National One-Hit Wonder Day on September 25 was declared by music journalist Steve Rosen in 1990, to remember artists who had their five minutes of fame once upon a time and have since been wiped from our memories. However forgettable the artists are, their hit songs will eternally be etched in our minds. Even though you might forget when your best friend’s birthday is, you will always be able to sing along to the chorus of ‘Ice, Ice Baby’ at any given time. These songs are connected to specific moments from our past and remembering them allows us to revisit our former selves.
History of National One-Hit Wonder Day
When American artist and producer Andy Warhol said, “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes,” he wasn’t far from the truth. From ‘It’s Raining Men’ by The Weather Girls to ‘Harlem Shake’ by Baauer, plenty of artists have been world-famous for a short while, however, it is only their hit singles that still shine bright.
In the year 1990, music lover and journalist Steve Rosen declared September 25 as National One-Hit Wonder Day to pay homage to and celebrate long-forgotten artists and their hit songs. This was also his way of celebrating his birthday.
This act of remembering and bringing back artists and their hit singles from the past gave rise to music and radio shows that exclusively played one-hit wonders. On June 7, 1999, the American cable network VH1 aired a documentary show titled “Where Are They Now?” with its first episode dedicated to one-hit wonders. They caught up with stars who disappeared from the limelight after having their short-lived moment of fame. The episode featured several one-hit acts like The Weather Girls, Starland Vocal Band, Frank Stallone, Rupert Holmes, Animotion, T’Pau, Rex Smith, Terry Jacks, Soft Cell, The Vapors, House of Pain, EBN-OZN, and Tracy Ullman. In 2002, VH1 also released a list of 100 one-hit wonders through their countdown show “VH1’s 100 Greatest One-hit Wonders.” It presented a list of singers who were able to produce only one American hit single in their career.
Some throwback radio shows also play songs by artists who topped the charts once and were never seen in the top 10 again. Started in 2017, “Dan Sweeney’s One Hit Wonders” is one such radio show that airs weekly and features forgotten ‘Top 40 American Hits.’ Hosted by Dan Sweeney, the show gives life updates and fun trivia about the singers/acts behind the hits.
National One-Hit Wonder Day timeline
Steve Rosen declares National One-Hit Wonder Day to pay homage to forgotten artists and their one-hit singles.
The American cable network VH1 airs a music documentary show called “Where Are They Now?” and the first episode is dedicated to one-hit wonders.
Through their countdown show, VH1 releases a list of 100 hit singles and their respective artists who were able to enjoy the spotlight for only a short amount of time.
Radio host Dan Sweeney starts a weekly radio show that exclusively plays throwback hit songs.
National One-Hit Wonder Day FAQs
What is the number one one-hit wonder of all time?
The #1 one-hit wonder of all time is the Bayside Boys Mix of Los Del Rio’s ‘Macarena.’
Is ‘Ice Ice Baby’ a one-hit wonder?
Yes, it is! VH1 listed ‘Ice Ice Baby’ as the seventh-best one-hit wonder in their top 100.
Who is the richest one-hit wonder?
Lead singer of the band A-ha, Morten Harket is the richest one-hit-wonder artist with a net worth of $60 million.
How To Celebrate National One-Hit Wonder Day
Make your own throwback playlist
One of the best ways to celebrate National One-Hit Wonder Wonder Day is to get on Spotify and find all of your favorite hit songs and put them all in a playlist. Don’t forget to dance along!
Take the Buzzfeed one-hit-wonder quiz
This is for those who love games and testing their memory. Do you remember the name of the artist who sang ‘Torn?’ Take the quiz to find out.
Throw a karaoke party
What’s more fun than singing along to catchy hit songs? Call your friends and/or your partner over and sing your heart out.
5 Rocking Facts About One-Hit Wonders
‘Macarena’ is the top one-hit wonder
According to VH1, the Bayside Boys remix of ‘Macarena’ is the best one-hit wonder song of all time.
The “Friends” theme song was lengthened
‘I’ll Be There For You’ by The Rembrandts, more popularly known as the “Friends” theme song was originally 0:45 seconds long but then it was re-recorded and made into a three-minute single after experiencing a rise in popularity due to the show.
Spotify’s most-played one-hit wonder
Out of all the one-hit wonders, ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’ by Gotye ft. Kimbra won the unofficial blue ribbon for having more than 810 million plays on Spotify.
This is not a Bob Marley song
People mistake ‘Don't Worry, Be Happy’ for a Bob Marley song but it is actually by a jazz conductor, Bobby McFerrin, and was the first acapella song to reach number one on the Billboard.
It’s ‘What's Up,’ not ‘What's Going On’
4 Non Blondes didn’t actually use the words ‘what's up’ anywhere in their song ‘What's Up’ because they didn't want it to be confused with Marvin Gaye’s iconic ‘What’s Going On.’
Why We Love National One-Hit Wonder Day
Music brings people together
Anyone can appreciate a good song. Music is a uniting force that has the power to bring people closer.
Blast from the past
It’s always fun to look back and revisit our memories. One-hit wonders are connected to our old selves and this day gives us an occasion to celebrate throwbacks.
One song can make your career
If you think about it, all you need is one song to really make it. Maybe that singer-songwriter life doesn’t look too impossible anymore, does it? You need to be prepared for the five-minute fame though.
National One-Hit Wonder Day dates