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The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s

Updated June 14, 2019 28.2k votes 3.0k voters 192.4k views104 items

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

From rock and roll to pop, these are music's best 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!
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    518
    202
    “'Layla': Peaked at #10 on August 5, 1972.”

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  • 2
    510
    207
    'Spirit in the Sky': Peaked at #3 on April 18, 1970.
  • 3
    404
    182

    Nazareth

    Blues-rock, Rock music
    “'Love Hurts': Peaked at #8 on March 13, 1976.”

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    #87 of 392 The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands Of All Time#7 of 54 The Best Bands Named After Cities

  • 4
    404
    161

    Free

    Blues-rock, Blue-eyed soul
    “'All Right Now': Peaked at #4 on October 17, 1970.”

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    #78 of 100 The Best Musical Artists From Massachusetts#29 of 133 The Best Stoner Rock Bands

  • 5
    316
    117

    The Knack

    New Wave, Rock music
    This has to be the best one hit wonder of the '70s; My Sharona #1 in 1979

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    #182 of 465 The Greatest Musical Artists of the '80s#229 of 279 The Greatest American Rock Bands

  • 6
    452
    237

    Warren Zevon

    Americana, Blues-rock
    “'Werewolves of London': Peaked at #21 on May 13, 1978.”

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  • 7
    396
    201

    T. Rex

    Psychedelic folk, Rock music
    “'Bang a Gong (Get It On)': Peaked at #10 on March 4, 1972.”

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    The Best T. Rex Albums of All Time#148 of 263 The Greatest Classic Rock Bands

  • 8
    479
    267

    Thin Lizzy

    Celtic rock, Blues-rock
    “'The Boys Are Back in Town': Peaked at #12 on July 24, 1976.”

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    The Best Thin Lizzy Albums of All Time#5 of 124 The Best Black Rock Bands

  • 9
    331
    159

    Mountain

    Blues-rock, Rock music
    'Mississippi Queen': Peaked at #21 on April 18, 1970.

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    #28 of 109 The Best Musical Trios Of All-Time#68 of 155 The Best Hard Rock Bands/Artists

  • 10
    192
    59

    Badfinger

    Synthpop, Classic rock

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    #19 of 74 The Best Bands Named After Body Parts#1 of 204 The Best Power Pop Bands/Artists

  • 11
    243
    99

    Gerry Rafferty

    Blues-rock, Pop music

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    #158 of 489 The Best Rock Vocalists#139 of 178 The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band

  • 12
    348
    194

    Ram Jam

    Rock music, Hard rock
    “'Black Betty': Peaked at #18 on September 3, 1977.”
  • 13
    357
    186

    Wild Cherry

    Disco, Pop music
    “'Play That Funky Music': Peaked at #1 on September 18, 1976.”
  • 14
    294
    179

    King Harvest

    Rock music, Pop rock
    “'Dancin' in the Moonlight': Peaked at #13 on February 24, 1973.”
  • 15
    172
    84

    Al Stewart

    Pop music, Rock music
  • 16
    265
    170
    “'Cruel to Be Kind': Peaked at #12 on September 29, 1979.”

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    #495 of 816 These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time#358 of 414 The Best Alternative Bands/Artists

  • 17
    246
    159

    Shocking Blue

    Blues-rock, Nederpop
    'Venus': Peaked at #1 on February 7, 1970.

    More 

    #213 of 219 The Top Pop Artists of the 1960s#85 of 106 The Best Drum and Bass Artists

  • 18
    294
    199

    Mott the Hoople

    Rock music, Soul rock
    “'All the Young Dudes': Peaked at #37 on September 23, 1972.”

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    #48 of 222 The Best British Rock Bands/Artists#10 of 49 The Greatest Glam Rock Bands & Artists of All Time

  • 19
    268
    189
    “'Afternoon Delight': Peaked at #1 on July 10, 1976.”

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    #40 of 58 All the Best New Artist Grammy Winners, Ranked#8 of 12 Is There A Best New Artist Grammy Winner Curse?

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    207
    120

    Ace

    Pop music, Pop rock
    “'How Long?': Peaked at #3 on May 31, 1975.”
  • 21
    250
    175

    David Essex

    Pop music, Musical theatre
    “'Rock On': Peaked at #5 on March 9, 1974.”
  • 22
    256
    145

    Emerson, Lake & Palmer

    Rock music, Progressive rock
    “'From the Beginning': Peaked at #39 on October 28, 1972.”

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    #177 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time#47 of 359 Musicians Who Belong In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame

  • 23
    250
    164

    Nick Gilder

    Rock music, Glam rock
    “'Hot Child in the City': Peaked at #1 on October 28, 1978.”
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    94
    37

    Edgar Winter

    Blues-rock, Blue-eyed soul

    Free Ride

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    #156 of 541 The Greatest Live Bands of All Time#37 of 110 The Greatest Keytarists of All Time

  • 25
    188
    103

    Gary Wright

    Rock and roll

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    #177 of 739 The Best Singers Of All Time#177 of 276 The Best Progressive Rock Bands/Artists