Our 19 favourite one-off chart-toppers in honour of One-Hit Wonder Day

Our 19 favourite one-off chart-toppers in honour of One-Hit Wonder Day

September 25 is One-Hit Wonder Day, an opportunity to celebrate those catchy tunes that signal the beginning of a fantastic musical career

September 25 is One-Hit Wonder Day, an opportunity to celebrate those catchy tunes that seem to signal the beginning of a fantastic musical career, but that withers and dies before it takes off. Some of the artists go on to find moderate success in other fields; some disappear entirely from public view; others spend many, many years capitalising on their three minutes of fame, often performing the songs in movies or appearing in parody versions.

To pay tribute to these earworms, we've put together a selection of our favourite one-off hits. Some you'll know, others will be new and strange to your ear; all will get out of your seats and dancing (so make sure you save this one for home!)


1. Graduation - Vitamin C

This was really popular at secondary school graduation ceremonies in the noughties. It's actually really sweet!

 

2. Tubthumping - Chumbawamba
A surprisingly political song giving how irresistible the chorus is! 

 

3. 99 Red Balloons - Nena

Another track that fools you into thinking it's a jolly party song - it's actually an anti-war protest song written a few years before the Berlin Wall was taken down.

 

4. We No Speak No Americano - Yolanda Be Cool and DCUP
The video is a brilliant homage to Charlie Chaplin-style movies!

 

5. Star Trekking - The Firm

A parody of the original 1960s Star Trek show, this is a great example of  the standard of stop-motion video in the 80s. Yeah, we've come a long way.

 

6. Achy Breaky Heart - Billy Ray Cyrus
Long before Miley stuck out her tongue, her dad released the most stereotypical country song possibly ever. Cowboy boots ON!

 

7. Ice, Ice Baby - Vanilla Ice

This was one of the biggest songs of the 90s; many people who were tweens and teens when it was released still know the lyrics. For some inexplicable reason ...

 

8. Macarena - Los del Rios

If flash mobs had been around when this came out, everyone would've been doing this dance!

 

9. Who Let the Dogs Out - Baha Men

Like most music from the Caribbean, this is insanely catchy. It will also get stuck in your head for hours!

 

10. Mickey - Toni Basil

This song has been used in so many films and TV shows, but there's something about the original video that is just so... 80s.

 

11. Barbie Girl - Aqua

Such a great karaoke duet! (Plus it led to this brilliant parody!)

 

12. All the Things She Said - Tatu
These Russian singers were making headlines for quite some time, then disappeared. Their song, however, still gets stuck in people's heads for days - in some cases, since it was released in 2002. 

 

13. Somebody That I Used to Know - Gotye and Kimbra

This won Grammys! But where are they now?

 

14. Mambo No. 5 - Lou Vega

We love a little bit of retro. It's hard not to get up and dance when you hear those trumpets!

 

15. Hey There Delilah - Plain White T's

Such a great band name, you'd think anything they released would be an instant hit!

16. (I'm Gonna Be) 500 Miles - The Proclaimers

Sometimes all you need is a really, really simple idea, and your song gets remixed and featured 24 years later in the biggest film of the year (Pitch Perfect, I'm talking about you).

 

17. Kung Fu Fighting - Carl Douglas

Apparently recorded in just 10 minutes, this has got to be one of the most frequently referenced one-hit wonders ever!

 

18. Written in the Stars - Eric Turner

This is kind of cheating, as it's really a Tinie Tempah song, but it was a HUGE hit - and there's been nothing noteworthy from the vocalist since.

 

19. Gangnam Style - Psy

Yes, he did that song with Snoop Dogg that broke records, but really: do you remember how it goes? THIS, though, THIS!

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