9 One-Hit Wonder Songs of the 90s
If the 50s and 60s were the golden ages of pop, featuring the domination of Elvis and the Beatles, then the 70s saw the explosion of rock. Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, Marvin Gaye, Leonard Cohen and Black Sabbath are the only beginning of that iconic list.
The 90s were the golden age of One-Hit Wonders. Between the early part of the decade that saw the rise of grunge stalwarts, towards the end that gave birth to teen pop, many random bands struck gold with one song. And just like that after becoming overnight sensations, they quickly faded away into obscurity. Who were they? And why is it that the music enthusiasts are still nostalgic, struggling to get those tunes out of their heads? Let’s find out. Oh and please note that the list is not based on how successful these songs were, just the overall impact they made during the 90s, terrorizing the Top 40 for weeks on end.
1. Semisonic – “Closing Time” (1998)
An ode to all the drunks who wait for the last call before the club closes for the night; “Closing Time” topped the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks charts. Composed by the rock band Semisonic, it was released in March 1998, featuring on their second album “Feeling Strangely Fine”. Nominated for the “Best Rock Song” at the Grammys, it boasts of a strong chorus and an infectious chord progression. Even though the frontman Dan Wilson tried to recapture the song’s success in his other compositions, he was unable to gather that much steam. Wilson is now a Grammy winning songwriter, penning words for stars like Adele and Taylor Swift.
2. White Town – “Your Woman” (1997)
Musician Jyoti Prakash Mishra launched his solo project White Town in 1989 and produced the one-hit wonder “Your Woman”. Released in 1997, the song topped the UK charts and peaked at number five on the Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks. Sampling a trumpet from an old song by Bing Crosby titled “My Woman”, the electronic number packed a lot of power. Since then Mishra had little success but he prefers being a one-hit wonder to a no-hit wonder.
3. Natalie Imbruglia – “Torn” (1997)
Australian actress turned singer Natalie Imbruglia made a chartbusting debut with the song “Torn”. It topped the Billboard Adult Top 40 and Mainstream Top 40, and earned the singer a Grammy nomination. The catchy pop song made Natalie an overnight sensation but she was unable to sustain that achievement. Since the smash hit her success has been marginal, especially in the US.
4. Deee-Lite – “Groove Is In The Heart” (1990)
One of the most played songs in clubs and discos, “Groove Is in the Heart” peaked at number four on the Billboard Hot 100. Featuring an eclectic mix of sounds, it topped the Billboard Dance charts. 27 years since its release and the song is still making waves with its beats, which is a testament of its endurance as an epic pop song. While the New York band Deee-Lite couldn’t replicate its success, their name is etched in the minds of the pop fans.
5. Eagle-Eye Cherry – “Save Tonight” (1997)
Eagle-Eye Cherry – and that’s his real name, is the son of Don Cherry, the renowned jazz musician. With music running in his blood, it was inevitable for him to enter the field but unfortunately he was able to give only one hit – “Save Tonight”. It topped the Billboard Top 40 Tracks and peaked at number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100. The acoustic ballad hit home with the listeners.
6. Chumbawamba – “Tubthumping” (1997)
The British rock band Chumbawamba released the Billboard Alternative Songs chart-topper in 1997. The anarcho punk band called it quits in 2012 but not before unleashing the raucous chorus of “Tubthumping”. They also famously soaked the UK Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott at the Brit Awards, dumping a jug of water on him.
7. Stereo MCs – “Connected” (1992)
The electronic, hip-hop British band Stereo MCs is a one-hit wonder in the US but not in their home country. Following “Connected” in 1992, they released “Step It Up” the same year and it peaked at number 12 on the UK charts. In the US it failed to make an impact. “Connected” on the other hand made it to the Top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 and clinched fifth position on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks. The vibrant club beat and funky rap delivery made it a fan-favorite.
8. Kris Kross – “Jump” (1992)
American hip-hop duo, Kris Kross found international fame with their song “Jump”. Released in 1992, the song topped the charts around the world including Billboard Hot 100. Lauded as a hip-hop classic, the track is among the most played in dance clubs. The tragic death of Chris ‘Mac Daddy’ Kelly from drug overdose cut short the band’s reunion in 2013.
9. Deep Blue Something – “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (1995)
Deep Blue Something is perhaps the best example of an act that came out of nowhere and vanished the same way, without any trace. The alternative rock band released “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” in 1995 and it topped the UK charts, peaking at number five on the Billboard Hot 100. Acoustic guitar, catchy chorus and vibrant beats make it an all-time fan favorite. Since no other single came close to match its stature, it rightly classifies the band as a one-hit wonder.