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VH1′s 40 Greatest One-Hit Wonders of the ’90s

VH1 LogoVh1 has created a cottage industry around lists. Everything from the “100 Most Shocking Music Moments” to “The 40 Greatest One-Hit Wonders of the 90s.” People tune in and remember those single great songs and moments from artists they may have forgotten.

My criteria for a one-hit wonder is described in the article “What’s a One-Hit Wonder” and differs from VH1 in one big way: I only count artists who hit the Billboard Top 40 once. A quick scan of the Vh1 list below reveals a much more liberal approach that allows two-hit wonder artists like Vanilla Ice (“Ice Ice Baby” and “Play That Funky Music”), EMF (“Unbelievable” and “Lies”) and Gerardo (“Rico Suave” and “We Want the Funk”).

But you’re not here for some long-winded diatribe on what is and isn’t a one-hit wonder. You’re here for the songs and there are plenty of cherry, happy, silly, awesome songs listed below. So forget semantics and long live the ’90s.

For the record, my favorite one-hit wonder of the 1990s is “You Get What You Give” by New Radicals. Love it!

You may also enjoy VH1′s 100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders of the 1980s.

VH1′s 40 Greatest One-Hit Wonders of the ’90s

40. Whoomp There It Is – Tag Team
39. I Touch Myself – Divinyls
38. How Do You Talk To An Angel – The Heights
37. Bitch – Meredith Brooks
36. Bad Boys- Inner Circle
35. Sex & Candy – Marcy Playground
34. You Gotta Be – Des’ree
33. I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) – Proclaimers
32. MyBabyDaddy – B-Rock & The Bizz
31. Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm – Crash Test Dummies
30. Bitter Sweet Symphony – The Verve
29. Lullaby – Shawn Mullins
28. Flava In Ya Ear – Craig Mack
27. Achy Breaky Heart – Billy Ray Cyrus
26. Mambo #5 (A Little Bit Of….) – Lou Bega
25. The Impression That I Get – The Mighty Mighty Bosstones
24. Feed The Tree – Belly
23. What Is Love – Haddaway
22. Walking In Memphis – Marc Cohn
21. Legend Of A Cowgirl – Imani Coppola
20. Good Vibrations – Marky Mark & the Funky Bunch
19. Steal My Sunshine – Len
18. Unbelievable – EMF
17. Informer – Snow
16. Jump – Kris Kross
15. No Rain – Blind Melon
14. Rump Shaker – Wreckx-N-Effect
13. Cotton Eye Joe – Red-Nex
12. The Humpty Dance – Digital Underground
11. You Get What You Give – New Radicals
11. One Of Us – Joan Osborne
9. Jump Around – House Of Pain
8. Barely Breathing – Duncan Sheik
7. Ice Ice Baby – Vanilla Ice
6. Closing Time – Semisonic
5. Tubthumping – Chumbawamba
4. Macarena – Los Del Rio
3. Rico Suave – Gerardo
2. I’m Too Sexy – Right Said Fred
1. Baby Got Back – Sir Mix-A-Lot

Written by

I'm an obsessive music collector, cataloger, commenter and trivia nut. Sometimes I'm even a listener. One-hit wonders have always been a guilty pleasure.

Filed under: 1990s, Featured, Lists · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

47 Responses to "VH1′s 40 Greatest One-Hit Wonders of the ’90s"

  1. [...] by Scott Harrison/Getty Images)Throw on your neon tights and lace up your Keds, because VH1 announced their 40 Greatest One-Hit Wonders, and we’re taking you back in time! Relive all [...]

  2. [...] by Scott Harrison/Getty Images)Throw on your neon tights and lace up your Keds, because VH1 announced their 40 Greatest One-Hit Wonders, and we’re taking you back in time! Relive all [...]

  3. JaneDoe123 says:

    What was that one song ( I don’t know the name or artist/band ) where in the music video he is in the arms of some fuzzy creature, or in another scene he is on a bed with a white leather one-piece suit? I know it sounds strange, but I just can’t remember the song!!

  4. Michael Waterman says:

    JaneDoe123,

    I’ve been wracking my brain and can’t come up with the song. Can anyone else shed some insight here?

  5. Yeahhh Buddy says:

    In response to two above, I Believe In A Thing Called Love by The Darkness?

  6. Michael Waterman says:

    Yeahh Buddy, nice detective work on this one. Can’t believe I had forgotten the video. So amazingly awesome!

    Here is a link to the page on Top One-Hit Wonders: http://toponehitwonders.com/rock/i-believe-in-a-thing-called-love-the-darkness/
    Michael

  7. Michael Waterman says:

    JaneDoe123,

    Here is the answer: I Believe in a Thing Called Love by The Darkness: http://toponehitwonders.com/rock/i-believe-in-a-thing-called-love-the-darkness/

    Thanks for reminding me of this great song.
    Michael

  8. NY32986 says:

    Digital Underground had like 4 hits, they are NOT 1 hit wonders, Humpty dance, Doowutchyalike, Same Song (the one with Tupac’s major lyrical debut) and Kiss you back.

  9. Michael Waterman says:

    NY32986,

    Thanks for your comment. You are commenting on VH1′s listing of one-hit wonders, standards toponehitwonders.com doesn’t agree with. In fact, read my description of Humpty Dance for more reasons why Digital Underground is not a one-hit wonder.

    Read: The Humpty Dance by Digital Underground

    But the song people remember about the band is The Humpty Dance, no matter how many hits they had. That’s why VH1 considers them a one-hit wonder, even though I don’t.
    Michael

  10. Derek says:

    Uhhh….. “What’s Up” with this list? how can 4 Non Blondes not be on here…

  11. Linda Konig says:

    Can I purchase the VH1 40 One hit wonders? Love these songs.

  12. breanne says:

    Okay so I’m going crazy trying to figure out a song. Its a guy and ib the video he’s in the desert with an old
    Looking car. The song is slow and he like talks in it. He was part of a group listed on vh1s 40 greatest one hit wonders. The name of the song was sorta weird. Hoping someone can help me.

  13. Jo says:

    Hey, everyone! I need some help remembering the title of a 90′s song. In the video, there was a blonde Caucasian girl, putting make-up on and singing all the while. I think it was pop. I saw it on VH1 or MTV Europe as a kid very often in the mid 90′s. Thanks so much!

  14. Lynnae says:

    Breanne,

    You may be talking about Everlast’s ‘What It’s Like’ off his Whitey Ford Sings the Blues album. He was a member of House of Pain.

  15. D says:

    I’m kinda surprised “The Way” by Fastball wasn’t on here.. it was virally played just as much if not more than Closing Time and You Get what You Give was. You still hear it on a lot of retail radio, and sometimes some of the other one hit wonders/blunders on this list.

  16. Michael Waterman says:

    Another great song, D. It always sounded like an out take from an early Elvis Costello album. Great chorus on “The Way.”

  17. UBFunkaneer says:

    Some big ones they missed.

    OMC – How Bizarre
    Deee-Lite – Groove Is In The Heart
    4 Non Blondes – What’s Up?
    Cardigns – Lovefool
    Jane Child – Don’t Wanna Fall In Love

  18. Michael Waterman says:

    UB Funkaneer,

    I agree with you that the VH1 list is, er, odd in its choices. They have many non-one-hit wonders on the lists while they completely miss many others. You definitely know your one-time hits. Please keep contributing.
    MIchael

  19. juxt3 says:

    primitive radio gods
    stereo mcs
    4nonblonds
    fastball
    verve pipe
    omc
    ini kamoze

  20. juxt3 says:

    oh yeah,soul assylum

  21. juxt3 says:

    white town

  22. Matt Thurston says:

    This list sucks compared to the 80s list of 100 best one hit wonders. Compare the top 20 from the 80s list to the top 20 from the 90s and it is like comparing the career NBA championships of the Lakers to the Jazz. Save a few notable exceptions, the 90s one hit wonders are all mostly throw away novelty songs.

  23. Michael Waterman says:

    I agree, Matt. The 80s are a much better set of memorable songs. Many of the 1990s one-hit wonders feel like novelty songs at best.

  24. Dude says:

    Jo – i think the song + singer you are referring to is Whigfield’s “Saturday night”. Huge song across Europe in late 90s (she’s Danish I think).

    Definition of one-hit wonder is a touch controversial – the Verve? Urban hymns sold a couple of millions albums (and had other big singles such as “the drugs don’t work” and “lucky man”)

    Other misses: Deep Blue Something “Breakfast at Tiffanys”; Color Me Badd “I wanna sex you up”; Hanson “MMMBop”. Not saying they’re great songs but they were popular.

  25. stacey says:

    what, no “stay” by lisa loeb?

  26. Eduardo says:

    Digital Underground the humpty dance is your chance do the hump, is a great one hit wonder song of the 90′s.

  27. Eduardo says:

    Some of these songs they recently just put on the VH1 100 Greatest Songs of the 90′s List.

  28. Rockakittyn says:

    There’s a song that I cannot remember the title or who sings it… All I know is that the title isn’t something common and everyone from the 90s knows it. It used to come on thhe radio station often where I grew up but I have since moved.

  29. Michael Waterman says:

    Sounds like a perfect description of “Tubthumping” by Chumbawumba.

    http://toponehitwonders.com/1990s/tubthumping-chumbawamba/

  30. guillermo says:

    http://www.goear.com/listen/9e46e3b/busco-tema-del-80-90-no-se

    i need help to find a song 80s 90s female singer, i recreate the last part of the song, and the melody hope someone can help me to find it.

    guiga2@hotmail.com

  31. Khom09 says:

    Los Del Rio is biggest one hit wonder of all time

  32. I don’t see why it never occurred to the people at VH1 to actually check billboard.com to confirm that all these people ARE actually one-hit wonders. The biggest mistake on this list is Kris Kross, who had FOUR hits: “Jump”, “Warm It Up” (the VERY NEXT SINGLE, I might add), “Alright” and “Tonight’s tha Night”.

  33. Michael Waterman says:

    I agree, Anthony. It’s easy to check chart positions and the VH1 list has lots of…surprising choices.

    Thanks for visiting the site and I hope you’ll continue to comment and visit regularly.
    Michael

  34. Joe Dugan says:

    You left out PLENTY of one hit wonders from the 90′s!!!

    I Love You ( Always Forever)- Donna Lewis
    You don’t have to home tonight- The Triplets
    Sleepless Satellite- Tasmin Archer
    That’s what love can do- Boy Krazy
    I Could Never Be Your Woman-White Town

    Crush- Jennifer Paige
    Black Velvet- Alana Miles
    Insensitive- Jann Arden

  35. brin corsea says:

    Fresh – Gina G. and some 90′s dance hits

  36. Lazypartysystems says:

    Although mighty mighty boss tones are considered a one hit wonder they do have royal oil a good song of 1997

  37. Ron Wendus says:

    Mark Morrison – Return of the Mack

  38. bbennett says:

    Marky Mark & the Funky Bunch maybe considered a one hit wonder…. Anyone ever listened to the Wildside, Music for the People, You Gotta Believe. Take these songs along with Good Vibrations to the dance floor and see what happens. A packed dance floor!

  39. ross ross says:

    The quality of being a one hit wonder should entail not achieving more than one billboard top 40 song. Its like saying sublime was a one hit wonderfor what I got for some of the songs and artists on this list. For example Marky Mark’s Good Vibrations was followed up by Wildside which charted billbord top 40 at #10. DO YOUR HOMEWORK VH1 there are others like this on the list! ONE HIT WONDER MEANS ONE HIT not remember this hit.

  40. Michael Waterman says:

    Ross Ross,

    I agree that VH1′s criteria for a one-hit wonder is deeply flawed. I call that out in my article. Not sure who made their list but it’s clearly not a pure one-hit wonder list by any means. But they are memorable songs.
    Michael

  41. Aimee says:

    How about I Wish by Skee Lo? That’s the definition of one hit wonder I think.

  42. Michael Waterman says:

    Great suggestion, Amy. Skee Lo has a single #1 hit, and no other appearances on the Billboard Top 40. I’ll add him to the mix soon.
    Michael

  43. pedro says:

    how is blind melon “no rain” not number one on this list? that songs come on the radio and no one is changing the station. it’s not kitschy like the rest, it’s actually a good tune that has endured imo.

    now that said – where is sophie b hawkins “i wish i was your lover”??!?! kitsch or not, that’s my tune bra’

  44. Nikie says:

    Although i hated the song how is Mmmmbop not on this list?

  45. Kyr says:

    @Pedro: You obviously have never heard of “Right Beside You” by Sophie B. Hawkins?

    Now, a lot of these artists did have several hits and are anything but a one-hit wonder (though many of those were hits in Europe so perhaps don’t count)

    Inner Circle – Sweat (A la la la la long), Des’ree – Feel So High/ Life/ Delicate (with Terence Trent D’Arby), The Verve – The Drugs Don’t Work/ Lucky Man/ Sonnet/ Love Is Noise, Haddaway – Life/ I Miss You, Rednex – Old Pop In An Oak, Semisonic – Secret Smile, Chumbawamba – Amnesia/ She’s Got All the Friends Money Can Buy/ Enough Is Enough, Right Said Fred – Don’t Talk Just Kiss/ Deeply Dippy/ A Man For All Seasons/ Wonderman

    One I would add to this list: The Rembrandts. Although “The Way It Is” was a minor hit in 1990 (and a much better song), “I’ll Be there For You” is obviously the one that stuck, thanks to this certain sitcom from the mid-90s…

  46. Kyr says:

    And I’m shocked at how someone could mention Cardigans as a one hit wonder. Really? Really??? They had at least 5 other Top 40 hits.

    Carnival? Sick and Tired? My Favourite Game? Erase/Rewind? Rise and Shine? Burning Down the House (with Tom Jones)?

  47. Steve says:

    Umm… How could MC Hammer not be #1 on this list?

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