Top 10 One Hit Wonders You Forgot About

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Top 10 One Hit Wonders You Forgot About

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Jacob Pitts
These one hit wonders dominated the charts and then disappeared. For this list, we'll be looking at artists with a single hit that overshadows the rest of their discography. Our countdown includes “Closing Time”, “Somebody That I Used to Know”, “Stacy's Mom”, and more!
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Top 10 One-Hit Wonders You Forgot About


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 One-Hit Wonders You Forgot About.

For this list, we’ll be looking at artists with a single hit that overshadows the rest of their discography.

In the comments, let us know which of these one-hit wonders you think deserved more success.

#10: “She’s So High”

Tal Bachman

Kicking off our list is this pop smash from 1999. If you’ve ever had a crush on someone out of your league, you can almost certainly relate to the lyrics of “She’s So High.” Tal Bachman places the song’s subject on a pedestal, comparing her to Cleopatra, Joan of Arc, and even Aphrodite. Despite Bachman’s own one-hit wonder status, his father Randy Bachman was a founding member of classic rock bands The Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive. Tal borrowed his father’s instruments for the recording of “She’s So High,” and his Stratocaster can be heard throughout. Since the success of “She’s So High,” Bachman has appeared in documentaries to discuss his experience deconverting from Mormonism.

#9: “Closing Time”

Semisonic

Has there ever been a more perfect last song to play at dances and bars? Semisonic conceived their breakout hit after getting sick of ending their setlist with the song “If I Run” every night. “Closing Time” instantly sets the scene with nostalgic-sounding guitar and keys, leading into a massive chorus. While the song is about a fun night out on the surface, it could easily be applied to larger life events like graduation or giving birth. Semisonic hasn’t escaped “Closing Time’s” shadow, but frontman and songwriter Dan Wilson went on to co-write huge hits for other artists, such as “Not Ready to Make Nice” by The Chicks and “Someone like You” by Adele.

#8: “I Melt with You”

Modern English

At face value, this ‘80s new wave hit is a sunny love song. On a closer listen, it’s actually about the looming threat of atomic bombs during the Cold War: the “melting” in the title is literal. Despite its status as a hit, “I Melt with You” charted surprisingly low, peaking in the 70s on the Billboard Hot 100. In order to become the smash it was, it relied on its use in films like “Valley Girl,” as well as heavy rotation on MTV. Today, it’s become one of the 500 most-played songs on U.S. radio.

#7: “Hit ‘Em Up Style (Oops!)”

Blu Cantrell

Before Carrie Underwood slashed tires and leather seats, Blu Cantrell was maxing out her ex’s credit card. A vindictive breakup anthem about the ultimate shopping spree, “Hit ‘Em Up Style” peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 in the summer of 2001. While the lyrics probably aren’t a good idea to reenact in real life, they’re perfectly fine as a harmless revenge fantasy. Cantrell sings her heart out on the track, and it’s a marvel she never had further success in America. However, she did manage to score a #1 hit in Europe two years later with “Breathe,” featuring Sean Paul. Cantrell clearly had potential, and with the right song she could have continued the momentum stateside.

#6: “You Get What You Give”

New Radicals

With cosigns from Joni Mitchell and Bono, New Radicals had so much more to say. If they hadn’t split before their second single was released, they undoubtedly would have grown more successful. Their only hit, “You Get What You Give,” is a soaring summer anthem with inspirational lyrics. It even has a rap verse, with the first half listing political issues and the second half dissing celebrities like Courtney Love and Marilyn Manson. Lead singer Gregg Alexander wanted to see which lines the media would discuss, and his suspicions were confirmed when they tried to fuel potential feuds. While New Radicals would split shortly after, Alexander won a Grammy in 2003 for co-writing Santana’s “The Game of Love.”

#5: “Somebody That I Used to Know”

Gotye feat. Kimbra

Looking back at all the number one hits from the 2010s, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more unlikely chart-topper than this one. Not only was Gotye nearly unknown before “Somebody That I Used to Know” blew up, but it almost sounds too indie to be a mainstream pop hit. While the song’s structure and themes are clearly primed for top 40, it’s more acoustic and organic-sounding compared to the dominant EDM of the time. Unfortunately, the song’s success was a fluke, leading some to joke that Gotye himself is, well, somebody that we used to know. However, he’s finally teased his next album after a decade-long break.

#4: “Stay (I Missed You)”

Lisa Loeb

In a decade rich with female singer-songwriters, Lisa Loeb is one of the most beloved. In 1994, she became the first unsigned artist to ever top the Billboard Hot 100 with “Stay (I Missed You).” It took off after its use in “Reality Bites,” a 1994 film starring Winona Ryder. Although none of Loeb’s other songs have reached the heights of “Stay,” she’s managed to stay in the spotlight ever since. She’s acted in shows and movies, started an eyewear line based on her iconic glasses, and in 2003 she released her first children’s album. Since then, Loeb has released albums for both adults and kids, and won her first Grammy in 2018 for Best Children’s Album.

#3: “Bad Day”

Daniel Powter

These days, you’re most likely to hear this song taunting you in the supermarket. But back in 2006, “Bad Day” was the soundtrack to Simon Cowell crushing the dreams of contestants on “American Idol.” Daniel Powter’s piano ballad not only reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100, but also the year-end chart, making it the most successful single of 2006. It’s hard to imagine now, but at one point the accompanying music video was one of the most-watched videos on the Internet. Critics were divided on “Bad Day.” Some thought the lyrics cheesy, and Powter himself even called the song “garbage.” Either way, its roughly four-minute runtime can turn your day around if you don’t mind its sappiness.

#2: “No Rain”

Blind Melon

If you’re not paying attention to the words, you might mistake this 1993 alt-rock hit for one of the happiest songs on earth. Its main guitar riff bounces cheerily along, and the music video even features the tap-dancing “Bee Girl.” Otherwise, “No Rain” hides plenty of darkness in plain sight. The narrator finds his life boring, sleeps all day, and clearly exhibits signs of depression. Tragically, Blind Melon lead singer Shannon Hoon fatally overdosed two years after the success of “No Rain,” leading to the band dissolving four years later after failing to find a suitable replacement. In 2019, a documentary about Hoon’s life premiered to critical acclaim at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

“Never Leave You (Uh Oooh, Uh Oooh),” Lumidee
This Dancehall Ditty Predates Rihanna’s Debut By Two Years

“Set Adrift on Memory Bliss,” P.M. Dawn
For Its Memorable Sample of Spandau Ballet’s “True”

“Harden My Heart,” Quarterflash
Its Saxophone Hook Instantly Turns Heads

“Too Shy,” Kajagoogoo
One of the Best Basslines of the ‘80s

#1: “Stacy’s Mom”

Fountains of Wayne

You might forget about its existence on occasion, but once you hear that opening guitar, it all comes rushing back. “Stacy’s Mom” hits you with a wave of nostalgia, no matter how wrong the lyrics are. A song about crushing on your friend’s mother should be creepy in theory, but Fountains of Wayne’s power pop hit is so fun and catchy it can’t be overlooked. The music video is also worth a watch, even though some parts definitely wouldn’t be made today. Fountains of Wayne never followed up “Stacy’s Mom” with another hit, but nevertheless it lives on as a beloved slice of early 2000s pop punk.
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