This Danish-Norwegian Europop band took over the charts in 1997 with the song Barbie Girl. The song hit number one in Australia and the UK and stayed their for three weeks. More than eight million people took home a copy of the song (when CD singles were still a thing). The song also led to Mattel, the owners of the Barbie trademark, filing a lawsuit. The band subsequently had to put a printed message on their Aquarium album case stating that “The song Barbie Girl is a social comment and was not created or approved by the makers of the doll”.
Aqua originally broke up in 2001 but reformed in 2008 before breaking up again in 2012. All was quiet on the Aqua front before they reformed for a second time in 2016 and released their comeback single Rookie in 2018. Aqua are the Energizer Batteries of one-hit-wonder bands!
2. Marcy Playground
This three-piece post-grunge band formed in 1994 but it wasn’t until 1997 that the world became aware of them when they released their hit-single Sex and Candy. John Wozniak, the band’s lead singer, called the tune ‘an unorthodox love song’ and confessed he has no idea what the song actually means. This didn’t stop Sex and Candy going to number eight in Australia, number four in the USA and number one in Canada.
Sex and Candy may be Marcy Playground’s only hit but the band is still together and has released four albums since 1997, the latest release being their 2009 album ‘Leaving Wonderland…in a fit of rage’. Marcy Playground also still regularly tour the USA so if you’re a die-hard one-hit-wonder devotee maybe it’s time to book a flight over!
3. Los del Río
Los del Río are a Spanish dance and Latin-pop band that formed in 1962 but didn’t have a worldwide hit until 1996 when they released their huge single Macarena. The song is about a woman who cheats on her boyfriend while he is being drafted into the army. Macarena and its associated dance was nothing short of huge and is still played at weddings and parties globally. The song also had the honour of being named the greatest one-hit-wonder of all time by VH1 in 2002.
Macarena became a hit a year after the Bayside Boys (composed of Mike Triay and Carlos de Yarza) produced a remix of the song that added English lyrics.
Los del Río continue to perform around their home-town of Seville, Spain and also release albums in their native Spanish, the latest being 2012’s Vámonos que nos vamos.