Who is the one-hit wonder of the decade? Hint: it's not James Blunt or Gnarls Barkley

Billboard has just published a list of the decade’s one-hittiest one-hit wonders. More precisely, the acts have been ranked by “how high their big song climbed on the chart compared to how far down the tally their subsequent highest-charting effort peaked.” Daniel Powter topped the list thanks to his single “Bad Day” (the clip for which you can see below), followed by Terror Squad (“Lean Back”), Crazy Town (“Butterfly”), MIMS (“This is Why I’m Hot”), D4L (“Laffy Taffy”), James Blunt (“You’re Beautiful”), Gnarls Barkley (“Crazy”), Blu Cantrell (“Hit ‘Em Up Style (Oops!)”), Bo Bice (“Inside Your Heaven”), and Dream (“He Loves U Not”).

But how about some less scientific opinions? What was your favorite one-hit wonder of the decade? And your least? Which acts deserve(d) to have more of a career? And which should consider themselves fortunate to have had any career at all? And did I really once spend an evening hanging out at Germany’s worst strip club with Crazy Town (no need to offer an opinion on that latter one. I did!)?

Let us know!

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Comments (278 total) Add your comment
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  • Sarah

    I’m pretty sure this came out in the 00’s but someone please correct me if I’m wrong, but I’d have to nominate Vertical Horizon’s “Everything You Want”. I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite or least favorite, but it was a huge song.

    • JD

      it was 99, and “You’re A God” was went to 23 in 2000 so technically have have more that one hit.

      • Sarah

        Forgot about that song. Heh.

      • Michael

        Being a one-hit wonder is all relative. There’s acts that are considered one-hit wonders from the 80s and 90s that had other hit songs but have been forgotten. (Thus, I don’t think it’s a bad thing to consider Vertical Horizon a one-hit wonder even if Billboard doesn’t.) In fact, due to her 2nd CD clunking so badly, people are saying that in 5 years time, people will forget about “Better in Time” and consider Leona Lewis a one-hit wonder for “Bleeding Love.”

      • Darrin

        Vert. Horizon also had a huge hit with “Best I Ever Had” off the same album, which someone covered as a country song a couple years later, so they really don’t count.

    • OMG

      I nominate Duffy. Sure, Mercy was a fun little pop ditty but the rest of her CD sucked. She screams OneHitWonder.

      • Kalie

        No way. Duffy is fantastic.

      • beb

        “Mercy” only made it to #27 on the Hot 100. She’d be WAY down on that list…

      • Matt

        You’re nuts. Duffy had one of last year’s best CD’s.

      • Janitor

        ‘Rockferry’ was a terrific album. Just don’t go in with the poppy expectations created by the ‘Mercy’ single

      • MjSMoke

        I agree, Rockferry was a good album…

    • beb

      @ Michael – Leona Lewis wouldn’t fit into Billboard’s definition of a one-hit wonder, as “Better in Time” made it to #11 on the Hot 100.

    • ks0724

      I totally forget about them. I loved those two songs. Anyone else remember the time when Everything you want was way overplayed and the used it in all those Friends promos? I think it was when Chandler was going to propose to Monica but I could be wrong.

  • tiffany

    OMG!! I love that song!!! that was a fave of mine when i was in college.

  • Jared

    I remember being really excited that Anna Stern was in the video. Anybody with me?

    • Whatever

      Totally ! :)

      • Hiago

        Courage, on ne sait jamais: quand les anges veogays, le ciel est avec eux !! . Ce n’est pas de moi. Ca se dit !!Tre8s bonne routeRosemarie, Philippe

    • brandy

      yes!

    • Seth Cohen

      U RULE JARED! ROFL! MADE MY DAY! MEMORIES!

    • Layla Whitaker

      Well, I was just excited in general =)

      • David

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    • Nix

      Heck I never saw this video until this list and I’m excited right now.

  • psupat

    How can you say Bo Bice is a one hit wonder. He toured this summer with Lynyrd Skynyrd (2 shows)and has a successful fan following. The Inside Your Heaven hit was his 1st single following AI.

    • Robin

      “Witness” from Bo’s 2nd cd “See The Light” was also #1 on VH1, 3 weeks in a row!!

    • Bobby’s Robot

      “…the acts have been ranked by “how high their big song climbed on the chart compared to how far down the tally their subsequent highest-charting effort peaked.”

      • Luddite

        You beat me to it!

    • Luddite

      Billboard says Bo Bice is a one-hit wonder. And not to get all quote-happy on you, but “the acts have been ranked by ‘how high their big song climbed on the chart compared to how far down the tally their subsequent highest-charting effort peaked.'” This is only about charting on Billboard – it has nothing to do wtih fan following or who you tour with. The Grateful Dead are also considered one-hit wonders – that certainly doesn’t make them unsuccessful or fanless.

      • Bobby’s Robot

        Yeah, but you said it more eloquently. ;o)

    • Adam

      Bo Bice played a free show at a Tanger Outlet last month in front of about 100 people. I’d say that fork is firmly in place.

    • Rich

      “He toured this summer with Lynyrd Skynyrd.” Nuff said.

      Call me back when he’s opening for an act whose last hit isn’t 30+ years old.

      • Nix

        (yells) Freebird!

    • The Truth

      GET OUT OF THE IDOL BUBBLE.

  • Frank Anderson

    Yuck! My wife loved “Bad Day” so I bought her the CD. Talk about a mess. That album was all over the place, and I got so sick of ‘Bad Day’ that I would have loved to give Powter a nice kick in the nethers.
    “Butterfly” would probably be my choice as worst song though. They played at an Ozzfest I attended, and them and Linking Park are two of the worst live acts I have ever seen.

    • Steve

      You suck. I hope that you die.

    • DE

      First of it’s Linkin Park!! And I’ve seen them several times. You have no idea what a good live act is if you’re not impressed by their show!!

  • Maura

    Vertical Horizon had another hit with “You’re a God,” the followup.

  • maiv

    I’m gonna go with Gnarles Barkly. That was such an awesome song and there was a lot of critical acclaim (I think) but I’m not too surprised that they didn’t really make it after that. I hate “Bad Day.”

    • Ramo

      Gnarls Barkley is one of the most exciting musical acts to emerge this decade. Sure they’ll never have another “hit” like they did with Crazy, but I’d hate to hear them being called a one-hit wonder. That expression has a negative connotation that doesn’t do GB justice.

      • Fatima

        Exactly. They probably won’t have another hit but their albums are fantastic. It was almost an anomaly that Crazy was a hit in the first place the way it was.

      • V.M.L.

        I agree, Ramo. I wouldn’t call them a one-hit-wonder.

      • JLI

        I agree too. Those guys are so ridiculously talented, inventive, and their music is so technically intricate. And Cee-Lo’s voice is like buttah!

      • Nix

        Yeah, but Billboard’s definition tries to be data-based, so it isn’t fully invested with that pejorative sense. We’ve all known tons of good musicians who never chart at all … and the reverse.

    • invaliduser

      i agree gnarls barkley is not a one hit wonder. to mention them with the likes of bo bice and crazytown is ridiculous.

    • Dede

      Gnarls Barkley’s music is too cool and quirky for mass appeal, so I’m not surprised they have only had one radio hit. When I think “one-hit wonder”, I don’t think artist with only one song that charted well. I think complete crap artist that by some miracle managed to write a catchy song. Gnarls Barkley is too good for this title.

      • lisaj6112

        AGREED!

      • RP

        Well, as someone mentioned above, ‘technically’ the Grateful Dead are one hit wonders too. I think it just goes to show that charts aren’t the be all and end all of a musical career and you can be successful without being number one all the time.

        Now if we could just explain that to television executives…

    • crispy

      I wish I could agree with you guys about Gnarls Barkley. “Crazy” is an amazing song, but the rest of that album was terrible. Like spectacularly awful. Songs about Inspector Gadget and necrophilia?! WTF?

      • Music fan

        Nah, only half the album is bad. Half of it was pretty good. The second album is much more consistent – but still has some questionable songs on it.

      • erin

        r u crazy?
        “go go gadget gospel!” – awesome.

      • jezoebel

        The album was hit and miss for me. Some of the songs were eh but the favorites I have on my MP3 are ST. ELSEWHERE, SMILEY FACES, GONE DADDY GONE, and of course CRAZY.

      • JLI

        I love this whole album. Just because the subject matter of some tracks is out there, doesn’t mean they aren’t musically amazing.

    • Meier

      Funny how the two of them together as Gnarls Barkley qualify as a one-hit wonder when they’ve individually done so much in the music industry. Cee-Lo had a modest hit with “Closet Freak” and collaborated with other artists for other hit songs (like “Dro in the Wind”), while Danger Mouse had a breakthrough with the critically acclaimed Beatles/Jay-Z merging Grey Album and went on to produce albums for artists like Gorillaz and Beck.

      • Steve

        No. They suck both individually and together.
        Cee-who?
        Exactly.

      • Rich

        Clearly, Steve is not a writer for any music magazine/blog from the last 12 years.

      • RP

        Steve is just a troll. Don’t feed the trolls.

  • Kings of Peons

    So many Awful songs. Usually one hit wonders make something you look back on with equal parts disgust and revery. Obama will lead US into a decade with BETTER one hit wonders.

    • Nick T

      Looking at the songs listed, that’s true. I loved about 6 of those songs and now it’s like, wow, how’d I like that?

  • crispy

    Any Winehouse FTW!

    • crispy

      Hah! I of course meant Amy. Not sure if there are other Winehouses. Let’s hope not.

    • Fatima

      Waaay too early to count Amy out. Plus she had plenty of hits in the UK. Not to mention a very successful album. She also seems like one of those artists that will have a long and successful career but not one who will necessarily have big radio hits. The one was almost a fluke.

      • crispy

        I’ll be impressed if she sobers up long enough to record another album.

      • Jamie

        It doesn’t matter how many hits she had in the UK, or how big the album as a whole was–she had major radio hit, therefore: Amy=one-hit wonder.

      • gigi

        I’m with you. I’m hoping for an Amy comeback. That girl has an amazing voice and style. Hopefully she gets it together and gives her fans another album.

      • DE

        Sorry, but someone that messed up does not seem like they’ll be around for a while. I’m surprised she made it through the decade

    • Petar

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  • Macy

    Wow, I’m shocked that Macy Gray is on that list. She even appeared on Blues Clues! But no more hits, I guess.

    Is it too soon to count Yael Naim (“New Soul”) a one-hit wonder?

  • agent227

    Blue October is the proud owner of the worst one-hit-wonder of the decade. Their song, “Hate Me”, might just be on my list for one of the worst of all time. And, I know this is recent, but I just have to give a shout out to Damien Rice’s “The Blower’s Daughter”, which is such an amazing song, and he so obviously has the makings of an amazing, albeit one-hit-wonder possessing career. He’ll have a great cult following.

    • Sarah

      I don’t know if I’d call Blue October a one-hit wonder. I don’t know how well “Into the Ocean” did on the mainstream charts, but that was a huge rock hit as well as “Dirt Room”.

      • Cris

        Didn’t Blue October also have a modest hit recently with “Calling You”?

    • agent227

      Well, I’ve never heard another song by them. And I don’t classify a moderate hit on the rock charts a ‘hit’. I consider a ‘hit’ to be a song that dominates the top of the charts, with an ‘s’. All of the songs listed here dominated the Top 40, as well as “Hate Me”. And Blue October have yet to recapture anything close to that, and, barring a miracle, never will. So yes, Blue October are one-hit wonders.

      • Kalie

        I thought “Into the Ocean” was a bigger success than “Hate Me”? That entire album was terrific. I wouldn’t count them out just yet. I think they’ve also had moderate success w/ “Calling You”, “Dirt Room” and “Say It”.

      • Ben

        What’s “Hate Me”? I remember “Into the Ocean.”

      • @agent227

        I would be so happy if you got hit by a car and paralyzed for life.

      • DE

        @Ben- Hate me was one of their more popular songs on rock stations. It didn’t get a lot of play elsewhere. It was a pretty good tune

    • beb

      Blue October’s biggest hit on the Hot 100 was “Hate Me,” which reached a lowly #31. “Into the Ocean” only managed a #53 peak.

      • irvin

        Isn’t Blue October getting some good airplay with their newest song Jump Rope?

      • agent227

        Thank you beb. I feel slightly vindicated. And I hope that if I ever get hit by a car, I go straight up to the big pearly gates in the sky. Just to make you mad, @agent227.

    • phillip

      “Calling You” had a lot of air play in 2003. How old are you? I’m surprised how one would forget that song…

      Blue October isn’t a one hit wonder.

    • Lauren

      Staind “its been a while”
      or
      hoobastank”the reason”
      I nominate them more because they were really popular(so much they still get play today) for reasons I never understood, i.e. I hate those songs. But I don’t actually know how well their other stuff did past those songs. And that Blue October song annoys me too. Rock DOES NOT have to go soft to go pop(sorry, neither here nor there). NEXT POST.

      • @Lauren

        Uh no…
        Just because YOU didn’t like a song it doesn’t make them a one hit wonder. Staind has had plenty of hits on the radio, Hoobastank has too.

      • bitnar

        I could not agree with you more. Blechh!

    • Blue

      Blue OCtober has had at least 3 modest hits. They aren’t really a one hit wonder.

      • Makara

        Box Squats 3 reps @ 135# EMOM for 8 min. got all three reps in about 6 seconds each time with a brief pause at the bttoom and feet off the floor for a momentCF WoD Rounds as RX’d:1 + 6 PCs1 + 3 PCs1 + 3 PCs1 + 3 BJs (had to pause to avoid pukey)1 + 7 BJsThis WoD kicked my butt.

    • Jennie

      How is “The Blower’s Daughter” recent? It’s from his ’03 CD. In terms of one-off hits from this decade, that’s, um, NOT recent. His ‘9’ album from ’06 got more press, but not as much love; but his songs have never charted high enough to count here. Cult following, yes; one-hit wonder, no.

    • Nasser

      my 1RM in Summo is 275..LOL..So I did the strength part at 275 and then sclaed down to 225 for the rest. While using 75#DB since I do not have a KB.By the third round my forearms were burning so bad that I could not hold it anymore and had to stop. I really need KB’s

  • Mike

    Huh? Gnarls Barkley is not and was not a one hit wonder. Nor is James Blunt, who also had a hit in High, which was released after You’re Beautiful.

    • Luddite

      Did you read the article?

    • Kvivik

      Article states – single must have hit #1 on Billboard’s chart. And any successive single must not have charted above #20 (the lower the better…or not at all).
      Just because GB and JB had follow up singles that charted, does not mean that they are not 1 hit wonders (or most of the ‘wonders’ over the past 4 decades wouldn’t count).

      • Andy Bluebear

        “Goodbye My Lover” didn’t crack the Top 20?

      • Janitor

        all because Michael Scott wouldn’t shell out the $0.99 for the song

      • ChanelB

        Janitor…brilliant.

  • mom7801

    Inside Your Heaven was Bo Bice’s runner-up Idol “coronation” song. It was the B side to Vehicle (or vice versa). However, his first single post-Idol (not performed as part of the show) was The Real Thing, which, I believe, charted higher than Inside Your Heaven.

    • Rodrigo

      Comme je te comprend J’ai auemtllecent un portable assez simple (tout juste ?cran couleur + sonnerie polyphonique (dont je ne me sers pas)) ce que je cherchais (ils ont pourtant essay? de me vendre un super apareil photo (qui fait portable)), mais m?me comme ?a, la qualit? n’est pas au rendez vous, batterie quasi morte au bout d’un an et un peu plus alors que j’en prend soin Les constructeurs vendent du n’importe quoi, de l’inutile et EN PLUS du pourri qui claque entre les doigts en 2 secondes

  • Thomas

    I love Macy Gray. “I Try” is so good, and she even won a Grammy for it.

    I also have very happy childhood memories of S Club 7. I was all about their TV shows.

    • craig

      “I Try” came out in 1999

    • Bernice

      OMG S Club 7 wow. THat is taking me back so much. Wow. “Never had a dream come true till the day that I found you. And even though I pretend that I’ve moved on you’ll always be my baby” Hahahah wow funny how easily those words came back to me.

  • Sarah

    Ooohh oohhh…what about Eamon’s “Don’t Want You Back”??????

    • beb

      It would have been a little bit further down on the list. DWYB peaked at #16…

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