My Favorite One-Hit Wonders of The 80’s

Wikipedia defines a One-hit Wonder as this:

“…any entity that achieves mainstream popularity, often for only one piece of work, and becomes known among the general public solely for that momentary success. The term is most commonly used in regard to music performers with only one hit single that overshadows their other work. Sometimes, artists dubbed “one-hit wonders” in a particular country have had great success in other countries. Music artists with subsequent popular albums and hit listings are typically not considered a one-hit wonder. One-hit wonders usually see their popularity decreasing after their hit listing and most often don’t return to hit listings with other songs or albums.”

Every musical decade has them. The 1980’s, arguably, has some of the most recognizable. I set out to create a top 10 list of my favorite one-hit wonders and, after about 20 minutes, realized I was going to have to broaden my scope. What I ended up with was a top 20 list and a few honorable mentions. Again, this is a list of MY favorites in the order that I like them. The only requirements I placed on the list was that each act have one and only one single that landed in the Top 40 of Billboard’s Hot 100 during the 80’s. Two outliers to mention:

  • “I Want Candy” by Bow Wow Wow – the single only reached #64 but the songs because one of the most popular new wave songs of the 80’s. It was also strangely popular at school when it came out. So, it got included.
  • “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles – One of the most important one-hit wonders of the 80’s (it was the first video played on MTV), the song was actually released in 1979! So, it couldn’t be included on the list.

At the bottom of the post is a Spotify playlist of all the songs. So, without further delay, on to our one-hit wonders!

“She Blinded Me With Science” – 1982 (reached #5)

“Major Tom (Coming Home)” – 1983 (reached #14)

“Come On Eileen” – 1982 (reached #1)

“Der Kommissar” – 1982 (reached #5)

“Whip It” – 1980 (reached #14)

“I Ran” – 1982 (reached #9)

“Relax” – 1983 (reached #10)

“Too Shy” – 1983 (reached #5)

“Hey Mickey” – 1981 (reached #1)

“Pac-Man Fever” – 1982 (reached #9)

“867-5309/Jenny” – 1981 (reached #4)

“Somebody’s Watching Me” – 1984 (reached #2)

“Tainted Love” – 1981 (reached #8)

“Party All the Time” – 1985 (reached #7)

“One Night in Bangkok” – 1984 (reached #3)

“I Want Candy” – 1982 (reached #62)

“Heart and Soul” – 1987 (reached #4)

“Let’s Go All The Way” – 1985 (reached #7)

“Don’t Worry Be Happy” – 1988 (reached #1)

“Turn Up the Radio” – 1984 (reached #29)

Honorable Mentions:

“Black Velvet” – 1986 (reached #1)

“99 Luftballons” – 1983 (reached #2)

“Break My Stride” – 1983 (reached #5)

“Beds Are Burning” – 1987 (reached #17)

“Voices Carry” – 1985 (reached #8)

Spotify Playlist

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About Eric Vardeman 12 Articles
Curator of 80's playlists. Tulsa Curling Club founder. Known to play guitar and sing at times. Boomer Sooner. Los Lakers. Dallas Cowboys. Star Wars nerd. Olympic enthusiast. Christmas nut.