one hit wonders The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s  

Adam Tyler
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List Rules Bands / 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!
list ordered by

1
441 222
Thin Lizzy is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Thin Lizzy Celtic rock, Blues-rock, Rock music - “'The Boys Are Back in Town': Peaked at #12 on July 24, 1976.”

2
440 157
Norman Greenbaum is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Norman Greenbaum Rock music - 'Spirit in the Sky': Peaked at #3 on April 18, 1970.

3
367 195
Warren Zevon is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Warren Zevon Americana, Blues-rock, Rock music - “'Werewolves of London': Peaked at #21 on May 13, 1978.”

4
459 152
Derek and the Dominos is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Derek and the Dominos Blues-rock - “'Layla': Peaked at #10 on August 5, 1972.”

5
327 159
Ram Jam is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Ram Jam Rock music, Hard rock - “'Black Betty': Peaked at #18 on September 3, 1977.”

6
268 161
King Harvest is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
King Harvest Rock music, Pop rock - “'Dancin' in the Moonlight': Peaked at #13 on February 24, 1973.”

7
368 147
T. Rex is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
T. Rex Psychedelic folk, Rock music, Folk rock - “'Bang a Gong (Get It On)': Peaked at #10 on March 4, 1972.”

8
398 133
Free is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Free Blues-rock, Blue-eyed soul, Rock music - “'All Right Now': Peaked at #4 on October 17, 1970.”

9
328 159
Wild Cherry is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Wild Cherry Disco, Pop music, Rock music - “'Play That Funky Music': Peaked at #1 on September 18, 1976.”

10
372 146
Nazareth is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Nazareth Blues-rock, Rock music, Heavy metal - “'Love Hurts': Peaked at #8 on March 13, 1976.”

11
264 165
Mott the Hoople is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Mott the Hoople Rock music, Soul rock, Glam rock - “'All the Young Dudes': Peaked at #37 on September 23, 1972.”

12
239 152
David Essex is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
David Essex Pop music, Musical theatre - “'Rock On': Peaked at #5 on March 9, 1974.”

13
366 159
Janis Joplin is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Janis Joplin Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music - “'Me and Bobby McGee': Peaked at #1 on March 20, 1971.”

14
239 135
Shocking Blue is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Shocking Blue Blues-rock, Nederpop, Rock music - 'Venus': Peaked at #1 on February 7, 1970.

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15
304 128
Mountain is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Mountain Blues-rock, Rock music, Heavy metal - 'Mississippi Queen': Peaked at #21 on April 18, 1970.

16
241 144
Nick Lowe is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Nick Lowe “'Cruel to Be Kind': Peaked at #12 on September 29, 1979.”

17
238 147
Patti Smith Group is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Patti Smith Group “'Because the Night': Peaked at #13 on June 24, 1978.”

18
191 52
The Knack is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
bri-gri added The Knack New Wave, Rock music, Power pop - This has to be the best one hit wonder of the '70s; My Sharona #1 in 1979

19
326 157
Lou Reed is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Lou Reed Noise rock, Blue-eyed soul, Spoken word - “'Walk on the Wild Side': Peaked at #16 on April 28, 1973.”

20
239 132
Nick Gilder is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Nick Gilder Rock music, Glam rock - “'Hot Child in the City': Peaked at #1 on October 28, 1978.”

21
262 154
Starland Vocal Band is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Starland Vocal Band Pop music - “'Afternoon Delight': Peaked at #1 on July 10, 1976.”

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22
165 50
Gerry Rafferty is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Crabbs added Gerry Rafferty Blues-rock, Pop music, Rock music

23
213 139
Terry Jacks is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
C_Moorehead added Terry Jacks Pop music, Rock music, Soft rock - “'Seasons in the Sun': Peaked at #1 on March 2, 1974.”

24
204 157
Edison Lighthouse is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Edison Lighthouse Pop music, Middle of the road - 'Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)': Peaked at #5 on March 28, 1970.

25
166 89
Player is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
DebbyHood added Player Pop music, Rock music, Soft rock - "Baby come back"  Oct 77

26
162 131
Focus is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Focus Nederpop, Rock music, Instrumental rock - “'Hocus Pocus': Peaked at #9 on June 2, 1973.”

27
201 126
Emerson, Lake & Palmer is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Emerson, Lake & Palmer Rock music, Progressive rock, Art rock - “'From the Beginning': Peaked at #39 on October 28, 1972.”

28
175 134
Sniff 'n' the Tears is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Sniff 'n' the Tears Rock music - “'Driver's Seat': Peaked at #15 on September 29, 1979.”

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29
217 203
Ted Nugent is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Ted Nugent Blues-rock, Rock music, Heavy metal - “'Cat Scratch Fever': Peaked at #30 on October 8, 1977.”

30
180 103
Ace is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Ace Pop music, Pop rock, Soft rock - “'How Long?': Peaked at #3 on May 31, 1975.”

31
132 71
Gary Wright is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
brew2112 added Gary Wright Rock and roll

32
190 128
Pilot is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Pilot Pop rock - “'Magic': Peaked at #5 on July 12, 1975.”

33
198 130
Vicki Lawrence is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Vicki Lawrence “'The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia': Peaked at #1 on April 7, 1973.”

34
103 53
Al Stewart is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Crabbs added Al Stewart Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

35
182 124
Walter Egan is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Walter Egan Rock music, Rock and roll - “'Magnet and Steel': Peaked at #8 on August 26, 1978.”

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36
190 130
Paper Lace is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Paper Lace Pop music, Rock music - “'The Night Chicago Died': Peaked at #1 on August 17, 1974.”

37
151 150
M is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
M Synthpop, New Wave, Pop music - “'Pop Muzik': Peaked at #1 on November 3, 1979.”

38
120 87
Redbone is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Redbone Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Funk

39
180 137
Minnie Riperton is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Minnie Riperton Pop music, Rock music, Rhythm and blues - “'Lovin' You': Peaked at #1 on April 5, 1975.”

40
155 125
Climax is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Climax Rock music, Pop rock - “'Precious and Few': Peaked at #3 on February 26, 1972.”

41
158 123
Richie Havens is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Richie Havens Folk rock, Funk - “'Here Comes the Sun': Peaked at #16 on May 22, 1971.”

42
111 86
Gary Numan is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
C_Moorehead added Gary Numan Synthpop, New Wave, Rock music

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43
79 16
Badfinger is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Scott Hays added Badfinger Synthpop, Classic rock, Pop music

44
168 144
John Sebastian is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
John Sebastian Pop music, Rock music, Folk music - “'Welcome Back': Peaked at #1 on May 8, 1976.”

45
178 164
Carl Douglas is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Carl Douglas Reggae - “'Kung Fu Fighting': Peaked at #1 on December 7, 1974.”

46
96 64
Sugarloaf is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
C_Moorehead added Sugarloaf Rock music, Psychedelic rock

47
145 95
Dave Loggins is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Dave Loggins Pop music, Country - “'Please Come to Boston': Peaked at #5 on August 10, 1974.”

48
150 124
The Buggles is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s

49
128 106
Mike Oldfield is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
laustcawz added Mike Oldfield Synthpop, Rock music, World music - “'Tubular Bells': Peaked at #7 on May 11, 1974.”

50
149 125
Chris Rea is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Chris Rea Blues-rock, Pop music, Rock music - “'Fool (If You Think It's Over)': Peaked at #12 on September 16, 1978.”