Greatest One-Hit Wonders of the 70’s

May 14, 2021Thato

The 70s was a great era for music. We were blessed with artists like Stevie Wonder, Led Zeppelin, and Elton John, who became icons of the music industry. But every once in a while, a song by a lesser-known artist/band would reach the top of the charts. Unfortunately, these artists would disappear just as quickly as they appeared. Remember that song by whatshisname that used to play in the disco? Let's take a trip down memory lane and take a look at some of our favorite one-hit wonders of the 70s. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/Michael Ochs Archives

Lizzie and the Rainman by Tanya Tucker

Kenny O'Dell and Larry Henley wrote this 70s hit song for American country music singer Tanya Tucker. Lizzie and the Rainman was recorded by Tucker in 1975 and reached number 37 on the Billboard Hot 100. Unfortunately for Tucker, this was the only one of her songs to make the top 40 list. 

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Image Credits: Getty Images/Lynn Goldsmith

I Love the Nightlife (Disco' Round) by Alicia Bridges

When the world first heart I Love the Nightlife by Alicia Bridges, people expected her to become a big star. The song was released in 1978 and reached number five on the US Billboard Hot 100 charts. The singer did make another song, but it never reached the same success as her top 10 hit. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/Michael Ochs Archives

Thunder and Lightning by Chi Coltrane 

Thunder and Lightning is a hit song by Chi Coltrane, a 70s American singer and pianist. Unfortunately for the singer, it was her only major hit. After the song lost some of its buzz, so did Coltrane. And she was never able to recover after that. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/Gijsbert Hanekroot

I Can't Stand the Rain by Ann Peebles

Ann Peebles originally wrote I Can't Stand The Rain alongside Don Bryant and Bernard "Bernie" Miller. The song came about when singer Ann Peebles was preparing to go out one evening, and it started raining. Peebles then said, "I can't stand the rain." Don Bryant immediately realized the potential the phrase had, and the trio went to work. The song became a hit and was later adapted by several artists. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/Echoes

Cat Scratch Fever by Ted Nugent

If you don't know what this song is about, then you're one of the lucky ones. Nonetheless, this very wild tune was reached number 30 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and was supposed to turn Ted Nugent into a star. But as you may know, things didn't exactly go according to plan. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/Michael Ochs Archives

Please Come to Boston By Dave Loggins

Dave Loggins put all of his emotions into the song Please Come To Boston. It was about a struggling singer who left his home and his girlfriend to chase his dreams. On his way to Boston, the singer writes a letter to her to ask her to come to join him in Boston. But she refuses. The song reached number five on the Billboard Hot 100

Image Credits: Getty Images/Michael Ochs Archives

You Light Up My Life by Debby Boone

This pop song by Debby Boone climbed to the top of the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and even earned her a Grammy for Best New Artist. Sadly, this was where the singer's career peaked. Boone never lived up to expectation; this was her only number one hit. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/GAB Archive

(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden by Lynn Anderson

Lynn Anderson won herself a Grammy with this 1970 hit song. (I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden was sung worldwide. Unfortunately, Anderson never followed up on that success, which is why she finds herself on our list of great one-hit wonders.

Image Credits: Getty Images/Bentley Archive/Popperfoto

Just When I Needed You Most by Randy VanWarmer

Towards the end of the 70s, Randy Van Warmer released a heartbreak song for the ages. This soft rock hit peaked at number four on the US Billboard Hot 100 and gained him national attention. Like his partner, who he mentions in the song, Van Warmer was gone for good after releasing it.

Image Credits: Getty Images/David Redfern

Kiss an Angel Good Mornin' by Charley Pride

Charley Pride never cracked the top 20 with this hit song, but it did climb all the way up to 21 on the US Billboard Hot 100. The country singer released the song in 1971 as the first single for his upcoming album. Pride never had any other hits after Kiss an Angel Good Mornin'. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/David Redfern

O-oh Child by Five Stairsteps

The band Five Stairsteps became a fan favorite in the 70s when they released O-o-h Child at the beginning of the decade. The song peaked at number eight on the US Billboard Hot 100. But that wasn't all. It also made the list for Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Unfortunately for the Five Stairsteps, they were never able to recreate that magic again. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/Michael Ochs Archives

(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don't Want to Be Right by Barbara Mandrell

This song was originally written for The Emotions, but many artists have performed it, including Barbara Mandrell. Her version reached number 31 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and was nominated at the 1979 CMA Awards in the Single of the Year category. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/Ron Galella

Woman to Woman by Shirley Brown

Shirley Brown topped the R&B charts with the song Woman to Woman. The song was written by James Banks and became an instant hit, peaking at number 22 on the US Billboard Hot 100 list. Woman to Woman reportedly sold a million units in the first week. After that, it became hard for Shirley Brown to reach the same heights.

Image Credits: Getty Images/Gilles Petard

If You Want It by Niteflyte

Niteflyte was a funk group that included Howard Johnson and Sandy Torano. If You Want It was released in 1979 as a single for their debut album. The song peaked at number 37 on the US Billboard Hot 100. Niteflyte did release an album a few years later, but it failed to gain any recognition. They broke up shortly after and went their separate ways. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/Michael Ochs Archives

I Can't Stand the Rain by Eruption.

After seeing how successful Ann Peebles' version of the song became, Eruption made their own disco version, and it also became a hit. The song reached number 18 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number six on the disco chart. I Can't Stand the Rain also gave Eruption international acclaim, but that's where the band peaked. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/United Archives

The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia by Vicki Lawrence

This Southern Gothic song by Vicky Lawrence was released in 1971 and went straight to number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. The Night the Light Went Out in Georgia went on to sell over a million copies and spend over two weeks at the top of the Billboard charts. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/CBS Photo Archive

Ring My Bell by Anita Ward

Like many songs in that era, this song transcended the 70s. You could play Ring My Bell today, and people would still have a good time. This song spent 21 weeks in the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and peaked at number one. Anita Ward did have another song enter the top 100, but it only peaked at number 87. A far cry from her hit single. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/Paul Natkin

All the Young Dudes by Mott the Hoople

This song was written by the legendary David Bowie. He produced it for the English rock band Mott the Hoople through Columbia Records. The song was a smash hit, and Bowie would later record the song himself. All the Young Dudes withstood the test of time, but Mott the Hoople weren't so lucky. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/Chris Walter

Love Is in the Air by John Paul Young

John Paul Young released Love Was in the Air back in 1977. The song reached number seven on the US Billboard Hot 100, number three on the Australian charts, and Number five in the UK. It was the only one of Young's songs to ever crack the Billboard chart's top ten. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/ GAB Archive

Got to be Real by Cheryl Lynn

Got to be Real was Cheryl Lynn's debut single, and it made an immediate impact. The song she co-wrote with David Paich and David Foster reached number 12 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song was later inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame.

Image Credits: Getty Images/GAB Archive

Lovin' You by Minnie Riperton

The story of Minnie Riperton is one of the biggest tragedies of the 70s. The talented singer set the world alight with Lovin' You before sadly passing away a few years later. There's no doubt that if she had lived longer, Riperton would've had more than just one hit song.

Image Credits: Getty Images/Michael Putland

Here Comes the Sun by Richie Havens

Here Comes the Sun was originally a song by the English Rock band The Beatles, from their iconic album Abbey Road. Richie Havens made his own version of the song and reached number 16 on US Billboard Hot 100. But unlike The Beatles, Richie Havens didn't go on to become a household name, 

Image Credits: Getty Images/Ian Tyas

I'm Not Lisa by Jessi Colter  

Jessi Colter is credited with writing and recording the hit song I'm Not Lisa. This was the singer's first major hit single as a solo artist. The song peaked at number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 and Number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. I'm Not Lisa earned Colter a Grammy award nomination. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/Michael Ochs Archives

Born to Be Alive by Patrick Hernandez

French Singer Patrick Hernandez's hit song, Born to be Alive, earned him recognition in the US. Hernandez subsequently toured the US off the back of the song's success in the charts. Sadly, none of Hernandez's follow-up singles gained success in the US.  

Image Credits: Getty Images/United Archives

Teddy Bear by Red Sovine 

American country music artist Red Sovine co-wrote and recorded Teddy Bear back in 1976. The song climbed its way up to number one on the US Billboard Hot Country Singles chart and number 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 list. Teddy Bear was Sovine's only number one song in his entire career. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/Andrew Putler

Don't Give Up on Us by David Soul.

David Soul owes the success of this hit single to the classic TV show Starsky and Hutch. The song was an international smash hit and spent four weeks at number one on the UK Singles Chart. Don't Give Up on Us also spent a week at number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1977. It's one of the greatest one-hit wonders of all time. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/Chris Walter

Fooled Around and Fell in Love by Elvin Bishop 

Elvin Bishop was a blues guitarist back in the 70s famous for writing and recording this smash hit. So, how well did the song perform in the charts? Well, Fooled Around and Fell in Love was a fan favorite that peaked at number three on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/Andrew Lepley

I've Got the Music in Me by The Kiki Dee Band. 

I've Got the Music in Me is a pop song written by Bias Boshell for The Kiki Dee Band. This feel-good song reached number 12 on the US Billboard 100 chart, making it the band's most successful single. I've Got the Music in Me was released in 1974 as a single for Kiki Dee's album by the same name.

Image Credits: Getty Images/Michael Putland

More, More, More by Andrea True Connection

This smash hit single by Andrea True Connection was the soundtrack to the disco era. More, More, More peaked at number four on the US Billboard Hot 100 charts and number one in Canada. The song's widespread popularity in discos helped it gain commercial success. But like many others on this list, True never made another hit song ever again. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/GAB Archive

Turn the Beat Around by Vicki Sue Robinson 

This disco classic was written by Gerald Jackson and Peter Jackson for Vicki Sue Robinson. The song climbed up to number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and earned Robinson a Grammy nomination. Turn the Beat Around was originally released in 1976 on her debut Album Never Gonna Let You Go

Image Credits: Getty Images/Michael Ochs Archives

Hot Rod Lincoln by Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen

The original song was first released in 1955 by Charlie Ryan and instantly made an impact. In 1971, country-rock band Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen made their own version of the song, which eclipsed every other version. Hot Rod Lincoln reached number 69 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/GAB Archive

Vehicle by The Ides of March

Vehicle by rock band The Ides of March made history by becoming the fastest-selling single in Warner Bros Records at the time. The song was meant to catapult The Ides of Man to worldwide recognition, but that never happened. This is why they find themselves on this list. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/Michael Ochs Archives

Emotion by Samantha Sang

Samantha Sang had everything needed to become a star at the time, but that sadly never happened. The Australian singer's version of Emotion was a popular song on the radio and peaked at number three on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/Fairfax Media Archives

Fool (If You Think It's Over) by Chris Rea

Chris Rea wrote, composed, and performed Fool (If You Think It's Over) and released it as part of his debut album Whatever Happened to Benny Santini? The song received a lot of chart success and earned him a Grammy nomination for his work. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/Gems

You Can't Turn Me Off (In the Middle of Turning Me On) by High Energy.

Girl Group High Energy released this song in 1977, and it quickly became a chart sensation. You Can't Turn Me Off (In the Middle of Turning Me on) reached number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100. The group eventually went their separate ways a few years after the song's release. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/Michael Ochs Archives

Eres tú (Touch the Wind) by Mocedades

Mocedades came into the spotlight in the 70s with this hit song. The song was one of the few Spanish songs back then to make an impact in the US. Eres tú reached number 9 of the Billboard Hot 100 and can still be heard on the radio today. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/Gianni Ferrari

Ariel by Dean Friedman 

Ariel is a hit song written and sung by Dean Friedman that he released as part of his debut LP by the same name. Friedman technically had two hits from the album, but only one was successful in the US. Ariel peaked at number 26 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Image Credits: Getty Images/David Redfern

I Can Help by Billy Swan

Billy Swan's I Can Help sold over a million records. The song reached the top of the US Billboard Hot 100 and Hot Country Singles charts. I Can Help was Swan's only major hit of his career. He later switched to songwriting, where he found some success. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/Laurent MAOUS

Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield 

Mike Oldfield was only 19 years old when he gave the world this gem. Tubular Bells was released in 1974 and reached number 7 on the US Billboard Hot 100. But the song's success was an accident. Mike Oldfield didn't authorize its use on the box office hit The Exorcist, and yet that film was the only reason why the song became a smash hit. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/Michael Ochs Archives

Also Sprach Zarathustra (2001) by Eumir Deodato 

Eumir Deodato released Also Sprach Zarathustra as a single for his album prelude. The song had a Jazz-funk feel to it, and people fell in love with it. Also Sprach Zarathustra reached number two on the US Billboard Hot 100. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/Mondadori Portfolio

Chevy Van by Sammy Johns 

Chevy Van was written and performed by Sammy Johns. The song peaked at number five on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and sold over a million copies. Johns sadly was never able to make another song that was quite as good. In recent years, country artists have honored him by making their own renditions of the song, but the original will always be a classic.

Image Credits: Getty Images/Sammy Johns

Driver's Seat by Sniff' n' the Tears     

Driver's Seat was the only hit song from the English band Sniff' n' the Tears. The band failed to recreate that song's success with their follow-up singles and eventually broke up. They did make a surprising comeback in the 90s after the song appeared in a European advertising campaign. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/Fin Costello

You Could Have Been a Lady by April Wine 

This song was originally recorded by the British Soul band Hot Chocolate and released in 1971. The song was later covered by Canadian band April Wine and released as the first single of their album On Record. You Could Have Been a Lady reached number 32 on the Billboard Hot 100; it's the only song from the band that ever made the list. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/Michael Ochs Archives

Falling by Leblanc & Carr

Lenny Blanc and Pete Carr came together back in 1977 to create this 70s classic song. A year before they teamed up, both Leblanc and Carr released albums that didn't do very well. Shortly after Falling became a smash hit, the two fell out, and Leblanc and Carr were no more. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/Tom Hill

A lot of these songs were like shooting stars. If you blinked, then you may have missed them. While others spent a considerable amount of time on rotation, but the result was the same. For one reason or another, these artists were never able to become successful, and some even disappeared after making their one-hits. But at least they gave us the music. What is your all-time favorite one-hit wonder? Leave a comment and let us know. And remember to share this article with your friends so they too can take a trip down memory lane.

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