Reruns, foreseeable future, yada yada yada. This post is a list of the top-ranking one hit wonders for each year from 1955 through 1986, with a couple of hyperlinks added.
1955: “Let Me Go Lover”/Joan Weber (four weeks at Number One)
1956: “Moonglow/Theme from Picnic“/Morris Stoloff (three weeks at Number One) To which William Holden and Kim Novak dance, in a scene that was pretty hot for 1956. The story is told that Holden was so nervous about the scene that he had to get drunk to complete it.
1957: “Rainbow”/Russ Hamilton (one week at Number 3) Hamilton was British—from Liverpool, actually; the flipside of this, “We Will Make Love,” was the hit in the UK. Hamilton’s Wikipedia entry says “it was due to the U.S. mistaking ‘Rainbow’ to be the A-side.” I’d bet on squeamishness over the A-side’s title.
1958: “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands”/Laurie London (four weeks at Number One)
1959: “Sea of Love”/Phil Phillips (two weeks at Number Two)
1960: “Alley Oop”/Hollywood Argyles (one week at Number One) This was the first song played on WLS when they went to the rock format that would last for 29 years.
1961: “Mexico”/Bob Moore (one week at Number 7) I don’t believe I’ve ever heard this. Moore was a session player in Nashville; this was from an album of south-of-the-border-flavored tunes.
1962: “Party Lights”/Claudine Clark (one week at Number 5)
1963: “Dominique”/The Singing Nun (four weeks at Number One) Another reason why the British Invasion had to happen.
1964: “Popsicles and Icicles”/Murmaids (two weeks at Number 3)
1965: “The Jerk”/Larks (one week at Number 5)
1966: “Psychotic Reaction”/Count Five (two weeks at Number 5)
1967: “Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead”/Fifth Estate (one week at Number 11) Early evidence of the influence wielded on pop music by weed.
1968: “Fire”/Crazy World of Arthur Brown (one week at Number Two)
1969: “In the Year 2525″/Zager and Evans (six weeks at Number One)
1970: “In the Summertime”/Mungo Jerry (one week at Number 3)
1971: “Sweet Mary”/Wadsworth Mansion (one week at Number 7) One of my all-time favorite one-hit wonders.
1972: “Sunshine”/Jonathan Edwards (three weeks at Number 4)
1973: “Dueling Banjos”/Weissberg and Mandel (four weeks at Number Two) Just nosing out “Playground in My Mind” by Clint Holmes, which did a mere two weeks at Number Two. It was the 70s, and we couldn’t help ourselves.
1974: “The Entertainer”/Marvin Hamlisch (two weeks at Number 3)
1975: “Rockin’ Chair”/Gwen McCrae (one week at Number 9) Gwen was married to George McCrae, whose “Rock Your Baby” hit Number One in the summer of 1974. They’d be the answer to the greatest trivia question ever—name the only husband-and-wife one-hit wonders—were it not for George’s “I Get Lifted,” which spent a couple of weeks in the Top 40 in early ’75.
There’s more on the flip.