1960s One-Hit Wonders Playlist
The allure of a one-hit wonder is that it has to survive on the merits of the song alone. By design, it’s an act’s first hit (and, as the term implies, its last). To that end, the artist or band couldn’t leverage an existing audience to propel the tune onto the airwaves. Instead, the song has to win folks over with its inherent charm alone.
As examples, the list kicks off with a Dirty Dancing favorite from the Contours and closes out with a Chubby Checker song that spawned a dance craze. (As a testament to its enduring popularity, the latter helped Checker enter the Guinness Book of World Records in 2012 when he serenaded roughly 4,000 folks at once doing his signature dance.) In between, you’ll find a surf epic (“Wipeout”), a display of guitar virtuosity (“Miserlou”) and a song that sounds like it was sung by an old man when—in fact—it was performed by a 16-year-old boy (“The Letter”).
Given their long legacies in popular culture, there’s a good chance you’ll know most every tune below. And the abundant energy that sent them racing up the pop charts should prove equally useful when you need a little pick-me-up mid-run. When that moment strikes, you can tune in to one of our picks below.
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