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  • One-Hit Wonders


    A ONE-HIT WONDER is “an act that has won a position on Billboard’s

    national, pop, Top 40 just once.”

    .OMITTED from consideration as a One-Hit Wonder:

    “One-off Pairings,” such as Barbara Streisand and Donna Summer. All

     such are being omitted due to the artist involved having no intention of

    being  considered an act;  an enduring act.  Cosmetic  Name  Changes,”

    such as the Moonglows name change to Harvey & theMoonglows.


    INCLUDED in consideration as a One-Hit Wonder:

    “Pseudo groups & Studio-Only Acts,” such as White Plains, Billy Joe & the Checkmates, the Pets,

    Max Frost & the Troopers, the Pipkins, and Edison Lighthouse.   In each case if a viable recording

    was created and receiving sales, the powers behind would construct a touring or further

    functioning act to record.   These would function as intentional and enduring acts;  as long as it

    was financially a viable situation.




    The One-Hit Wonders book covered the rich heritage of one-off “pop music” winners encased in the time 

    zone of the “rock’n’ roll” era” (therein defined as beginning January 11955) with a cut-off point set at 

    January 1, 1993.  The “cut-off-point” was rather arbitrary.   The option for a third edition was not sought 

    by Watson-Gupti (Billboard Books). 


    This site is meant to bring to a wider audience what was happen ing in the world of pop/rock, in the U.S.,

    particularly during the “Golden Age” of the ’50s and ’60s.  All entries–unless other wise noted–were written

    by Wayne Jancik for the 1st (1990) and/or 2nd edition (1997).    Due to space limitations, the Book ONLY

    included those One-Hit Wonders whose popularity reached the UPPER Top 20 of the nation’s  Top 40 charts

    (with all computations drawn from Joel Whitburn’s series of excellent chart books).  Only half of the entries

    created were published in that book; those acts who peaked in the LOWER Top 20 of the Top 40 are

    appearing HERE FOR THE FIRST TIME!   Their delineation as true One-Hit Wonders is every bit as

    authentic  as those that appeared in both of the book editions.


    When I created the One-Hit Wonders concept in the late ’80s, local Top 40 radio–if no longer king–was still

    a viable force.   Young folk still had that urge to know “what’s happenin’.”   For near a half century a “hit

    record” was determined by airplay, sales and shennanigans. Hundreds of radio stations wonderfully littered

    the nation from Toad Hop, Indiana to Bosie, Idaho; each constructing their weekly Top 40 listings (available

    for free at  your friendly record store) of the “hot wax.”  Okay, to match the call letters some stations had the

    Hot ‘n’ Happenin’ Top 30, 33 0r 45. “Regional hits” were a way “in” for local artists.  These were recordings–

    that due to distribution limitations, local appreciation, or shennanigans–were labeled “hits” and received

    local airplay.  Billboard magazine was the  industries nation-wide delineation of hitdom.


    They– and for a piece of  time Cashbox and Record World–shared the stage as the Americas’ judge of

    winners and losers.

  • A “ONE HIT WONDER” is an act that has won a position on Billboard’s

    national, pop, Top 40 just once.  


    Billboard magazine–dating back to the 1890s–was the national arbitrator of

    “hit” status for music.  Radio in a now by-gone golden era was the major source

    of exposure for recording artists.  With the on-set of the 50s, “Top 40” radio

    became the happenin’ vehicle for the blooming Baby Boomer generation.  It

    was presented as a democracy–infested though with shenanigans–whereby

    ranking was determined by sales.  He who sold the most earned the highest

    rank; and so forth down.  Of particular interest were those artists that only managed but once to make the

     rankings.  Some were truly fabulous–Hendrix, Joplin, Perkins,  Diddley.  Most were not so. What’s the

    story?  Why just one hit?  What became of the promise?    

  • A Note From  STEVE KING & JOHNNIE PUTNAM All-Night Hosts. WGN-Radio 720AM, 1997


    Karma–believe in it? This book was written by a man fulfilling his karma.

    Wayne Jancik was destined to write this book from that preteen summer

    when  he was confined to bed while running the gamut of childhood illnesses.

     The only thing that made the chicken- pox itch a little less or the measles a

    little less annoying was the sound of each new 45 Wayne’s dad brought home

    as a present for his ailing son.   Some ­thing about the then-new rock-and-roll

    records Wayne heard not only helped him to feel better but seemed to be

    opening up a whole new world that he just had to explore.


    As time and illness passed, Wayne accumulated more and more 45s and was soon thoroughly caught

    up in the excitement of Elvis, the Beatles, and the many individuals who followed them to achieve rock-

    legend status.   But it wasn’t just the legends; it was the music that was important.   And as Wayne soon

    discovered, unlike Elvis and company, many of those who made some of the most memorable music

    that found its way into the upper reaches of the charts were able to accomplish that feat only once.


    As an adult, Wayne might have left his childhood toys behind but not his records.   He continued to

    accumulate more and more and more records (approaching 200,000 at last count!).   But he has

    matured into a man who is capable of making extraordinary sacrifices for his wife, Charlene (make

    that “Saint Charlene”).   Why, just recently, he allowed one complete room of their house to be totally

    without records, and he gets the shakes only a little when he walks through it quickly.


    For the past several years, starting shortly after the publication of the first edition of One Hit Wonders,

    Wayne has been a monthly guest on our radio show.   We’ve come to understand that this is a man who

    doesn’t just write about and enjoy the artists and the music; he is PASSIONATE about them.   He wonders

    about the stories–the hows, the whys, the accidents, the jokes, the loves, the frustrations –whatever it was

    that resulted in that one hit.   Somewhere in the deep recesses of Wayne’s mind there is probably a juke-

    box that needs this information in order to be able to play the final chorus of each song.


    This book is the result of Wayne’s fascination with the music and the people who made it.   These are the

    stories of those who had a single moment in the spot ­light.   In a way, this book is also a diary of Wayne’s

    passion and the artists who supplied the soundtrack to it.   If you are a child of any of the rock-and-roll

    generations, then this soundtrack is yours, too.   So, sit back, relax, pop a quarter into the jukebox of

    your mind, and let the pages, the records, and the memories start turning.


  • imgres

     Billboard magazine began publishing on November 1, 1894.    But it wasn’t

    until  July 20, 1940, that this “internation­al newsweekly of music and home

    entertainment” began its “Music Popularity Chart” (”I’ll Never Smile Again”

    by Tommy Dorsey was the very first number one disk), a weekly reporting

    on the best-selling records in America.    To complicate matters–a complication that exists through this

    day–Billboard published more than one pop chart each week.   There were several charts:   “Best Sellers

    in Stores,” “Most Played in Jukeboxes,”  “Most Played by Jockeys” and the “Honor Roll of Hits.”


    Although a “Top 100” was published as early as November 12, 1955, pop historians emphasize the date

    August 4, 1958 as the “true test” of a record’s popularity was indicated by the “Best Sellers in Stores” list

    because it was based on the actual retail sales.    The records included and the positions secured by these

    recordings up through August 4, 1958, were tabulated by Joel Whitburn, the author of Top Pop Singles in

    its’ many updates. All such positions reflect Whitburn’s system of integrating these competing charts.


    Since that date–August 4, 1958–the magazine’s “Hot 100” has been acclaimed as the definitive source

    for the weekly ratings of the nation’s most popular records.   Though it must be noted that for years the

    industry magazine had competition from Record World and Cashbox.    Years back, both disappeared

    from the land-scape, but as this site is updated the plan is to include the chartings and differences regis-

    tered by these two fine publications.


    All chart positions noted in this work after August 4, 1958, are identical to those of Billboard’s “Hot 100”



  •  Who Is Wayne Jancik ?


    Wayne Jancik by day has been a Clinical Social Worker with the Chicago Public

    School system; having accumulating several degrees.   He has hoarded possibly

    the largest privately owned recorded  music collection in the known world-

    Hundreds of thousands of 33s, 45s, 78s, 8-tracks, cassettes, CDs and the rest (as

    documented on CBS News Nightwatch and “Wild Chicago,” a series devoted to

    oddities and their possessors). Despite the responsibility and profundity of such

    an auditory gathering, Jancik is certifiably”normal” and quite the active advocate of mental health.   He is

    the co-author of Cult Rockers and Noise; was the editor of DISCoveries magazine and has been a columnist

     with the Chicago Sun Times, RPM and the Music Express. His verbiage has appeared in the Chicago Daily

    News, Record Review, Illinois Entertainer and Goldmine magazine. Jancik for 21 years had been heard

    monthly on “Life After Dark,” the Steve King & Johnnie Putnam all-night program heard on WGN-Radio

    720 (AM). for those outside of Canada and the 38 US state coverage, the program was heard via real Audio.


    Wayne Jancik is all ear and can be quickly contacted via


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