’70s One-Hit Wonders That People Listen To Even Today
You may not be born in the ’70, but you can definitely recognize a ’70s song on first listening. Every era makes the music of its own, unique to that time. Speaking honestly, there is nothing like music from the 1970s. Some songs from the ’70 are from well-established artists even today, while others were real one-time hit that held.
You may listen to them every day, but you may not know the crazy stories behind them. Here is the list of top one-hit wonders of the ’70s and stories behind them that will make you love ’70 music even more, or hate it. Read on to see if the era of funk and disco is still your favorite.
25. Play That Funky Music – Wild Cherry
You know this song. The chances are that your hips start moving immediately, as soon as you hear that first beat. Play That Funky Music by Wild Cherry was a massive hit in 1976 that made them popular instantly.
This globally-popular song comes with one of the most popular titles ever, and the idea for it came from the band itself. They got inspired when playing at a club to a very slow and non-responsive audience. Suddenly, someone shouted the now infamous line at them. Band frontman Rob Parissi was listening, and the idea stuck.
24. Kung Fu Fighting – Carl Douglas
You may not know this song, but once you hear it you will need only two seconds to recognize this song. This song was blessed with was called the Oriental riff,’ creating something as East Asian in the American imagination.
Carl Douglas was a one-hit-wonder with this 1974 single. It used the popularity of Hong Kong fu movies, and its greatest star, Bruce Lee, who had just passed away. You can not detect the accent, but Carl is from Jamaica.
23. In The Summertime – Mungo Jerry
In The Summertime is probably the ultimate beach song even today. This song is constantly used for TV shows, movies, and commercials. It simply goes with everything.
The title is repeated just twice in the song. At two minutes song stops and you can hear a car drive by. This was a recording of the engineer’s sports car driving by the studio.
22. Ring My Bell – Anita Ward
Frederick Knight, who was an R&B crooner, wrote this song. The inspiration for these famous tunes came from teenagers who were chitchatting on the phone. Therefore, it was named – Ring My Bell, sound logical, right?
Stacy Lattisaw was supposed to perform this song, but it eventually went to Anita Ward, because she signed on with a different label. Ward became a one-hit-wonder thanks to this song’s version from 1979. Her song ended on Soul Singles charts, and the Billboard Hot 100. Listeners interpreted the song’s lyrics as being suggestive, without knowing that Anita had a strong church background.
21. Rapper’s Delight – Sugarhill Gang
“Rapper’s Delight” had an enormous impact on the music scene as we know it today. This song was rap music introduction to the mainstream, straight from the Bronx. It all began in 1978.
Disco giants Chic were playing onstage in New York with Blondie and The Clash. At one moment, rapper Fab Five Freddy brought his pals, and while together on the stage they started freestyling. The result is an epic song that began a whole new era of music.
20. Venus – Shocking Blue
You know this song for sure, At least, you know that Bananarama version. However, if memory serves you well or you were born in the ’60, you remeber the original version from 1970.
But did you know the band that sings this song is Dutch? Thats why soem pronouncing may sound a bit off. Still, it doesn’t affect the songs’ popularity or vibes.
19. All Right Now – Free
Free was one of the best-selling blues-rock groups in Britain. As such, you would expect more hits, but unfortunately, only one song – All Right Now, remains for generations.
They disappear shortly after their one-hit song, but not before they sold 20 million albums worldwide. They wrote the song in the student union building on campus at Durham University in northern England. The entire band was extremely young, and the youngest member, bass player Andy Fraser, was just 17 years old when the band reached planetary fame.
18. Magic – Pilot
You know this song! Moreover, everyone knows it. This song is so catchy and simple to follow that you must love it. Did you know that Pilot was from Scotland?
This magical hit sold almost one million copies, which isn’t bad for a singel hit. The song was first published in 1974, and then it took again in 2007 when it was used for a Pillsbury commercial.
17. Love Hurts – Nazareth
Ever since 1975 when this song first aired, there couldn’t be a breakup without crying to these lyrics. Did you know that this master creation was actually a cover?
Nazareth band is in fact, a Scottish rock band. Their song Love Hurts made it to the Top 10 in the US. It also made #1 in Norway and the Netherlands. Lead singer Dan McCafferty put his soul into this song and created a song filled with emotions.
16. Turn The Beat Around – Vicki Sue Robinson
Before Gloria Estefan took this song under her wing, New York singer Vicki Sue Robinson launched their big hit in 1976. She had well-organized tours to promote her song, and it worked like a charm.
In no time, Turn the Love Around, was a massive hit at home and abroad. Thanks to her hit, Vicki backed up Irene Cara on the hit tune “Fame”, and spent the 1980s working alongside such A-list artists as Cher and Michael Bolton.
15. Spirit In The Sky – Norman Greenbaum
You cannot avoid falling in love with that guitar riff. It’s just unforgettable! Spirit In The Sky has been number one three times through three separate artists, but the original one came from Norman Greenbaum.
Norman said he saw Porter Waggoner singing gospel on TV and got his inspiration from there. It took him only 15 minutes to create the ultimate hit, with a pinch of his background. Did you know that Norman was actually raised in an Orthodox Jewish home?
14. Feelings – Morris Albert
Feelings – what a title! It says it all. Back in 1975 you couldn’t escape hearing this song, every day, all day long. Even if you were the happiest person alive, you couldn’t but feel the weight of the world on first tunes.
After all, that’s what music should do – connect you. Performed by Brazilian Morris Albert’s Feelings; was a massive hit. However, this popular song when through some rough times. Morris had to face copyright backlash for improvising on a tune written by French composer Loulou Gasté. However, the audience didn’t mind it. Nina Simone also performed this sound.
13. Born To Be Alive – Patrick Hernandez
French singer Patrick Hernandez made quite a buzz with his song Born to be Alive. With big and curly hair and great dance moves, he completely ruled the stage.
Patrick had a great personality and fans saw him as a real star, with a long career in the music industry. Sadly, he decided to end his music career as a one-hit-wonder. He just decided to part ways with the music industry.
12. Seasons In The Sun – Terry Jacks
That shimmering guitar vibe makes you listen to this song for hours, convinced that it’s a happy song. However, this tune from 1974 is a really, really, really sad song. Why oh why does everything have to end?
Terry recorded this song with his wife, although the song itself is a translation of French-language crooner Jacques Brel. All in, this song was written by a Belgian, translated and reworked by an American, sang and popularized by a Canadian.
11. Video Killed The Radio Star – The Buggles
“Video Killed the Radio Star” was and still is one of the best global hits ever! When it first aired, it made the top of the singles in 16 countries across the globe.
British New Wave group The Buggles is to blame for this global sensation, and their weird spacey video that millions love. Did you know that this video was actually the very first music video ever shown on MTV? At the time, some viewers saw this video as too violent.
10. Me and Mrs. Jones – Billy Paul
What a great tune! Me and Mrs. Jones delivers an amazing performance and spectacular tunes. After all, who could but Billy Paul make something so wrong sound so beautiful?
Infidelity never had so much soul in it. The single was certified platinum, with a whooping sale of two million records. Paul even got a Grammy for this song. Younger generations know this song thanks to Turk from Scrubs.
9. You Light Up My Life – Debby Boone
Debby Boone is the daughter of the famous Pat Boone, and having such a famous parent must give her the right kind of boost. With boost or not, Debby gave the world one of a kind song. You might remember this song from a movie of the same title.
You Light Up My Life spent a long time at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. Debby’s 1977 cover won the Best New Artist Grammy, as well as an American Music Award.
8. American Pie – Don McLean
The right timing is everything sometimes. Soem one-hit wonders are globally popular because they are the perfect product of a specific time. You know this song, your friends know it as well, like every person alive knows this song, it’s that popular!
The best part about this song? It never gest old. Moreover, this song was so popular that Don’s other singles couldn’t follow-up. Plus, McLean proved that a song of eight minutes can be a real hit, no matter the lyrics.
7. Lovin’ You – Minnie Riperton
A younger audience may have heard about this fantastic lady, thanks to her daughter, funny gal, and Saturday Night Live star Maya Rudolph. The older generation knows Minnie thanks to her amazing hit Lovin’ You.
Minnie had an amazing voice, and together with her husband, she decided to create an evergreen hit. The entire song is soaked with calming sounds like chirping birds, supporting perfectly Minnie’s four octave range. Sadly, just a few years after the song was released Minnie passed away.
6. Baker Street – Gerry Rafferty
You know this song! Even if you aren’t sure if you know it, trust us – you know it. It’s one of the most popular songs ever created. Plus, this song brings one of the greatest saxophone solos of all time.
On top of that, the guitar solo even influenced Slash’s in “Sweet Child o’ Mine,” so just imagine how powerful the music of this song is. In 1978 this song was globally number 1 on most charts.
5. Hooked On A Feeling – Blue Swede
ABBA wasn’t the only one from Sweden who ruled the music scene in the 1970s. Blue Swede was another group that made an unforgettable hit “Hooked on a Feeling.” Younger generations know this song from the blockbuster ”Guardians of the Galaxy.”
Did you know that this song was actually made by mashing together two cover songs, a Swedish and an American one. The “ooga-chaka” moment continued to live long after this song disappears from the top charts. That weird baby from Ally McBeal TV show danced to this song. It was one of the most viral videos in the 1990s.
4. Ça plane pour moi – Plastic Bertrand
Ça plane pour moi was something fresh that young people loved a lot. For them, it was something like the Beach Boys turned nasty. The song was so popular that even superstars such as the U2 and Red Hot Chili Peppers, sung in their concerts.
You probably know this song without realizing so. Belgian rocker Plastic Bertrand created a song in French that presented a new genre known as punk. It was unusual that the song was also a hit in the States and in France.
3. The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia – Vicki Lawrence
Some songs are forever, and The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia is one of them. Vicki Lawrence just decided oen day to try something new and see how her music career would go.
If there is a spot for her inside the music industry or not. She took the shot, recorded a massive hit and the rest is history. At first, you might think it’s a love song, but it’s in fact a story of murder and intrigue in the South with the sugary chorus.
2. Hot Child In The City – Nick Gilder
An English-Canadian musician Nick Gilder released ‘ Hot Child in the City’ in 1987 and it became an instant hit. It went number one in no time. This song is one of a kind ode to runaways with a soft voice and rock background.
This was the only hit song as a solo artist for Gilder. At the same time, he managed to be active also in his band Sweeney Todd, as well as a songwriter for other artists.
1. How Long – Ace
Everyone who is into romance knows this song. Whenever youngsters in the ’70s wanted to impress their love interest they would play this song.
While the song’s lyrics would imply that the story plot s about lovers and one cheating on another, it’s actually a betrayal of another kind. It turns out that the lead singer discovered the band’s bassist had been seeing another group! However, the song just continued the life of its own.