20 One-Hit Wonders Every 1980s Kid Remembers


Every decade has in style songs that, regardless of their ubiquity, do not flip the artists behind them into main superstars. And the 1980s certain did really feel prefer it was particularly filled with singers, bands, and teams who had only one huge hit. Thanks to MTV, for the primary time, these one-hit wonders have been singing to us proper in our dwelling rooms. Music movies made it simpler than ever to fall in love with the voice and face behind a brand new hit—even when we then forgot about them solely. But for a fleeting second, amidst all of the hairspray and neon, they have been our whole obsessions. From Frankie Goes to Hollywood to Tommy Tutone, listed below are the 20 largest one-hit wonders from the 1980s. And for extra on the last decade that introduced us massive hits and even greater hair, listed below are 20 Things All ’80s Kids Remember.

Modern English

This new wave classic nonetheless makes most ’80s youngsters really feel like they’re mustering up the braveness to ask somebody to bop on the junior excessive Spring Fling. Any child from the ’80s who does not admit that they needed to fall in love whereas listening to this music is both mendacity or useless inside. Also, it has hands-down the perfect buzzing solo within the historical past of recorded music. So, thanks, Modern English. Thank you.

Come on Eileen song cover

How many different one-hit wonders from the ’80s start with a Celtic-style fiddle? (None. The reply is none.) The solely factor that makes us unhappy about “Come on Eileen” is the truth that the band’s frontman, Kevin Rowland, is now not considering singing it. As he defined in an interview with The Irish Times, he really hates going to reveals and seeing bands play their old hits. “I’m very careful not to live in the past,” he mentioned. “[It’s] just all about people reliving their memories.” Um, yeah, and what’s incorrect with that precisely? Come on, Kevin! And for extra well-known songs bands do not need to carry out anymore, try the 17 Hits Popular Musicians Hate Playing Live.

Jive Records

Yes, we love A Flock of Seagulls and their hypnotic hit—nearly as a lot as we love the traditional ’80s haircut lead singer Mike Score donned again within the day. It was a murals made out of hairspray, an imposing waterfall two tufts sticking up on both aspect like an eagle’s wings. It was ridiculous however hypnotizing, like a Picasso sculpture. And talking of unforgettable ‘dos, This Is the “It” Hairstyle the Year You Were Born.

Warner Bros

In the ’80s, a brand new and noteworthy music video would instantly unfold like wildfire. And boy, to say that the video for “Take on Me” was a doozy can be an understatement. Who knew line drawings may inform a narrative so successfully? This masterpiece nonetheless makes all of the CGI know-how of recent motion pictures and movies appear irrelevant and pointless.

Toni Basil

Oh Mickey, he is so high-quality—he is so high-quality, he blew our minds within the 1980s. And you realize what else blew our minds? Finding out that “Mickey” is definitely a canopy of a 1979 music referred to as “Kitty” a couple of lady named—you guessed it—Kitty. Toni Basil did not change a lot for her ’80s cowl, apart from the title and gender of the primary character. We have been fairly amazed after listening to each songs, however we nonetheless choose Basil’s take, if solely as a result of it is the model that was performed in the video we noticed time and again and over and over on MTV. And on the same notice, listed below are 25 Huge ’80s Bands You Totally Forgot Existed.

Eddie Murphy Party All The Time 1980s One-Hit Wonders

Eddie Murphy is without doubt one of the biggest comedians who ever lived. But as a singer… effectively, it is laborious to not giggle at his try and be a bona fide pop star. Yes, he has an ideal singing voice, and certain, he received Rick James to provide and write his one Billboard hit—however seeing Murphy take himself so critically about partying on a regular basis along with his lady was simply confounding for any ’80s child. And talking of 1980s icons, try The Biggest Male Icon Every Year Since You Were Born.

Tommy TuTone, Jenny, One hit wonder 1980s
Columbia Records

There is not a single child within the ’80s who did not strive calling the quantity 867-5309 simply to see if a woman named Jenny would decide up. As it seems, it’s a actual quantity with an actual particular person on the different finish—however sadly, that particular person just isn’t a woman named Jenny.

As a Brown University scholar with an 867-5309 telephone quantity complained in a 1999 interview, “It’s so annoying. It’s the worst number to have in the world.” But one New Yorker with the telephone quantity had a unique strategy: They offered to sell it in 2004 for $8,000.

Thomas Dolby
Venice in Peril

Thomas Dolby as soon as admitted in an interview that “She Blinded Me with Science” is “in all probability about the most frivolous song that I’ve ever written.” Apparently, he solely got here up with it so he may make a video about “a home for deranged scientists.” Frankly, we’ve to agree that the crazy video accompanying the tune, crammed with actually mad scientists, was value no matter artistic compromises it took Mr. Dolby to get there. And for extra on high hits, try these 20 Songs You Totally Misunderstood, Explained.

Safety Dance Men Without Hats Album

The lead singer and songwriter of Men Without Hats, Ivan Doroschuk, as soon as explained to a Canadian radio station that he wrote “The Safety Dance” after he had been kicked out of a bar in Ottawa “for pogoing to The B-52s.” The incident impressed him to go house and write a music about how “it is safe to dance.” Interesting, Mr. Doroschuk, as a result of that is hardly what anybody thinks about after they hear this music. And for extra songs with precise subtlety, listed below are 20 Songs You Didn’t Know Have Secret Messages.

Rockwell Somebody's Watching Me
Motown Records

As far as anybody within the ’80s was involved, this was basically a Michael Jackson music. Sure, he simply sang backup on it, however he was the voice folks acknowledged and liked on the track. Poor Rockwell by no means actually stood an opportunity.

Bobby McFerrin
EMI-Manhattan Records

This joyful ’80s tune was the definitive optimism anthem. While it may not have been that straightforward to simply cease worrying and be comfortable, along with his four-minute hit, Bobby McFerrin made us really feel prefer it was. The whistling actually helped.


Yes, lead singer Aimee Mann’s hair within the video for “Voices Carry” was ridiculous, and that remaining scene in Carnegie Hall the place she interrupts the opera to start out singing is fairly cringeworthy. But there have been few songs within the ’80s as satisfying to sing alongside to whereas alone in your bed room after some jerk at college had damaged your coronary heart than this one. It’s the right steadiness of self-pity and righteous indignation.


Funkytown, to the perfect of our information, just isn’t an actual place that exists on a map. However, this ’80s song certain made a convincing case as to why it wanted to develop into an precise geographical vacation spot. It was the best business jingle for a city that nobody had gotten round to constructing but.


Supposedly this music, the primary and solely hit from German artist Nena, is about post-World War II nuclear paranoia in Germany—or extra particularly, about how a bunch of balloons as soon as received mistaken for a navy plane and practically triggered an all-out nuclear warfare. Those deeper meanings by no means actually related with ’80s children, however we liked the music anyway!


When this song first hit the charts, the band insisted that it was actually about “motivation.” Not even youngsters have been fooled by that, although, and all we may do was pray that our dad and mom would not pay attention too intently to the lyrics. At least these “Frankie Says Relax” T-shirts appeared ambiguous sufficient.

Madness, 70s song covers

Our House,” the music that made it cool for American children to like ska, was sarcastically sufficient one of many least rebellious-sounding tunes that ever performed on MTV. It’s basically about home bliss, even when issues get slightly bushy. Dad could also be late for work, mother could also be tremendous drained, and that sister of yours certain does sigh rather a lot in her sleep—however on the finish of the day, it is our home… and it is in the course of the road. And apparently, that is value celebrating.

What I Am song

What I Am” was the music that lastly captured what it was prefer to have a late evening dialog with a philosophy main in faculty. “What I am is what I am. Are you what you are or what?” Um… sure? What’s the correct reply right here? The melody was infectiously catchy, even when we did not at all times perceive what the heck Edie Brickell was speaking about.

Electric Avenue

Not solely is that this music one of many highest-charting reggae-pop tunes ever recorded, nevertheless it’s really based mostly on an actual road! (No shade to “Funkytown.”) As Eddy Grant revealed in an interview with The Guardian, “On the way in which house one evening [in London] … I noticed Electric Avenue on a road signal, and thought: ‘What a incredible music title.'” But it did not simply make an ideal title—it made for an equally good song, with Grant’s deep baritone voice and a thumping digital groove taking cost. When it was launched within the early ’80s, Electric Avenue appeared like some place within the distant future, the place everyone is dressed like Flash Gordon and dancing is the primary type of communication. Sounds superior, proper?

Tainted Love by Soft Cell 1980s One-Hit Wonders

Synthpop duo Soft Cell was in search of a “throwaway cover song” to file after they settled on the 1964 soul staple “Tainted Love” by Gloria Jones. What they could not have realized on the time, although, is that they’d find yourself making the most important—and sadly, solely—hit of their profession.

The Buggles Video Killed The Radio Star 1980s one-hit wonders
ZTT Records

Even although it was launched in 1979, “Video Killed the Radio Star” was the music that actually launched MTV in 1981—its accompanying video was the primary to play on the 24-hour music channel ever. While the two-man band that’s The Buggles by no means had one other music that even got here near touching the success of “Video Killed the Radio Star,” the music stays a type of ’80s hits that elicits instantaneous nostalgia. Not to say, it was eerily prescient: How did they know that video would certainly kill the radio star?! And for extra throwbacks, listed below are ​20 Funny Things People within the 1980s Were Totally Guilty of Doing.


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