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The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s

Updated June 14, 2019 29.4k votes 2.9k voters 189.5k 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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  • 1
    Norman Greenbaum is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
    517
    205

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

    'Spirit in the Sky': Peaked at #3 on April 18, 1970.
  • 2
    Derek and the Dominos is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
    517
    211

    AlbumsLayla 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

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

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  • 3
    Nazareth is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
    413
    188

    Nazareth

    Blues-rock, Rock music

    AlbumsHair of the Dog, Razamanaz, Loud 'n' Proud, Love Hurts, The Catch

    “'Love Hurts': Peaked at #8 on March 13, 1976.”
  • 4
    The Knack is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
    317
    111

    The Knack

    New Wave, Rock music

    AlbumsNormal as the Next Guy, ... But the Little Girls Understand, Get the Knack, Zoom, Round Trip

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

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

    Americana, Blues-rock

    AlbumsExcitable Boy, The Wind, I'll Sleep When I'm Dead: An Anthology, Warren Zevon, The Envoy

    “'Werewolves of London': Peaked at #21 on May 13, 1978.”
  • 6
    Free is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
    415
    168

    Free

    Blues-rock, Blue-eyed soul

    AlbumsFree Live!, Heartbreaker, Tons of Sobs, Fire and Water, Free at Last

    “'All Right Now': Peaked at #4 on October 17, 1970.”
  • 7
    Thin Lizzy is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
    504
    277

    Thin Lizzy

    Celtic rock, Blues-rock

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

    “'The Boys Are Back in Town': Peaked at #12 on July 24, 1976.”
  • 8
    T. Rex is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
    404
    207

    T. Rex

    Psychedelic folk, Rock music

    AlbumsElectric Warrior, The Slider, 20th Century Boy: The Ultimate Collection, T. Rex, Prophets

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

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  • 9
    Mountain is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
    341
    164

    Mountain

    Blues-rock, Rock music

    AlbumsClimbing!, Mystic Fire, Nantucket Sleighride, Go for Your Life, Man's World

    'Mississippi Queen': Peaked at #21 on April 18, 1970.
  • 10
    Badfinger is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
    181
    57

    Badfinger

    Synthpop, Classic rock

    AlbumsDay After Day: Live, Straight Up, No Dice, Magic Christian Music, Ass

  • 11
    Gerry Rafferty is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
    256
    100

    Gerry Rafferty

    Blues-rock, Pop music

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

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  • 12
    Ram Jam is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
    366
    203

    Ram Jam

    Rock music, Hard rock

    AlbumsRam Jam, Golden Classics, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Ram, The Very Best Of, Black Betty

    “'Black Betty': Peaked at #18 on September 3, 1977.”
  • 13
    Wild Cherry is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
    370
    197

    Wild Cherry

    Disco, Pop music

    AlbumsWild Cherry, Super Hits, I Love My Music, Electrified Funk, Only the Wild Survive

    “'Play That Funky Music': Peaked at #1 on September 18, 1976.”
  • 14
    King Harvest is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
    303
    194

    King Harvest

    Rock music, Pop rock

    AlbumsDancing in the Moonlight

    “'Dancin' in the Moonlight': Peaked at #13 on February 24, 1973.”
  • 15
    Nick Lowe is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
    276
    176
    “'Cruel to Be Kind': Peaked at #12 on September 29, 1979.”

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  • 16
    Al Stewart is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
    170
    94

    Al Stewart

    Pop music, Rock music

    AlbumsRussians & Americans, Year of the Cat, Time Passages, Famous Last Words, Modern Times

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  • 17
    Shocking Blue is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
    251
    170

    Shocking Blue

    Blues-rock, Nederpop

    AlbumsThird Album, Beat With Us, At Home, Inkpot, Scorpio's Dance

    'Venus': Peaked at #1 on February 7, 1970.
  • 18
    Mott the Hoople is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
    311
    210

    Mott the Hoople

    Rock music, Soul rock

    AlbumsMott, All the Young Dudes, The Hoople, Mad Shadows, Wildlife

    “'All the Young Dudes': Peaked at #37 on September 23, 1972.”
  • 19
    David Essex is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
    265
    182

    David Essex

    Pop music, Musical theatre

    AlbumsThe Collection, The Very Best of David Essex, Greatest Hits 1978-85, Greatest Hits, Rock On

    “'Rock On': Peaked at #5 on March 9, 1974.”
  • 20
    Starland Vocal Band is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
    278
    199

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

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

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  • 21
    Nick Gilder is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
    256
    173

    Nick Gilder

    Rock music, Glam rock

    AlbumsRock America, City Nights, City Nights / Frequency, Stairways, The Best of Nick Gilder: Hot Child in the City

    “'Hot Child in the City': Peaked at #1 on October 28, 1978.”
  • 22
    Ace is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
    213
    129

    Ace

    Pop music, Pop rock

    AlbumsThe Best of Ace, How Long: The Best of Ace, No Strings, Time for Another, The Best of Ace

    “'How Long?': Peaked at #3 on May 31, 1975.”
  • 23
    Emerson, Lake & Palmer is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
    261
    158

    Emerson, Lake & Palmer

    Rock music, Progressive rock

    AlbumsEmerson Lake & Palmer, Brain Salad Surgery, Tarkus, Welcome Back My Friends to the Show That Never Ends, Trilogy

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

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  • 24
    Gary Wright is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
    193
    112

    Gary Wright

    Rock and roll

    AlbumsThe Dream Weaver, Who I Am, The Essentials, Headin' Home, The Light of Smiles

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  • 25
    Edgar Winter is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
    89
    36

    Edgar Winter

    Blues-rock, Blue-eyed soul

    AlbumsRoadwork, Edgar Winter's White Trash, They Only Come Out at Night, Shock Treatment, Entrance

    Free Ride

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