11 Most Unforgettable One-Hit Wonders of 1998
There's nothing quite like hearing a song that takes you back to a special moment in time, conjures memories, and evokes emotion and a sense of nostalgia. However, while many of these songs tend to come from the more successful and revered artists of all-time, occasionally, the songs we hold nearest and dearest to our hearts are actually more obscure and from artists that have been forgotten or overlooked through the years.
Known as one-hit wonders, these artists can be found throughout the history of recorded music, but the '90s were particularly notorious for breeding just as many one-hit wonders as legendary pop stars and cultural icons. One year in particular that was ripe with one-hit wonders is 1998, when the music industry was at its height in terms of annual sales in revenue across the board.
We're looking back at eleven of the most unforgettable one-hit wonders from 1998—and the songs that will keep them alive forever.
The birthplace of hip-hop got a brand new anthem in 1998 when Bronx duo Lord Tariq & Peter Gunz came out swinging with their debut single, "Deja Vu (Uptown Baby)." Peaking at No. 9 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and earning platinum certification, "Deja Vu (Uptown Baby)" was the group's sole single to reach the Top 40 and represented the extent of their fifteen minutes of fame, though Gunz has enjoyed a successful transition into reality TV stardom.
English export Jimmy Ray arrived on the U.S. scene in grand fashion with his 1998 single "Are You Jimmy Ray?," a song that peaked just outside of the Top 10, reaching No. 13 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart. His most popular song to date, "Are You Jimmy Ray?" would be the last time many Americans would hear of the rocker, as his follow-up singles failed to stick quite like their predecessor.
K.P. and Envyi represented for the ladies with their 1998 club banger, "Swing My Way," an uptempo jam dedicated to the women unafraid of going after what they want. Peaking at No.6 on the Hot 100, "Swing My Way" continued the trend of bass music's national spread, but the song would be the duo's only Top 40 hit.
Hailing from North Philadelphia, R&B quintet Voices of Theory made their presence felt on the Billboard charts with their 1998 single "Say It," which reached No. 10 on the Hot 100. However, the song was Voices of Theory's only track to reach gold status, as the group disbanded shortly after release.
A majority of people will remember her from playing Ashley Banks on the classic sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, but Tatyana Ali was also an aspiring pop star, releasing her debut album, Kiss the Sky, in 1998. The album included the the Top 20 Billboard Hot 100 hit, "Daydreamin'," a platinum-certified track that helped push the album to gold certification. Unfortunately, it was Ali's only song to gain traction in the U.S., marking the end of a short-lived music career.
The first artist signed to Missy Elliott's The Goldmine imprint, Nicole Wray had all eyes on her heading into the release of her debut album, Make It Hot, in 1998. In spite of scoring one of the more indelible R&B tracks of the year with the album's titular lead single, which became a Top 5 hit, Make It Hot ultimately faltered on the charts and, aside from a handful of guest spots, Wray never reached that level of musical success again.
Despite being hailed as indie stars in the U.K. for more than a decade, Chumbawamba scored their first and only stateside hit with 1998's "Tubthumping," the group's most successful song to date. Peaking at No. 6 on the Hot 100, "Tubthumping" remains a raucous party jam that still gets spins at pubs and frat parties alike.
Jennifer Paige's sultry 1998 single, "Crush" reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. However, her eponymous debut album was a commercial disappointment, topping only at No. 139 on the Billboard 200. Paige would go on to have a lengthy career, with five studio albums under her belt, but would never release another song that rivaled the success of "Crush."
Alternative rockers Marcy Playground were responsible for one of the biggest jams of 1998 with their provocative track "Sex and Candy," which rose all the way to No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Released as the lead single from their self-titled debut album, "Sex and Candy" put Marcy Playground on the national radar, but the group would fail to deliver another hit and gradually faded into obscurity.
1998 can be considered the year of the boy bands, but one group from the era that often gets lost in the shuffle is Five, a British quartet that scored a home run with "When the Lights Go Out." The only single from the group to reach the Top 40 on the Billboard 200—though, follow-up single "It's The Things You Do" did make a small buzz—"When the Lights Go Out" is remembered as the group's lone shining moment in the U.S.
R&B artist TQ infused the genre with a bit of thuggery with his 1998 hit "Westside," the lead single from his debut album, They Never Saw Me Coming. Reaching No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100, "Westside" would be TQ's most popular hit, as he would spend the rest of his career in music industry limbo, bouncing between labels.