In Honor of One-Hit Wonder Day, Check Out Some of Our Favorites

Courtesy
Sir Mix-a-Lot in the video for Baby Got Back in 1992.

What do "Baby Got Back," "I Can't Wait," and "Stacy's Mom" have in common? They're all one-hit wonders. In honor of "One-Hit Wonder Day," Billboard staff each selected their favorite track that qualifies -- loosely -- as a one-hit wonder. Check out the picks below.

Napoleon XIV, "They're Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!"
This song, which reached No. 3 on Billboard's Hot 100 following its release in 1966, is completely batshit. Jerry Samuels, the artiste, used a recording trick he sussed out in the New York studio he worked at which allowed the pitch of a track to be raised without altering its tempo. This gives it that nice, utterly insane patina. The song ("song") took Samuels nine months to finish and could slot snugly into an episode of Adam West's Batman -- maybe as a love poem for the Joker. Get outta there! -- Andrew Flanagan


Nu Shooz, "I Can't Wait"
This song is everything that was fun about '80s dance music. You cannot hear this without wanting to get up -- or at least I can't. -- Serena Kappes


Fountains of Wayne, "Stacy's Mom"
This song is basically The Cars' "Just What I Needed" and Rick Springfield's "Jessie's Girl" put together. It got big when I was a sophomore in high school, and I think I was feeling some intense secondhand '80s nostalgia. -- Chris Payne

Hearing it always makes me feel really grateful for the last minute decision not to name me Stacy. -- Tracy Allison


Deee-Lite, "Groove is in the Heart"
You're going to dance, and have some fun... "Groove is in the Heart" is one of those tracks you can hear over and over again and makes you happy every time you hear it. It also can single-handedly get people onto a dance floor, or perk up a road trip. Also, Lady Miss Kier is fierce. She owned that track and that '60s style bodysuit worn throughout the video. -- Leslie Richin


New Radicals, "You Get What You Give"
"You Get What You Give" is BY FAR my favorite one hit wonder. That was the first time I heard the term "frenemies," I have run a 4am miracle mile, I do want to kick Courtney Love and Marilyn Manson's asses. It just always puts me in a good mood, I'm dancing right now just thinking about it. They had another song in a Mandy Moore movie (both are great), but this is just one of the most perfect pieces of pop music I have yet to hear, even 16 years after it showed up on TRL and entered my life forever. -- Trish Haplin


Sir Mix-a-Lot, "Baby Got Back"
Because really -- what else has he EVER done? -- Katie Morse


The Vapors, "Turning Japanese"
In today's PC world it's hard to imagine any band getting away with this song (and check the creepy lyric "I want the doctor to take your picture so I can look at you from inside as well"). The Vapors did, with this timeless wonder, full of energy and hooks. -- Lars Brandle


Nena, "99 Red Balloons"
Nena's fever dream of Cold War apocalypse is one of the best New Wave hits ever: It's propulsive, catchy, endlessly listenable and a perfect karaoke jam. -- Joe Lynch


Looking Glass, "Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)"
This 1972 No. 1 hit is amazing on so many levels. It tells a story like so few (non-country) songs do today -- and it's a terribly sad story, in spite of the song's jangly beat and "doo-doo-doo" intro. Basically, even though Brandy is cute and sweet, she will remain single forever because she can't compete with the ocean. Ouch. Well, at least she got some sweet jewelry out of the deal (made of finest silver from the North of Spain!), and the dude is nothing if not upfront: "My life, my lover, my lady is the sea." -- Katie Atkinson


Stacey Q, "Two of Hearts"
This bubbly dance-pop gem from 1986 remains one of my favorite tunes of from the decade. The song is completely derivative, and Stacey's Q's vocals are so light and airy they almost float away. But to this day, those drum-machine hits and stuttery vocals will drag me to the dance floor whenever a DJ is wise (and brave) enough to drop the beats. -- M. Tye Comer


Chumbawamba, "Tubthumping"
Middle-school me didn’t really understand what the song was about, but that didn’t mean I didn’t want to get knocked down and then get up again, over and over. -- Denise Warner


Horace Brown, "One For The Money"
Horace Brown's "One For The Money" was one of the strongest R&B singles in a decade full of them. After releasing this top 15 R&B hit in 1996, Brown sunk out of sight and hasn't released an album since. -- Elias Leight

 

 

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