One Time, Big Time: The Music And Lyrics Of One-hit Wonders

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Of course, any musician would want a long and lasting career in the music industry. This is, after all, a very profitable and very fulfilling occupation, and it can open doors to a number of opportunities beyond music. But there are times when this isnt meant to be. A number of artists have tried to penetrate the music business and have partially succeeded. But what happens when their initial attempt succeeds, yet their succeeding efforts fail? They become the sad entities we know as one-hit wonders.

The definition of a one-hit wonder can be somewhat loose, although it is acknowledged that anyone with just one hit of a song is considered as such. However, not all one-hit wonders can be defined in this category. For instance, strictly speaking, Jimi Hendrix is a one-hot wonder since he only managed to get one hit in his wide range of released. Yet it is undeniable that his entire body of work is also well-known, although not necessarily big hits. But there are artists who cannot achieve that. Here are some of the more famous one-hit wonders, and the music and lyrics that gave them their one shot at success.

Macarena, by Los del Rio

What could be a bigger one-hit wonder than Macarena, that infectious Latin dance song that conquered not just American but the whole world? At one point, Billboard even recognized it as the fifth song in their All Time Top 100 list, and it probably remains in that list until now. The achievement of this song is peculiar because of its lyrics: the lyrics of Macarena are entirely in Spanishand it became a number one in non-Spanish speaking countries. Of course, no one listens (or dances) to the Macarena because of its lyrics, but it does make one wonder how something with incomprehensible lyrics (at least in most parts of the world, where Spanish isnt spoken) top the charts around the world.

Take On Me, by a-ha

Take On Me was popular during the 1908s, and it even reached the top one spot of the Billboard charts. Its music video is even considered as innovative during the time of its release. The lyrics of the song (sample lyrics: So needless to say / I'm odds and ends / But that's me stumbling away / Slowly learning that life is OK) werent horrible, just simply typical of songs created during that time. Yet a-ha never managed to follow their initial success, relegating Take On Me in a one-hit wonder status.

Kung Fu Fighting, by Carl Douglas

Another infectious song with funny lyrics (sample: They were funky China men from funky Chinatown / They were chopping them up and they were chopping them down / It's an ancient Chineese art and everybody knew their part / From a feint into a slip, and kicking from the hip), Kung Fu Fighting remains to be familiar until today. In fact, thanks to its catchy pop hooks and lyrics, Kung Fu Fighting has been used in movies such as Epic Movie, Rush Hour 3, and Kung Fu Panda, among a score of 90s movies.
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