Music

The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s 

Adam Tyler
Originally by
Updated June 14, 2019 48.7k votes 2.8k voters 187.8k 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

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

More Derek and the Dominos 

All the Drugs, Murder, Adultery, and Disaster Around Eric Clapton's Layla #123 of 418 Musicians Who Belong In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame #1,081 of 2,042 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

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.

More Norman Greenbaum 

#464 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #65 of 221 Bands/Artists With Only One Great Album #149 of 295 The Best Ever Garage Rock Bands

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

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

More Thin Lizzy 

The Best Thin Lizzy Albums of All Time #36 of 418 Musicians Who Belong In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame #84 of 2,042 The Greatest Musical Artists 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

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

More Warren Zevon 

The Best Warren Zevon Albums of All Time #184 of 418 Musicians Who Belong In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame #269 of 1,043 The Best Singers of All Time

5
Nazareth is listed (or ranked) 5 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

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

More Nazareth 

#229 of 418 Musicians Who Belong In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame #158 of 2,042 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #152 of 333 The Greatest Classic Rock Bands

6
Free is listed (or ranked) 6 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

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

More Free 

#212 of 418 Musicians Who Belong In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame #351 of 2,042 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #181 of 333 The Greatest Classic Rock Bands

7
T. Rex is listed (or ranked) 7 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

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

More T. Rex 

The Best T. Rex Albums of All Time #344 of 2,042 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #177 of 333 The Greatest Classic Rock Bands

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

'Mississippi Queen': Peaked at #21 on April 18, 1970.

More Mountain 

#664 of 2,042 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #185 of 333 The Greatest Classic Rock Bands #456 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time

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

“'Black Betty': Peaked at #18 on September 3, 1977.”
10
The Knack is listed (or ranked) 10 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

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

More The Knack 

#325 of 2,042 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #216 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #239 of 330 The Greatest American Rock Bands

11
Nick Lowe is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
12
King Harvest is listed (or ranked) 12 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.”
13
Wild Cherry is listed (or ranked) 13 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

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

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

“'All the Young Dudes': Peaked at #37 on September 23, 1972.”

More Mott the Hoople 

#206 of 418 Musicians Who Belong In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame #665 of 2,042 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #212 of 333 The Greatest Classic Rock Bands

15
Starland Vocal Band is listed (or ranked) 15 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

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

More Starland Vocal Band 

#196 of 1,062 The Worst Bands & Musicians of All Time #51 of 58 All the Best New Artist Grammy Winners, Ranked #8 of 12 Is There A Best New Artist Grammy Winner Curse?

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

More Gerry Rafferty 

#172 of 668 The Best Rock Vocalists #116 of 418 Musicians Who Belong In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame #186 of 232 The Greatest Rock Songwriters 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

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

More Shocking Blue 

#530 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #233 of 279 The Top Pop Artists of the 1960s #35 of 221 Bands/Artists With Only One Great Album

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

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

#600 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #270 of 398 The Best Frontmen in Rock #585 of 1,062 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.”
21
Badfinger is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Scott Hays added

Albums: Day After Day: Live, Straight Up, No Dice, Magic Christian Music, Ass, + more

More Badfinger 

#90 of 418 Musicians Who Belong In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame #926 of 2,042 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #148 of 333 The Greatest Classic Rock Bands

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

“'How Long?': Peaked at #3 on May 31, 1975.”
23
Emerson, Lake & Palm... is listed (or ranked) 23 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

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

More Emerson, Lake & Palmer 

#56 of 418 Musicians Who Belong In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame #249 of 2,042 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #107 of 333 The Greatest Classic Rock Bands

24
Al Stewart is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best One-Hit Wonders of the 1970s
Crabbs added Genre: Pop music, Rock music & Folk music; Nationality: Scotland

Albums: Russians & Americans, Year of the Cat, Time Passages, Famous Last Words, Modern Times, + more

More Al Stewart 

The Best Al Stewart Albums of All Time #335 of 2,042 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #99 of 232 The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time

25
Player is listed (or ranked) 25 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

"Baby come back"  Oct 77