The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s Bands/Musicians

The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s

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One hit wonders from the 1970s, listed by performer. This is a list of popular 70s songs from bands or artists who only had one single reach the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States. Many of these bands and artists had extensive careers, either in the US or other countries, they just didn't ever have another single reach the Top 40 after the songs on this list.Vote up and down your faves!

Many of the bands and artists listed had popular hits in their native countries. For example, Shocking Blue's only breakthrough song in America was the now-iconic "Venus," but they had a number of successful hits in their native Netherlands. Additionally, many of the artists on the list had massive success with other groups or projects. Lou Reed's only major single as a solo artist in the '70s was "Walk on the Wild Side," but of course he's more famous for his work with The Velvet Underground. Ace Frehley makes the list for his single "New York Groove," but had other singles as the lead guitarist for KISS. Finally, some artists on the list just had lengthy careers but a niche audience, such as Warren Zevon (whose "Werewolves in London" proved to be his only Top 40 single.) Other acts were simply flash-in-the-pans who had a big moment in the spotlight, then faded into obscurity.

Who are some one hit wonders from the 1970s? This is an attempt to list every one hit wonder artist of the '70s. Think you have an example of a 1970s hit that was the only Top 40 US single for a band or artist? Let me know in the comments!

List Criteria: Bands / artists that had one & only one Top 40 US single between 1970 and 1979

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  Name
Score
  1. 1
    Up 121
    Down 29

    ranked low on reranks
    Derek and the Dominos

    Blues-rock More
    100
    “'Layla': Peaked at #10 on August 5, 1972.”
  2. 2
    Up 107
    Down 36

    ranked low on reranks
    Thin Lizzy

    Celtic rock, Blues-rock, Rock music More
    97
    “'The Boys Are Back in Town': Peaked at #12 on July 24, 1976.”
  3. 3
    Up 64
    Down 21

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    King Harvest

    Rock music, Pop rock More
    94
    “'Dancin' in the Moonlight': Peaked at #13 on February 24, 1973.”
  4. 4
    Up 90
    Down 34
    Rock music More
    94
    'Spirit in the Sky': Peaked at #3 on April 18, 1970.
  5. 5
    Up 95
    Down 34

    the people's #1
    Free

    Blues-rock, Blue-eyed soul, Rock music More
    92
    “'All Right Now': Peaked at #4 on October 17, 1970.”
  6. 6
    Up 90
    Down 35

    ranked high on reranks
    T. Rex

    Psychedelic folk, Rock music, Folk rock More
    91
    “'Bang a Gong (Get It On)': Peaked at #10 on March 4, 1972.”
  7. 7
    Up 86
    Down 32
    Americana, Blues-rock, Rock music More
    89
    “'Werewolves of London': Peaked at #21 on May 13, 1978.”
  8. 8
    Up 88
    Down 33

    ranked low on reranks
    Janis Joplin

    Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music More
    88
    “'Me and Bobby McGee': Peaked at #1 on March 20, 1971.”
  9. 9
    Up 89
    Down 39
    Noise rock, Blue-eyed soul, Spoken word More
    86
    “'Walk on the Wild Side': Peaked at #16 on April 28, 1973.”
  10. 10
    Up 79
    Down 32
    Rock music, Hard rock More
    86
    “'Black Betty': Peaked at #18 on September 3, 1977.”
  11. 11
    Up 100
    Down 47
    Blues-rock, Rock music, Heavy metal More
    86
    “'Love Hurts': Peaked at #8 on March 13, 1976.”
  12. 12
    Up 69
    Down 30
    Rock music, Soul rock, Glam rock More
    83
    “'All the Young Dudes': Peaked at #37 on September 23, 1972.”
  13. 13
    Up 50
    Down 27

    often listed
    Edison Lighthouse

    Pop music, Middle of the road More
    83
    'Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)': Peaked at #5 on March 28, 1970.
  14. 14
    Up 66
    Down 26

    ranked low on reranks
    Wild Cherry

    Disco, Pop music, Rock music More
    82
    “'Play That Funky Music': Peaked at #1 on September 18, 1976.”
  15. 15
    Up 62
    Down 30

    ranked high on reranks
    Patti Smith Group

    82
    “'Because the Night': Peaked at #13 on June 24, 1978.”
  16. 16
    Up 66
    Down 32
    Blues-rock, Rock music, Heavy metal More
    82
    'Mississippi Queen': Peaked at #21 on April 18, 1970.
  17. 17
    Up 52
    Down 17

    ranked low on reranks
    Blues Image

    81
  18. 18
    Up 54
    Down 35

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Carl Douglas

    Reggae More
    80
    “'Kung Fu Fighting': Peaked at #1 on December 7, 1974.”
  19. 19
    Up 61
    Down 29

    ranked low on reranks
    Nick Lowe

    New Wave, Rock music, Power pop More
    80
    “'Cruel to Be Kind': Peaked at #12 on September 29, 1979.”
  20. 20
    Up 40
    Down 22

    often listed
    Pilot

    Pop rock More
    80
    “'Magic': Peaked at #5 on July 12, 1975.”
  21. 21
    Up 48
    Down 19
    Rock music, Glam rock More
    80
    “'Hot Child in the City': Peaked at #1 on October 28, 1978.”
  22. 22
    Up 58
    Down 28
    Pop music More
    79
    “'Afternoon Delight': Peaked at #1 on July 10, 1976.”
  23. 23
    Up 58
    Down 28
    Blues-rock, Nederpop, Rock music More
    79
    'Venus': Peaked at #1 on February 7, 1970.
  24. 24
    Up 60
    Down 34
    Pop music, Musical theatre More
    79
    “'Rock On': Peaked at #5 on March 9, 1974.”
  25. 25
    Up 42
    Down 26

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    M

    Synthpop, New Wave, Pop music More
    78
    “'Pop Muzik': Peaked at #1 on November 3, 1979.”
  26. 26
    Up 27
    Down 19

    ranked high on reranks
    Sniff 'n' the Tears

    Rock music More
    75
    “'Driver's Seat': Peaked at #15 on September 29, 1979.”
  27. 27
    Up 56
    Down 29

    ranked low on reranks
    Vicki Lawrence

    74
    “'The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia': Peaked at #1 on April 7, 1973.”
  28. 28
    Up 42
    Down 21

    ranked low on reranks
    Walter Egan

    Rock music, Rock and roll More
    74
    “'Magnet and Steel': Peaked at #8 on August 26, 1978.”
  29. 29
    Up 41
    Down 29
    Pop music, Rock music, Soft rock More
    73
    “'Short People': Peaked at #2 on January 28, 1978.”
  30. 30
    Up 54
    Down 42

    controversial
    Ted Nugent

    Blues-rock, Rock music, Heavy metal More
    73
    “'Cat Scratch Fever': Peaked at #30 on October 8, 1977.”
  31. 31
    Up 28
    Down 23

    most listed &ranked high on reranks
    Ace Frehley

    Glam metal, Heavy metal, Glam rock More
    73
    “'New York Groove': Peaked at #13 on February 3, 1979.”
  32. 32
    Up 33
    Down 22
    Rock music, Progressive rock, Art rock More
    70
    “'From the Beginning': Peaked at #39 on October 28, 1972.”
  33. 33
    Up 30
    Down 20

    ranked high on reranks
    Climax

    Rock music, Pop rock More
    70
    “'Precious and Few': Peaked at #3 on February 26, 1972.”
  34. 34
    Up 26
    Down 25

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Billy Swan

    Pop music, Country More
    69
    “'I Can Help': Peaked at #1 on November 23, 1974.”
  35. 35
    Up 52
    Down 35

    ranked low on reranks
    Van McCoy

    Disco, Pop music, Contemporary R&B More
    68
    “'The Hustle': Peaked at #1 on July 26, 1975.”
  36. 36
    Up 30
    Down 15

    ranked low on reranks
    Ace

    Pop music, Pop rock, Soft rock More
    68
    “'How Long?': Peaked at #3 on May 31, 1975.”
  37. 37
    Up 42
    Down 24

    ranked low on reranks
    Paper Lace

    Pop music, Rock music More
    68
    “'The Night Chicago Died': Peaked at #1 on August 17, 1974.”
  38. 38
    Up 49
    Down 35
    Pop music, Rock music, Folk music More
    68
    “'Welcome Back': Peaked at #1 on May 8, 1976.”
  39. 39
    Up 23
    Down 26

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    First Class

    Pop music More
    67
    “'Beach Baby': Peaked at #4 on October 5, 1974.”
  40. 40
    Up 30
    Down 31

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Keith Carradine

    67
    “'I'm Easy': Peaked at #17 on August 7, 1976.”
  41. 41
    Up 41
    Down 29

    ranked low on reranks
    Chris Rea

    Blues-rock, Pop music, Rock music More
    67
    “'Fool (If You Think It's Over)': Peaked at #12 on September 16, 1978.”
  42. 42
    Up 30
    Down 20

    ranked high on reranks
    Focus

    Nederpop, Rock music, Instrumental rock More
    66
    “'Hocus Pocus': Peaked at #9 on June 2, 1973.”
  43. 43
    Up 37
    Down 25

    ranked low on reranks
    Richie Havens

    Folk rock, Funk More
    66
    “'Here Comes the Sun': Peaked at #16 on May 22, 1971.”
  44. 44
    Up 41
    Down 31

    ranked low on reranks
    Anita Ward

    Disco, Rhythm and blues More
    65
    “'Ring My Bell': Peaked at #1 on June 30, 1979.”
  45. 45
    Up 27
    Down 22
    64
  46. 46
    Up 22
    Down 24

    ranked high on reranks
    Funkadelic

    Psychedelic soul, Acid rock, P-Funk More
    63
    “'One Nation Under a Groove': Peaked at #23 on November 11, 1978.”
  47. 47
    Up 36
    Down 30

    ranked low on reranks
    Bill Conti

    Disco, Film score More
    63
    “'Gonna Fly Now (Theme from Rocky)': Peaked at #1 on July 2, 1977.”
  48. 48
    Up 20
    Down 18

    ranked high on reranks
    Five Stairsteps

    63
  49. 49
    Up 23
    Down 20
    Synthpop, Pop music More
    63
    “'Popcorn': Peaked at #9 on October 21, 1972.”
  50. 50
    Up 23
    Down 20
    62
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