Six brilliant one-hit wonders from the 1980s

It’s hard to believe all of these great songs were the only top chart hits for these artists

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One-hit wonders are still a bit of a puzzle to me. Some are huge hits around the world. Others might feature in the soundtrack of major movies and they are usually great songs.

But for one reason or another, they just don't get followed up by another hit for the artist. Sometimes it's hard to believe that didn't happen when the music the artist produced is so good.

Also, many songs are one-hit wonders in one country but the artist goes on to have major chart success elsewhere. Let's narrow it down though and look at six songs from the 1980s. These were amazingly good one-off hits in the top 40 charts across several major music industry countries, including the UK and the US Billboard Hot 100 or dance charts.

Six 1980s one hit wonders

Sugar Hill Gang - "Rappers Delight"

This is a great song to start the list. “Rappers Delight” was a massive hit around the world for Sugar Hill Gang. It did only peak at number 36 on the US Billboard Hot 100, perhaps as it originally was released only on 12” vinyl there. Elsewhere, it reached number three in the UK, and number one in Canada, and was a top-five hit in many European countries.

Released late in 1979, the single hit the charts in January 1980. It is regarded as a crucial step in bringing hip-hop to a huge public audience. There’s a very funky bass throughout and easily accessible rap vocals and lyrics, which all help make it pretty memorable and more mainstream. 

It’s not without some controversy. Chic stars Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards eventually got songwriting credits after a legal dispute claiming their “Good Times” hit had been used for “Rappers Delight”. Well, it added to the groove nicely so was worth the credits.