September 25 – National One-Hit Wonder Day

Posted on September 25, 2015

Woo hoo! A hit song – it made the Top 40!!!

Top 40, of course, is music industry lingo for the most popular forty songs in a particular music genre, in a particular country, at any one time. When you don't specify “country” or “rock,” Top 40 refers to the best-selling, most frequently broadcast popular music.

Some musicians get hit after hit after hit. They're the famous artists and bands with long careers – the recognizable names, like Beyonce and the Beatles.

Other musicians get ONE chance at the big-time, but then are never able to get another song onto the charts. From two middle-aged men with their unexpected dance hit “Macarena” to

Music journalists have been calling these artists as “one-hit wonders” for a long time – with of course various journalists using slightly different definitions – and one of these journalists, Steve Rosen, declared September 25 as National One-Hit Wonder Day to celebrate these not-necessarily famous names. It's funny, because many of us would recognize the hit songs – but not the name of the artist or band responsible for the song.

To celebrate, dig around YouTube looking for one-hit wonders whose music you enjoy. Here are some famous ones:

  • Wipeout, by the Surfaris – 1963 

Note that many "one-hit wonders" have achieved, actually, a LOT in music. For example, A-ha has had a long, super-successful career with loads of hits. In the world, that is, and especially in their native Norway. However, in the U.S. they are generally considered one-hit wonders.

It's hard to name one-hit wonders that are new or recent music – hey, give these artists time to record another big hit song! But so far these artists are ranked as One-Hit Wonders:

She was just 9 or 10 when she recorded this song! I think she has time to produce another huge hit!

This is a popular song written way back in the 70s by Leonard Cohen (not a one-hit wonder), and it features Justin Timberlake (not a one-hit wonder) as well as Matt Morris (best known for writing and producing music for big-time stars like Christina Aguilera and Kelly Clarkson and Cher – so he's also not a one-hit wonder...but he is as a singer!).

Yes, another version of the same lovely song. Record it today, and maybe you too can have be a one-hit wonder!

Also on this date:

Anniversary of an early warning that smoking is harmful (1878!)

Plan ahead:

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