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Power Rankings: One Hit Wonders!

A list of “my” best one-hit-wonders!

Radio Regenbogen Celebrates Its 30th Anniversary Photo by Simon Hofmann/Getty Images

Everyone loves a good one-hit-wonder. The past few decades have had its share of unheard bands splashing into the mainstream only to drift silently down an unknown tributary into obscurity. Never are they given much thought again until one day they pop up and you wonder why they were never anything bigger. Maybe they were just so good that a follow up would always be disappointing.

In honor of the single run homers, I shall rank what I believe to be the best of the best. Some popular songs were left out for the sake of not overloading one decade or genre. I expect shock, anger, and outrage as others favorites are excluded or ranked to low, just like sports rankings!

17) J-Kwon “Tipsy”

Every so often I get this one stuck in my head. It has a pretty basic beat but it is catchy. It came out in 2004 and was only held out of the number one spot by Usher’s “Yeah.” Not bad company to be in.

16) Eagle-Eye Cherry “Save Tonight”

This song has a relaxing and nostalgic feel to it. It fit in well with the light alternative sound of the late 90s and a must for a music binge of that decade.

15) New Radicals “You Get What You Give”

This is one of those songs where you might not know it from just the name or band, but once it plays most everyone has heard it a time or two. Plus, there aren’t many songs that call out Beck, Hanson, Courtney Love, and Marilyn Manson in the same sentence.

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

A reason for some one-hit wonders is the artist’s ability to play a catchy tune with thoughtful lyrics, but can’t carry a tune in a bucket. It makes the hit endearing but just makes their other songs fall flat. The Scottish accent only carries so far.

13) Chumbawumba “Tubthumping”

Any person who has ever listened to this song probably had a different idea of what the lyrics were the first time they heard it. The song is fairly repetitive, but you just can’t feel bad listening to it.

12) The Knack “My Sharona”

Releasing in the late 70s it’s the oldest song on the list. It serves as a good bridge between the two decades where you can hear the classic electric guitar merge with the new pop sound of the early 80s.

11) Eddy Grant “Electric Avenue”

If the only hit you wrote ended up being the runner-up to the 1983 Grammy for R&B, then you were probably on to something. Especially when the winner was Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean.”

10) a-ha “Take on Me”

Truly an 80s classic that I use to embarrass my wife any time I can. My attempt to hit the high note at the end of the chorus turns out about as well as the American Idol contestants that think they can sing like Whitney Houston.

9) Crazy Town “Butterfly”

Speaking of embarrassing my wife, this is another one I used at our wedding with the garter toss. The look the DJ gave me before he put the song on said: “Are you sure about this?” Hey, is that a young Ben Stiller singing the chorus in a D.A.R.E shirt?

8) Blind Melon “No Rain”

Local radio stations here in Atlanta still love to play this one a good bit if they run a 90s playback. I think it would make a great theme for FTRS because are any of our points of view sane?

7) Dexy’s Midnight Runners “Come on Eileen”

Eileen gets a little revenge for our earlier “Electric Avenue” as it prevented Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” from being back-to-back number ones with “Billie Jean.” It is also perhaps one of the top songs of the 80s.

6) Yellowcard “Ocean Avenue”

Ah, one of the beginnings of the Punk/Emo sound of the 2000s. The electric violin also adds a nice touch to the song. It was a favorite of my high school days.

5) Lou Bega “Mambo No. 5”

It may coincidence that this song is here or it may be a conspiracy. The music from this song is a sampling of the last 30 seconds of a song of the same name from 1949.

4) Men Without Hats “Safety Dance”

Since I was a kid I’ve loved aviation, and always wanted to fly with the Blue Angels. I watched a routine they performed to this song and I can’t help but think back to it when I hear this song. So it will always hold a top spot.

3) Nine Days “Absolutely (Story of a Girl)”

Nine Days had several albums but struggled to gain any notoriety until this song. It’s one of the best to kick off the new millennia. It just so happens they recorded this song in Atlanta at Tree House Studios.

2) A Flock of Seagulls “I Ran (So Far Away)”

Synth-pop, hair band, and the theme to “Grand Theft Auto: Vice City,” this song oozes the early 80s. To me, this is the greatest song that represents the sound of 80s music.

1) Fountains of Wayne “Stacy’s Mom”

For a one-hit-wonder to stand out above the others it needs to be a little unconventional. I’m not sure another song exists about a kid who dates a girl because he has a crush on her mom. It has a humorous side but was also nominated for a Grammy in Best Vocal Pop Performance.