Many bands through the years have hung their success on being a one-hit-wonder band. This means that despite their best efforts, they are known for one song, which has often hit the top 10. Remember that many bands listed may be one-hit-wonders in the United States but have had much more international success. Below is a list of some great one-hit wonders in classic rock, and include an amazing playlist with several others included.
"Blinded By The Light" - Manfred Mann's Earth Band
Manfred Mann's Earth Band is a British band formed by South African musician Manfred Mann in 1971. Their top hit, "Blinded By The Light," is a cover of Bruce Springsteen's song, which was featured on his debut album Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. Mann's band would reach No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100 in Feb. 1977 in the US and a top ten hit in the UK, New Zealand, and Canada. The band experienced a short hiatus in the late 1980s and continues to tour today.
"Love Hurts" Nazareth
Nazareth is a Scottish hard rock band that formed in 1968. The band's 1975 album Hair of the Dog gained popularity in the United States with their cover of "Love Hurts." The song, written by songwriter Boudleaux Bryant, was first recorded by the Everly Brothers in 1960 but never released as a single. This version reached No. 9 on Billboard Hot 100 in the US, No. 5 in the UK, and No. 1 in Canada, the Netherlands, Belgium, South Africa, and Norway. Nazareth's version is the most popular, and the song has been covered by other famous artists such as Roy Orbison and Cher. Nazareth is still performing and recording over 50 years after their formation.
"Rock On" David Essex
He may be considered a one-hit wonder in the United States but English singer, songwriter, and actor David Essex made quite a name for himself internationally. The song he is best known for is "Rock On" from 1973, released as a single. Reaching No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100 in the US, and No. 3 in the UK, it spent 11 weeks on the charts. In 1989 American actor and singer Michael Damian covered the song, and his version went No. 1 on Billboard.
"Black Betty" Ram Jam
Ram Jam is an American rock back formed in 1977 in New York City. Their one-hit wonder "Black Betty" is a rearrangement of Huddie "Lead Belly" Ledbetter's folk song. Ram Jam member Bill Bartlett was a member of Starstruck when he wrote and recorded the song. It was popular regionally by the time producers in New York City came upon it they formed Ram Jam around Bartlett, re-releasing the song, which became a national hit. The song reached No. 18 in the US and received even greater success in the UK and Australia.
"Bang A Gong (Get It On)" T. Rex
T. Rex is an English Rock band formed by singer and guitarist Marc Bolan in 1967. The band saw much success in the UK, comparable to that of the Beatles, with 11 top ten singles, four of which reached No. 1. They are best known for their song "Bang A Gong (Get It On)." In the US, the song was renamed "Get It On" so as not to be confused with the same-titled song by Chase. The song was covered by The Power Station in 1985 when it was again renamed to "Get It On (Bang a Gong)." This version was featured on an episode of Miami Vice, where it was performed live.
One-Hit Wonders in Classic Rock
"Mississippi Queen" Mountain
The band Mountain was created in Long Island, NY, in 1969 and are best known for "Mississippi Queen" and their performance at Woodstock. The song was the band's most successful single and was featured on their debut album, Climbing! reaching No. 21 on Billboards Hot 100. "Mississippi Queen" has also been included on several live recordings and ranks No. 10 on Guitar magazine's 1995 "50 Heaviest Riffs of All Time."
"All Right Now" Free
The English rock band Free is well known for its hit "All Right Now." Featured on Fire and Water, the band's third studio album from 1970. Released as the second single from the album, it reached No. 2 in the UK and No. 4 on Billboard Hot 100 in the US. "All Right Now" had over 1 million radio plays in the US by 1989, earning recognition from the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers.
"Brandy (You're A Fine Girl)" Looking Glass
Looking Glass is an American pop-rock band from the 1970s whose self-titled debut album gave the band their one-hit wonder. "Brandy (You're A Fine Girl)" hit No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100 and Cash Box Top 100 charts. The song regained popularity when it was featured in the 2017 movie Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. where the lyrics were used as a metaphor in the storyline.
"The Boys Are Back In Town" Thin Lizzy
While the Irish hard rock band Thin Lizzy influenced the genre greatly, they really only had one hit they were known for. "The Boys Are Back In Town" would prove to be the band's one-hit wonder that was released as the first single from their album Jailbreak. Rolling Stone has listed it at No. 272 on its 2021 edition of the "500 Greatest Songs of All Time" list.
"My Sharona" The Knack
The debut single of the Los Angeles-based band The Knack will forever be known as their one-hit-wonder that has spanned decades. "My Sharona" was an international hit in 1979, and the band still collects royalties from it today as it has been so popular. The song was Capital Records' fastest gold status single since the Beatles' "I Want To Hold Your Hand" from 1964.
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