For many aspiring singers and bands, the one-off hit can be a bitter-sweet affair. A really big hit can transform lives in uplifting, positive (and financially rewarding) ways. New careers, exciting opportunities and a Rock & Roll pension can follow.
And if the hope of finding a successful follow-up becomes an elusive phantom, there is always solace in the sense of achievement. Many one-hit wonders will answer their critics defiantly; “Well at least I had one more hit than you!”.
Many argue that pop/rock music is more about merit than market forces. But the big question is; “Do people find themselves whistling the song?”. If the answer is yes then you can bet staff will be working overtime at record companies all over the world while the artist eagerly prays their song will be #1.
But what strange alchemy transmutes one record into pure gold while so many others flop? Strangely, artists always seem to know when they have recorded such a gem. They emerge from the studio with an unnerving confidence. They know the record is special.
Many former chart-toppers have continued with a musical career with varying degrees of success. And even if record companies have dropped them, many carry on via the cabaret circuit or turn to the internet and market themselves online.
Some turn to other areas of the music business and many former teenage tunesmiths are now engaged in other grown-up business, working as financial advisers, pilots, commercial artists, teachers of actors. Some work in a bar or sell burgers from a van . . .
Only a small minority seem damaged by the experience and certainly none seem to regret that opportunity knocked (albeit just the once).
The majority of One Hit Wonders feel only pleasure at the memory of those extraordinary days when the charts ruled their lives, fans cheered and studio lights glared.
Here then is a selection of memorable One Hit Wonders from the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s;