The 1996 film, That Thing You Do, is a musical comedy about the quick rise and fall of a pop-band, the Wonders, whose only claim to fame is their single hit song. In the film, their pop song “That Thing You Do” reached the top of the charts and then, due to internal conflicts, the band disbanded and became one of the musical world’s “one-hit wonders”.
The term “one-hit wonder” is used to describe performers who become very popular due to one hit single. This is usually caused by serious musicians who found it hard to continue with their level of success after their popularity has gone. Some one-hit wonders are novelty songs, while some singers become one-hit wonders because their careers were cut short due to deaths or the unexpected break up of the group.
Although the term is used mainly for musicians, this can also be applied to writers, composers, athletes and TV shows. Anyone who vanishes into anonymity after one single sterling performance is classified as a one-hit-wonder.