Every genre of music has its one hit wonders, and country has certainly had its fair share. Some country one hit wonders bowed out gracefully, while others continued plugging away at music, only to find subsequent chart success elusive. One thing is certain about one hit wonders -- although it may seem like a punch in the gut to reach overnight music industry glory only to fall from grace just as quickly, the job certainly pays well.
Do You Know These Country Music One Hit Wonders?
Country music history is littered with the wreckage of one-and-done music careers, but here are some of the genre's biggest one-off hit makers:
Ty England's career got off to a promising start when he landed a spot in country megastar Garth Brook's band. He broke out of Brook's large shadow in 1995 and released the single Should Have Asked Her Faster. The song soared up the country music charts to the number three position and held there for awhile.
England looked to be on his way to becoming country royalty like his old boss, only it just never happened. England continued - and continues - to release music, but he's never been able to come even close to matching the success of that first single. Even a name change to Tyler England didn't do the trick.
Cyndi Thomson entered the music industry as a songwriter, but her real ambition was also to be the one in the spotlight. She got her big chance in 2001 when she released What I Really Meant To Say. The song topped the Billboard Country Charts for several weeks, and she broke records by becoming the only female country singer to have a single stay on top of the influential Radio and Records country chart for more than one week.
Thomson released two subsequent singles but couldn't repeat her debut triumph. In 2002, Thomson got married and announced she was walking away from the music industry to concentrate on her family. She came back in 2006, but the ship had essentially sailed.
Jeannie C. Riley
Jeannie C. Riley hit the airwaves in 1968 with Harper Valley PTA and instantly shattered music industry records by becoming the first female singer to have a number one on the pop and country charts at the same time. This crossover single was chosen as single of the year by the Recording Industry Association of America and earned Riley a Grammy. The song was so influential that it inspired a 1970s movie and 1980s TV show.
Riley herself remained popular for years after the song and was a much sought-after country music duet partner. However, her own follow-up releases fell flat. Riley is still collecting healthy royalty checks for her one-time hit.
Technically speaking, Bob Carlisle considers himself a Christian music musician, but his Butterfly Kisses song was a major hit on the country music charts. Carlisle wrote the song to mark his daughter's 16th birthday, and the sentiment resounded enough with music fans that it entered five different Billboard charts in the number one position. The song also won Carlisle the 1997 Grammy for Best Country Song.
Carlisle didn't parlay these victories into a country music career, but he did turn the song into a steady stream of income. In addition to the money earned from sales of the Butterfly Kisses father-daughter journal he created, the song has been covered over and over again, spelling big royalties.
Clay Davidson got his start behind the scenes in the music industry as a demo singer for songwriters. His big break came when he got called up to fill for Michael McDonald at a release party for another artist, Jude Cole. Davidson ended up wowing the crowd there, including industry exec Scott Hendricks, who just happened to be in the process of setting up a Nashville division of Virgin Records.
Davidson signed to the label, and in 2000, he released his debut single, Unconditional. Unconditional was a major chart hit, and it looked like a new country music star was born. Trouble struck soon after, however. Virgin closed its Nashville division and merged the label with Capitol. Capitol picked up the artist catalog but never did anything with Davidson's music. Eventually, he was dropped, and his career was over.
More Country One Hit Wonders
Here are even more one time country stars. Remember, being a one hit wonder doesn't mean you stop releasing music - it simply means you stop releasing hits.
- Kellie Coffey - When You Lie Next To Me
- Aaron Lines - You Can't Hide Beautiful
- Julie Roberts - Break Down Here
- The Wreckers - Leave The Pieces
- Chad Brock - Yes!
- Billy Ray Cyrus - Achy Breaky Heart
- Lynn Anderson - Rose Garden
- Wilkinsons - 26 Cents
- Pirates of the Mississippi - Feed Jake
- Sons of the Desert - Whatever Comes First
- Tim Rushlow - She Misses Him
- Tammy Cochran - Angels in Waiting
- Buffalo Club - If She Don't Love You
- James Bonamy - I Don't Think I Will
- Terri Gibbs - Somebody's Knockin'
Listen to Country One Hit Wonders
Is your appetite whetted for some country hits? Try mp3.com to listen to some country one hit stars.