The Most Unusual One Hit Wonders of the Past 30 Years

by Sara Harrison of

Today, it’s very easy to be a massive hit and get on top of the music charts because the internet has made everything very easy. Whether it’s about counting the number of streams on platforms like YouTube or Vimeo, or just sharing your video and music to social media sites, there are many opportunities that you can become an overnight hit. Despite not having these facilities a few decades ago, many artists have made hits in the pre-internet era. Here’s a list of some unusual one hit wonders of the last 30 years.

  1. Benny Mardones, “Into the Night,” 1980: The song depicts that he was 34 years old and was falling for a 16-year-old girl. Despite this weirdness, the song made it to the Top 20 of Billboard Hot 100. Also, it happened twice, first in 1980 and again in 1989.
  2. The Afternoon Delights, “General Hospi-Tale,” 1981: It was a mix of Blondie’s “Rapture” rap with “General Hospital,” the soap opera’s plot recaps. You can also find ‘Richard Simmons helps fight flab’ and ‘Anybody likes to blab’ in it.
  3. Taco, “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” 1983: This one does not need any explanation. This video simply makes us uneasy. Curious about it? Be sure to check it out and tell us what you think.
  4. Jump ‘N the Saddle Band, “The Curly Shuffle,” 1984: In the list of Billboard Hot 100, it was at #15. It was a tribute to The Three Stooges in a brassy and swingy way.
  5. Paul Hardcastle, “19”, 1985: It was the first (arguably) techno song that went into the mainstream. While it was catchy in the day, it’s still an unusual sound that is different to the normal.
  6. Baltimora, “Tarzan Boy,” 1986: This was a tribute to Tarzan in the 1980s like “Barbie Girl” was from Aqua in 1990s. Need we say more?
  7. Bruce Willis, “Respect Yourself,” 1987: This came when the acting career of Bruce was taking off, but his singing work never did. Maybe it’s for the best.
  8. M.A.R.R.S, “Pump Up the Volume,” 1988: This hit was a blend of hip-hop, house music, and some synthesized, glorious cowbell.
  9. Sheriff, “When I’m with You,” 1989: This hit the charts and made a mark even without a video which was rare at the time of the MTV era.
  10. Baz Luhrmann, “Everybody’s Free To Wear Sunscreen,” 1999: It was weird because nobody knew that a lecture on skincare could become a big hit.
  11. Las Ketchup, “The Ketchup Song”: The song was from a Spanish group, and it was a hit number on the charts of UK. Not only catchy, but fun to dance to.
  12. Nizlopi, “The JCB song”: This song was a success because of the video that was cleverly made. However, they couldn’t continue the same popularity with another machine based music, thus ending their music career short.
  13. Teletubbies, “Teletubbies say “Eh-oh!”: This was a big hit because of the kids, and most parents bought it for their kids, however it makes you wonder whether some parents also enjoyed the song as well.
  14. Partners in Kryme, “Turtle Power”: When Teenage mutant ninja was shown doing rap, it instantly became a big hit. If you haven’t heard this song, it’s a definitely must listen.
  15. MrOizo, “Flat beat”: This one featured the puppet Flat Eric, and Levis Jeans used this as a jingle. There was nothing much in it, but then it became a hit because of the catchy tune.
  16. Yolanda Be Cool VrsDCup, “We No Speak Americano”: It became a hit because of its very creative video and simple yet creative music. While there wasn’t much singing, it was still entertaining.
  17. Typically Tropical, “Barbados”: When it comes to knowing the song that generates holiday spirit, Vengaboys comes to mind, but this was the one song that came even before Vengaboys.
  18. Crazy Town, “Butterfly”: This video showed a contrast between rockers which were surrounded by butterflies and forests. It was very popular back in the day and reached a high number on the charts for its catchy tune.
  19. Peter Schilling, “Major Tom,” 1980: It was a major hit in the 1980s in Germany. It featured the German David Bowie, and despite sounding as a common hit among those in the 1980s, it was popular.
  20. Sin with Sebastian “Shut Up (and Sleep with Me),” mid-90s: It was a disco hit in the European region in the mid-90s. It’s a weird song to hear these days, but when you hear it once, it won’t go out of your head for many days. Full of colors and strange haircuts, this video will surely keep you busy for three minutes.
  21. KamielSpiessens, “Het isjniemoeilijk, het isjgemakkelijk!”: This song topped the charts in Belgium and the rest of the world knows very little about this weird song. While the name seems long and hard to understand, it shouldn’t deter you away from listening to it.
  22. Mascara, “Erittäinhyvä”: This 3 minutes of video provided many spoofs like women dressed as cheap Spice Girls, American footballers, frightening children, and pumped up bodybuilders. While watching this video and the catchy song, you won’t understand what’s going on.
  23. Player (1) “Space Invaders”: This song was influenced by the video games of the 1980s. It became a hit even when its chorus had a high-pitched whine of “space invaders.”

These are just the 23 of the most unusual one hit wonders of the past three decades we’ve encountered at When you have the time or if you find yourself with nothing to do on a boring weekend, go through the list and wonder why they became a hit. You may like some while the others may just be plain weird and disturbing.

Share this post:

Leave a Reply