What criteria do songs have to meet to qualify for our list of one hit wonders?
Our litmus test may appear arbitrary, in that it is debatable whether a handful of the songs included on our list are in fact one hit wonders. The common thread running through most every song and creator thereof on our list is the appearance on a popular US chart. Basically, the top-40 of the hot 100. It is not based on airplay, not the R&B
chart, and not the country chart.
We combed through the decades, hearkening back to bygone eras in our effort to compile a comprehensive list of one hit wonders. When our memories failed us, others contributed to our list of songs. Some of the artists profiled here may technically have more than one hit. But, if listeners can recall only one song, then the artist is a one hit
wonder in our view.
Exceptions exist, of course. We tend to exclude, for instance, artists who have sizeable fan bases that enable them to enjoy longevity outside of the mainstream charts.
Such a phenomenon is evidenced in the Grateful Dead. The Grateful Dead had one song in the mid-1980's that registered on the popular US music charts. Most acknowledge, though, that the Grateful Dead was not a flash in the pan, excluding them from our listing.
So one hit wonders essentially enjoy fame for a brief transitory moment and, then, fade into obscurity, begging the question: "What ever happened to those guys?"