VOTE The Greatest Artists With Only One Masterpiece  

5.6k votes 857 voters 110k views 52 items Follow Embed
The greatest artists with only one masterpiece include authors, actors and actresses, directors, painters and musicians. Each person included on this list managed to have incredible impact with one truly memorable piece of work, whether it's an album, a song, a painting or a novel. This list of the greatest artists with only a single, amazing and memorable piece of work, is VoteRanked, meaning the rank is determined by the community. Be sure to vote for those artists you believe contributed the most and feel free to add anyone else you think should be included.

This list of so-called "one hit wonders" includes several authors. Harper Lee certainly deserves a spot. Her novel 'To Kill a Mockingbird' won the Pulitzer Price in 1960, and it remains her only published work. I've included both Sylvia Plath ('The Bell Jar') and John Kennedy Toole ('A Confederacy of Dunces') on the list, although in both cases, these writers' memorable masterpieces were published either shortly before, or just after, their deaths (both Plath and Toole committed suicide). And of course, Margaret Mitchell earns a spot on this list: 'Gone With the Wind' was her only novel.

Directors and actors are also included on this list. None, perhaps, are more infamous for only creating one truly memorable piece of work than director Charles Laughton. In 1955, Laughton directed 'The Night of the Hunter' -- a film that's considered by some to be one of the best from that decade. Sadly, Laughton never directed another movie. Actors and actresses on this list include Brandon Lee ('The Crow'), Linda Blair ('The Exorcist'), Kate Hudson ('Almost Famous') and David Naughton ('An American Werewolf in London'). Disagree with the choices? Vote them down. And definitely add any Hollywood greats I've missed along the way.

Musicians who've released only one memorable album or song also got spots on this list, though they are rare. Examples? The Sex Pistols! The band only released one studio album: 1977's 'Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols.' Everything else is a compilation and/or a live release. Jeff Buckley, sadly, also only released one (truly amazing) complete studio album: 'Grace,' in 1994.

American painter Grant Wood also makes this list of the greatest artists with only one masterpiece. His painting 'American Gothic' is without question his greatest (and most memorable) piece, though he did paint other, much lesser known paintings during his career. If you know of other artists who should be included on this list, by all means, add them.

Enjoy this list of artists who've created some of the biggest, most memorable pieces of work in history, and again, add anyone you think was overlooked.
list ordered by

1
+ - 253 68
Harper Lee is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Artists With Only One Masterpiece
Harper Lee age 90 - Great Work: To Kill a Mockingbird

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2
+ - 174 60
Miguel de Cervantes is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Artists With Only One Masterpiece
Miguel de Cervantes Died at 69 (1547-1616) - Great Work: Don Quixote

3
+ - 144 68
Margaret Mitchell is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Artists With Only One Masterpiece
Margaret Mitchell Died at 49 (1900-1949) - Great Work: Gone With the Wind

4
+ - 92 41
Dante Alighieri is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Artists With Only One Masterpiece
Dante Alighieri Died at 56 (1265-1321) - Great Work: The Divine Comedy

5
+ - 134 74
Emily Brontë is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Artists With Only One Masterpiece
Emily Brontë Died at 30 (1818-1848) - Great Work: Wuthering Heights

6
+ - 86 48
Charlotte Brontë is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Artists With Only One Masterpiece
Charlotte Brontë Died at 39 (1816-1855) - Jane Eyre

7
+ - 88 51
J. D. Salinger is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Artists With Only One Masterpiece
J. D. Salinger Died at 91 (1919-2010) - Catcher in the Rye

8
+ - 51 20
Bram Stoker is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Artists With Only One Masterpiece
Bram Stoker Died at 65 (1847-1912) - One great work: the novel Dracula

9
+ - 93 61
Ken Kesey is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Artists With Only One Masterpiece
Ken Kesey Died at 66 (1935-2001) - Great Work: One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

10
+ - 126 97
F. Scott Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Artists With Only One Masterpiece
F. Scott Fitzgerald Died at 44 (1896-1940) - Great Work: The Great Gatsby

11
+ - 82 57
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Procol Harum Great Work: "A Whiter Shade of Pale"

12
+ - 63 44
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Max Schreck Died at 57 (1879-1936) - Great Work: Nosferatu

13
+ - 56 41
William Golding is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Artists With Only One Masterpiece
William Golding Died at 82 (1911-1993) - Great Work: Lord of the Flies

14
+ - 73 59
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Johann Pachelbel Died at 53 (1653-1706) - Great Work: Canon in D

15
+ - 83 72
Linda Blair is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Artists With Only One Masterpiece
Linda Blair age 56 - Great Work: The Exorcist

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16
+ - 60 49
Ralph Ellison is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Artists With Only One Masterpiece
Ralph Ellison Died at 81 (1913-1994) - Great Work: Invisible Man

17
+ - 51 45
Edmond Rostand is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Artists With Only One Masterpiece
Edmond Rostand Died at 50 (1868-1918) - Great Work: Cyrano de Bergerac

18
+ - 50 44
Grant Wood is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Artists With Only One Masterpiece
Grant Wood Died at 51 (1891-1942) - Great Work: American Gothic

19
+ - 50 47
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Samuel Barber Died at 71 (1910-1981) - Great Work: Adagio for Strings

20
+ - 70 75
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Brandon Lee Died at 28 (1965-1993) - Great Work: The Crow

21
+ - 62 66
Sylvia Plath is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Artists With Only One Masterpiece
Sylvia Plath Died at 31 (1932-1963) - Great Work: The Bell Jar

22
+ - 48 50
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Jeff Buckley Died at 31 (1966-1997) - Great Work: Grace

23
+ - 36 38
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Renée Jeanne Falconetti Died at 54 (1892-1946) - Great Work: The Passion of Joan of Arc

24
+ - 83 97
Orson Welles is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Artists With Only One Masterpiece
Orson Welles Died at 70 (1915-1985) - Great Work: Citizen Kane

25
+ - 48 54
John Kennedy Toole is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Artists With Only One Masterpiece
John Kennedy Toole Died at 32 (1937-1969) - Great Work: A Confederacy of Dunces

26
+ - 74 87
Ranker Video v
Sex Pistols Great Work: Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols

27
+ - 86 105
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M. Night Shyamalan age 46 - Great Work: The Sixth Sense

28
+ - 6 5
Lauryn Hill is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Artists With Only One Masterpiece
Lauryn Hill age 41 - The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill

29
+ - 39 50
Stieg Larsson is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Artists With Only One Masterpiece
Stieg Larsson Died at 50 (1954-2004) - Great Work: The Millennium Series

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30
+ - 42 55
Ranker Video v
Charles Laughton Died at 63 (1899-1962) - Great Work: The Night of the Hunter

31
+ - 32 43
Maya Lin is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Artists With Only One Masterpiece
Maya Lin age 56 - Great Work: Vietnam Veterans Memorial

32
+ - 9 12
Mikhail Bulgakov is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Artists With Only One Masterpiece
Mikhail Bulgakov Died at 49 (1891-1940) - Great work: the novel The Master and Margarita

33
+ - 41 57
John Singleton is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Artists With Only One Masterpiece
John Singleton age 47 - Great Work: Boyz n the Hood

34
+ - 42 59
Meatloaf is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Artists With Only One Masterpiece
Meatloaf Bat Out Of Hell

35
+ - 34 48
Ranker Video v
David Naughton age 66 - Great Work:  An American Werewolf in London

36
+ - 32 47
Peter Bogdanovich is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Artists With Only One Masterpiece
Peter Bogdanovich age 77 - "Great Work; The Last Picture Show"

37
+ - 6 12
Laurence Sterne is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Artists With Only One Masterpiece
Laurence Sterne Died at 55 (1713-1768) - Great work: the novel Tristram Shandy (shortened title!)

38
+ - 18 30
Ludwig van Beethoven is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Artists With Only One Masterpiece
Ludwig van Beethoven Died at 57 (1770-1827)

39
+ - 29 46
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Gary Jules age 48 - Great Work: Mad World (Tears for Fears cover)

40
+ - 27 44
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Richard Kelly age 42 - Great Work: Donnie Darko

41
+ - 22 38
Los del Río is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Artists With Only One Masterpiece
Los del Río Great Work: La Macarena

42
+ - 9 19
Grey Aliens is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Artists With Only One Masterpiece
Grey Aliens Mutating monkey dna converting us to humans

43
+ - 35 60
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Anna Chlumsky age 36 - Great Work: My Girl

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44
+ - 7 18
Lindsey Stirling is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Artists With Only One Masterpiece

45
+ - 42 80
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Kate Hudson age 37 - Great Work: Almost Famous

46
+ - 2 11
Andrei Bely is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Artists With Only One Masterpiece
Andrei Bely Died at 54 (1880-1934) - Great work: the novel Petersburg

47
+ - 25 53
Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanc... is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Artists With Only One Masterpiece
Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez Great Work: The Blair Witch Project

48
+ - 2 12
Donald Cammell is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Artists With Only One Masterpiece
Donald Cammell Died at 62 (1934-1996) - Great work: the film Performance

49
+ - 2 12
Cow Cow Davenport is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Artists With Only One Masterpiece
Cow Cow Davenport Died at 61 (1894-1955)

50
+ - 15 42
Théodore Géricault is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Artists With Only One Masterpiece
Théodore Géricault Died at 33 (1791-1824) - Great Work: The Raft of the Medusa