One-hit wonders - the actors and musical artists who managed to get only one massive hit- are often more famous than the artists who have churned out several chartbusters. Some of them managed to build their career around their most memorable and commercially successful creations or movie roles, while others simply slipped into relative obscurity. Here is a list of the top one-hit wonders who took the world by a storm, and then faded away.
The Teddy Bears
Many fell in love hearing 'To Know Him Is to Love Him' on the Dore Record label that was released in September 1958. For those who aren’t familiar with this number, it was one of the highest-grossing hits performed by the American band The Teddy Bears, and that too was their debut! Not only did the track surpass many of its contemporaries by staying in the number one spot for several weeks, but continued to sell more than a million copies. One of the most famous men here, Phil Spector became a great writer and producer besides being the owner of the much recognized Philles Records. However, his stardom went kaput after he murdered the actress, Lana Clarkson, in his mansion. Surprisingly, the song qualified for being a one-hit-wonder, despite the band members being a part of it a long time ago.
Mel Gibson’s cult epic, The Passion of the Christ saw Jim in the role of Jesus Christ which also led him to become a known face. So much so that even when other big-budget films - like 'The Thin Red Line', 'Angel Eyes' and the like - happened to him, the actor couldn’t get out of his Jesus avatar. It does become a little frustrating for everyone to identify him to be Jesus and no appreciation is conferred even after putting up some of the best performances. But then again, that role is one of the potent reasons why and how he made it to this list. Still, it can’t be denied that he’s a member of Hollywood’s A-list actors! Besides acting, Jim is a recognized public speaker and a regular at religious gatherings, events, and conferences.
When Mark's sister Jean wrote the lyrics for the song Teen Angel (1960), they didn't even guess that it would become a runaway hit shortly after its release and occupy the top spot in the Billboard charts. Basically, Jean and two of Mark’s sisters - Virginia and Lucille - made up The Dinning Sisters, who were very popular during the 1940s. Thanks to them, Mark too followed in their footsteps and offered some of the best work in country music. This teen-crazy song was once banned by British radio stations, seeing the immense popularity it gained. Mark, however, went away from public view and got addicted to alcohol. He died shortly after, in 1986.
Ernie K. Doe
Afro-American R&B singer delivered his all-time smash hit single, Mother-in-Law, which topped all major pop charts of the US. Writer Toussaint almost threw it off but a backup singer, Willie Hopper convinced Ernie to give it a try. Apart from his first hit, he had others like Te-Ta-Te-Ta-Ta and Later for Tomorrow that defined his career. He died in 2001 as a result of kidney and liver failure, owing to years of alcoholism.
The Hollywood Argyles
They formed an American musical ensemble and used to perform studio recordings, mostly by producer and songwriter Kim Fowley, joined by his friend and musician Gary S. Paxton. The Alley Oop session was actually produced by Fowley and written by Dallas Frazier to become a country tune. The band, a short-lived one, recorded the song in 1960 that reached the number one spot and continued to stay there for quite some time. In later years, even other versions of the song got released.
Lorne, a Canadian actor, singer, and radio personality acted in a series of roles in Battlestar Galactica, Galactica 1980, and other docu-series and TV commercials. In 1964, his single with a spoken word ballad 'Ringo' got a lot of attention from people all over the world. Besides that, he played few other roles, including Roots, and Griff - the ABC crime drama. Greene devoted a lot of time to the protection of wildlife and environmental issues, and also became the narrator of the nature series - Lorne Greene’s New Wilderness. He succumbed to pneumonia and complications after an ulcer surgery in 1987.
Do you recall any other one-hit-wonders who could be included in this list? Let us know in the comment section.