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10 Memorable One-hit Wonders

Ten songs you couldn’t forget even if you tried

Pop group Aqua, best known for their hit song "Barbie Girl." (Photo via Shutterstock.)


1. “I’m Too Sexy” by Right Said Fred

Simultaneously described as vapid, witty, daft and fun, this hit by the UK band topped the charts in 30 countries in 1992 – except in Britain, where it was later nudged to the No. 2 spot by “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You” by Canadian Bryan Adams.

Staying power: Too silly to be taken seriously, the lyrics (“I’m too sexy for my shirt”) lent themselves to endless variations.

2. “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin

The Indian-guru-inspired lyrics won McFerrin a Grammy Award in 1989.

Staying power: The phrase “Don’t worry, be happy” became a mantra for positive living in the 1990s.

3. “Barbie Girlby Aqua

Much More Music ranked this Danish-Norwegian No. 27 on its list of the 50 Guilty Pleasures.

Staying power: Rolling Stone readers voted “Barbie Girl” as the worst song of the 1990s. And there was that lawsuit with Mattel.

4. “My Sharona” by the Knack

Released in 1979, the song was inspired by Knack frontman Doug Fieger’s girlfriend, Sharona Alperin. Feiger died in 2010 and Sharona later worked in real estate.

Staying power: The song epitomized “power pop” – kickbutt lyrics and heavy guitar. 

5. “Tainted Love” by Soft Cell

The Synthopop duo based their addictive New Wave number on a song that was actually written in the 1960s. 

Staying power: Unforgettable lyrics, plus Marilyn Manson covered "Tainted Love" in 2001 for the soundtrack to Not Another Teen Movie.

6. “Who Let the Dogs Out” by Baha Men

The infectious song won the 2001 GRAMMY® Award for Best Dance Recording.

Staying power: Still makes people get up and move – especially at sporting events.

7. “Macarena by Los Del Rio

The Spanish number was named No. 1 Greatest One-hit Wonder of All Time by VH1 in 2002 and also ranks as one of Billboard’s 50 Greatest Latin Songs of All Time.

Staying power: No family wedding would be complete without it.

8. “Ice Ice Babyby Vanilla Ice

While Robert Matthew Van Winkle (a.k.a. Vanilla Ice) had a couple hits, “Ice Ice Baby” from the early 1990s is the only one that has endured.

Staying power: Still popular with deejays.

9. “Come on Eileen” by Dexy’s Midnight Runners

People love it or hate it. No middle ground on this 1982 release.

Staying power: The band’s “British hillbilly” outfits on YouTube could be a clue to song’s popularity.

10. “Take On Me” by A-ha

The Norwegian band took this song to No. 1 in 1985.

Staying power: MTV videos of “Take On Me” guaranteed continued exposure.

Click here for tips on how to create and share your own one-hit-wonders playlist with Spotify® subscribers.