One Hit Wonders

Who coined the phrase “one hit wonder”? Wikipedia credits Guinness Book of Records:

In the United Kingdom, the term one-hit wonder is used to describe a singer or band who had only one hit reach the Top 75 on the UK Singles Chart. The term was first used by the Guinness Book of Hit Singles in the 1970s, and originally referred strictly to those artists whose first chart action was: “a number one hit, and then nothing else, ever.”

The Phrase Finder references a Winnipeg Free Press in a 1977 piece about Abba:

“Instead of becoming what everyone expected [after winning the Eurovision Song Contest with Waterloo], a one-hit wonder, they soon had a string of hits behind them.”

According to One Hit Wonder Central, these songs/artists are not one-hit wonders: 

  • Lifehouse – Hanging By A Moment 2001
  • Aqua – Barbie Girl 1998
  • EMF – Unbelieveable 1991
  • Marky Mark & The Funky Bunch – Good Vibrations 1991
  • Gerardo – Rico Suave 1991
  • Jesus Jones – Right Here, Right Now 1991
  • Allanah Myles – Black Velvet 1990
  • Martika – Toy Soldiers 1989
  • Boy Meets Girl – Waiting for a Star to Fall 1988
  • Crowded House – Don’t Dream It’s Over 1987
  • Chris De Burgh – The Lady In Red 1987

And according to 11, these are the most successful artists that, “technically, are one-hit wonders”:

  • Jimi Hendrix (“All Along the Watchtower”, #20 in 1968)
  • The White Stripes
  • Garth Brooks
  • Weezer
  • Blink 182
  • Norah Jones
  • Rush
  • Janis Joplin
  • Iggy Pop
  • Grateful Dead

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