27 Best One Hit Wonders Of The 50s

Best One Hit Wonders Of The 50s

The 1950s were a great decade of rising music genres, from rock and roll to doo-wop. Many artists have released popular songs that many people recognize over other songs they released afterward.

Check out our list of the top one-hit wonders of the 50s for a nostalgic throwback.

The Book of Love by The Monotones

Song Year: 1958

First up on our list of the best one-hit wonders of the 50s is “The Book of Love” by The Monotones. This upbeat song has the quality sound you can expect from many doo-wop and rock and roll hits of the decade.

The lyrics are from the perspective of a man looking for the secret to finding the best love, even after breaking up with someone. It ranked fifth on Billboard's Pop Chart and third on the R&B Chart.

Born Too Late by The Poni-Tails

Song Year: 1958

Next up on our list of the top one-hit wonders of the 50s is The Poni-Tails' “Born Too Late.” This song has a moderate tempo and piano and saxophone accompaniment, giving it a vintage vibe.

The song's narrator, a young woman, laments how she can't be with a man she loves. It's a relatable message that resonates with anybody around that age, even decades later. It ranked seventh on Billboard‘s Hot 100 Chart.

Earth Angel (Will You Be Mine) by The Penguins

Song Year: 1954

The Penguins' “Earth Angel (Will You Be Mine)” remains their most well-known hit over half a century since its release. Its slower tempo, piano accompaniment, trademark R&B, and doo-wop sound make it the perfect 50s love song to listen to on a quiet night.

The song's about a man desiring a beautiful woman. He compares her to an angel on earth, giving the song a wholesome and sentimental tone. It peaked in the top spot on Billboard’s R&B Chart.

Sh-Boom by The Chords

Song Year: 1954

The Chords' “Sh-Boom” is the perfect 50s song that cheers anybody up after listening to it. It has a catchy beat, and every singer's vocals blend well to give it an unforgettable doo-wop sound that music lovers can enjoy decades after its release.

It ranked within the Top Ten of Billboard's Pop Chart and second on the R&B Chart. The lyrics describe a man hoping to meet the girl he loves again.

Rainbow by Russ Hamilton

Song Year: 1957

Another uplifting one-hit wonder song with a nostalgic and romantic sound is Russ Hamilton's “Rainbow.” The lyrics reference rainbows and moons, emphasizing lyrics describing the narrator's desire to save money to get his love the most beautiful gifts, even if they're intangible or impossible to get.

This song ranked fourth on Billboard's Pop Chart. Other notable artists who recorded covers of this hit over the years include Clint Ford, Terry Black, and The Fleetwoods.

You Can Make It If You Try by Gene Allison

Song Year: 1957

This Gene Alisson song is the perfect song to motivate yourself when you're having a bad day and move on from your struggles, despite its short length. The narrator expresses how it's important to live life to the fullest until the end, even though sadness and lies are unavoidable.

“You Can Make It If You Try” ranked within Billboard's Top 40 and third on the US Black Singles Charts following its release.

Susie Q by Dale Hawkins

Song Year: 1957

Rockabilly music was a staple genre in the 1950s, so it's no wonder Dale Hawkins' “Susie Q” became such a hit late in the decade. The narrator sings about how he loves the titular Susie Q and wishes she would never leave his side.

The guitar and percussion accompaniment gives it an old-school edge. The song ranked 27th on Billboard's Hot 100 Chart and seventh on the Hot R&B Sides Chart.

Summertime, Summertime by The Jamies

Song Year: 1958

No song encapsulates the feeling of freedom from school life more than The Jamies' “Summertime, Summertime.” The lyrics describe how much fun high schoolers have while on vacation and how they push aside their thoughts of studying and teachers.

It's the perfect song to dance to at a summer pool party or play while riding a bike. It ranked 28th on Billboard's Hot 100. The harmonizing vocals give the song a doo-wop-inspired sound.

Priscilla by Eddie Cooley and the Dimples

Song Year: 1956

If you're looking for another rockabilly one-hit wonder to add to your classic playlist, consider listening to “Priscilla” by Eddy Cooley and the Dimples. Its harmonious backing vocals and saxophone solo enhance the song's playful tone.

The lyrics describe the narrator's love for a woman named Priscilla and how he's always thinking about her. It peaked in the 20th spot on Billboard's Pop Chart.

Rockin’ Robin by Bobby Day

Song Year: 1958

One of the most iconic rock and roll one-hit wonders of the 50s is Bobby Day's “Rockin' Robin.” Its upbeat tempo can perk up any music lover feeling down. The song has plenty of bird-themed references, from its lyrics to the whistling incorporated into its instrumental backing.

This song ranked second on Billboard's Hot 100 Chart. Coincidentally, Michael Jackson's 1972 iteration also had the same chart ranking.

To Know Him Is To Love Him by The Teddy Bears

Song Year: 1958

This lovely love song by The Teddy Bears is another amazing one-hit wonder you shouldn't skip if you're curious about music from the 1950s. Written by Phil Spector, this song takes the perspective of a woman desiring love from a man who doesn't notice her.

It topped Billboard's Hot 100 Chart for three weeks. Other artists have recorded covers of this hit over the years, including Bobby Vinton and Jody Miller.

Get A Job by The Silhouettes

Song Year: 1957

From its upbeat doo-wop scatting to its saxophone, percussion, and piano accompaniment, The Silhouettes' “Get A Job” is one classic one-hit wonder that deserves its spot on our rundown. This catchy song might resonate with anyone having trouble finding a job.

The song’s lyrics reference a man trying to find work, pleasing the demands of his wife who’s constantly asking him if the paper has employment ads. This song topped Billboard’s Pop and R&B Singles Charts.

Sea of Love by Phil Phillips

Song Year: 1959

Phil Phillips' “Sea of Love” tells the tale of a man remembering the girl he loves and his desire to have her by his side. The sea-centric imagery incorporated in the song's lyrics enhances the song's romantic mood. Its slow, soulful R&B vocals blend well with its laid-back backing track.

This song topped Billboard's Hot 100 Chart, peaked within the second spot on the R&B Chart, and sold over a million copies.

Hushabye by The Mystics

Song Year: 1959

“Hushabye” is an upbeat yet relaxing song that skyrocketed The Mystics onto the music scene as their one-hit wonder. Its lyrics describe the narrator telling someone to calm down, rest their head, and fall asleep, putting a contemporary spin on what you might hear in a lullaby for children.

“Hushabye” ranked 20th on Billboard's Hot 100 Chart for several weeks. The song's blending vocalizations give it a dreamy sound, ideal for lifting your spirits.

A Dear John Letter by Ferlin Husky and Jean Shepard

A Dear John Letter by Ferlin Husky and Jean Shepard

Song Year: 1953

“A Dear John Letter” is a country song about a woman sending a letter to her boyfriend, John, stating how she's breaking up with him. When the lyrics shift to John’s perspective, he reads how his ex wants her photo back to give to her new husband, his brother. It topped Billboard's country charts and peaked in the fourth spot on their Hot 100 Chart.

Little Bitty Pretty One by Thurston Harris

Song Year: 1957

If you're looking for a one-hit wonder with a swinging tempo and uplifting sound, Thurston Harris' “Little Bitty Pretty One” fits the bill. Its iconic, harmonizing humming and backing vocals enhance the piece's energy, making it the perfect song to dance to if you're looking for a song to listen to on a quiet night. The song ranked second on Billboard’s R&B Chart.

Love Is Strange by Mickey & Sylvia

Song Year: 1956

Mickey & Sylvia's “Love Is Strange” cements its one-hit wonder status with its catchy guitar riff, harmonizing vocals, and playful tone. The lyrics describe how some people take love for granted, and once they're away from it, they have a never-ending craving for it.

The song topped Billboard's R&B Singles Chart and ranked fourth on their Hot 100 Chart. It was featured on the soundtrack of the film Dirty Dancing.

Sorry (I Ran All the Way Home) by The Impalas

Song Year: 1959

The Impalas' “Sorry (I Ran All the Way Home)” tells a straightforward tale about a man returning to the person he loves and apologizing to her for breaking her heart. The song's doo-wop-style harmonizing adds an extra charm that any music lover might enjoy. It ranked second on Billboard's Pop Music Chart and 14th on the US R&B Chart.

Mr. Lee by The Bobbettes

Song Year: 1957

The Bobbettes' “Mr. Lee” tells the story of a narrator describing her love for a handsome guy, despite the song's main inspiration stemming from a teacher the R&B group disliked. It has an upbeat tempo, an immersive saxophone solo, and excellent vocal blending that keeps audiences hooked. “Mr. Lee” peaked at the sixth spot on Billboard's Pop Chart and topped the R&B Chart.

When by The Kalin Twins

Song Year: 1958

The lyrics of The Kalin Twins' one-hit wonder “When” tell the tale of a man talking about his undying love for the girl he adores. He asks her to be his and appreciates her smile and kisses. It's the perfect song to dedicate to that special someone.

Besides ranking fifth on Billboard's Top 40 on their Hot 100 Chart, the song topped the UK Singles Chart for five weeks.

Sea Cruise by Frankie Ford

Song Year: 1959

Initially written by Huey “Piano” Smith, Frankie Ford's take on “Sea Cruise” adds an upbeat rock and roll appeal that resonates with anybody looking for a dance-worthy vintage track. The narrator expresses his desire to take the girl he likes on a sea cruise and dance with her. The piano and horn accompaniment enhance its sea-themed lyrics.

“Sea Cruise” peaked on Billboard's Hot 100 Chart in the 14th spot and ranked 11th on the Hot R&B Sides Chart.

Cry Me A River by Julie London

Song Year: 1956

Although many one-hit wonders of the 50s are upbeat and revolve around love, Julie London's “Cry Me A River” offers a nice change of pace through its slow tempo, minimal guitar and bass accompaniment, and lyrics about a woman rejecting a man who broke her heart asking her to come back. The song ranked ninth on Billboard's Hot 100 Chart.

When You Dance by The Turbans

Song Year: 1955

The Turbans' “When You Dance” incorporates a straightforward message through its excellently-blended doo-wop vocals, urging the listener to hold their girl tight while dancing. Despite being slower than most dance-worthy songs of the decade, it’s the perfect song to listen to for any occasion.

This song remained on the national pop and R&B charts for several months, becoming the group's most famous single in their short-lived career.

Let Me Go, Lover by Joan Weber

Song Year: 1954

If you're looking for a one-hit wonder about wanting nothing to do with love, consider adding Joan Weber's “Let Me Go, Lover” to your vintage music playlist. The lyrics depict the narrator asking her former lover to let her go after feeling overwhelmed with uncontrollable emotions.

The song topped Billboard's charts for four weeks. Many artists have recorded covers of this song, including Patti Page and Peggy Lee.

Since I Met You Baby by Ivory Joe Hunter

Song Year: 1956

Ivory Joe Hunter's “Since I Met You Baby” is a lovely R&B song perfect for setting the mood for any romantic occasion. The lyrics emphasize the narrator's feelings about how his life has improved after meeting the woman of his dreams, stating how she makes him happy and how he wants to be his best self for her. It ranked 12th on Billboard’s Hot 100.

Here Comes Summer by Jerry Keller

Song Year: 1959

“Here Comes Summer” is a song about a young man waiting for summer to arrive so he can hang out with the girl he loves, eager to go steady. The song has an optimistic vibe, indicative of the joy people feel being with others at the end of the school year. The song ranked 14th in the Top 40 of Billboard's Hot 100 Chart for several months.

Since I Don’t Have You by The Skyliners

Song Year: 1958

Despite its uplifting instrumentation, The Skyliners‘ “Since I Don't Have You” is a bittersweet song about feeling hopeless about love. The narrator expresses how since his old love left him, his misery has grown. The piano and string accompaniment make the song sound extra timeless. The song peaked in the 12th position on Billboard's Hot 100 Chart.

Top One Hit Wonders Of The 50s, Final Thoughts

The 1950s were a monumental time for many rising stars in the music industry, and their top songs helped their legacies stand the test of time. We hope our list of the best one-hit wonders of the 50s resonates with your music tastes and helps you find new favorite songs.

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