One-hit wonder

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One-hit wonder is a term that has been in use since at least the mid-1970s, though many believe it was in use before that time. We will examine the definition of the phrase one-hit wonder, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

A one-hit wonder is a musical group or a singer who produces only one successful song before fading into obscurity. The term one-hit wonder has also migrated into everyday speech to describe anything or anyone who produces one large success, and then never achieves that type of success again. For instance, an architect who designs a building that receives much acclaim and then never designs another structure of equal importance may be considered a one-hit wonder. The earliest known use of the term one-hit wonder occurred in a Winnipeg paper, described the musical group ABBA. Ironically, the comparison was that ABBA was not a one-hit wonder. Many believe that the term one-hit wonder was in use before this time. During the 1960s and 1970s the music industry snapped up fresh talent and dropped it just as quickly when it didn’t produce successful recordings, leading to a long list of singers and groups who authored just one hit song. Note that one-hit is hyphenated in the term one-hit wonder.


Now we’re down to eight matchups between the last 16 songs, getting every closer to determining the best one-hit wonder of each decade (as chosen by you). (The Omaha World-Herald)

While some critics have said Piko Taro is simply a one-hit wonder, the star himself is not concerned. (Japan Today)

“They know they’re the team to beat this year, and they’re going to work twice as hard to make sure they’re not a one-hit wonder,” said Coach Chris Coleman, who took over when Josh Thornton left to become the assistant men’s soccer coach at Bates College after one season with the Clippers. (The Press Herald)