31 Best One Hit Wonders Of The 60s


22. “Hippy Hippy Shake” by The Swinging Blue Jeans

Song year: 1963

The Swinging Blue Jeans recorded “Hippy Hippy Shake” four years after 17-year-old Chan Romero wrote and recorded it and had a hit in Australia with it.

The Swinging Blue Jeans were an early British Invasion band—so early that most people don't think of them as such—and scored a number two on the UK charts with the song.

23. “Walk On The Wild Side” by Jimmy Smith

Song year: 1962

A 1962 Jane Fonda film called “Walk On The Wild Side” spawned a hit for the title song as performed by Brook Benton. Jazzman (and Hammond B-3 expert) Jimmy Smith recorded an instrumental version of the song, and it went to number four.

24. “Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport” by Rolf Harris

Song year: 1960

While it sings like an old folk song, “Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport” was written by Rolf Harris, an Aussie singer who played didgeridoo and other odd instruments. The musicians who played on the recording opted to receive a flat fee rather than get a cut of the royalties. They thought it wouldn't make any money.

It went to number one, but Harris did little after that.

25. “They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!” by Napoleon XIV

Song year: 1966

The record company was afraid people would think “They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!” was making fun of the mentally ill, and even though the narrator ends up cracking up about the loss of a dog, the label was wrong.

People LOVED this song. It was a number one, but it was also a novelty hit, which, again, means we'd never hear another peep from Napoleon XIV.

In its way, it was innovative—no pitched or chordal instruments but still a hit song. Who knows?

26. “Cool Jerk” by The Capitols

Song year: 1966

“Cool Jerk” was a great example of luck. The Capitols, as it turns out, wasn't really all that good. “Cool Jerk,” though, hit. Audiences enjoyed the band's enthusiasm, but that didn't translate to other songs. “Cool Jerk” was it for this group.

Still, not many people can claim a number two hit on the R&B charts. The Capitols can, though.

27. “Harlem Shuffle” by Bob & Earl

Song year: 1963

Though “Harlem Shuffle” barely broke the Top 40 in the States, it was a Top Ten hit in several European countries in the 60s.

However, the song's real claims to fame came much later:

  • The Rolling Stones covered it in 1986 on their Dirty Work album.
  • House of Pain sampled the song's opening chords for use on 1992's “Jump Around.”

Hey man, a royalty check is a royalty check.

28. “Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah (A Letter From Camp)” by Allan Sherman

Song year: 1963

Whether you've heard this song or not, you've been affected by it.

  • The melody comes from a ballet by Amilcare Ponchielli called Dance of the Hours.
  • A boy in the story is named Leonard Skinner, and the fictional lad helped inspire the creation of the Southern rock gods Lynyrd Skynyrd.
  • It's in the Library of Congress.

If not for Stevie Wonder's “Fingertips,” which would not relinquish the spot, “Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah (A Letter from Camp),” would have been number one. Allan Sherman, though, had success as a television presenter and producer.

29. “Mother-In-Law” by Ernie K‐Doe

Song year: 1961

Who doesn't have at least some resentment toward that figure in their lives?

After the song's success, K-Doe remained in the spotlight by working in New Orleans radio and basically being an eccentric, larger-than-life personality there. Being larger than life in New Orleans takes some doing, so good on him.

30. “The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly” by Hugo Montenegro

Song year: 1968

The four universally recognized movie themes are, in order:

  • Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • Star Wars
  • The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
  • Superman

From the 1966 Clint Eastwood film, “The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly” was chosen for a cover version by Hugo Montenegro for some reason, and, two years after the film played in theaters, went to number one on Billboard's Easy Listening chart.

Musical tastes are so weird.

31. “(Today I Met) The Boy I'm Gonna Marry” by Darlene Love

Song year: 1963

Darlene Love sang as a backup singer or uncredited lead—The Crystals' “He's A Rebel” and “He's Sure The Boy I Love.” Then she landed “(Today I Met) The Boy I'm Gonna Marry.”

Feeling wronged by producer Phil Spector, she eventually turned to acting, landing the role of Sgt. Murtaugh's wife in the Lethal Weapon films. In 2018, she provided vocals for Saturday Night Live's 2018 short “Christmastime for the Jews.”

Top One Hit Wonders Of The 60s, Final Thoughts

Many of us have memories tied to a one hit-wonder. They can evoke feelings of embarrassment, but music is music. We like what we like. One hit wonders had at least one hit, so they did something right. Fly your flag. Embrace these best one hit wonders of the 60s.

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One Comment

  1. What about the Danleers, One Summer Night, Tommy Roe, Sheila, Bobby Vinton, Roses are Red Leslie Gore AKA LEslie Sue Goldstein, It’sy Party, The Shirelles, Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow, Lol Christy The Gypsy Cried!, Little Peggy March, I Will Follow Him! ETC, ETC, ETC.

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