one-hit wonder

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one-hit wonder (plural one-hit wonders)

  1. (idiomatic) A recording artist known for only one hit song, especially after failing at subsequent attempts at success.
    • 2003, Jon Caramanica, "Music: When Rap Sounds Anything but Urban," New York Times, 21 Sep. (retrieved 3 Aug. 2009):
      Eleven years ago, Arrested Development became one of Southern hip-hop's first crossover successes with “Tennessee,” a wistful, bohemian-influenced song about the scars of history. But the group was a one-hit wonder.
  2. (idiomatic, by extension) A person or group known for achieving only a single major accomplishment.
    • 1990, S. C. Gwynne, "Two Sides of a Giant," Time, 19 Feb:
      The European company is no one-hit wonder. The company has another best seller in its J-class car, sold as a Vauxhall Cavalier.
  3. (marijuana subculture) An instance of getting high off the first hit.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Sometimes refers to the song, rather than the musical artist.


See also[edit]