Written by Dave Shumka
One-hit wonders. It’s kind of a dirty word, but it shouldn’t be. It’s nearly impossible to have a hit song, let alone two. But it’s still intriguing. Who is this artist? Where did they come from? Where did they disappear to?
A one-hit wonder is hard to define, especially in Canada. Canadian musicians can be successful for decades without any real radio hits at all. Often, a hit song is just a detour during a strong and steady career.
The American music industry is partially to blame for creating some confusion around Canadian one-hit wonders. In the States, Tom Cochrane is probably considered a one-hit wonder thanks to “Life is a Highway,” but in Canada you can hear a ton of his songs on the radio all the time. The same could probably be said for Dan Hill and Alannah Myles.
Let’s celebrate one-hit wonders with our list of the 25 best Canadian one-hit wonders ever in the list below.
25. 'When the Night Feels My Song' by Bedouin Soundclash (2005)
The reggae-rock breakthrough single from the Toronto band was big on MuchMusic, on the radio and in commercials.
Where are they now? They're together, though they haven't replicated the chart success of their biggest hit. Singer Jay Malinowski has also released his own solo work, as well as Armistice, a project with Coeur de Pirate.
24. 'Bad Day' by Daniel Powter (2005)
You couldnt' escape this song. It was number one in the US and in the top 10 in over a dozen countries. It was most memorable as the song they played when people were eliminated on American Idol.
Where are they now? Powter has since released two more albums, most recently 2012's Turn On the Lights.
23. 'Money Pt. 1' by Jelleestone (2001)
This song was everywhere in the waning days of MuchMusic's video programming. The video featured Jelleestone in a convertible Volvo, which seemed like a reasonable car for a Canadian rapper to drive.
Where are they now? Still making music in Toronto, with a new single out this summer.
22. 'Roxy Roller' by Sweeney Todd (1975)
The glam-rock hit from Vancouver's Sweeney Todd went to number one in Canada.
Where are they now? Singer Nick Gilder left the band to have his own hit, "Hot Child in the City." Bryan Adams joined the band, and then left. After breaking up in 1978, the band reformed in 2000 with Gilder, and plays live regularly.
21. 'Eyes of a Stranger' by Payola$ (1982)
The Vancouver new wave band featured British-born singer Paul Hyde as well as Bob Rock. They hit the charts in Canada and the US with this song that's still a radio regular.
Where are they now? After their 1988 breakup, they reunited for a few years in the mid-'00s. Hyde released a solo album in 2009, and Rock produces albums for everyone from Metallica to Michael Bublé.
20. 'Don't Wanna Fall in Love' by Jane Child (1990)
The Toronto singer's only hit reached the top 10 in the US and Canada, and won her a Juno award.
Where are they now? She lives in Las Vegas and releases music on her own label. She also performed on The Wayne Brady Show in 2004.
19. 'One Track Mind' by TBTBT (1993)
The junior new jack swing/hip-hop group scored a Juno for this hit.
Where are they now? Well, it turns out it's hard to keep track of the whereabouts of 13-year-olds who got very little media attention 20 years ago.
18. 'I Cry' by Bass Is Base (1996)
The breakout hit from this Ontario R&B group was also their final release.
Where are they now? Ivana Santilli (L) and Chin Injeti (R) are both still producing and recording music, and Roger Mooking is a Food Network host.
17. 'This Beat Goes On/Switchin' to Glide' by the Kings (1980)
Well, technically it's two songs that always go together. This Bob Ezrin-produced new wave hit is still a classic rock radio mainstay.
Where are they now? After years of inactivity, the band reformed in the '90s and has released a few latter day albums and a DVD, and still tour Ontario and the US.
16. 'I Rhyme the World in 80 Days' by Kish (1991)
A hip-hop geography lesson, in which we learned Kish's mother is from Japan. It was kinda like an episode of Carmen Sandiego, if it were a catchy hip-house song.
Where are they now? Andrew Kishino is now an announcer and voice-over actor in live action TV, animation and video games. Check out his IMDb for tons of credits.
15. 'Run with Us' by Lisa Lougheed (1987)
Lougheed did the voice of Lisa Raccoon on the CBC cartoon The Raccoons, and "Run with Us" was her debut single and the show's theme song.
Where are they now? Ironically, her last ever single was 1993's "Won't Give Up My Music." She has since provided background vocals for Celine Dion and R. Kelly, and she lives in Michigan.
14. 'Check the O.R.' by Organized Rhyme (1992)
The zany, reference-riddled rap hit from the Ottawa three-piece featuring an undiscovered Tom Green.
Where are they now? Well, one of them is Tom Green. The other two are a music producer/real estate agent and a software engineer.
13. 'Take a Message' by Remy Shand (2002)
Shand's debut album came out on Motown Records, and earned a Juno award and four Grammy nominations before Shand faded away for a while.
Where are they now? He's back! After a decade of silence, Shand started releasing new music on YouTube last year. He also designs audio effects for musicians, so that's cool too. I hope he still has the hat.
12. 'Wildflower' by Skylark (1973)
The band was formed as Ronnie Hawkins's backup band, kinda like the band The Band. This song reached the top 10 in the US and Canada the same year that the band broke up.
Where are they now? David Foster was the breakout star of the band, selling millions of albums as a composer and producer. Many of the other members have had long careers as session musicians.
11. 'Oh, What a Feeling' by Crowbar (1971)
A '70s boogie track you probably didn't know was Canadian, but you've heard it everywhere. Crowbar also got their start as Ronnie Hawkins's backup band.
Where are they now? Still playing shows, still super tight.
10. 'Soul City' by the Partland Brothers (1987)
In case you weren't there, this is exactly what 1987 sounded like. This hit made it to number 10 in Canada and number 27 in the US.
Where are they now? Would you believe they're playing with Ronnie Hawkins? Because they are.
9. 'Bye Bye Mon Cowboy' by Mitsou (1989)
Mitsou's first single ever was a huge hit in English Canada, a rare feat for a French song.
Where are they now? She's certainly not a one-hit wonder in Quebec, where she's a successful singer, actress, TV and radio host, spokesperson and magazine editor.
8. 'Drinking in L.A." by Bran Van 3000 (1997)
The '90s Canadian slacker anthem we didn't know we needed was a big hit on Canadian radio and MuchMusic, and an even bigger hit in Scandinavia, for some reason. They had some success with 2001's "Astounded," but "Drinking in L.A." is the one song everybody knows.
Where are they now? They're a collective, so over the years, people have come and gone, but they've put out albums that charted in Canada's top 20 in 2008 and 2010.
7. 'Seasons in the Sun' by Terry Jacks (1973)
It's super sad, it's super sappy and it's super successful, selling 10 million copies!
Where are they now? Jacks released a handful of reasonably successful singles in the '70s and '80s, as well as producing music for artists ranging from DOA to Nana Mouskouri. He's now a highly respected environmentalist.
6. 'More Than Words Can Say' by Alias (1990)
Alias was a hair metal supergroup made up of members of Sheriff and Heart. This power ballad went to number 1 in Canada and number 2 in the US.
Where are they now? As individuals, they all have multiple credits. Notably, guitarist Steve DeMarchi joined the Cranberries in 1996 and plays with singer Dolores O'Riordan.
5. 'Steal My Sunshine' by Len (1999)
This was the summeriest song ever, you heard it everywhere and it reached the top 10 in Canada, the US and the UK.
Where are they now? The band featured Brendan Canning, who went on to form Broken Social Scene. The Costanzo siblings put out a new album in 2012.
4. 'She's So High' by Tal Bachman (1999)
This song was everywhere back then, and it hit the top 20 in four countries, including Canada and the US.
Where are they now? Bachman still blogs and performs regularly. In 2011, he played "She's So High" in Vancouver with Taylor Swift.
3. 'Hard Sun' by Indio (1989)
Gordon Peterson's reached number 10 on the Canadian charts with this track, under the pseudonym Indio. He promptly left the business after his label dropped him.
Where are they now? The J.D. Salinger of Canadian music, Peterson keeps a low profile. When Eddie Vedder covered "Hard Sun" in 2007, Peterson emerged to sue him.
2. 'Informer' by Snow (1993)
You could definitely make a case for Snow having a second hit with 2000's "Everybody Wants to Be Like You," but it's kind of impossible to escape the enormity of "Informer."
Where are they now? Stumping for Rob Ford, playing himself in the Kokanee movie and still making music.
1. 'Call Me Maybe' by Carly Rae Jepsen (2012)
It's only been two years but it's unlikely she'll ever replicate the success of the song of the summer 2012, which spent nine weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100. That's not a jab. Only a handful of songs ever have that kind of chart success.
Where are they now? What do you think? She's still making music. It's only been two years. She has 10 videos with over a million views on YouTube, and contrary to reports, she's not pawning her purses!