Here at JACK 96.9, we play what we want. And let’s be honest, it sure seems like we want to play lots of one-hit wonders. Just look through our playlist, it’s full of them (we see you, Nena). And while some people think of one-hit wonders as inherently bad (“The Macarena”) we’re here to prove that not all one-hit wonders are created equally and that although the artists might never have been able to replicate their biggest success, these songs should stand the test of time. Or at the very least will continue to get airplay on JACK.


  • Soft Cell – “Tainted Love”
    A staple on “JACK Up The ’80s”, Soft Cell are actually only North American one-hit wonders. Across the pond, they scored ten Top 40 hits! JACK FACT: This song was originally recorded by Gloria Jones way back in 1964!
  • Carl Douglas – “Kung Fu Fighting”
    One of the top-selling singles of all-time, this homage to kung-fu movies of the early ’70s (duh) is a song everyone can sing along with. Unfortunately for all mankind, the follow-up single “Dance The Kung-Fu” didn’t make the same cultural impact.
  • Norman Greenbaum – “Spirit In The Sky”
    The oldest song on our list, this was a huge fit for Norman Greenbaum back in 1969. And while he never recaptured this magic, the song was also a hit for Doctor & The Medic’s in 1986.
  • Deee-Lite – “Groove Is In The Heart”
    Originally a smash in dance clubs, Deee-Lite’s 1990 hit is still guaranteed to fill the dance floor in 2018. Not only was it incredibly successful commercially, but it was also critically adored and ended up on many publications “Best Songs of 1990” list.
  • Bobby McFerrin – “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”
    The only song on this list to win a Grammy award, McFerrin’s 1989 hit was also the first acapella hit to top the charts. JACK FACT: The phrase “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” is attributed to Indian mystic Meher Baba.
  • Tommy Tutone – “867-5309”
    Did you know that Tommy Tutone was the name of the band, and not actually a lone singer who goes by the name “Tommy Tutone”? Probably not since they only had the one hit song. PS The lead singer is actually named Tommy Heath.
  • Sinead O’Connor – “Nothing Compares 2 U”
    The song that put Sinead O’Connor on the map wasn’t even a Sinead O’Connor song. It was written by some guy you might have heard of… Prince! The Purple One even recorded his own take on his song, check it out here.
  • Blind Melon – “No Rain”
    When “No Rain” was first released in 1993, we doubt many people thought it would be a one-hit wonder. The Grunge-lite band was poised for stardom…. until the accidental death of lead singer Shannon Hoon in 1995 cut their career abruptly short.
  • Nena – “99 Luft Balloons”
    When one looks up “one-hit wonder” in the dictionary, it might as well just show this song. Everyone knows it, yet nobody knows any other songs by Nena. Except for Germans. She’s sold millions of albums there and continues to make appearances on the German version of The Voice.


Can’t get enough one-hit wonders? Don’t worry (be happy?) we made a handy Spotify playlist so you can dig deeper into these musical oddities.


And happy “One-Hit Wonder Day”! (yep, it’s a real thing)

Filed under: JACK likes Lists, One-Hit Wonders