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The Hudsucker is an online magazine made up of unique and dedicated writers with fresh voices from across the country and overseas. Our team of writers are passionate and driven, bringing forth their personalities in each article. Since its inception in 2012, The Hudsucker has continuously proven how writing is our strongest fingerprint. By creating a smart and ambitious environment for readers, the digital magazine focusing on popular culture aims to be relatable through experiences and passions.

The Hudsucker Celebrates One-Hit Wonder Day!

Tomorrow we celebrate one of the best days of the year: One-Hit Wonder Day! It’s the one day out of the year where we celebrate every musician who ever hoped their break-out hit would catapult their career, but soon discovered that their one chart-topping, signature song overshadows the rest of their work. Whomp, whomp.

Any way you look at it, the industry is cluttered with one-hit wonders, musicians who are known for only one single success. In honor of this day, our writers took part in a piece celebrating our generation’s greatest tracks and share their favorite one-hit wonders! These may not be the best one-hit wonders in all of history, but let’s be honest—they come pretty close to defining their era.

Carl Douglas – “Kung Fu Fighting”

 

Katherine: Honestly, it was hard for me to narrow down my favorite one hit wonder because I have so many. Admittedly, my musical taste tends to be all over the place, and often suspect, so many one hit wonders have slipped into my favorite songs from time to time. It was also hard for me to pin down whether certain songs were truly one hit wonders. Many artists had hits in other countries or low key hits in the US, besides their major hit. Sometimes I assumed bands must have been one hit wonders because their other songs were terrible, but come to find out they actually had quite a few other hits.

“Kung Fu Fighting” has most of my favorite traits in a one hit wonder. It’s still iconic, albeit in a mostly ridiculous way, to this day. It’s catchy. It doesn’t take itself seriously (at least I hope not). And finally, I would probably karaoke it if I were in the right mood (hint: liquor).

Truth be told, on any given day my favorite one hit wonder changes. I could wake up tomorrow and decide I quite love “99 Luftballons” and whatever happened to Nena? Or wouldn’t the world me a better place if everyone knew all the words to “How Bizarre“? But I think that’s the beauty of one hit wonders. Besides, who needs Snow’s entire discography anyway?


Vanilla Ice – “Ice, Ice, Baby”

 

DeShawn: This was a song of my childhood. I knew all of the dances and I could perform them while rapping. I probably couldn’t do it now but it was fun when I could!

Nicole: Why? Because a bunch of girls at more than a few of my old jobs and I used to rap it poorly in meetings for laughs.


Rupert Holmes – “Escape (The Piña Colada Song)”

If you like Piña Coladas, and getting caught in the rain
If you're not into yoga, if you have half a brain
If you like making love at midnight, in the dunes of the cape
I'm the love that you've looked for, write to me and escape

Elizabeth: Funny story: Up until Guardians of the Galaxy (and its excellent 70s soundtrack) was released, I had attributed “Escape” to the wrong artist for several years. As it turns out, the song is sung by Rupert Holmes, NOT Jimmy Buffett. I guess this mix-up just goes to show how much of a one-hit wonder Holmes is, but boy, is “The Piña Colada Song” the perfect summertime jam or what? The lyrics are kinda shady (two lovers who’ve grown tired of each other begin scheming for a rendezvous through personal ads, only to find both cheating hearts brought back together again) but the song is so sunny, breezy, and catchy, it makes you want to kick back on the beach with a glass of your ffavoritetropical drink. Cheers to that!


Crazytown – “Butterfly”

 

Bo: Call me nostalgic, but no other song accurately captured the vibe of the early 2000’s like “Butterfly.” You’ll enjoy this song most when watching Jack Black’s Orange County. Take this approach as opposed to watching the less memorable music video for the song. But who can’t resist the repetitive guitar melody and poetic lyrics? Now go pop in your favorite mix tape and cruise to Crazy Town!


Del Amitri – “Roll To Me”

 

Desi: One-Hit Wonders are a sore topic for me, because when I really love a song, I’m likely to hunt down the band and listen to as much as I can by them. So my favorite one-hit wonder is by one of my favorite bands: Del Amitri’s “Roll to Me.” I think it’s the perfect example of a one-hit wonder because it’s poppy, short, and so catchy. It’s easily recognizable, and, unless you have a deep arsenal of 90’s music knowledge in your brain (like me), you’ll find yourself singing along without really knowing the name of the song or the artist.


The Proclaimers – “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)”

 

Andrew: When I first heard this song, I thought it was just a goofy song with a bar-anthem type rhythm to it and nothing more, but it took a slowed down cover of it by Sleeping At Last for me to realize how much sorrow is embedded in the lyrics. The cover version of it really taps into that emotion, but I think the Proclaimers are kind of brilliant to have hidden all that emotion behind such a catchy beat—it’s a very jarring paradox. As someone in a long distance relationship, I can definitely relate to this song too.

Honorable Mention:Lovefool” by The Cardigans


Carly Rae Jepsen – “Call Me, Maybe”

 

Stephanie: By far, my favorite one-hit wonder is “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen. As someone who also hails from her hometown of Vancouver,  I would usually be the last person who would denigrate Ms. Jepsen to one-hit wonder status (I mean, remember her debut smash hit “Bucket“? Or “Tug of War“? Classics!). But I am aware that for the majority of humans who had access to a radio in the summer of 2012, Carly Rae is mainly known for the song that launched a thousand identical pick-up lines. It’s a well-deserved honor, too—to paraphrase this modern masterpiece: before this song came into my life, I missed it so bad.

Janna: It’s upbeat and catchy and was perfect for the summer it was released (2012). Plus it has a really funny music video, with a great twist at the end!


B*witched – “C’est La Vie”

 

Meg: This song was my j-a-m in the late 90s.  I have distinct memories of dancing around my bedroom with my friends & this song as the backdrop, which might be why it sticks in my head as my favorite. It has all the elements of the perfect one hit wonder song: super catchy (I’m sorry for the inevitable ear worm I’m inflicting on you), a cliche title, and ridiculous lyrics that at first glance seem innocent enough but when listened to as a young adult cause delayed embarrassment for my 2nd grade year old singing self. This song is still on my iTunes (and on many of my running playlists) so a successful one hit wonder it is!


Lipps Inc. – “Funkytown”

 

Alex: Why? Not only is it super catchy, but I got to sing and dance (well, spin) to this on stage in my drama class for a project and got 100% (just saying!).

Honorable Mention: What is Love” by Haddaway: Why? I know “A night at the Roxbury” isn’t a “good” movie but I also have it memorized and can rock the head move as I sing along.


Chumbawamba – “Tubthumping”

 

Chris: The energy of the song was great and pretty fun to karaoke to. It is one of the few that I could hear on the radio now and be completely excited for. Also, “My Sharona” by The Knack. I’m pretty sure this was their only hit, so I’m hoping it counts. Love the drums and guitar solo, plus it’s another karaoke favorite of mine as well.


Deee-Lite – “Groove is in the Heart”

 

Andrea: The most feel good song of all feel good songs if you ask me, listen to it and watch all your problems fade into the bright colors of the video’s poor CGI animation. The music is super catchy and the lead singer girl is fabulous and wears fake fur and everything.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Steal My Sunshine” by Len: Another feel good song, it makes me wanna go roller-skating and eating ice cream at the beach, I think the lyrics aren’t super cheerful but who pays attention to lyrics anyway. It’s been a regular on my Vacation playlist since the beginning of mp3 players (everybody has Vacation playlists, yes?).
  •  “You Get What You Give” by New Radicals: Because I’m not all about summer and fun when it comes to my one hit wonders, I also enjoy deep songs that talk about getting what you give,  having the dreamer’s disease, kicking Courtney Love and Marilyn Mason and whatnot. What’s sad is that I never even saw the lead guy’s face because it was always covered in that ugly hat.
  • Canonball” by The Breeders: I’m not sure if they’re really one hit wonders but I’ve never heard of anything else by them so I’m including them. I remember listening to this song on and off when MTV wasn’t unwatchable and I rediscovered it a few years ago. The song kicks ass, the video looks like it cost 2 $ and the girls have that 90s effortlessly cool thing going on.

Men Without Hats – “Safety Dance”

 

Tania: This was really, really hard. I share Katherine’s sentiment when I say, my musical tastes are all over the place. On any given day, you will see me listening to Edith Piaf’s Parisian classic, “La Vie En Rose”; or, 1955’s doo-wop wonder “Earth Angel” by The Penguins; or, 1985’s “You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)” by Dead or Alive (can eye-patches come back?); or, 2000’s sappy pop hit “Back Here” by BBMak; or, even the 1990s classic by Crash Test Dummies, “Mmm, Mmm, Mmm, Mmm” that we all remember from Dumb and Dumber. It’s really hard to pinpoint a favorite because unknowingly, one-hit wonders are part of my life’s playlist. I wanted to say, “Once in a Lifetime” by Talking Heads was a favorite one-hit wonder (still one of my number one tracks ever), but it never really peaked past the Top 10, so I can’t.

I will say, I really love Canadian new wave band Men Without Hats’ “Safety Dance”. I will sing this song to make myself feel better because if they can sing a song with the mental state they’re in, that I can do anything in life. I also love how this song stemmed a whole generation of pop culture references. From a really funny sketch on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, where actor/comedian Brian Stack kept singing the song until everyone got fed up with him and his wife divorced him; to Homer Simpson singing to Marge with incorrect lyrics. It’s hilarious and truly an awesome song to sing along to in karaoke and dance about with.


Dobie Gray – “Drift Away”

 

Oh, give me the beat boys and free my soul
I wanna get lost in your rock and roll and drift away.
Cathie: The power of music is described in those two lines. Whatever is happening in one’s life, music is a companion. It can life you up. It can make you relate. If can be a virtual embrace, the melodies and lyrics wrapping around you when you just need to feel like you’re not alone.  The opening notes draw you in, you know what’s coming and you stop to listen, because it’s just that good every time.

* * * * *

What are some of your favorite one-hit wonders? Share with us in the comments below.

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2 Comments on “The Hudsucker Celebrates One-Hit Wonder Day!”

  1. Desi September 26, 2014 at 12:08 pm #

    I knew someone was going to say New Radicals but they were not a one hit! They were big with Someday We’ll Know too!

  2. Andrew Rogers September 26, 2014 at 2:20 pm #

    So many good songs on this list. I need a One-Hit Wonders playlist!

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