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The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s

Updated June 14, 2019 28.4k votes 3.0k voters 192.9k 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!
  • 1

    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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  • 2

    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.
  • 3


    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.”

    More Nazareth 

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  • 4


    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.”

    More Free 

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

  • 5

    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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  • 6

    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.”

    More Warren Zevon 

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  • 7

    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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    The Best T. Rex Albums of All Time#149 of 251 The Greatest Classic Rock Bands

  • 8

    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.”

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  • 9


    Synthpop, Classic rock

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

    More Badfinger 

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  • 10


    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.

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  • 11

    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.”
  • 12

    Gerry Rafferty

    Blues-rock, Pop music

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

    More Gerry Rafferty 

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  • 13

    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

    Al Stewart

    Pop music, Rock music

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

  • 15

    King Harvest

    Rock music, Pop rock

    AlbumsDancing in the Moonlight

    “'Dancin' in the Moonlight': Peaked at #13 on February 24, 1973.”
  • 16
    “'Cruel to Be Kind': Peaked at #12 on September 29, 1979.”

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  • 17

    Shocking Blue

    Blues-rock, Nederpop

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

    'Venus': Peaked at #1 on February 7, 1970.


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  • 18

    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.”

    More Mott the Hoople 

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  • 19

    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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  • 20


    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.”
  • 21

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

  • 22

    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.”
  • 23

    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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  • 24

    Gary Wright

    Rock and roll

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

  • 25

    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.”