25 Of The Biggest One-Hit Wonders of the 70s

Ephraim Obare
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Welcome, music enthusiasts, to a magical mystery tour down the golden grooves of the 1970s! Prepare to groove, tap your feet, and maybe even crack a smile as we rewind the cassette tape of time. We’re on a quest to rediscover those melodious maestros who dashed in, grabbed our hearts with a chart-topping hit, and then – poof – vanished into the disco-lit night.

So, pull out your bell bottoms and dust off your vinyl as we delve into the captivating world of the 25 biggest one-hit wonders of the 70s. Get ready because it’s about to get funky!

“Play That Funky Music” – Wild Cherry

"Play That Funky Music" - Wild Cherry
Kirt Edblom from Kihei, Hi, United States via Wikimedia Commons

This American funk rock band found massive success with this infectious tune in 1976. It’s one of those songs that, once heard, is impossible to forget.

“Kung Fu Fighting” – Carl Douglas

"Kung Fu Fighting" - Carl Douglas
Volodimir T. via canva.com

Released in 1974, this song became an instant hit for its catchy tune and theme inspired by the then-popular Kung Fu films.

“The Hustle” – Van McCoy

"The Hustle" - Van McCoy
Courtesy of Deposit Photos

A song synonymous with the 70s dance craze, “The Hustle” became an anthem for dance floors worldwide in 1975.

“Afternoon Delight” – Starland Vocal Band

"Afternoon Delight" - Starland Vocal Band
Photo of the musical group Starland Vocal Band via Wikimedia Commons

This 1976 pop song took the radio waves by storm for its sweet harmony and catchy melody.

“My Sharona” – The Knack

"My Sharona" - The Knack
Doug Fieger via Wikimedia Commons

A catchy rock song that dominated the airwaves in 1979, making “My Sharona” a must-have on any 70s playlist.

“Hooked on a Feeling” – Blue Swede

"Hooked on a Feeling" - Blue Swede
Advertisement for the musical Group Blue Swede via Wikimedia Commons

This 1974 pop-rock song, with its distinctive “ooga-chaka” intro, was an unforgettable hit.

“I Love the Nightlife” – Alicia Bridges

"I Love the Nightlife" - Alicia Bridges
Iluhanos via canva.com

This disco hit from 1978 perfectly encapsulates the era’s night scene.

“Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)” – Looking Glass

"Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)" - Looking Glass
DAPA Images via canva.com

A sweet ballad from 1972, it’s a tale of a sailor torn between love and the sea.

“Black Betty” – Ram Jam

"Black Betty" - Ram Jam
BranislavaB via canva.com

A hard rock hit from 1977, this infectious tune is still a staple at sports events.

“American Pie” – Don McLean

"American Pie" - Don McLean
Don McLean in Gateshead, UK, May 2018 via Wikimedia Commons

While Don McLean had other modest successes, the 1971 classic “American Pie” remains his magnum opus.

“In the Summertime” – Mungo Jerry

"In the Summertime" - Mungo Jerry
Brombachsee,Concertbüro Franken,Festival,Konzert,Lieder am See,Livekonzert,Livemusik,Mungo Jerry,Musik,Ray Dorset via Wikimedia Commons

This laid-back tune from 1970 captures the lazy, carefree essence of summertime.

“O-o-h Child” – Five Stairsteps

"O-o-h Child" - Five Stairsteps
Brat_Pikachu via canva.com

This soulful tune from 1970 had a powerful message of hope and resilience.

“Spirit in the Sky” – Norman Greenbaum

"Spirit in the Sky" - Norman Greenbaum
“Spirit in the Sky” – Norman Greenbaum via Wikimedia Commons

This 1970 hit was a unique blend of rock and gospel that caught listeners’ attention.

“Seasons in the Sun” – Terry Jacks

"Seasons in the Sun" - Terry Jacks
Publicity photo of Terry Jacks via Wikimedia Commons

A poignant ballad about saying goodbye, this song resonated with many when released in 1974.

“Dancing in the Moonlight” – King Harvest

King Harvest
Iluhanos via canva.com

It was a fun, feel-good tune that ruled the charts in 1972.

“Love Hurts” – Nazareth

"Love Hurts" - Nazareth
Nazareth live in Donetsk, September 30, 2012 via Wikimedia Commons

This powerful rock ballad from 1975 chronicled the bitter side of love.

“Ring My Bell” – Anita Ward

"Ring My Bell" - Anita Ward
John Mathew Smith & www.celebrity-photos.com

This catchy R&B song ruled the disco era in 1979.

“Ain’t No Sunshine” – Bill Withers

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annulla via wikimedia commons

Even though Bill Withers had other hits, this melancholy ballad from 1971 remains his best-known work.

“Don’t Leave Me This Way” – Thelma Houston

"Don't Leave Me This Way" - Thelma Houston
Thelma Houston on the red carpet at 2023 Gateway Celebrity Fight Night at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix, Arizona via Wikimedia Commons

A disco anthem from 1976, this song was synonymous with the dance floor.

“You Light Up My Life” – Debby Boone

"You Light Up My Life" - Debby Boone
Debby Boone via Wikimedia Commons

This sweet love song from 1977 resonated with listeners and became a huge hit.

“Pop Muzik” – M

"Pop Muzik" - M
Thanasantipan via canva.com

An innovative track from 1979 was an early foray into the synth-pop sound that would define the 80s.

“Maggie May” – Rod Stewart

Rod Stewart
Rod Stewart via Wikimedia Commons

This tale of a young man infatuated with an older woman became a hit in 1971.

“Hot Child in the City” – Nick Gilder

"Hot Child in the City" - Nick Gilder
Virtua73 via canva.com

This risqué tune from 1978 was a big hit due to its catchy melody and intriguing lyrics.

“Escape (The Piña Colada Song)” – Rupert Holmes

Rupert Holmes
Infinity Records via Wikimedia Commons

An unforgettable tune from 1979, this song tells a quirky and entertaining tale of a couple rediscovering their love for each other.

“Convoy” – C. W. McCall

"Convoy" - C. W. McCall
Cover art for the single “Convoy” by C. W. McCall via Wikimedia Commons

A country hit from 1975, “Convoy” capitalized on the CB radio craze of the time.

Whether you’re reminiscing or exploring the sounds of the 70s for the first time, these one-hit wonders provide a snapshot of a decade full of change, experimentation, and unforgettable music.

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Author

  • Ephraim Obare

    Ephraim Obare is a versatile member of the Frenz Hub writing team, bringing a rich background in economics to his work. An avid swimmer, reader, and cyclist, Ephraim blends analytical insights with his diverse interests.

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