Country music one-hit wonders definitely made their own stamps in the genre, and until now, they are still – what we call in our generation – certified bops. Once you hear these songs, not only will you not get them out of your mind, but you will also surely be reminded of that one particular artist. And you’ll be thinking, how come they only have this one hit song (because they’re that good), or why is it that no other songs of theirs had been able to top that one song at all.
Well, one-time wonders are not uncommon in any genre, and sometimes it’s just a matter of luck and timing as well. Nevertheless, what is irrefutable is that these songs are so good you have to hear them. So, we compiled the best country one-hit wonders of all time here, so go ahead and take a scroll!
“Harper Valley PTA” by Jeanne C. Riley (1968)
Performed by one of the well-known female country singers Jeanne Riley and written by country music’s The Storyteller Tom Hall, this song was inspired by what Hall described as a ‘gritty, insignificant, socially disenfranchised single mother.’ And the character definitely resonated with a lot of women, making it a hit and earning it the 1968 Grammy Award for Best Country & Western Vocal Performance and the Single of the Year by the Country Music Association.
It was Hall’s first hit that changed the course of his career and Riley’s only major pop hit (which charted on both pop and country charts making her the first female artist to do so). Though, Riley continued to make success on Country charts and later on as a contemporary Christian artist. “Harper Valley PTA” also inspired a film and spin-off television series.
“Should’ve Asked Her Faster” by Ty England (1995)
Ty England, who was a former member of the band of country icon Garth Brooks, released this as the third song and lead-off single from his ten-track eponymous album. The song peaked at number 3 on the Hot Country Songs chart and also took a spot on Billboard’s 200 charts. But his second album did not have the same impact as the first, and it failed to connect with the country audience. Although several of his songs made it to the charts, none surpassed the success of “Should’ve Asked Her Faster,” which is still his highest-charting single.
Though, we have yet to see if he would produce another chart-topping hit single like this as he comes back with a newly signed record deal.
“Dust on the Bottle” by David Lee Murphy (1995)
“Dust on the Bottle” aged like a fine wine. Even after a decade of its release, this is one of the ‘90s country one-hit wonders that has not lost any bits of its relevance. In fact, the influence of the track can still be seen in modern country tunes, especially the ones about backroads and pretty girls.
When Murphy released the song in the summer of 1995, it earned the top spot on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and occupied the spot for a week. Its stripped-down, raw production made it stand out and distinguished Murphy in the genre. And though he has many other successful songs, “Dust on the Bottle” remains to be his biggest hit and signature song.
“Daddy’s Money” by Ricochet (1996)
This uptempo song is as infectious as it gets, and it’s not surprising that when the country band Ricochet released it with their debut album, the song immediately scored the top position on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart. Even the rest of the album’s songs stayed on the charts for so many weeks – almost the whole year. But the success was short-lived as they were unable to live up to the expectation in their sophomore album.
“Butterfly Kisses” by Bob Carlisle (1997)
This smash-hit of 1997, which peaked at number 1 on the Billboard chart, turned to become one of the most popular father-daughter songs at weddings. According to Carlisle, more than a song about fatherhood, “Butterfly Kisses” was a song of gratitude and imperfection that appreciates time well-spent and the bittersweet sadness that a father feels as he lets go of his daughter.
The song maintained its top position for 39 weeks and also earned the 1997 Grammy for Best Country Song and Song of the Year at the Dove Awards. Sadly, Carlisle failed to return to the charts again after that.
“Who I Am” by Jessica Andrews (2000)
Jessica Andrews was just 17 when she scored this top one hit on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs. In an interview, Andrews said that the song was an echo of her own self-confidence as she broke through the challenges and barriers in the music industry. And everything was so true in that song for her except that her grandmother was not named Rosemary.
The song also went on to secure the 28th rank on the Hot 100 chart. Sadly though, none of her succeeding songs received the same success and acclaim as “Who I Am.”
“I Don’t Have To Be Me ‘Til Monday” by Steve Azar (2001)
This was the first single off his breakthrough album Waitin’ on Joe. And the song was inspired by a college roommate of his who worked too hard to a point of no return. In an interview, Azar said that when his roommate came back from Chicago to Nashville, he just wanted to get away, and so they did. And it was just a revitalizing experience that turned into a song.
With its relatable lyrics, the song became a hit that debuted at number two on the Hot Country Songs chart. “I Don’t Have To Be Me ‘Til Monday” even scored a place on the Hot 100 list. Azar, later on, released a number of songs and albums, but none made it to the top 20.
“What I Really Meant To Say” by Cyndi Thomson (2001)
Co-written by Cyndi Thomson herself along with songwriter Tommy Lee James, “What I Really Meant To Say” was an emotion-filled song with defining angst that gave it even more flavor. That was why it was not surprising that the song debuted at number one on the Hot Country Songs chart. Not to mention that it also earned a place on the Hot 100.
The next year though, Thomson announced that she reached a crossroad and decided she was no longer going to pursue music. She did come back five years later, but nothing ever topped this first single of hers.
“Leave the Pieces” by The Wreckers (2005)
The artist may not be familiar to you, but if you do, the name Michelle Branch, the Wreckers is a country duo she used to be a part of with Jessica Harp. The duo released the song “Leave the Pieces” in 2005, and it was received so well by their audience. In fact, the song peaked at number one on the Hot Country Songs chart and also earned a Grammy nomination for best country performance by a duo or group.
The successful track also made a record as the first track by a first-time charting duo to top the chart since 1991 and the first by a female duo ever since 1953. The song’s great success proved to be hard to follow, and none of the duo’s new music lived up to it. Eventually, the two went their separate ways.
“I Loved Her First” by Heartland (2006)
If Carlisle has “Butterfly Kisses,” then Heartland offers “I Loved Her First” for the father-daughter dance. This ballad is all about a father’s difficult feelings as he lets go of her daughter, whom he loved first before anyone else did.
The song took over the top spot of the Hot Country Songs chart after its debut and even scored a position on Billboard’s Hot 100. It charted for a total of 23 weeks. Heartland released numerous singles after that, but “I Loved Her First” definitely took home the win for them.
Other Country Music One-Hit Wonders to check out:
Here are a few more country music one-hit wonders that you should check out and listen to.
♫ “Little Goodbyes” by SheDaisy (1999)
♫ “One Voice” by Billy Gilman (2000)
♫ “Yes” by Chad Brock (2000)
♫ “You Can’t Hide Beautiful” by Aaron Lines (2003)
♫ “Break Down Here” by Julie Roberts (2004)
♫ “Just Got Started Lovin’ You” by James Otto (2008)
Bob Carlisle, Cyndi Thomson, David Lee Murphy, heartland, Jeanne C. Riley, Jessica Andrews, Ricochet, Steve Azar, The Wreckers, Ty England