Music

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
Warren Zevon is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Americana, Blues-rock, Rock music
“'Werewolves of London': Peaked at #21 on May 13, 1978.”
2
Thin Lizzy is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Celtic rock, Blues-rock, Rock music
“'The Boys Are Back in Town': Peaked at #12 on July 24, 1976.”
3
Norman Greenbaum is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Rock music
'Spirit in the Sky': Peaked at #3 on April 18, 1970.
4
Derek and the Dominos is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Blues-rock
“'Layla': Peaked at #10 on August 5, 1972.”
5
Ram Jam is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Rock music, Hard rock
“'Black Betty': Peaked at #18 on September 3, 1977.”
6
King Harvest is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Rock music, Pop rock
“'Dancin' in the Moonlight': Peaked at #13 on February 24, 1973.”
7
Free is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Blues-rock, Blue-eyed soul, Rock music
“'All Right Now': Peaked at #4 on October 17, 1970.”
8
T. Rex is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Psychedelic folk, Rock music, Folk rock
“'Bang a Gong (Get It On)': Peaked at #10 on March 4, 1972.”
9
Wild Cherry is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Disco, Pop music, Rock music
“'Play That Funky Music': Peaked at #1 on September 18, 1976.”
10
Mott the Hoople is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Rock music, Soul rock, Glam rock
“'All the Young Dudes': Peaked at #37 on September 23, 1972.”
11
Nazareth is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Blues-rock, Rock music, Heavy metal
“'Love Hurts': Peaked at #8 on March 13, 1976.”
12
David Essex is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Pop music, Musical theatre
“'Rock On': Peaked at #5 on March 9, 1974.”
13
Nick Lowe is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
“'Cruel to Be Kind': Peaked at #12 on September 29, 1979.”
14
The Knack is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
bri-gri added New Wave, Rock music, Power pop
This has to be the best one hit wonder of the '70s; My Sharona #1 in 1979
15
Mountain is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Blues-rock, Rock music, Heavy metal
'Mississippi Queen': Peaked at #21 on April 18, 1970.
16
Shocking Blue is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Blues-rock, Nederpop, Rock music
'Venus': Peaked at #1 on February 7, 1970.
17
Patti Smith Group is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
“'Because the Night': Peaked at #13 on June 24, 1978.”
18
Gerry Rafferty is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Crabbs added Blues-rock, Pop music, Rock music
19
Nick Gilder is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Rock music, Glam rock
“'Hot Child in the City': Peaked at #1 on October 28, 1978.”
20
Starland Vocal Band is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Pop music
“'Afternoon Delight': Peaked at #1 on July 10, 1976.”
21
Terry Jacks is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
C_Moorehead added Pop music, Rock music, Soft rock
“'Seasons in the Sun': Peaked at #1 on March 2, 1974.”
22
Emerson, Lake & Palmer is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Rock music, Progressive rock, Art rock
“'From the Beginning': Peaked at #39 on October 28, 1972.”
23
Edison Lighthouse is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Pop music, Middle of the road
'Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)': Peaked at #5 on March 28, 1970.
24
Player is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
DebbyHood added Pop music, Rock music, Soft rock
"Baby come back"  Oct 77
25
Focus is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Nederpop, Rock music, Instrumental rock
“'Hocus Pocus': Peaked at #9 on June 2, 1973.”