5 One-Hit Wonders That Had So Much More To Show
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5 One-Hit Wonders That Had So Much More To Show

Sometimes fifteen minutes of fame just isn't enough time.

5 One-Hit Wonders That Had So Much More To Show

Achieving the legendary status of a one-hit wonder is certainly a double-edged sword. On one hand, the newfound success is massive, instantaneous, and you are forever immortalized; on the other hand, does any artist truly want to be defined by one piece when their work is so multi-dimensional and complex? No one should be have to be confined by a singular aspect of themselves, so here are five bands that deserved to be recognized for so much more than their one claim to fame.

5. The Outfield

The Outfield's main lineup, consisting of (from left) Alan Jackson, Tony Lewis, and John Spinks. It's a shame they never got to play any stadiums with denim as acid-washed as that.

Claim to Fame: "Your Love"–Play Deep (1985)

Billboard Hot 100 peak position–No. 6

Hidden Treasures: Play Deep (1985), Voices of Babylon (1989)

At a time where the new wave surge brought on by the likes of the Police and Men at Work was fizzling out and the popularity of corporate rock bands such as Foreigner and Journey was reaching its peak, the relative obscurity and lack of commercial success of British rock outfit the Outfield is a wonder—a one-hit wonder.

Not as deep or daring as the Police and not as corporate and arena-ready as Journey, the Outfield precariously straddled the fence between the two worlds. Their sound was cool enough to bypass the inherent cheesiness of dad-rock but not quite hip enough to indulge in the commercial success enjoyed by other acclaimed new wave artists—let's call it uncle-rock.

Sparkling guitar licks and shimmering synths decorate the Outfield's consistently radio-ready arrangements; frontman Tony Lewis' impressive vocal chops remind one of Sting's or Colin Hay's, with dramatic choruses filled with vocal harmonies and catchy hooks. In the true early-80s fashion, they could pen one hell of a power ballad beyond the wistful "Your Love".

Where Are They Now?

Alan Jackman left the band after their popularity began to wane, so Lewis and Spinks continued as a duo from 1991 onward. The two had a brief reunion in 1998, and the Outfield officially disbanded after the death of John Spinks in 2014.

4. Mountain

Mountain never quite attained the universal acclaim that other hard-rock outfits at the time did, but they certainly had the same sex appeal. Err...maybe not. They sure did have great hair and great songs to match though.

Claim to Fame: "Mississippi Queen"–Climbing! (1970)

Billboard Hot 100 peak position–No. 21

Hidden Treasures: Climbing! (1970), Avalanche (1974)

Move over, Blue Öyster Cult—the original cowbell band wants their crown back. Also hailing from Long Island, hard rock outfit Mountain utilized everyone's favorite farm animal accessory to their fullest advantage to make the intro of their hit single "Mississippi Queen" off of their debut release Climbing! instantly recognizable and forever unforgettable.

The band's discography largely consists of heavily distorted hard rock peppered with solo acoustic stylings courtesy of founding guitarist and vocalist Leslie West, whose ax work is rivaled only by his powerful growl. Between West's raspy drawl and the band's crunchy twang, Mountain easily holds a candle to their authentic Southern counterparts.

Mountain were never revered as the classic rock titans they could've been, overshadowed by English powerhouses Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. Still, Mountain experienced some commercial success beyond "Mississippi Queen" with several well-received live albums and a ton of great performances.

Where Are They Now?

Years after the band's peak of fame, founding bassist and producer Felix Pappalardi was shot and killed by his wife in his apartment in East Manhattan in 1983, dismissing possible chances of a Mountain reunion. West and drummer Corky Laing recruited bassist Mark Clarke to revive Mountain a decade later, making sporadic performances across the next two decades. The band has been inactive since 2010.

3. The Cardigans

The Cardigans are the best thing to come out of Sweden since IKEA. They make writing a hit song look as easy as building furniture with instructions.

Claim to Fame: "Lovefool"–First Band on the Moon (1996)

Billboard Hot 100 peak position–No. 2

Hidden Treasures: First Band on the Moon (1996), Gran Turismo (1998)

The Cardigans' dreamy indie-rock finally broke through to the mainstream with their third release First Band on the Moon, which spawned the hit single "Lovefool" and launched the Swedish alt-rock outfit onto the international stage. While their success is largely due to "Lovefool", which peaked at the legendary #1 spot on the Billboard Top 40 Chart, the band's discography is filled with hidden gems that could easily have been staple tunes of the 90s.

The band had experienced some success in Sweden and Japan with their first two releases, but it was only with First Band on the Moon that they reached a more global audience. Gran Turismo took a very different approach to their traditional floaty pop sound, with moodier lyrics and darker themes. Still, the album produced the successful singles "Erase/Rewind" and "My Favourite Game", which further propelled the band into continued success following "Lovefool".

The Cardigans' sound is largely carried by Nina Perrson's angelic voice and guitarist Peter Svensson's ingenious arranging. Unconventional chord progressions and mid-tempo danceable disco beats are unlikely pairings, but this musical interbreeding made for some amazing tunes that deserved to be immortalized for years to come.

Where Are They Now?

After adopting a country-tinged soft-rock identity for the next two releases following Gran Turismo, the band entered a six-year long hiatus that broke in 2012. Continuing on without Svensson's participation, the Cardigans have played shows throughout the past five years, the most recent being in Scandinavia.

2. Blind Melon

Blind Melon at their Durham, North Carolina residence, known affectionately to the band as the Sleepyhouse. However, these rockers are anything but snooze-inducing.

Claim to Fame: "No Rain"–Blind Melon (1992)

Billboard Hot 100 peak position–No. 20

Hidden Treasures: Blind Melon (1992), Soup (1995)

Everyone remembers Blind Melon for three things: the tap dancing girl in the bee costume, the tragic passing of frontman Shannon Hoon, and their biggest hit "No Rain" off of their debut self-titled album. These one-hit wonders' careers were cut short, but they deserved much more recognition for their talents than they got.

Blind Melon's country-fried alt rock is soaked in bluesy motifs and plenty of indie charm, with strong influences of psychedelia, funk, grunge, and even bluegrass thrown in. It's an eclectic mix, but the band makes it work and proves that it's extremely versatile beyond its jaunty acoustic hit "No Rain."

Blind Melon's sound runs parallel to Led Zeppelin's in many ways; the band is rooted as much in acoustic folkiness as it is in blues, and Shannon Hoon's whine is comparable to Robert Plant's. Shannon Hoon's untimely death kept the band from reaching that same level of universal acclaim, which they undoubtedly could have attained. It's a disservice to music lovers everywhere to write Blind Melon off as one-trick ponies, because there's much more to these alt-rockers than another rock and roll overdose story and their infamous tap-dancing Bee Girl.

Where Are They Now?

In 1996 the band released Nico, a collection of outtakes and demos named after Hoon's young daughter. After a decade of tumultuous hiatus, Travis Warren joined the band as the new frontman and performed more shows. The band's last show featured Hoon's daughter on vocals on the emotional "Change" from their self-titled debut.

1. Fountains of Wayne

Fountains of Wayne in action—no wonder Stacy wanted them. Little did she know...

Claim to Fame: "Stacy's Mom"–Welcome Interstate Managers (2003)

Billboard Hot 100 peak position–No. 21

Hidden Treasures: Utopia Parkway (1999), Sky Full of Holes (2011)

I have yet to meet a person who doesn't know every single word to Fountains of Wayne's hit single "Stacy's Mom" and sings each one loudly and proudly when it's blasted at a party or on the radio. A list of one-hit wonders wouldn't be complete without FoW's highest charting single, but this sing-a-long staple is merely the tip of the power pop iceberg that is the band's discography.

With songs equally as anecdotal as they are catchy, FoW's penchant for storytelling is largely unparalleled, telling tales of washed-up townspeople and youth trapped in that dreaded suburban limbo these Montclair rockers know all too well. A mix of Beatles, Beach Boys, Squeeze, and the Cars, their sensible melodies and quirky chord progressions make the band nerdy, lovable, and entirely unforgettable.

Fountains of Wayne is fluent in the language of a geeky, insecure, and suburb-confined generation, but they speak oh so beautifully. It's impossible not to chuckle at some of the scenarios the band paints, partly because we laugh at the menagerie of characters that find themselves there, but more so because we can see a little bit of ourselves in their place.

Where Are They Now?

FoW went off the map after their 2011 release Sky Full of Holes, but the band's founding members Adam Schlesinger and Chris Collingwood have ruled out a reunion. Hopefully the band will reunite in the near future and will continue to record and perform, because they are so much more than a song about a hot mom, and have so much more to offer than what meets the eye.

Maybe everyone does, if they're just given the chance.

Check out some of the most famous one-hit wonders in history here!

♫ ♪ ♬

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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