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One-Hit Wonders


A ONE-HIT WONDER is “an act that has won a position on Billboard’s

national, pop, Top 40 just once.”


.OMITTED from consideration as a One-Hit Wonder:

1).  “One-off Pairings,” such as Barbara Streisand and Donna Summer. All

 such are being omitted due to the artist involved having no intention of

being  considered an act;  an enduring act.

2).  Cosmetic Name Changes,” such as the Moonglows  name change

to Harvey & the Moonglows.


INCLUDED in consideration as a One-Hit Wonder:

“Pseudo groups & Studio-Only Acts,” such as White Plains, Billy Joe & the Checkmates, the Pets,

Max Frost & the Troopers, the Pipkins, and Edison Lighthouse.   In each case if a viable recording

was created and receiving sales, the powers behind would construct a touring or further

functioning act to record.   These would function as intentional and enduring acts;  as long as it

was financially a viable situation.



A One-Hit Wonder is NOT the song, NOT the recording, BUT the artist!!!

The One-Hit Wonders book covered the rich heritage of one-off “pop music” winners encased in the time 

zone of the “rock’n’ roll” era” (therein defined as beginning January 11955) with a cut-off point set at 

January 1, 1993.  The “cut-off-point” was rather arbitrary.  The cut-off point utilized for the site is 1980.   



The site’s goal is to bring to a wider audience the stories behind the lesser know hit makers in the U.S.,

particularly during the “Golden Age” of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s.  All entries were writtenby Wayne Jancik

for the 1st (1990) and/or 2nd edition (1997).  Due to space limitations, the Book ONLYincluded those

One-Hit Wonders whose popularity reached the UPPER Top 20 of the nation’s  Top 40 charts (with all

computations drawn from Joel Whitburn’s series of excellent chart books).  Only half of the legitimate entries

created were published in that book.  Some  acts who peaked in the LOWER Top 20 of the Top 40 and were

not included in the book are are appearing HERE FOR THE FIRST TIME!



When I created the One-Hit Wonders concept in the late ’80s, local Top 40 radio–if no longer king–was still

a viable force.   Some consumers still had that urge to know what was selling enough to chart nationwide.

For near a half century a “hit record”–success– was determined by promotion, publicity, airplay, sales and

shennanigans.  Hundreds of radio stations wonderfully littered the nation from Toad Hop, Indiana through

Bosie, Idaho; each constructing their own weekly Top 40, or variously Top 30, Hot 45 listings (and available

for free in hard copy at  your friendly record store).  “Regional hits” were a way “in” for local artists.

These were recordings–that due to distribution limitations, local appreciation, or shennanigans–were

labeled “hits” and received local airplay, but not with proof for inclusion in the Billboard national listings.



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