Our 10 Favorite One-Hit Wonders
One of the purest guilty pleasures in pop music -- and sometimes not even a guilty pleasure but an actual good song -- the one-hit wonder is much safer than its real-life counterpart; the one-night stand. But without getting too sociological about it, lately it seems like the nature of one-hit wonders has changed with the rise of YouTube and songs that "go viral." (Gross.) Even a decade from now, and the world never hears another word from either one again, would Psy or Rebecca Black even count as one-hit wonders? Somehow it doesn't feel like it.
It's these kind of questions that keep us up nights, so recently Rocks Off polled our writers to see what their favorite one-hit wonders are. (Their least favorites will come tomorrow, just in time for the weekend.) And for what it's worth, until he thought of a song he liked better, the editor wanted to cast his lot for Nena's 1983 Top 10 Teutonic synth-pop smash "99 Luftballloons." It's probably the reason we wound up studying German in high school. This one's for you, Captain Kirk.
"Don't You (Forget About Me)," Simple Minds
There were a lot of great one-hit wonders in the '80s, but my favorite is Simple Minds' "Don't You (Forget About Me)," better known to most of us as "that Breakfast Club song." In fact, it was the very first song I illegally downloaded from Napster.
I'm not sure why this one always stuck with me. The Breakfast Club is an incredibly stupid movie that was before my time, and the song was a flat, throwaway recording that the band had to be talked into by their record label. There's just something about the lyrics' melancholy anxiety, delivered in Jim Kerr's baritone croon, that's a little more affecting than it was probably meant to be. Plus the "La-la-la-la!" part at the end is really fun to sing along to. NATHAN SMITH
"Epic," Faith No More
Maybe the most influential and significant band to ever achieve one-hit wonder status, Faith No More only ever achieved mainstream success with one ubiquitous and admittedly amazing song: "Epic." While the majority of the public will probably never know them beyond that, they stand virtually alone amongst the vast landscape of one-hit wonders.
Not only is "Epic" taken off one hell of a record itself, The Real Thing, but every other album the band recorded went on to be an alternative landmark as well, cementing their status in the hearts of weirdo-rock fans around the world. COREY DEITERMAN
"Flagpole Sitta," Harvey Danger
For all I know, Harvey Danger wrote plenty of good songs, but I only remember one of them. "Flagpole Sitta," which first made its way to my eardrums before I was even a teenager, is still one of the most infectious, angst-ridden and overall fun modern ballads that I've ever heard.
To this day, I bob my head and sing along whenever I hear it and, though I'm still not sure quite exactly what the song is about, "I'm not sick, but I'm not well" is as timeless of a sentiment as any. MATTHEW KEEVER
"Fade Into You," Mazzy Star
As a girl growing up in the '90s, I just assumed I was supposed to be somewhat angsty and introspective. All of my idols were: Lelaina Pierce from Reality Bites, Liz Phair, My So-Called Life's Angela Chase, etc. So it only made sense that when Mazzy Star released 1994's "Fade Into You," I felt deeply connected with it. Its haunting lullaby and existential lyrics made me feel like I really understood love, relationships, and sadness.
Of course I had no effing clue, but man. I sure felt like I did. Twenty years later. I still might not have a rat's-ass clue about life, but the song still sounds utterly perfect. SELENA DIERINGER
"Good," Better Than Ezra
Better Than Ezra is the picture-perfect example of a "one hit wonder," as proven by the rise and fall of their commercial success. After Elektra signed Better Than Ezra and re-released their sophomore album Deluxe, "Good" went on to snag the No. 1 spot on Bilboard's Hot Modern Rock Tracks, while the album was certified platinum in the U.S. and gold in Canada.
"Good" was also the first radio hit I remember loving, and I spent hours on the floor of my room waiting for it to come on the air so I could record it to a cassette tape. Though Better Than Ezra was eventually dropped from Elektra, the New Orleans-based band, still popular regionally, helped influence a wave of bands that would eventually infiltrate the '90s airwaves. ALYSSA DUPREE