One Hit Wonders! Songs You Completely Forgot About


A-Ha Morten Harket of Scandinavian pop trio A-Ha | Jo Hale/Getty Images

Pop music is a fickle mistress. No one, not even the most high-powered record company executive, really knows what songs or bands might blow up, though they make it their business to gamble on it all the same. More often than not, the bands anticipated to become the next big thing dissolve or disappear before they take off. If they’re lucky, they might enjoy one memorable chart-topping hit before mostly fading from memory.

Such is life as a one-hit wonder, betrayed by a music listening public that only teases you with success before snatching it away. However harsh it may be, that’s the way it is. We can at least pay tribute to those bands and artists who only had a short taste of fame, by remembering a few of the one-hit wonders that are actually worth remembering. Sorry, “Macarena.”

1. “Take on Me” by A-ha

Norwegian synth pop band A-ha had more going for them than a weird, onomatopoeia name — they had a great sound, at least as far as their only hit single “Take on Me” is concerned. The 1985 song reached the top of the charts quickly, thanks to its dramatic hook and near-perfect blend of synthpop with acoustic guitars and keyboards, all produced and put together far more competently than most other electro-pop of the time. Together with an unforgettable rotoscope-animated music video, this distillation of ’80s pop at its best assures A-ha their short but sweet place in music history.

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