Music

The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s 

Adam Tyler
Originally by
Updated June 14, 2019 48k votes 2.7k voters 185.1k views 169 items

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
Derek and the Dominos is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s

Albums: Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, The Layla Sessions: 20th Anniversary Edition, In Concert, Got to Get Better in a Little While / Layla, Live at the Fillmore, + more

Labels: RSO Records, ATCO Records, Polydor Records

“'Layla': Peaked at #10 on August 5, 1972.”

More Derek and the Dominos 

#1,382 of 2,175 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #2 of 221 Bands/Artists With Only One Great Album All the Drugs, Murder, Adultery, and Disaster Around Eric Clapton's Layla

2
Norman Greenbaum is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Genre: Rock music; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Spirit in the Sky, Spirit in the Sky / Back Home Again, Spirit in the Sky [Varese], Petaluma, Spirit in the Sky: The Definitive Anthology, + more

'Spirit in the Sky': Peaked at #3 on April 18, 1970.
3
Thin Lizzy is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s

Albums: Live and Dangerous, Dedication: The Very Best of Thin Lizzy, Renegade, Jailbreak (bonus disc), Vagabonds of the Western World, + more

Labels: Decca Records, Vertigo Records, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, EMI, Deram Records, + more

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

More Thin Lizzy 

#62 of 424 The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands Of All Time #25 of 284 Musicians Who Belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame The Best Thin Lizzy Albums of All Time

4
Warren Zevon is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Genre: Americana, Blues-rock & Rock music; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Excitable Boy, The Wind, I'll Sleep When I'm Dead: An Anthology, Warren Zevon, The Envoy, + more

Labels: Imperial Records, White Whale Records, Artemis Records, Asylum Records, Koch Entertainment, + more

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

More Warren Zevon 

#515 of 1,042 The Best Singers of All Time #518 of 925 People We Wish Were Still Alive The Best Warren Zevon Albums of All Time

5
Free is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s

Albums: Free Live!, Heartbreaker, Tons of Sobs, Fire and Water, Free at Last, + more

Labels: Island Records, A&M Records, Universal Music Group

“'All Right Now': Peaked at #4 on October 17, 1970.”

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#177 of 284 Musicians Who Belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame #375 of 2,175 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

6
T. Rex is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s

Albums: Electric Warrior, The Slider, 20th Century Boy: The Ultimate Collection, T. Rex, Prophets, + more

Labels: Reprise Records, Regal Zonophone Records, PolyGram, Warner Bros. Records, Relativity Records, + more

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

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#167 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #90 of 2,175 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time The Best T. Rex Albums of All Time

7
Nazareth is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s

Albums: Hair of the Dog, Razamanaz, Loud 'n' Proud, Love Hurts, The Catch, + more

Labels: Eagle Records, Mooncrest Records, A&M Records, NEMS Enterprises

“'Love Hurts': Peaked at #8 on March 13, 1976.”

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#165 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #107 of 424 The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands Of All Time #182 of 284 Musicians Who Belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

8
Mountain is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s

Albums: Climbing!, Mystic Fire, Nantucket Sleighride, Go for Your Life, Man's World, + more

Labels: Windfall Records, Columbia

'Mississippi Queen': Peaked at #21 on April 18, 1970.
9
Ram Jam is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Ram Jam

Albums: Ram Jam, Golden Classics, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Ram, The Very Best Of, Black Betty, + more

Labels: Epic Records

“'Black Betty': Peaked at #18 on September 3, 1977.”
10
Wild Cherry is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s

Albums: Wild Cherry, Super Hits, I Love My Music, Electrified Funk, Only the Wild Survive, + more

Labels: Epic Records

“'Play That Funky Music': Peaked at #1 on September 18, 1976.”

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#20 of 36 The Best Funk Rock Bands of All Time #7 of 30 The Best Bands with Red in the Name

11
King Harvest is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s

Albums: Dancing in the Moonlight

“'Dancin' in the Moonlight': Peaked at #13 on February 24, 1973.”
12
Nick Lowe is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
“'Cruel to Be Kind': Peaked at #12 on September 29, 1979.”
13
Mott the Hoople is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s

Albums: Mott, All the Young Dudes, The Hoople, Mad Shadows, Wildlife, + more

Labels: Atlantic Records, Island Records, CBS Records, Columbia

“'All the Young Dudes': Peaked at #37 on September 23, 1972.”
14
Starland Vocal Band is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s

Albums: Christmas at Home, Afternoon Delight: The Best of the Starland Vocal Band, Rear View Mirror, Starland Vocal Band, A Golden Classics Edition

Labels: Windstar Records, RCA Records

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

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#199 of 1,038 The Worst Bands & Musicians of All Time #58 of 58 All the Best New Artist Grammy Winners, Ranked

15
The Knack is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
bri-gri added

Albums: Normal as the Next Guy, ... But the Little Girls Understand, Get the Knack, Zoom, Round Trip, + more

Labels: Charisma Records, Capitol Records

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

More The Knack 

#274 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #308 of 2,175 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

16
Gerry Rafferty is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Crabbs added Genre: Blues-rock, Pop music & Rock music; Nationality: Scotland

Albums: Gerry Rafferty, Snakes and Ladders, Baker Street, Right Down the Line: The Best of Gerry Rafferty, Night Owl, + more

Labels: London Records, United Artists Records, Transatlantic Records

More Gerry Rafferty 

#392 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #264 of 284 Musicians Who Belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame The Best Gerry Rafferty Albums of All Time

17
Shocking Blue is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Shocking Blue

Albums: Third Album, Beat With Us, At Home, Inkpot, Scorpio's Dance, + more

Labels: Polydor Records

'Venus': Peaked at #1 on February 7, 1970.
18
David Essex is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Genre: Pop music and Musical theatre; Nationality: United Kingdom

Albums: The Collection, The Very Best of David Essex, Greatest Hits 1978-85, Greatest Hits, Rock On, + more

Labels: Columbia

“'Rock On': Peaked at #5 on March 9, 1974.”

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#170 of 221 Bands/Artists With Only One Great Album #31 of 48 The Greatest Glam Rock Bands & Artists of All Time

19
Nick Gilder is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Genre: Rock music and Glam rock; Nationality: Canada

Albums: Rock America, City Nights, City Nights / Frequency, Stairways, The Best of Nick Gilder: Hot Child in the City, + more

“'Hot Child in the City': Peaked at #1 on October 28, 1978.”

More Nick Gilder 

#1,680 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #564 of 1,038 The Worst Bands & Musicians of All Time

20
Patti Smith Group is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s

Albums: Easter, Radio Ethiopia, Wave, Because the Night, So You Want to Be a Rock 'n' Roll Star / 5-4-3-2-1 / Fire of Unkown Origin

“'Because the Night': Peaked at #13 on June 24, 1978.”

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#506 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #200 of 620 The Greatest Live Bands of All Time

21
Emerson, Lake & Palm... is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s

Albums: Emerson Lake & Palmer, Brain Salad Surgery, Tarkus, Welcome Back My Friends to the Show That Never Ends, Trilogy, + more

Labels: Atlantic Records, Island Records, Cotillion Records, Victor Entertainment, Rhino Entertainment, + more

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

More Emerson, Lake & Palmer 

#22 of 284 Musicians Who Belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame #155 of 2,175 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

22
Ace is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s

Albums: The Best of Ace, How Long: The Best of Ace, No Strings, Time for Another, The Best of Ace, + more

Labels: ABC Records, Varèse Sarabande, Anchor Records

“'How Long?': Peaked at #3 on May 31, 1975.”
23
Player is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
DebbyHood added

Albums: Player, Electric Shadow, Baby Come Back: The Best of Player, Best of Player, Danger Zone, + more

Labels: RSO Records, Casablanca Records

"Baby come back"  Oct 77
24
Terry Jacks is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
C_Moorehead added Genre: Pop music, Rock music & Soft rock; Nationality: Canada

Albums: Seasons in the Sun, Into the Past, Y' Don't Fight The Sea, Pulse, Just Like That, + more

Labels: A&M Records, Bell Records

“'Seasons in the Sun': Peaked at #1 on March 2, 1974.”
25
Gary Wright is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
brew2112 added Genre: Rock and roll; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: The Dream Weaver, Who I Am, The Essentials, Headin' Home, The Light of Smiles, + more

More Gary Wright 

#640 of 1,042 The Best Singers of All Time #1,604 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time