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One Hit Wonder Day

One Hit Wonder Day

It is thought that the origins of the phrase ‘one hit wonder’ comes from a baseball term, meaning a pitcher who stops the opposing team from scoring due to pitching so well. In the music industry, ‘one hit wonder’ refers to an artist or band who experiences huge success with one song but is unable to follow it up with another hit. It is thought that this phrase first appeared in the Winnipeg Free Press in July 1977 in reference to ABBA (although, curiously the article refers to the fact that the band were not a one-hit wonder, suggesting that the term was known beforehand). International One Hit Wonder Day was started by the music journalist Steve Rosen in 1990 as an attempt to remind readers of all the artists who had big hits but fallen into relative obscurity, a form of music conservation. It is said that the introduction of the radio (between 1956 and 1957) was instrumental in contributing to the one-hit wonder phenomena, allowing for songs to be in heavy rotation on a daily basis and saturating the culture. Famous one-hit wonder artists include The Tokens, Bobby Pickett, The Buggles,  Tommy Tutone and Modern English.

Learn more about the music industry and one-hit wonders with our activities!

Activity Ideas:

  • Add some pop music to your day with our MTV playlist – here 
  • Challenge yourself with The Radio Quiz – here
  • Enjoy our one-hit-wonder matching game – here