Article image

Iconic Lyrics From the Biggest One-Hit Wonders

For decades, one-hit wonders have baffled music critics and artists, who struggle to put a finger on what makes one song top the charts while another flops. And while some musicians relish in the success that even one hit track can bring, others have bitterly turned away from the idea of having a single song color their identity as artists. Fans, meanwhile, have long cherished the phenomenon of one-hit wonders, belting out their favorite classics as they try to remember which artist sang that elusive hit from years ago. In honor of these iconic stand-alone singles, here are some of the greatest lyrics from one-hit wonders over the last 70 years.

Tell me, tell me, tell me / Oh, who wrote the Book of Love?
— The Monotones’ “The Book of Love,” 1957

Come with me, my love / To the sea, the sea of love / I want to tell you / How much I love you
— Phil Phillips’ “Sea of Love,” 1959

Let me tell ya 'bout the birds and the bees / And the flowers and the trees / And the moon up above / And a thing called ‘love’
— Jewel Akens’ “The Birds and the Bees,” 1964

When I die and they lay me to rest / I'm gonna go to the place that's the best
— Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit in the Sky,” 1969

I'm hooked on a feelin' / I'm high on believin' / That you're in love with me
— Blue Swede’s “Hooked on a Feeling,” 1974

You gotta be cruel to be kind in the right measure / Cruel to be kind it's a very good sign / Cruel to be kind means that I love you / Baby, you gotta be cruel to be kind
— Nick Lowe’s “Cruel to Be Kind,” 1979

Sometimes I feel I've got to run away / I've got to get away / From the pain you drive into the heart of me
— Soft Cell's "Tainted Love," 1981

I'll stop the world and melt with you / You've seen the difference / And it's getting better all the time
— Modern English’s “I Melt with You,” 1981

Come on, Eileen / Oh, I swear (Well, he means) / At this moment / You mean everything
— Dexys Midnight Runners’ “Come On Eileen,” 1982

Take me on (Take on me) / I'll be gone / In a day or two
— a-ha’s “Take On Me,” 1984

I'm walking on sunshine, whoa / And don't it feel good?
— Katrina and The Waves’ “Walking on Sunshine,” 1985

All I can say is that my life is pretty plain / I like watching the puddles gather rain / And all I can do is just pour some tea for two / And speak my point of view, but it's not sane
— Blind Melon’s “No Rain,” 1992

25 years and my life is still / Tryin' to get up that great big hill of hope / For a destination
— 4 Non Blondes’ “What’s Up?” 1992

So what now? It's plain to see we're over / And I hate when things are over / When so much is left undone
— Deep Blue Something’s “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” 1995

And I'm a million different people from one day to the next / I can't change my mould / No, no, no, no, no
— The Verve’s “Bitter Sweet Symphony,” 1997

If I could fall into the sky / Do you think time would pass me by? / 'Cause you know I'd walk a thousand miles / If I could just see you tonight
— Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles,” 2002

If one thing I know, I'll fall, but I'll grow
— Nico & Vinz’s “Am I Wrong,” 2013

Like a small boat on the ocean / Sending big waves into motion / Like how a single word / Can make a heart open / I might only have one match / But I can make an explosion
— Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song,” 2015

Photo credit: Scott Gries via Getty Images

Author image
About the Author
Sean Neumann
Sean Neumann is a writer and reporter based in Chicago, Illinois.
Play more header background
Play more icon
Daily Question
Fill in the blank: "Let frustration fuel ___." - Sonia Boyce

More Inspiration

happiness theme icon

The worst enemy to creativity is self doubt.

separator icon
Sylvia Plath
motivation theme icon

It’s better to look ahead and prepare, than to look back and regret.

separator icon
Jackie Joyner-Kersee
hope theme icon

Take a canvas. Put a mark on it. Put another mark on it.

separator icon
Jasper Johns
love theme icon

Mistakes are almost always of a sacred nature.

separator icon
Salvador Dalí
wisdom theme icon

Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard.

separator icon
Iain S. Thomas
happiness theme icon

Travel is the traveler. What we see isn't what we see but what we are.

separator icon
Fernando Pessoa
motivation theme icon

Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.

separator icon
Rick Warren
hope theme icon

You are unique and if that is not fulfilled, then something has been lost.

separator icon
Martha Graham
love theme icon

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.

separator icon
Anaïs Nin
wisdom theme icon

Tolerance, like any aspect of peace, is forever a work in progress.

separator icon
Octavia E. Butler
happiness theme icon

Risk something or forever sit with your dreams.

separator icon
Herb Brooks