognizable. Good call, Todd.
The girlfriend in this song tells the guy that they don’t have anything in common. As it turns out, the movie is what they have in common. They both kinda liked it. What a great song. Where did you go, Deep Blue Something?
8. “Blue (Da Ba Dee)” by Eiffel 65, 1999
This might be one of the most annoying songs I’ve ever heard. That being said, in 1999, I think I loved it. You can’t make me embarrassed about that fact either, because as I recall, the song peaked at #6 on the Billboard charts in the U.S. and #1 in several European countries. So, I wasn’t the only one who liked it. I’m pretty sure you liked it, too.
Aren’t you curious about what else Eiffel 65 could sing? I mean, do they always sing songs with about 5 words repeated over and over again? How did they inspire Flo Rida to write a Billboard Hot 100 #5 hit song based on the song? (Flo Rida’s is “Sugar” and it’s not half bad.) So many questions, but no answers because Eiffel 65 was a one-hit wonder.
7. “Jump Around” by House of Pain, 1992
To me, this is the song that Robin Williams and Matthew Lawrence are dancing to (on top of a coffee table) in Mrs. Doubtfire. What a good scene; Sally Field walks in with this obnoxious look on her face…anyway, this song was a major hit back in 1992. You may also recognize it from Happy Gilmore also.
I mean, how can you not like a song with lyrics like, “I’ll serve your ass like John McEnroe” or “And I got more rhymes than there’s cops that are dunkin’”? How can you top that? At the very least, they could have had one more hit song with lyrics just as clever and profound as these. Oh well.
6. “Life is a Highway” by Tom Cochrane, 1991
This song was really popular when it was released back in 1991, but it also got a new life when Rascal Flatts covered it in 2006 for the Disney movie, Cars. (You know, that movie gets a bad rap. Most people tell me it sucked, and I usually just agree so that I’m not the oddball, but I don’t think it was bad at all. How could you not like something that has Paul Newman in it? I don’t understand.)
This is one of the songs on the list that I actually wish hadn’t been the artist’s only hit. It’s a fine country-pop song that’s pretty epic for road trips. Both versions—Cochrane’s and Rascal Flatts’s—are fun and upbeat. But I guess sometimes, you turn your back to the wind.
5. “You’re Beautiful” by James Blunt, 2005
Mad TV’s parody of James Blunt was beautiful.
What can I possibly say about this song? “You’re Beautiful” was a monster hit in 2005 that boosted Blunt into superstardom. Fans and critics alike were so excited about this guy’s future career, and couldn’t wait for his next great hit… the problem is, it never really came. Sure, he still pushed out singles and remains famous, but nothing has had quite the same impact as “You’re Beautiful.” The song reached #1 in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and a whole slew of other countries. What’s the plan now, James?
4. “What is Love” by Haddaway, 1993
First thought: A Night at the Roxbury. Am I right?
Don’t forget, though, that before the Roxbury guys ever used this song, it was a top 10 U.S. hit! Can you believe it? I actually can’t. At all. This song is so euro-pop crazy that it’s perfect for the sequin-wearing Chris Kattan and Will Ferrell.
There really isn’t any more I can say about this song. It’s one of those that didn’t really make me want more. Sorry, Haddaway.
3. “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix-a-Lot, 1992
I’m pretty sure even Sir Mix-a-Lot is sick of this song. But then that begs the question, why didn’t he make another??
This song has been talked about to death. Seriously. But there’s a reason for that, isn’t there? It’s a major part of 1992 pop culture history, and the song is still played at clubs and parties today. Not many artists can say their songs stayed relevant for two decades. If you haven’t heard “Baby Got Back,” then I’m not sure where you’ve been hiding.
2. “I’m Too Sexy” by Right Said Fred, 1991
Okay. I’m actually half-serious and half-kidding about this one. The song itself is ridiculous (”I’m too sexy for my cat, too sexy for my cat”), but come on. This is a classic! Not one of the members of Right Said Fred is remotely sexy, either, bringing a wonderful sense of irony to the song.
1. “Relax” by Frankie Goes to Hollywood, 1983 and “The Final Countdown” by Europe, 1986
I’m sorry. I hate it when there are ties on lists like this, but I honestly could not decide which one of these was more deserving of the #1 spot.
Does anyone else think Frankie Goes to Hollywood sounds a lot like Duran Duran? For a long time, I actually thought it was Duran Duran, until I realized it was a one-hit-wonder band, Frankie Goes to Hollywood. It has become such a pop culture phenomenon, too, especially with Zoolander in 2001. I’m not joking with this one. I really wish Frankie Goes to Hollywood had done more.
Okay. Here it is. “The Final Countdown” is literally one of my favorite songs ever… not only is it just a brilliant song, but it was made even better by Gob in Arrested Development (although I do think it’s kind of a detriment that Gob is all I can think about every time I hear the song now. Oh well!). Europe was basically a Swedish hair band, and “The Final Countdown” couldn’t be more epic. Just listen to it. You’ll wonder why it was their only hit, too.
(Have you noticed how many of these have been featured on The Office? Is that a coincidence? I have no idea.)
Honorable One-Hit Wonder Mentions:
“Who Let the Dogs Out?” by Baha Men, 2000
When I was in 6th grade, I thought this was the funniest song ever. I just re-listened to it as I was pondering whether or not to put it in the top 10 of this list… and no. Just, no.
“Sex and Candy” by Marcy Playground, 1997
This song is too high a quality to be put in the top 10 of this list, but I thought I should at least say something about it. I think Marcy Playground showed a lot of potential. The lyrics were good, the music video was weird, and the band seemed like they were on the right track. I guess they were too emo for their time. If they’d entered the scene in the last two years instead of twelve years ago, they’d have made it further (I think). In their defense, they’ve released a lot of songs since “Sex and Candy,” but nothing has been as significant.
Posted by Shaane at 12:00 pm