In Honor of #NationalOneHitWonderDay, Here’s a List of Our Favorite One-Hit Wonders

Goapele at the 2017 BET Awards at Microsoft Square on June 25, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.
Goapele at the 2017 BET Awards at Microsoft Square on June 25, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.
Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez (Getty Images)

Who knew there was an actual day set aside to celebrate those who came, dropped their one interesting hit on us and then faded back into obscurity—never to be heard from again.


There are some one-hit wonders who have managed to rise back up again for an encore, but for the most part, they bless us with their catchy tunes and go.

We can argue back and forth over what actually constitutes a one-hit wonder, but the generally agreed upon definition is a singer or group that peaked with one top song. They may—like Goapele—have had many other songs that came across your radar, but can you name them?

Goapele - “Closer”

Since Senior Editor Stephen A. Crockett Jr. challenged everyone in our work Slack to name a Goapele song that is not “Closer,” I am going to start the list off with her. Our social media editor, Corey P. Townsend, argued that he knows more than one Goapele song, but no one was listening to him because we don’t know the names of those songs. It’s OK, because “Closer” is all the Goapele we need, and then some.

Crucial Conflict - “Hay”

I would argue that the better Crucial Conflict song is “Showdown,” but there I go showing off my knowledge that Crucial Conflict actually did have more than one good song. “Hay” is the song that everyone knows them for, but I am including “Showdown” as a bonus track because this is my damn list.

Rockwell - “Somebody’s Watching Me”

No list of one-hit wonders would be complete without including this one. Michael Jackson on background vocals really made this song. Kennedy William Gordy, the son of Motown founder Berry Gordy, had his moment in the sun with this one. You could argue, however, that he was overshadowed by his back up singer. Oh well, it’s still a catchy tune.

Mark Morrison - “Return of the Mack”

This song is a stone cold jam. Debate your auntie with the shiny ass wigs. The only thing greater than this song is the story of why it is a one-hit wonder.

Apparently, Morrison had a bit of legal trouble that continued through his rise to popularity with “Return of the Mack.” At one point he was faced with a choice to either do his court-ordered community service or go on tour in support of his wildly popular song. Morrison decided to go on tour, and he paid a lookalike to do his community service.

He was caught, of course, and sentenced to a year in prison—thus becoming a one-hit wonder.

Eagle Eye Cherry - “Save Tonight”

I don’t know who this is, but I think he’s related to Neneh Cherry, who was also a one-hit wonder. Anyway, our editor-in-chief Danielle Belton wanted this on the list, so it’s here now so I don’t get fined.

Carl Douglas - “Kung Fu Fighting”

This is gold and a classic, and it was picked by our very own managing editor, Genetta Adams.


It’s a jam, even if you have to be of a certain age to remember it.

Masta Ace - “Born to Roll”

Michael Harriot, my fellow staff writer and columnist here at The Root, submitted this as his contribution to the list—and quite frankly, I’m surprised his country ass is even aware of this song.


He’s not lying though. It is a bop.

Neneh Cherry - “Buffalo Stance”

No one understood the lyrics to this song. Neneh Cherry was just really pretty to look at, and the video was somewhat interesting. Anyway, I added her to this list because DB (our editor in chief) added her brother to it.

Brotherhood Creed - “Helluva”

Very Smart Brotha Panama Jackson reminded us of this song in Slack, and yes, it was also a jam.

Positive K - “I Got a Man”

You weren’t really living in the early ’90s if this song wasn’t on your radar. It was an entire mood on both sides.

MC Brains - “Oochie Coochie”

There was a period of time in music when everything Michael Bivins (New Edition, BBD and whatever that new group is they are touring as) touched was gold. MC Brains came along during that time period, and “Oochie Coochie” was one of those jams.

Crime Mob - “Knuck If You Buck”

This isn’t so much a one-hit wonder as it is an anthem to ass kicking. Whenever this song comes on, I immediately start scanning the room to see who I should knock out first. Seriously, if you can listen to this song without wanting to fight, I question how thorough you really are.

So these are ours. What are some of your favorite one-hit wonders? Let us know in the comments.

News Editor for The Root. I said what I said. Period.



Every broke negro’s anthem biweekly and during tax season