One Hit Wonders From The 70s People Still Listen To

Sep 23, 2021James Montalvo

They're some of the greatest songs ever made. People have been jamming to these songs for over four decades, but they're probably also the only songs of that specific artist or bands that people know of. You guessed it right; we're talking about 'One Hit Wonders.' More specifically, one-hit wonders of the 1970s that people are still rocking out to. Enjoy!

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Yup, believe it or not, this soulful and breathtaking song that you've heard be covered, performed, and sang live countless times comes from an artist considered as a one-hit-wonder. Minnie Riperton was the Mariah before there was even a Mariah. She would have definitely made more great music if it wasn't for her untimely death. 1974's Lovin' You is her biggest hit.

Image Source: YouTube/Minnie Riperton


Mungo Jerry's enthusiastic and playful singing of 'In the Summertime' has captivated people and slapped smiles on their faces since it was first released in 1971. Just listening to the first few seconds of the song is enough to put a smile on your face, let alone the singer's scatting in the middle of the song. Sadly, the singer doesn't have as many popular hits like this one.

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1979's 'Cruel to Be Kind' had everyone singing their hearts out with Nick Lowe's song. Despite the song's bouncy and uplifting sound, the lyrics can only leave one feeling a roller coaster ride of emotions. This late 70s hit would be the singer's only big hit in the US. Over thirty years later, it's still a catchy one to sing to.

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You'd be lying if you said you had never heard the sweet vocals of Disco Queen Anita Ward sing out 'you can ring my bell' at least once in your life. The song is the only major hit of the disco singer. It was released in 1979 and even earned ward a Best Female R&B Vocal Performance Grammy nomination. 

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Yes, the song that we pretty much use to describe and define the 70s disco movement, 'The Hustle,' is the work of a one-hit-wonder. Van McCoy & the Soul City Symphony won a Grammy award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance in 1976. Despite working with several of the disco scene's top acts, 'The Hustle' would be the biggest hit to come from Van McCoy.

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Used as the theme song to the popular tv show of the same name, Pratt & McClain's song was something you just couldn't escape back in the 70s. Happy Days, the tv show, ran for 11 seasons. So the song was still around till the 80s. The singing duo, however, wasn't.

Image Source: YouTube/Pratt & McClain


You've definitely heard this song from 70s Scottish rock-band, Nazareth, be used in more than a handful of tv shows and movies over the years. We're sure that you've had a deep, heart-broken moment full of tears to this song yourself. Outside the world of rock and roll, Nazareth has one other hit, but nothing broke barriers as good as 'Love Hurts.'

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Another Scottish rock-band that has hit that seems to never go out of style is Pilot. Their song, 'It's Magic', has been used for a nearly impossible number of films, tv shows, and commercials thanks to its catchy and upbeat tune, and of course, it's lyrics. Oh, ho, ho, it's magic, you know? Never believe it's not so. See? Catchy!

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It's tough to believe that a living legend like Eric Clapton could be capable of producing one-hit wonders. Granted, it was before he was the man we know him to be now. In 1970, the talented guitarist was part of a band named Derrek and the Dominos. 'Layla,' written by Clapton and Jim Gordon, was the only hit from their band's only album. 

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Many can argue that this song was given a new life when the comedy legends, Will Ferrel, Paul Rudd, Steve Carrell, and David Koechner, sang it in a scene of the uber-popular first Ron Burgundy film. The song, 'Afternoon Delight', was a song from 1976 that pretty much summed up the decade. The Starland Vocal Band performed it. It even earned the band a Grammy nomination. Where are they now?

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Even with the great Barry Manilow behind them as their producer, the Lady Flash trio had a difficult time climbing the ranks of the groovy and competitive new sound of disco. Their only big banger was 'Street Singin' which was released in 1976. They were active from 1974 to 1979 and mainly performed as a support act for Manilow.

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Written and performed by The Amazing Rhythm Aces, which have astoundingly been active for over thirty years, is 'Third Rate Romance.' It's a song about a less than satisfying encounter between two lovers. While the story of the song wasn't about sparks flying and a romance of a lifetime, it's been a staple of country music since its release in 1975.

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This song was one of the pioneers of electronic music. The pop song released by Alan O'Day in 1977 was one of the first songs to use fully electronic music! It reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was certified a gold record even without an album to back it up. More and more synthetic sounding music came after, but the ones coming from O'Day weren't as big.

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This blues-rock classic by Blues Imagine was weirdly about seventy-three men sailing from the San Francisco Bay. Despite that, the early 70s track peaked at #4 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and has been hanging around the playlists of dive bars and radio stations playing retro music all over the world. The same couldn't be said for the rest of the band's songs. 

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Would you believe that his fun country-folk song with a pop arrangement was meant to be a joke? Gerry Rafferty, the singer-songwriter from Stealers Wheel, meant it to be a parody of Bob Dylan's paranoia. Well, thanks to that parody, we have one of the better-aged songs from the 70s. Too bad the Stealer Wheels didn't age as well as a band.

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Now this song may have received a huge revival thanks to the Marvel Cinematic Universe's hit, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, but we shouldn't discount it from the fact that people are playing this song like crazy these days. The song has over 30 million hits on YouTube. The Looking Glass band must be enjoying those residuals. 

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How can anyone let as song entitled 'Rock On,' do anything but what the title says? Well, David Essex's 1973 rock song, which features his brilliant vocals, steady and smooth instrumentals, have lived on quite well since its release. The song was an international hit, has been covered by Michael Damian and Def Leppard too. 

Image Source: YouTube/DavidEssexVEVO


A song doesn't have to have jaw-dropping instrumentals or gut-wrenching lyrics for it to become a hit. This is the case with Jonathan Edwards' country folk song, 'Sunshine.' It's feel-good, acoustic beat earned the song a gold record. It peaked at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1972 too. You've probably heard it in 70s themed film or tv show too. 

Image Source: YouTube/Jonathan Edwards


The 70s was the height of the disco movement. While there are countless great songs from amazing artists from the world of disco, one of the genre's popular one-hit wonders is McFadden and Whitehead. 'Aint No Stopping Us Now' is an exciting, bouncy, and fun track that was released in the last year of the decade, 1979. The stong is still 'on the move' today.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain


If the first few opening seconds of this song from rock and roll one-hit-wonder, Thin Lizzy, doesn't get you in the mood to call your boys up and ask them for a night out at the pub, then I don't know what else will. Just as the title suggests, the song is pretty straight forward. It's certified gold in the UK and has been a staple of movie soundtracks ever since.  

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Whether Carl Douglas' song is controversial in this day and age is up for debate, but there's no doubt that this song has stood the test of time. It's been listed as one of the best one-hit-wonder songs ever by VH1. CeeLo Green recently covered it with Jack Black and the Vamps for the animated hit Kung Fu Panda.

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Before this song, Wild Chery was a full-on rock and roll band. That is until frontman Rob Parissi decided they should pivot to a more soulful and funky song. Then came 'Play that Funky Music' and people went nuts. Billboard named it one of the All-time 100 songs in 2018. The opening baseline is enough to get your feet moving.

Image Source: Getty Images/Michael Ochs Archives

How was that for a trip down memory lane? Which of these 1970s hits have you got on your playlist today? Are there a few songs that you think we should've added to this list? Let us know in the comment section and make sure to check out Amomedia for more great content like this! Oh, and don't forget to share this with someone who loves music from the 70s too!

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