From chart-toppers to cult classics, sometimes you just need one hit to make it count. Join us as we dive into some of the biggest catchy tunes, with our list of 15 Great Karaoke One-Hit Wonders!
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“Eh, Macarena!” Accompanied by the dance craze of the decade, this 90s Spanish party floor-filler became a worldwide phenomenon! Ranked by VH1 as their number one Greatest One-Hit Wonder of All Time in 2002, we simply have to agree that even thirty years later this song remains one of the biggest and well-known one-hit wonders around – putting it straight on our list! Plus, we love any excuse to dance whilst we karaoke, and you can’t tell us you won’t be dancing along to this!
While a-ha enjoyed popularity in Europe, especially their native country of Norway, their only big hit in the US has been ‘Take On Me’. Gaining wide exposure on MTV due to its innovative music video featuring the band in a live-action pencil-sketch animation sequence, this song and its iconic synth riff is an 80s karaoke classic that’ll have everyone singing along.
What is love? Many songs have asked this question, but none are quite as catchy as Trinidadian-German singer Haddaway’s 90s eurodance chart-topper! Seamlessly blending together an infectious synthy hook and a pulsing beat with the instantly recognisable refrain of Haddaway passionately pleading “Baby, don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me, no more”, this club classic is an essential karaoke anthem for all the hopeless romantics out there.
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Nena’s signature song, this 80s New Wave anti-war protest anthem became an international hit, peaking at number two on the Billboard US Hot 100. Originally sung in the German band’s native language, the widespread success of this karaoke track led to the later release of an English-language version of the song titled ‘99 Red Balloons‘. This version featured different lyrics rather than a direct translation in an effort to preserve the song’s rhythm.
To many people’s surprise, Natalie Imbruglia’s ‘Torn’ is actually a cover – which is understandable given how well-known her version is! A 90s worldwide hit, this karaoke song is an iconic pop favourite that fits however we’re feeling, whether that’s sad or nostalgic.
Time to live your 00s American teen movie fantasy with this next karaoke song! Wheatus’ breakout smash hit was a cultural phenomenon, and while their other tracks haven’t reached the same level of success as ‘Teenage Dirtbag,’ this pop-punk teen anthem continues to hold cult classic status, especially thanks to its TikTok trend. I’m a teenage dirtbag, you’re a teenage dirtbag, we’re all teenage dirtbags baby!
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Long before the He Man remix, it was 4 Non Blondes who were asking us “Hey, a-what’s going on?”! With lyrics exploring the struggles of life and how to overcome them, ‘What’s Up?’ is pure 90s grunge, and is a karaoke song that demands energetic belting to match Linda Perry’s powerful vocals.
Even just hearing this karaoke track’s opening guitar gives us a huge sense of nostalgia! Inspired by a friend of the New York band’s bassist, Adam Schlesinger, having a crush on Schlesinger’s grandmother when he was younger, this catchy hit about an inappropriate crush embodies cheesy pop-punk realness. Love it or hate it, you can’t deny the cultural impact of this banger.
Although CeeLo Green and Danger Mouse have successful careers as solo artists, ‘Crazy’ is their biggest hit as the soul duo Gnarls Barkley, peaking at number two on the Billboard US Hot 100. This karaoke song may have been released in 2006, but it experienced a recent resurgence in popularity in 2022, thanks to the ‘Crazy’ riff challenge on TikTok.
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Ladies and gentlemen, now presenting the next karaoke song on our list…. This is ‘Mambo No.5’! Combining mamba and jazz with Latin-pop, this quirky and catchy song became a summer anthem in 1999, and has stood the test of time as one of the most recognisable songs ever. While we may not have heard much from Lou Bega in recent years, we certainly haven’t been able to get his big hit out of our heads. Altogether now, “A little bit of Monica in my life…”!
A mid-tempo, emotionally charged ballad, ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’ is a karaoke song we can’t help but love to sing, especially as it offers us the perfect opportunity for some harmonisation! Despite its commercial success and Grammy win, this track that was once ubiquitous in 2011, now leaves us feeling like Gotye is just somebody that we used to know.
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Alright stop, collaborate and listen – our list of 15 Great Karaoke One-Hit Wonders has a new addition! Sampling the bass line from Queen and David Bowie’s ‘Under Pressure,’ Robert Van Winkle, AKA Vanilla Ice, delivered a rap that became the first hip-hop single to top the US Billboard Hot 100. While it may be a one-hit wonder, ‘Ice Ice Baby’ remains an iconic piece of cheesy 90s rap and is credited with helping hip-hop become more mainstream.
“Toora, loora, toora, loo-rye-aye”! With its iconic celtic fiddle, ‘Come on Eileen’ is a timeless karaoke classic that everyone knows, making it the ultimate crowd-pleaser at any function! While Dexys Midnight Runners had some success in the UK with other singles, none have topped the international fame of ‘Come on Eileen’. The song spent an impressive 23 weeks on the Billboard US Hot 100 chart, peaking at number one, and it also took home the ‘Best British Single’ award at the 1983 Brit Awards.
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Arguably one of the sweetest songs of the 90s, if not ever, ‘Kiss Me’ offered a more poppier sound compared to the band’s previous work. Popularised through its use in the teen film, She’s All That, this dreamy karaoke song became the band’s highest-charting single. While fans enjoyed their covers of ‘There She Goes’ and ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over,’ Sixpence never matched the success of ‘Kiss Me.’
If you don’t already know, then you’re gonna wanna know this next karaoke track! Inspired by the use of the sample in the Fugees’ 1996 hit single, ‘Ready or Not’, ‘I Don’t Wanna Know’ samples the synthesiser riff of Enya’s ‘Boadicea’, combining this with Winans’ heartbroken delivery for a killer in your feels R&B ballad about infidelity. Spending eight consecutive weeks at number two on the US Billboard Hot 100, this 2004 hit remains an R&B classic – with Metro Boomin, The Weeknd and 21 Savage’s 2023 song ‘Creepin’ paying homage to it. While this may be Winans’ biggest hit as an artist, he maintains a prolific career as a songwriter and producer.
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If you enjoyed this listicle, why not check out our selection of 10 Summer Karaoke Hits of the Past 10 Years.