25 Unfortunate '90s 1.5-Hit Wonders

Rocks Off loves the '90s more than we probably should, especially all the dumb little things about the pop music that clogged the radio and MTV. We could probably write a book about the songs that helped shape our formative musical knowledge from 1990 to 1999. This was before we started meeting and covering these artists, and they were still only faces in Rolling Stone and SPIN.

The phenomenon of the one-hit wonder has always bothered our brain. These bands and artists listed here had a great run of albums, some before and after their initial pop smashes. The people who stood by the bands once the singles dried up were sometimes rewarded with output that even bested the better-known stuff; eels' 1998 LP Electro-Shock Blues is a shining example.

Tomorrow eels and Fastball, two bands that had some of the most infectious hits on rock radio in 1996 and 1998 respectively, will both be in Houston You get eels at Warehouse Live, and across town Fastball at the Flamingo Room a few miles down the Gulf Freeway.

Both bands were solid in structure; the eels were the brainchild of Mark Oliver Everett, who brought a quirk and weirdness to the world that normally would have been hidden on college radio. His follow-up 2000 minor hit "Mr. E's Beautiful Blues" was featured in Road Trip. It had one of the best choruses we can remember, but it didn't move mountains.

Fastball makes great Texas power-pop with a border edge to it, and their 1998 album All The Pain Money Can Buy had more great songs than just the one about the dead old people. "Over My Head" and "Fire Escape" were just as catchy, if not moreso. The band did manage to educate us on what a great power-pop song could sound like.

We listed 25 bands who had at least one other great song in their catalog, that didn't quite hit as big as the first. A lot of the architects of these songs now help newer artists write songs; Semisonic's Dan Wilson has written for Adele and Keith Urban. The Verve Pipe now makes intelligent kids' pop, and are regulars on the festival circuit.

Follow Rocks Off on Facebook and on Twitter at @HPRocksOff.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >