How Well Do You Remember the One-Hit Wonders of the '70s?



By: Staff

5 Min Quiz

About This Quiz

If ever there was a fickle decade for music, it was the 1970s. Plenty of bands that shot to the top of the charts, then faded into obscurity, never to be heard from again.

Why exactly were there so many one-hit wonders in the '70s? One major reason is that musical trends moved so quickly. There was the phenomenon of disco, which soared up the charts, then crashed and burned as fans moved onto funkier pastures. Sure, it may be the best-remembered genre of music from the '70s, but its popularity only really endured for a few short years. Psychedelic rock was groovy, and fans traded in albums by The Beatles and The Doors for releases from Styx, The Who, Alice Cooper and Led Zeppelin - but then moved past them. There was the rise of punk, thanks to The Ramones and Blondie, then a period when singer-songwriters were all the rage. 

How well do you remember this tempestuous musical decade? Do you recall which band placed a request to play that funky music, or who the band Looking Glass declared was a fine girl? Know which artist sang a hit about "Kung-Fu Fighting," or introduced the world to "Rapper's Delight?" Just where was Don McLean driving that Chevy to in "American Pie?" If you know the answers to all of these questions, see if you have what it takes to ace this '70s one-hit wonders quiz!

Lynn Anderson topped both pop and country charts in 1970, but she certainly never promised you one of these.

Lynn Anderson picked up a Grammy in 1971 for her song "(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden."


How long did Norman Greenbaum spend penning the lyrics for "Spirit in the Sky"?

The Jewish songwriter spent just 15 minutes penning the words to the 1969 hit but admits that crafting the melody took much longer.


What band released the song "Play That Funky Music"?

Wild Cherry hit the No. 1 spot on both the Billboard rhythm and blues and pop charts with their 1976 song "Play That Funky Music."


How long is the song "American Pie"?

The 1971 song by Don McLean might just be the biggest one-hit wonder of all time, and it's also one of the longest, with a running time of eight minutes.


True or false: The title "American Pie" was inspired by the name of a plane.

The song may have referenced a plane crash as the day the music died, but Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper were not flying on a plane called "American Pie."


Who sang the song "Mr. Big Stuff"?

Jean Knight crooned the sassy tune, which soared to the top of the soul charts in the fall of 1971.


What band was Lillian Lopez a part of?

As part of Odyssey, Lopez was best known for the 1977 disco hit "Native New Yorker."


What band found fame with "The Boys Are Back in Town"?

Thin Lizzy almost didn't include its most famous song on the 1976 album "Jailbreak" and was surprised when the song became a huge hit.


What year did Van McCoy top the charts with "The Hustle"?

McCoy's 1975 hit song found footing on both the Billboard Hot 100 chart and the Hottest Soul Singles chart.


True or false: The song "Cat's in the Cradle" was inspired by a poem written by Harry Chapin's wife.

Chapin's wife, Sandy, wrote a poem about her experience with her own father, which Chapin transformed into a truly tear-jerking hit.


Who earned a Grammy nod for her 1976 version of "Turn the Beat Around"?

She didn't win the big prize, but one-hit wonder Vicki Sue Robinson did receive the honor of a Grammy nomination for best pop female for "Turn the Beat Around."


True or false: Mungo Jerry hailed from the U.K.

His smooth hit "In the Summertime" may have sounded like it was inspired by island living, but Mungo Jerry actually came from Britain.


What year was everybody "Kung Fu Fighting"?

Everybody was kung fu fighting in 1974 thanks to a surprise hit song from Carl Douglas.


Who sang the 1978 hit "Hot Child in the City"?

Former Sweeney Todd singer Nick Gilder went solo to record "Hot Child in the City," and it became his best-known song.


Who did the lead singer of the Knack pen "My Sharona" for?

The lead singer of The Knack wrote the song for a girl he liked named Sharona, who later became his girlfriend. Her image was used on the cover of the single.


True or false: The Federal Communications Commission banned the song "One Toke Over the Line" from the radio.

Spiro Agnew made it his mission to take down the Brewer & Shipley song and had the FCC ban it in 1971.


How many Grammy nominations did the Starland Vocal Band earn in 1976?

The band earned five Grammy nominations and won two awards thanks largely to the success of their song "Afternoon Delight."


True or false: Edison Lighthouse wasn't a real band.

"Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)" was credited to Edison Lighthouse. The song was actually put together by a songwriter and producer and performed by a session singer named Tony Burrows.


How long did Anita Ward spend recording "Ring My Bell"?

Ward recorded the song (reluctantly) in just two days in 1979. It went on to be her biggest hit, topping the Billboard Hot 100 chart for five months.


What 1972 one-hit wonder was featured in a 1999 Volkswagen commercial?

"Pink Moon," off Nick Drake's 1972 album of the same name, found little fame in the '70s but gained attention when it was featured in a 1999 car commercial.


Who sang the song "Hey There Lonely Girl"?

Eddie Holman crooned the 1970 soul classic "Hey There Lonely Girl."


What year did the Five Stairsteps release "O-o-h Child"?

The Chicago family consisting of four boys and one girl who played their own instruments (take that, Jackson 5) scored a big hit with "O-o-h Child" in 1970.


A visit to this state inspired Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi."

Mitchell penned her 1970 chart topper after a less-than-inspiring trip to a parking lot in Hawaii.


What band sang "I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke"?

The New Seekers sang the original Coca-Cola jingle, which became a huge hit after it was shipped to radio stations in February 1971.


What year did King Harvest release "Dancing in the Moonlight"?

"Dancing in the Moonlight" was all the rage in 1973, but King Harvest quickly faded from the spotlight, and the band broke up by the end of the decade.


Who sang the 1971 song "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia"?

After numerous singers turned down the song that was penned by Bobby Russell, Russell's wife, actress Vicki Lawrence, went into the studio and recorded the song herself.


Which group topped the charts with the song "How Long" in 1974?

British band Ace scored a hit with "How Long," which was later covered by Barbara Mandrell and Rod Stewart.


Who originally sang the song "Love Hurts"?

Nazareth found fame with a power ballad version of the Everly Brothers' classic "Love Hurts."


What year did Bobby Bloom release the cheerful "Montego Bay"?

Bloom found fame with his 1970 song "Montego Bay" but never had much success in the proceeding years. He was killed in 1974 in an accidental shooting.


Where did DJ Tom Clay hail from?

Detroit DJ Tom Clay hit the big time in 1971 with a remix of "What the World Needs Now." The song peaked at No. 8 in 1971, and Clay never had another hit song.


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