20 Great One-Hit Wonders From The Last 20 Years

Fountains Of Wayne
Stacy’s Mom/Welcome Interstate Managers

I recently had a debate with a few of my friends — is there something inherently time-specific about the one hit wonder (do they merely capitalize on the current pop trends?), or is there something greater at play; are these songs so good, that it doesn’t really matter whether or not they fit in that particular era?

I’ve been thinking about this for the past few days, I decided to chart the progression of one hit wonders over the past 20 years — taking a notable song from each year, and compiling them into a master playlist. Although the selection was pretty arbitrary and incredibly unscientific, there were a few (highly subjective) things I’ve noticed.

  • One hit wonders sometimes come in bunches. I.e., the Pop-Punk Early 2000s bunch (Fountains Of Wayne, Bowling For Soup), the late 90s rock bunch (Flagpole Sitta, Wherever You Will Go) and the attractive dude who might’ve been in a boy band bunch (James Blunt, Ashley Parker Angel)
  • Some don’t feel like they’re really a part of their era (Chumbawamba, Len), but are so good that they’d probably be pretty successful no matter what time period they were released.
  • Probably increasingly, some will primarily be the product of viral sensations (Harlem Shake)

Since you’re now in the proper one-hit-wonder mindset, here’s 20 solid one-hitters from the last 20 years. Obviously it’s a little too early too tell whether or not the more recent artists will remain one-hit wonders, but we’ll temporarily operate under the assumption that we’re all gonna be extras in a Tom Cruise-starring apocalyptic movie starting tomorrow.

1. The Rhythm Of The Night – Corona (1994)


2. I Wish – Skee-Lo (1995)


3. I Love You Always Forever – Donna Lewis (1996)


4. Chumbawamba – Tubthumping (1997)


5. Flagpole Sitta – Harvey Danger (1998)


6. Steal My Sunshine – Len (1999)


7. Who Let The Dogs Out – Baja Men (2000)


8. Wherever You Will Go – The Calling


9. Heaven – DJ Sammy (2002)


10. Stacy’s Mom – Fountains Of Wayne (2003)


11. 1985 – Bowling For Soup (2004)


12. You’re Beautiful – James Blunt (2005)


13. Let U Go – Ashley Parker Angel (2006)


14. Pop, Lock, Drop It – Huey (2007)


15. That’s Not My Name – The Ting Tings (2008)


16. All The Above – Maino (2009)


17. Teach Me How To Dougie (2010)


18. Blackout – Breathe Carolina (2011)


19. Somebody That I Used To Know – Goyte ft. Kimbra (2012)


20. Harlem Shake – Baauer (2013)

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qV0LHCHf-pE&w=584&h=390] Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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