I Am Not A Rapper x DJ Nastee Naj Presents: #ClassicFriday Vol. 13 #ClassicOneHitWonders
Some one-hit wonders are the result of novelty songs during fads. Examples include Rick Dees’ “Disco Duck“, related to the disco craze of the 1970s; C. W. McCall‘s “Convoy“, related to the CB radio craze of the 1970s (though McCall has had at least one other top-40 hit); and Buckner & Garcia’s “Pac-Man Fever“, related to the 1980s-era arcade game Pac-Man.
Some artists, such as the Big Bopper, had their careers cut short by death (in the Big Bopper‘s case, in a fatal plane crash that also killed two other musicians), while others, such as New Radicals and The La’s, broke up immediately after their one hit. In the 1960s and early 1970s, session bands such as Edison Lighthouse or Alive N Kickin’ producing just a single 45 record were common. More commonly, however, one-hit wonders are serious-minded musicians who struggled to continue their success after their popularity waned.
Because one-hit wonders are popular for only a brief time, their hits often have nostalgic value and are featured on era-centric compilations and soundtracks to period films. One-hit wonders are normal in any era of pop music, but are most common during reigns of entire genres that do not last for more than a few years, such as disco, new wave and grunge.
Though the term is sometimes used in a derogatory manner, some fans often have a great passion for these songs and the artists who created them. Some one-hit wonder artists have embraced this following openly, while others distance themselves from their hit in an attempt to craft successful songs with different sounds, or embark on new careers as songwriters (such as Linda Perry of 4 Non Blondes and Gregg Alexander of New Radicals), or even game show hosts (such as Chuck Woolery of The Avant-Garde). One-hit artists who possess a significant legacy of music outside of the singles world (e.g. Buffy Sainte-Marie with Illuminations) may however distance themselves severely from their hit single (“Mister Can’t You See“) as they are likely to feel their hit in no way represents what they stand for.