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One-hit wonders that have withstood the test of time
September 12 2023, 08:00

With so many talented musicians releasing music, getting just one of your songs on the charts is an extremely difficult proposition. Some established musicians with international fame enjoy numerous hits released over the course of their career. For others, a career lasting decades may only be met with one hit, giving them the title of a one-hit wonder. For many musicians with this status, their songs have been popular at the time of their release, and continue to be heard by new generations, because the songs simply never get old. 

A lot of one-hit wonder songs are made for movies and television. The song becomes highly associated with that one project. If that project ends up being a success, most likely, so does the song. For others on the list, they had many chart topping hits internationally, but they struck gold once in the United States. 

Here is a list of a few of the well-known one-hit wonder songs which have remained popular in the years following their initial release. 


"Come On Eileen" is perhaps the most popular one-hit wonder song of all time. The song was released in 1982 by Dexys Midnight Runners. Although they had other hit songs internationally, "Come On Eileen" was the band's only mega hit in the United States.

The one-hit wonder by Gotye came out in 2011. It was initially released in Australia and New Zealand, and then United States. The breakup song helped Gotye earn three Grammy Awards, including record of the year. No other song by the artist has ever reached the success of "Somebody That I Used To Know" in the United States. 

You may not recognize this popular hit right off the bat, solely based off its title, but you will more than likely recognize the tune based off its lyrics; "I get knocked down, but I get up again, you are never gonna keep me down."

The song, written by the British rock band, was a massive success in the United States, but they never had another big hit in the country. The band wrote songs covering many different genres that were typically politically charged. The band stayed together for almost 30 years. 


"Mambo No. 5" is a jazzy dance hit by Lou Bega and Perez Prado that was released in 1999. The song was the first single off Bega's debut album. Even though none of his other releases were as popular in the United States as "Mambo No. 5," he has continued to release music, with his latest single in 2021. 

This song came out in 1992 on the third studio album by Sir Mix-a-Lot, who did not expect major success from the song at first. It ended up gaining fame that would endure for years. This song spent five weeks in the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 and continues to be played decades after its initial release. 

A-ha is far from a one-hit wonder band in Europe, but in the United States, "Take on Me" is where they found their greatest success. The Norway-based band topped the billboard charts in 1985 when the song came out. The song not only features Morten Harket's impressive vocal range, but also has a creative music video to go along with it. The eye-catching animation in the video did well on MTV. This song was the first single off the band's debut album, "Hunting High and Low." The band continued to play through 2010, when they had their final tour. 

"Stacy's Mom" is the most recognizable hit by the American rock band Fountains of Wayne. The third track off their third studio album came out in 2003 and was the band's only song to make its way on the Hot 100, even though they had been releasing music years prior and continued to release music for nearly ten years following the hit. 


The band was nominated for two Grammys in 2004 for the song. Many different versions and spin-offs have been made over the years. 

Even though Soft Cell had many hit songs in the U.K., "Tainted Love" was the band's only hit in the U.S., when it was released in 1981. 

The creation of "Spirit in the Sky" was a quick process for Norman Greenbaum, who was inspired to write a gospel song after seeing Porter Wagoner playing on television. 

Greenbaum wrote the words in just a few minutes and came out with a song that ended up being a top 100 hit when it came out in 1969. The song has been used in many movies and television commercials, which play a large role in the song maintaining its popularity. One movie that features the song is "Remember the Titans." 

Vanilla Ice's single "Ice Ice Baby" off his debut album ended up being his biggest hit. "Ice Ice Baby" was nominated for a Grammy Award after its release in 1990. The song was the only number one hit for the rapper. 


The theme of "The Breakfast Club" has become the Scottish rock band's most recognized hit. The number one hit song, made for the movie, is the one that the band is most known for in the U.S. 

This 2005 song by Daniel Powter is the musician's most popular song. It came off his second studio album. This song earned popularity due to the shows and movies in which it has appeared. It was used in the early seasons of "American Idol" and also in "Alvin and the Chipmunks." 

The song "Macarena" and the dance that goes along with it helped this single soar to fame. The Spanish pop duo released the song in 1993, and it remains a popular song that gets everyone on their feet when it is played. 

"Eye of the Tiger" was written as the theme song for "Rocky III." Originally, Sylvester Stallone wanted Queen's hit "Another One Bites the Dust," but his request was denied. Thus, "Eye of the Tiger" was born. 

Although "Eye of the Tiger" is the most well-known song by the band, giving them their one-hit wonder status, the band wrote another song for the film series. They are also the band behind the song "Rocky IV" called "Burning Heart." The song is played over the movie's training montage. 

The theme song from "Friends" became a huge hit for the band, The Rembrandts, who recorded the song. "I'll Be There For You" was released in 1995 and was also nominated for a Grammy Award. The music video for the song also was popular, starring both the band and the members of the "Friends" cast.