While the 1980s were filled with one-hit wonders, the music industry had changed a bit by the 1990s. Record companies wanted to make more money off albums instead of singles in many ways. One reason Grunge became so successful is that the value of the music came from the artist as a whole instead of a one-and-done single.
While this is a positive in many ways, there is one huge drawback. Record companies tried to sign more artists they thought sounded like some other new and popular artists and not take chances on new sounds completely. Still, thankfully some one-hit wonders snuck through.
The three songs that follow are just a few examples of 1990s one-hit wonders. That sentence is a little strange, though. We as the listener get a great song to hear, but the musical artist probably likely had to find other things to do besides making music.
Sixpence None the Richer - "Kiss Me" (1998)
"Kiss Me" is a ridiculously addictive song from a Christian alt-rock band who basically had to beg radio stations to play the tune. Eventually the track became so successful that there were four official videos made for it. The song also won a Grammy for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals (that's an extremely specific Grammy, it seems).
Sixpence None the Richer never came close to achieving the commercial success they had with "Kiss Me," but they did earn another Grammy (Best Rock Gospel Album) in 1997 for their self-titled record. They also have an interesting versions of Crowded House's "Don't Dream It's Over" and "There She Goes" by the La's, both bands one-hit wonders themselves.
Superdrag - "Sucked Out" (1996)
This band from Knoxville, Tennessee was classified as alt-rock, and while their music isn't at all punk, their sensibilities certainly seem to be. The song "Sucked Out" was from the band's first full-length record, Regretfully Yours, and is about how the music industry doesn't care so much about the musical artists themselves.
By the time of the first album, the band had signed with Elektra Records and Elektra wanted the second album to be a bunch of songs that sounded like "Sucked Out" so Superdrag responded with a record that included instruments such as a theremin and a sitar. Bold. And awesome. Just like "Sucked Out" itself.
Blind Melon - "No Rain" (1992)
This is a bit of what could have been. Blind Melon sounded like they were from the 1970s and as if they wanted to be psychedelic rock gods. They could have been, too, in a different era, and if tragedy didn't strike the group. After putting out two albums, singer Shannon Hoon died of a drug overdose while the band was on tour.
Blind Melon likely would have churned out several other good albums and great tunes. Instead, we are left with "No Rain" and the famous Bee Girl video and feel a lot better for being human after watching it. Enjoy with bittersweetness.