One Hit Wonders in Country Music

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Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,

There have been many one-hit wonders in the country music genre throughout the years. Here is a list of some of the most popular ones.


One-hit wonders are musical acts who are only successful with one single. Country music has had its fair share of one-hit wonders over the years. Here are some of the most well-known one-hit wonders in the genre.

The Willis Brothers had a number of country hits in the 1950s, but their only song to top the charts was “Give Back My Heart.” The song spent two weeks at the top of the Billboard country chart in 1955.

Jean Shepard was a popular country singer in the 1950s and 1960s, but she only had one song that reached number one on the country chart. That song was “A Satisfied Mind,” which spent a single week at number one in 1955.

The Gentrys are best known for their 1966 hit “Keep on Dancing,” which reached number four on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song is also notable for being one of only a handful of songs to spend more than 20 weeks on that chart.

Lonnie Donegan was a British skiffle singer who had a huge hit with his cover of Lead Belly’s “Rock Island Line” in 1956. The song reached number two on the UK Singles Chart and helped to launch the skiffle craze in Britain. Donegan would go on to have several more hits, but none as big as “Rock Island Line.”

Country Joe and the Fish were best known for their anti-war anthem “Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die Rag,” which became an underground hit in 1967. The band released several other albums and singles, but they never matched the success of “Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die Rag.”

One-Hit Wonders from the 1950s

From Western swing to the Bakersfield sound, country music has seen a lot of different sub-genres come and go throughout the years. Some of these sub-genres have produced one-hit wonders, artists who have only had one song that has charted on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs list. Here are some one-hit wonders from the 1950s.

“Hey Good Lookin'” by Hank Williams

Hank Williams’ classic 1951 country hit “Hey Good Lookin’” has been covered by everyone from Wynonna Judd to Elvis Presley, but it was Williams’ original version that went to #1 on the country charts and #5 on the pop charts. The song, which was written by Williams and recorded with his Drifting Cowboys band, features a catchy melody and Williams’ signature lyrical style. Though he was only 29 years old when he died, Williams left behind a lasting legacy of country music hits, including “Your Cheatin’ Heart” and “I Saw the Light.”

“I’m Movin’ On” by Hank Snow

“I’m Movin’ On” is a song co-written and recorded by Canadian country music artist Hank Snow. It was released in December 1950 as the B-side to “The Golden Rocket”. In 1951, it hit No. 1 on the Billboard country singles chart and helped to launch Snow’s career in the United States.

“I Walk the Line” by Johnny Cash

“I Walk the Line” is a song written and recorded in 1956 by Johnny Cash. The song became Cash’s first No. 1 hit on the country charts and helped cement his place as one of the most important figures in country music. It also helped him crossover to the pop charts, where the song peaked at No. 17. The song remains one of Cash’s most iconic recordings and has been covered by dozens of artists over the years.

One-Hit Wonders from the 1960s

The 1960s saw the rise of country music as a popular genre and the decade produced a number of one-hit wonders. Some of these artists went on to have successful careers, while others faded into obscurity. Let’s take a look at some of the most memorable one-hit wonders from the 1960s.

“Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash

“Ring of Fire” is a song written by June Carter and Merle Kilgore and recorded by Johnny Cash. The single appeared at No. 17 on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles chart in 1963.

The song was originally intended for Connie Smith, who turned it down. Cash’s wife, June Carter, gave him the song while Cash was working on his 1963 album, Ring of Fire: The Best of Johnny Cash. On the album, the song is credited to “Kilgore-Carter”. It became one of the most famous songs associated with Cash.

In the book Johnny Cash: The Life, author Robert Hilburn writes that Ring of Fire “instantly became one of the mosttarred figures in country music.” In 2000, the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

” Harper Valley P.T.A.” by Jeannie C. Riley

Released in 1968, “Harper Valley P.T.A.” was a huge crossover hit, spending three weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart and earn Riley a Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance. The song was seen as controversial at the time for its frank look at small-town hypocrisy, but it resonated with listeners across the country. Though she would go on to have several more hit singles, Riley is best known for “Harper Valley P.T.A.,” which remains one of the most iconic country songs of all time.

“He’ll Have to Go” by Jim Reeves

“He’ll Have to Go” is a song written by Joe Scott and Audrey Allison, and was first recorded in 1959 by country music singer Roy Drusky. Reeves’ version was released as a single in late 1959, and became a huge hit, reaching number two on the Billboard country chart and number two on the Billboard Hot 100. The song stayed on the charts for a then-record 27 weeks.

One-Hit Wonders from the 1970s

Loretta Lynn’s “Coal Miner’s Daughter” was released in 1970 and quickly shot to the top of the country music charts. The song was Lynn’s only No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart. Despite being a one-hit wonder, the song was a huge success and helped Lynn become one of the most successful country music artists of all time.

“The Gambler” by Kenny Rogers

Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler” was released in 1978 and quickly became a hit, reaching the top of the country charts and crossing over to the pop charts. The song tells the story of a gambler who gives advice to a young man about how to play the game of life. The song was popular enough that it inspired a TV movie of the same name, which aired in 1980.

“Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue” by Crystal Gayle

Crystal Gayle was born Brenda Gail Webb on January 9, 1951, in Paintsville, Kentucky. The youngest daughter of country music greats Bill and Audrey Webb, she began her musical career singing with her siblings in their family band at a young age. In 1970, she recorded her first solo album, Which Way Is Up?, followed by her self-titled second album in 1971. It wasn’t until her third album, Crystallize, was released in 1972 that she had her first top 40 hit with “I’ll Get Over You.”

In 1977, Gayle signed with United Artists Records and released her breakthrough album, We Must Believe in Magic. The album’s lead single, “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue,” became a massive hit, spending two weeks at the top of the Billboard Country chart and becoming one of the most successful crossover hits of the decade. The song helped launch Gayle to superstardom and cemented her place as one of the most popular country artists of the 1970s. She would go on to release nineteen studio albums over the course of her career, including seven Gold-certified albums and three Platinum-certified albums.

“Convoy” by C.W. McCall

“Convoy” is a 1975 novelty song performed by C.W. McCall and co-written and co-produced by Bill Fries (under the pseudonym of “Chip Davis”) and Chips Moman, that became a number-one hit in the United States. A million-selling single, it spurred the creation of a trucker film of the same name and an ABC television series, both starring Kris Kristofferson. The song uses the CB radio as a metaphor for a trucker rebellion against unjust laws.

One-Hit Wonders from the 1980s

There are many one-hit wonders in Country Music, but the 1980s saw some of the best. Artists like Louise Mandrell, Juice Newton, and Carlene Carter all topped the charts with catchy tunes that are still remembered today. Let’s take a look at some of the best one-hit wonders from the 1980s.

“867-5309/Jenny” by Tommy Tutone

“867-5309/Jenny” is a song written by Alex Call and Jim Keller and recorded by Tommy Tutone that was released on the album 82 in 1982, peaking at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in May 1982. The song is about a man who gets a girl’s phone number, written on a wall, and makes repeated phone calls to her in an attempt to start a relationship, despite her pleas to stop.

The phone number 867-5309 is actually a real working phone number, which has received tens of thousands of prank calls over the years. In some cases, the number has been changed to avoid harassment. The area code for 867-5309 is in the Northwest Territories of Canada, which did not have phone numbers with the 555 exchange until recently.

“I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)” by Whitney Houston

“I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)” is a song by American singer Whitney Houston, released as the first single from her second studio album, Whitney. It was written by George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam and produced by Narada Michael Walden. “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)” won the Grammy Award for Record of the Year at the 1988 awards show. The song was a massive commercial success worldwide, becoming Houston’s fourth number-one single on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and her second number-one single in the United Kingdom. The song spent two weeks atop the UK Singles Chart in July 1987, and became one of only three songs to debut at number one on the Hot 100. It remains one of Houston’s most recognizable hit singles.

“Wind Beneath My Wings” by Bette Midler

“Wind Beneath My Wings” is a song written in 1982 by Jeff Silbar and Larry Henley. The song was first recorded by Bette Midler for the soundtrack of the film Beaches (1988), which helped to revive her career in the late 1980s. The song was released as a single in 1989 and became a huge commercial success, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States. The song has been covered by many artists over the years, including Celine Dion, Garth Brooks, and Willie Nelson.

One-Hit Wonders from the 1990s

The 1990s were a decade filled with one-hit wonders in country music. Some of these artists went on to have successful careers, while others faded into obscurity. Today, we’re going to take a look at some of the biggest one-hit wonders in country music from the 1990s.

“I Swear” by John Michael Montgomery

“I Swear” is a song co-written and recorded by American country music artist John Michael Montgomery. It was released in May 1994 as the lead single from his album Kickin’ It Up. The song, about the enduring power of love, spent four weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart in August 1994 and became his signature song. It also topped the charts in Canada and reached number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100, his only top 40 pop hit. The song was written by Gary Baker and Frank J. Myers.

“Macarena” by Los Del Rio

“Macarena” is a Spanish dance song by the group Los Del Rio. The song was released in 1994 as a lead single from their album A mí me gusta. “Macarena” became a worldwide hit in 1996, reaching number one in more than 30 countries. It is one of the best-selling singles of all time, with over 14 million copies sold.

“You Get What You Give” by New Radicals

The New Radicals were a short-lived group from the 1990s, but they made a big impact with their hit song, “You Get What You Give.” The song reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and has been certified 4x platinum by the RIAA. The song is an anthem for Gen Xers who were coming of age in the 1990s and is still popular today.


In conclusion, the one hit wonder is a staple in country music. There are many great songs and artists that have only had one big hit. These songs are often catchy and enjoyable to listen to. Even though these artists may not have had much success after their one big hit, they have still made a lasting impact on country music.

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