The worst one-hit wonders of all time


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The one-hit wonder is one of nature’s most curious phenomena. For one thing, we can all be happy that the artist has one hit and one hit only, and it’s the only thing we’ll ever have to hear from them. The bad news is that we must hear it all the live-long day, every day, forever.

In fairness, they’re not always terrible. Soft Cell’s 1981 cover of “Tainted Love” is welcome anytime it comes on the radio. But sadly, that’s an exception to the rule, and most of the time, when an artist’s only hit comes on the radio, there’s a race to find an appropriate projectile to hurl at it and silence it.

Here are ten examples of one-hit wonders and the songs they made that are about as welcome as a malfunctioning septic tank.

Baha men

‘Who Let the Dogs Out’ by Baha Men (2000)

Admit it. Seeing the song’s title fills you with seething rage you cannot contain. We’re sorry for putting the chorus and barking dog noises that accompany it into your head for the next 12 hours, but you can always enjoy watching a robotic Mitt Romney invoke the song during a presidential campaign stop in 2008.

Rebecca Black

‘Friday’ by Rebecca Black (2011)

We really feel sorry for Rebecca Black. When she released ‘Friday,’ she was only 13 years old, and between the comments section haters and BBC News declaring it the “worst song ever” Black said that it was very hurtful to her. Today, we’re glad that Black, now 26, survived the slings and arrows, but if we could get in a time machine and fix history so the song never existed, we would do it.

Vanilla Ice Project
DIY Network / IMDB

‘Ice Ice Baby’ by Vanilla Ice (1990)

If you were alive and had functioning ears in 1990, then you were subjected to the Vanilla Ice song “Ice Ice Baby” about eleventy-trillion and fifty-seven times per 24-hour period. It samples Queen and David Bowie’s “Under Pressure,” so that part’s okay, but ultimately it just makes us want to listen to the vastly superior original. Alvin and the Chipmunks released their own version of the song in 1991 under the title “Ice Ice Alvin,” and we’re not sick of that one at all.

Billy Ray Cyrus

‘Achy Breaky Heart’ by Billy Ray Cyrus (1992)

“Achy Breaky Heart” was written by songwriter Don Van Tress and recorded in 1991 by the Marcy Brothers, who called it “Don’t Tell My Heart.” The following year, Miley Cyrus’s father released it under the title we all know, and it became a huge international crossover hit. The mere sound of it will make you run for the nearest fire exit, and as if that’s not enough, the music video is credited with popularizing line dancing. Where’s Amnesty International when you need them?

Chumbawamba by Barbara Mürdter (CC BY-SA)

‘Tubthumping’ by Chumbawamba (1997)

Like many songs that inadvertently become drinking anthems, “Tubthumping” concerns getting back up after being knocked down. As inspiring as that may be, the repetitiveness of this particular platter wears the listener down with its unyielding tedium, and you will give great thanks to the deity of your choice when the thing finally ends. Village Voice critic Robert Christgau named it the second-best single of 1997, further evidence that you should ignore critics.


‘Kung Fu Fighting’ by Carl Douglas (1974)

As a novelty hit, it’s hard to hate “Kung Fu Fighting” too much, just because it’s too goofy to raise much ire. Having said that, the arrangement, unfortunately, contains a fake Asian “chop socky” melody that has aged very, very poorly and would be worth removing if any intrepid music engineer wants to take a crack at it. Really, please.

The Knack

‘My Sharona’ by The Knack (1979)

Speaking of which, the Knack’s extremely robotic “My Sharona” has not aged well either. The lyrics recount singer Doug Fieger’s physical attraction to a girl of “the younger kind,” and in 2005, he told the Washington Post that while he had written the song at age 25 about a girl who was then 17, he had written it from the perspective of a 14-year-old boy. Sure you did! “Weird Al” Yankovic later immortalized the song in parody form as “My Bologna.”

‘Don't Worry, Be Happy’ by Bobby McFerrin

‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy’ by Bobby McFerrin (1988)

While “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” is allegedly a cheerful, upbeat song with timeless advice for us all, it got overplayed within an inch of its life. While it’s neat that the only instrument used in the entire song is singer Bobby McFerrin’s body, you will not care about that by the second time you hear it. You will eventually pray for Elvis Presley to visit your home with a firearm so he can change your radio station like he changed television channels.

‘Whoomp! (There It Is)’ by Tag Team

‘Whoomp! (There It Is)’ by Tag Team (1993)

Another song that metastasizes to your brain simply upon reading its title, this became something that stopped being a song and became something crowds of people yell whenever someone does something that might earn “likes” if posted to TikTok. Sadly for Tag Team, the hip-hop dup behind this masterpiece, they never again scaled the same heights of the Billboard charts, although they did get a little traction when “Addams Family (Whoomp!)” appeared on the soundtrack to 1994’s “Addams Family Values.”

‘I'm Too Sexy’ by Right Said Fred

‘I’m Too Sexy’ by Right Said Fred (1991)

Do we even need to explain this one? Yes, the song and the video are both amusing upon one’s first encounter with them, but once that’s over, the three minutes it takes to sit through it in its entirety feels like a task akin to conquering the Matterhorn. It’s enough to make you want to give singer Fred Fairbrass a shirt that can contain both his boundless sexiness and his singing voice.

Editor’s Note: This list was created based on the opinions of the author. The choices presented are subjective and can vary depending on personal preferences and perspectives.

This article was produced and syndicated by MediaFeed.