Who is the biggest ? It’s debatable
Saturday, September 25 is One-Hit Wonder Day, so we take a look at artists who once climbed the pop charts, but were never able to repeat that success.
Not a perfect science
The debate over which is the greater one-hit wonder is right there with “Star Wars” versus “Star Trek” and Beatles versus Stones. But it’s also a debate about how to do the math to determine a one-hit wonder.
The list below comes from Top40Weekly.com. They have a formula for rating hit songs and wonders. They say their goal is to present the most accurate archive of America’s Top 40 music charts.
These maps are intended for the public to use for research, entertainment and educational purposes only. They use a point system called the Nolan Method to create their charts.
The Nolan Method uses a reverse point-based system, where songs earn points for each position they fall in the Top 40. Songs at #1 earn 40 points down to 1 point at #40.
Let the debate begin
The site says its list takes into account record sales, radio airplay, and more than 1,000 radio station listener polls across all known genres of rock, pop, adult contemporary, and Top 40 from 1955. until today.
But where is Zager and Evans’ 1969 hit “In the Year 2525”? “In the Year 2525” is one of the few songs to have a No. 1 hit on both sides of the Atlantic and the artists never had another Billboard single from the rest of their careers. It’s not in Top40Weekly.comTop 100 One-Hit Wonders.
Where is “Earth Angel?” Released in 1954, “Earth Angel” was a huge hit and widely regarded as one of the greatest doo-wop songs of all time. The song was recorded by the Penguins and remained at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 from November 1954 to 1955. It is believed to have sold over 10 million copies. It is the Penguins’ only hit and is not listed by the site.
“It’s Raining Men” was released in 1982. It spent 11 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 charts and peaked at 46. It was written by Paul Jabara and Paul Shaffer. Recording artists Donna Summer and Cher died recording it.
Top40Weekly.com did not respond to a request as to why a song that peaked at 46 was ranked No. 1 on its list.
See the full list of 100 online: top40weekly.com/the-top-100-one-hit-wonders
Blogger Todd Kerpleman of versdatascience.com scoured the Billboard charts to find out which decade had the most one-hit wonders. He queried one-hit wonders, where a one-hit wonder has at least one song in the Top 25, but no other songs in the Top 75. Any duet or song featuring someone else is assigned to the artist listed first.
The digital age makes it easy to have music at your fingertips and offers tons of data to wade through. But do you agree with this list?
What is a Spotify one-hit wonder?
Data visualization artist Erin Davis (erdavis.com) analyzed the numbers to find the biggest single wonders on Spotify. In order to find these great wonders, Davis established criteria that a song was the highest percentage of the artist’s total plays (where that artist has at least 100 million total plays).
Sources: Billboard, Rolling Stone, Associated Press, VH1, NBC Photos: Associated Press, NBC, Wiki Media Commons