These Songs Were Banned For Some Pretty Ridiculous Reasons

Songs have been banned for almost as long as we can remember but thanks to the rise of rock ‘n roll in the 1950s, more and more songs have been censored. Some have been banned from airplay or even removed from entire records. The worst part: it’s for the most ridiculous reasons!

One song on this list was banned thanks to a disco reference, while another was taken off the air after 9/11. You might be quite surprised to learn that some of your favorite, seemingly boring, songs have actually been banned.

Imagine – John Lennon

john lennon (2)
George Stroud/Express/Getty Images
George Stroud/Express/Getty Images

John Lennon was a very controversial figure. From his activism to his songwriting, he was someone who was an easy target for censorship. His song “Imagine” was targeted after the 9/11 attacks in 2001, and in 1991 during the Gulf War.

Ironically, this is a song about peace. But the line, “imagine there’s no heaven” had religious groups up in arms. The censorship didn’t stop the song from being a chart-topping smash hit.

Like A Prayer – Madonna

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Kevin Mazur/WireImage
Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Another day, another Madonna song that has people scratching their heads. The American Family Association and The Vatican condemned the music video for “Like A Prayer” because of its blasphemous imagery.

There was so much pressure that Pepsi ended up canceling an advertising campaign that featured the song in 1989. The Pope even asked people to boycott her concerts in 1990 shortly after the song’s release. Madonna has been banned in Egypt and has lots of restrictions in Russia.

The Real Slim Shady – Eminem

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Gary Miller/FilmMagic
Gary Miller/FilmMagic

The FCC fined a Colorado Springs Radio station in 2001 for playing the clean version of the song. While there’s no explicit language in the clean version, the FCC had a problem with some references and themes.

The commission put guidelines in place earlier in 2001 stating that context and innuendo alone could get a station in trouble for violating its decency standards. Needless to say, that makes many Eminem songs hard to play over the radio.

Juicy – The Notorious B.I.G

Biggie Smalls
Larry Busacca/WireImage
Larry Busacca/WireImage

I guess it’s not all that surprising that Biggie had some songs that were banned. His smash hit “Juicy” is another example of how tragic events can provoke censorship.

The line “time to get paid, blow up like the World Trade” was removed from the song following the 2001 9/11 attacks. The song was originally referencing the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center bombing, and the phrase “blow up” was used as slang for gaining fame quickly.

Love Game – Lady Gaga

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Kevin Mazur/Getty Images
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

Lady Gaga has become a cultural and musical icon, but that doesn’t mean that some of her songs don’t get banned from radio play. The song “Love Game” was censored because of its heavily suggestive themes. Specifically, the ban targeted some context regarding a “disco stick.”

She has also been banned in the country of Lebanon for her song “Judas” which was offensive to Christians.

Physical – Olivia Newton-John

olivia newton-john
BENAINOUS/DUCLOS/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images
BENAINOUS/DUCLOS/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

The song “Physical” became incredibly popular in the U.S. and the U.K. But, that didn’t mean that some radio stations didn’t see a problem with the lyrics. The line, “there’s nothing left to talk about unless it’s horizontally” was one of the censored phrases.

The music video also added some controversy as it showed a gay couple holding hands while comically ignoring Olivia’s advances throughout the video. Even MTV censored it.

Puff The Magic Dragon – Peter, Paul, And Mary

peter paul and mary
Ron Galella/WireImage
Ron Galella/WireImage

Even though the composer of the song “Puff The Magic Dragon” insists that it isn’t talking about smoking something, that wasn’t good enough for then-Vice President of the United States, Spiro Agnew, from deeming it pro-narcotics.

He called for a ban of the tune, which was granted to him. Despite powerful voices coming out against the song, it ended up being a smash hit for singer Peter, Paul and Mary.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside – Frank Loesser

frank loesser
Wikimedia / Commons
Wikimedia / Commons

It’s a holiday classic that ended up winning the 1949 Academy Award for Best Original Song. But, it’s garnered a lot of controversy since that time. There is talk that the lyrics condone assault and lack of consent. A Cleveland radio station in 2018 announced that it had removed the song because it wasn’t appropriate.

All the big Canadian radio stations also removed the song from their playlists, saying that it didn’t align with their societal standards.

In The Air Tonight – Phil Collins

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olkan Furuncu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
olkan Furuncu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

I know what you’re thinking, HOW can anyone ban the song “In The Air Tonight” when it has such an iconic drum solo? But, the otherwise harmless song was banned on two separate occasions. The first time was in 1991 because of a perceived connection to the Gulf War.

The second time was in 2001 when Clear Channel Communications prohibited 162 songs from the airwaves after the 9/11 attacks happened.

Light My Fire – The Doors

Morrison
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Image
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Image

The Doors were blacklisted from The Ed Sullivan Show in 1967 after failing to change the lyrics “Girl, we couldn’t get much higher” which seemed to be referencing the use of narcotics.

Lead singer Jim Morrisson has originally agreed to self-censor on the show, but he could not resist presenting his work in its true form. BBC banned the song 24 years later during the Persian Gulf War because of the word “fire.”

Lola – The Kinks

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Bobby Bank/WireImage
Bobby Bank/WireImage

The upbeat track about a young man who has a romantic encounter with a transvestite in Soho, London, didn’t even attract controversy in the way you would think. While there were radio stations who did ban it for that reason alone, BBC Radio found a different problem with the song.

There’s a line that says “Where they drink champagne and it taste just like Coca-Cola” which was free advertising for a strictly non-commercial station. They had to re-record it and change the word to “cherry cola.”

(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction – The Rolling Stones

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Sebastian Gollnow/picture alliance via Getty Images
Sebastian Gollnow/picture alliance via Getty Images

The Rolling Stones have been around for a LONG time. So long, in fact, that they were censored all the way back in 1965 when they were performing on the variety show Shindig!

The line “trying to make some girl” had faced criticism for its sexual innuendo and critical statements about commercialism. But weirdly enough, when The Rolling Stones performed at the Super Bowl in 2006, it was the only song that they didn’t have to censor.

Take The Power Back – Rage Against The Machine

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Scott Dudelson/WireImage
Scott Dudelson/WireImage

Twenty years after the song “Take The Power Back” was released, it was deemed to be against Arizona state law, which says that schools cannot “advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.”

This came after some high school teachers used the song in a Mexican-American history class. The Superintendent of the school issued a “notice of noncompliance” to the school district in 2015. Very very weird.

Ding-Dong The Witch Is Dead – Wizard Of Oz

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Christoph Soeder/picture alliance via Getty Images
Christoph Soeder/picture alliance via Getty Images

Following the death of ex-UK prime minister Margaret Thatcher, the seemingly innocent song “Ding-Dong The Witch is Dead” was banned by the BBC in 2013. Thatcher was more than a polarizing figure in UK politics, and the song ended up reaching number two on the charts after her death.

The BBC refused to play the full song after it peaked on the charts, stating that it was clearly a celebration of death.

Louie, Louie – The Kingsmen

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Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

The Kingsmen’s version of “Louie, Louie” faced bans on U.S. radio due to obscene lyrics. There was a 31-month FBI investigation into the song after the band tried to cover up the sexual content by slurring the lyrics.

The investigation was inconclusive as they were unable to interpret the true lyrics. The 1963 hit resurfaced again in 2005 when a high school superintendent prohibited a marching band from playing the song.

Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison

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Paul Bergen/Redferns
Paul Bergen/Redferns

This classic by Van Morrison was banned in 1967 for its suggestive lyrics. Actually, it came down to one lyric in-particular, “making love in the green grass.” That was where the radio stations were going to draw the line. Despite the pushback, the song was a hit huge.

Many radio stations compromised and released a radio-friendly version of the song that replaced the suggestive lyric with a phrase said earlier in the song which was, “laughin’ and a runnin’ hey hey.”

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus – Jimmy Boyd

jimmy boyd
Wikimedia / Commons
Wikimedia / Commons

Jimmy Boyd was just 13 when he recorded this holiday hit. But that didn’t stop his song from being temporarily banned from radio. The song is about a boy who wakes up to see mom and dad (in a Santa costume) kissing under the mistletoe.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Boston blasted the song for suggestive language. They said it linked Christmas to sex. Boyd went to meet with church leaders to explain his thinking behind the song and it was pulled from the ban.

Love To Love You, Baby – Donna Summer

donna summer
Fin Costello/Redferns/Getty Images
Fin Costello/Redferns/Getty Images

If you’re not a fan of a 17-minute single, you’re probably not alone. Donna Summer released one in 1975 and TIME magazine gave it a less than favorable review. She was asked whether she touched herself during the creation of the song, and she said, “yes, I touched my knee.”

Not everyone found that answer amusing. The track was banned from numerous radio stations across North America, yet the disco hit still found mass appeal regardless.

If U Seek Amy – Britney Spears

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Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

This controversial single whose chorus and title sound like, well, say the title five times fast and you’ll see. I’ll give you a hint — it spells the “f” word.

Initially unsure of whether the double entendre was, in fact, censorship material, the U.S. stations changed the title toIf U See Amy.” U.K. radio changed the title simply to “Amy.” Lots of people were mad the song was getting played at all.

Rolling In The Deep – Adele

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Paul Kane/Getty Images
Paul Kane/Getty Images

You’ll probably be surprised to hear that an Adele song has been censored and banned from many radio stations. The song “Rolling in the Deep” had been censored because of the ambiguity of the word “ship.” Yep, a single word made people that mad.

Online lyrics stated that the song included the word “ship” instead of the swear word that sounds very similar. But, her handwritten lyrics actually feature the swear word instead. She replaces the word with “stuff” when she performs on TV.

Splish Splash – Bobby Darin

bobby darin
Wikimedia / Commons
Wikimedia / Commons

This little ditty was about a guy who walks out of a bath and into a party in the adjoining room. I know what you’re thinking — what a powerful song. It was banned for an excellent reason — there was no mention of him putting his clothes back on.

So, yes, they decided in 1958 that this song was about a man walking into a party while completely nude, and therefore, it needed to be censored.

Wake Up Little Susie – The Everly Brothers

the everly brothers
Rodrigo Vaz/FilmMagic
Rodrigo Vaz/FilmMagic

This 1957 hit showed how easy it was in the 1950s to have a song banned. It was number one on the charts, yet some radio stations still didn’t play it because the lyrics raised a serious question, leaving us to wonder what were those kids up to before they fell asleep?

Of course, times have changed, and four decades later, President George W Bush said that “Wake Up Little Susie” was his favorite song.

My Generation – The Who

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DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images
DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images

This is The Who’s baby boomer anthem. In fact, it’s number 11 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. It wasn’t the sly suggestion of swear words in the music or the depressing line, “I hope I die before I get old” that ended up getting the song banned.

It was the constant stuttering that many people saw as making fun of people who couldn’t speak without one.

Atomic – Blondie

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Jackie Butler/WireImage
Jackie Butler/WireImage

New wave rockers Blondie found themselves on the BBC’s list of banned songs during the First Gulf War. The conflict, which started in 1990, saw the BBC basically weeding out any song that they deemed inappropriate. The song “Atomic” was released 11 years before the war, but was caught in the ban-net.

The BBC claimed that the song defies logic, and the title was deemed too inflammatory for airplay while the conflict was ongoing. It’s actually about sensuality, but okay.

God Only Knows – The Beach Boys

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Scott Dudelson/Getty Images
Scott Dudelson/Getty Images

Prior to the track’s release in 1966, the word “God” was rarely ever in the title of a song. Although the song never refers to a specific religious figure (Brian Wilson said it could refer to “any higher force” and was about moving forward after loss), it was banned by some radio stations across the U.S.

It was accused of being blasphemous. Oh boy, if only they heard the songs 60 years later.

Royals – Lorde

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Santiago Felipe/Getty Images
Santiago Felipe/Getty Images

The listeners of two San Francisco radio stations made sure that they weren’t going to be hearing “Royals” anytime soon. The song was banned in the area in 2014 due to an upcoming baseball game between the San Francisco Giants and the Kansas City Royals.

The song was the unofficial anthem for Kansas City, so the song antagonized Giants fans so much that they wanted it banned. The ban was lifted after the World Series that year.

Johnny Remember Me – John Leyton

Johnny Remember Me
Stuart Mostyn/Redferns
Stuart Mostyn/Redferns

John Leyton, star of the television series Harpers West One scored his one and only No. 1 hit with his track “Johnny Remember Me.” Released in 1961, the song is regarded as a “death disc”, which were popular at the time and tells the story of a young man haunted by his dead lover.

Yet, it was banned by BBC although it wasn’t the only “death disc” banned around the same time.

I Want Your Sex – George Michael

I Want Your Sex
KMazur/WireImage
KMazur/WireImage

The track was George Michael’s first solo single after splitting up with Andrew Ridgeley the other half of the pop duo Wham. At the time, it was one of the few words that involved fornication in the title and was quickly banned by the BBC.

However, it wasn’t just the title, but people thought the song was provocative and was encouraging people to participate in mindless physical relationships during a time when AIDS was a major concern.

I Love A Man In Uniform – Gang Of Four

I Love A Man In Uniform
Helen Boast Photography/Redferns
Helen Boast Photography/Redferns

The British post-punk band Group of Four had already been censored once from the air in 1977 for their track “He’s a Tourist,” but that didn’t stop them. In 1982, the band released its album Songs of the Free which featured the song “I Love a Man in Uniform.”

Yet, even though the song was making its way up the charts, it was soon deemed as inappropriate since British troops were entering the Falklands War.

Burn My Candle – Shirley Bassey

Burn My Candle
Dean Fardell / Barcroft Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images
Dean Fardell / Barcroft Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

“Burn My Candle” was Shirley Bassey’s first single released in 1956 when the young singer was just 19 years old. The song was written for Bassey in hopes to make her stand out which it did, just maybe not in the way they imagined.

Instead, it was banned for it’s supposed suggestive lyrics. At the time, a young Bassey didn’t even know what the song about so when it was banned it came as a bit of a shock.

You Don’t Know How It Feels – Tom Petty

You Don't Know How It Feels
David Wolff – Patrick/Getty Images
David Wolff – Patrick/Getty Images

“You Don’t Know How It Feels” was released on Tom Petty’s 1994 album Wildflowers. It even reached No. 1 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks and made it onto the Hot 100 chart as well.

However, the song was censored by MTV and VH1 for its drug-related lyrics. They accomplished this by playing some of the words backward so they couldn’t be identified by listeners. Looks like it didn’t matter since the song was so successful.

Red Nation – The Game

Red Nation
Peter Kramer/Getty Images
Peter Kramer/Getty Images

Released to the public on April 12, 2012, The Game’s “Red Nation” was banned by MTV, BET, and several other radio stations for it’s numerous references to gang lifestyle and violence.

Yet, this did not have much effect on the popularity of the song, as it still received over 100 million plays on YouTube. Interestingly enough, The Game even admitted that he wished more of his songs were banned so people would be more intrigued to listen to them.

Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow – The Shirelles

Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow
Kaye/Express/Getty Images
Kaye/Express/Getty Images

“Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” made history by becoming the first No. 1 track on the Billboard Hot 100 by a black female musical group. Released in 1960, the song was about the day after a woman had an intimate night with a man.

Considering the times, the lyrics were seen as salacious and was banned by radio stations, yet still managing to sell over 1 million copies.

Rumble – Link Wray & His Ray Men

link-wray
Ebet Roberts/Redferns
Ebet Roberts/Redferns

Believe it or not, this song was banned because of its title alone. That’s right — this was an instrumental version that didn’t even have lyrics! After its release in 1958, several radio markets in the U.S. banned the song from airwaves, because the word “rumble” was a popular slang term for a gang fight.

Worried that the song glorified gangs and juvenile delinquency, the stations opted not to air it. The song’s proved itself a classic, though, and has been featured in modern films from Pulp Fiction to SpongeBob SquarePants vs. The Big One.

Honey Love – The Drifters

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Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

The calypso-influenced song “Honey Love” was released by The Drifters featuring Clyde McPhatter in 1954. Memphis police were not fans of the song because they thought it had overly suggestive lyrics.

More specifically, they weren’t sure what the word “it” referred to in the song (“I need it, I need it when the moon is bright. I need it, I need it when you hold me tight”). As a result, the tune was banned from jukeboxes throughout the city and cops actually confiscated copies of the record.

Wham! Bam! Thank You, Ma’am! – Dean Martin

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Henry Gris/FPG/Getty Images
Henry Gris/FPG/Getty Images

It’s not terribly difficult to guess why Dean Martin’s song “Wham Bam Thank You Ma’am” was banned in 1951. Some people found the lyrics too suggestive. Decide for yourself what Mr. Martin was hinting at with these words.

“I looked at you and thought I knew just how the game was played. My shirt tail ran right up my back just like a window shade… ‘Cause wham bam you broke my heart and hope that you had fun. (Wham bam thank you ma’am) Hope you’re satisfied.”

Four Or Five Times – Dottie O’Brien

four-or-five
Capitol Records / YouTube
Capitol Records / YouTube

“Four or Five Times” was originally recorded in 1927 and was covered several times after that without controversy. But when Dottie O’Brien, a woman, released a version of it in January of 1951, it was suddenly deemed too suggestive by radio stations and the FCC.

In Taboo Tunes: A History of Banned Bands & Censored Songs, author Peter Blecha wrote that “the banning of the… disc, disregarding whether or not the song was actually about serial sexual encounters, revealed a gender-based double standard at play.”

Lemon Pipers: “Green Tamborine”

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GAB Archive/Redferns
GAB Archive/Redferns

The Lemon Pipers are a psychedelic band from Oxford Ohio. Prominent only during the 1960s, they are mainly known for their track “Green Tamborine.” In 1968, the track reached No. 1 in the United States and has even been credited as the first bubblegum pop chart-topper.

Although the band’s career was not a complete flop, “Green Tamborine” is mainly how they got their name, yet it’s rare for people to say much about the Lemon Pipers when not talking about that one song. By 1969, the band had dissolved and the members went on to start their own respective careers.

Steam: “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye”

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Steam was a pop-rock group in the 1960s that were best known for their number one hit single “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye.” Although the song was attributed to the band, it was really written by musicians Gary DeCarlo, Dale Frashuer and Paul Leka. After a DJ in Florida first played the track, requests came pouring in over the phone.

After other states began to see its popularity, they too began to play the song which led to its huge popularity. The song reached number one in the United States for two weeks in December of 1969 and is still well-known today. The song is often chanted at sporting events although few people actually know where it comes from.

Shocking Blue: “Venus”

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Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

“Venus” was a hit song written by Dutch rock band Shocking Blue, and managed to take the number one song in not one but nine countries. The song was released in 1969 as a single from the group’s third album Scorpio Dance and reached No. 1 on the Billboard Top 100 chart on February 7, 1970.

The song’s music and lyrics were written by Robbie van Leeuwen, the band’s lead guitarist, and was sung by Mariska Veres. After the success of the song, it was revisited in 1981 and was sampled as part of the Stars on 45 Medley and continues to be featured in films, television shows, and commercials to this day.

Carl Douglas: “Kung Fu Fighting”

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Michael Putland/Getty Images
Michael Putland/Getty Images

“Kung Fu Fighting” is a disco song by artists Carl Douglas that was released in 1974, right before the big explosion in popularity in kung fu films. It quickly rose to the tops of the American, Australian, and UK charts as well as reached the tops of the Soul Singles chart.

It received a gold certificate by from the RIAA in 1974 and is regarded as helping to make disco music popular among the masses. it sold over 11 million records worldwide, making it one of the best-selling singles of all time. Although a song like this may not pass today due to the racial implications, it did just fine back in the day.

Minnie Riperton: “Lovin’ You”

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Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

“Lovin’ You” was a 1975 hit single by R&B singer Minnie Riperton. The massive hit reached No.1 on the Billboard Top 100 on April 15, 1975, as well as reached No. 2 in the UK and No. 3 on the R&B chart. Furthermore, in the United States, Billboard ranked it at the No. 13 song of 1975.

The hit was among one of the first songs to top the charts without the use of percussion and is recognized by Riperton’s incredibly high vocals on the bridge, and the chirping of birds throughout the track. To this day, it is still used and referenced throughout popular culture.

Starland Vocal Band: “Afternoon Delight”

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Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

The song “Afternoon Delight” was written by Bill Danoff, one of the members of the Starland Vocal Band and was recorded by the entire group. It became a No. 1 United States Hot 100 single on July 10, 1976, and even earned a gold record. The song is known for the groups vocal harmonizing as well as the very suggestive and sensual lyrics.

The track also reached No. 1 in Canada, No. 5 in New Zealand, and #6 in Australia. In 1977, the song received three Grammy nominations and won the Grammy for the Best Arrangement of Voices. In 2010 it was named the 20th sexiest song of all time on Billboard. It also saw a revitalization after being featured in the comedy film Anchorman.

Wild Cherry: “Play That Funky Music”

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GAB Archive/Redferns
GAB Archive/Redferns

Written by Rob Parissi and recorded by the band Wild Cherry, “Play That Funky Music” was the first release of the Sweet City record label in 1976. The song hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 on September 18, 1976, and was also the No.1 on the Hot Soul Singles Chart. The single was also certified platinum for shipping out over 2 million records, and even selling 2.5 million in the United States alone.

It was the band’s only Top 40 song, yet was named No. 73 of Billboards “All-Time Top 100 Songs” in 2008. The song is still popular and well known today although the band that brought it to life has long been forgotten.

Lipps, Inc: “Funkytown”

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Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Staying with the theme of funk, in 1980, American disco group Lipps, Inc. released their single “Funkytown” for their debut album Mouth to Mouth. “Funkytown” was an incredible success and reached the No.1 spot in 28 countries. It held the record until Madonna’s “Hung Up” reached No.1 in 41 countries in 2005.

The track spent four weeks at No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1980 as well as No.1 on the disco chart. The song was also Lipps, Inc. only Top 40 hit. However, even the cover of the song by Pseudo Echo was very successful and it’s not unusual to still hear the song today.

Toni Basil: “Mickey”

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Vulture
Vulture

American singer and choreographer Toni Basil’s one hit wonder “Mickey” was originally recorded in 1979 by UK music group Racey under the title “Kitty.” However, Basil changed the name to “Mickey” in order to make the song about a man, and therefore more appealing to her audience. After being reissued as “Mickey”, the track became a hit in the Uk and reached No.2. and eventually rose to No.1.

When released in North America in 1982, it became the No.1 in the United States and Canada, a year and a half after its original release. The song was named #5 of VH1’s 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders of All Time and also appeared on various other greatest hit lists.

Dexy’s Midnight Runners: “Come On Eileen”

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Fin Costello/Redferns
Fin Costello/Redferns

“Come On Eileen” was a song by the English band Dexy’s Midnight Runners and released in the UK on June 25, 1982. It was a single to their album Too-Rye-Ay and reached No.1 in the United States, and No. 2. The song was written by members Jim Paterson, Kevin Rowland, and Billy Adams though is credited to the entire band.

The song won the Best British Single at the 1983 Brit Awards, and in 2015, it was voted by the British public as the nation;’s sixth favorite 1980s number one. It was also ranked number 18 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Songs of the 80s. It’s also not unusual to still hear this song belted out in bars across the United States and the UK.

Bobby McFerrin: “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”

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Leon Morris/Redferns
Leon Morris/Redferns

Chances are, you’ve probably heard Bobby McFerrin’s worldwide 1988 hit “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” It was the first a capella track to reach No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, where it remained for two weeks. The instruments that are heard in the song are all noises made by McFerrin himself, and he even sings in a bit of a faked accent to add to the style of the song.

Since the song’s inception, it has been used countless time throughout popular culture and was even used in George H. W. Bush’s 1988 U.S. presidential electionrun as his official campaign song.

Right Said Fred: “I’m Too Sexy”

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Tobi Corney/Photoshot/Getty Images
Tobi Corney/Photoshot/Getty Images

“I’m Too Sexy” was the debut song of the British band Right Said Fred. The song climbed to No. 2 on the UK Singles Chart and outside of the UK topped the charts in six different countries including Australia, Ireland, and the United States.

Although the group went on to make a No. 1 single in the UK titled “Deeply Dippy,” “I’m Too Sexy” still remains their best-known and remembered song of their career. In 2007, the song was voted No. 80 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Songs of the 90’s and in 2011 was voted No. 2 on VH1’s 40 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 90s.

Sir Mix-a-Lot: “Baby Got Back”

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Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images
Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

“Baby Got Back” is the timeless one-hit wonder by rapper Sir Mix-a-Lot from his album Mack Daddy. Released in 1992, the song received a lot of flack for its very provocative lyrics about women, considering that the entire song is describing his own preference for the female butt. Regardless of the controversy, it still was the second best-selling record of 1992 and sold 2,392,000 physical copies that year.

In 2002, it was ranked No.17 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Songs of Hip Hop which is an impressive accomplishment considering its content. The song spent a total of five weeks in the No.1 spot on the US charts.

The Cardigans: “Lovefool”

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Andy Willsher/Redferns/Getty Images
Andy Willsher/Redferns/Getty Images

“Lovefool” was a song written by Peter Svensson and Nina Persson for the band The Cardigans on their album First Band on the Moon in 1996. It was released as the albums single and was the groups first international hit.

It made appearances on six other Billboard charts and in 1997 peaked at No.2 on the UK Singles Chart and was even certified Gold in Australia. After its immediate success, it remained as a one-hit wonder and was featured in films such as Romeo + Juliet and Cruel Intentions. Today, it’s a popular song for people who remember it to sing karaoke to.

Aqua: “Barbie Girl”

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Heart Radio
Heart Radio

If you were alive in the late 90s and early 2000s, there’s a strong chance that you know every word to the song “Barbie Girl” by the Danish pop group Aqua. Released in 1997, as their third single, the song was influenced by band member Soren Rasted saw an exhibit which featured Barbie Dolls.

The song managed to top the charts worldwide and stayed at No.1 in the UK for three weeks. It also peaked at No.7 on the US Billboard Hot 100 on September 6, 1997. It remains Aquas biggest US hit single to date and is by far Aquas most popular piece of music.

Marcy Playground: “Sex and Candy”

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Written by John Wozniak, “Sex and Candy” was the breakthrough track for the American alternative band Marcy Playground. Released in 1997, it was their single from their debut self-titled album and is one of the only mentioned songs to come out of the group.

“Sex and Candy” spent 15 weeks at No.1 on the Billboard Modern Rock chart, beating Oasis’ Wonderwall, and peaked at No.9 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It is without a doubt the bands most popular song ever released and is still played on the radio today. The song even went on to be covered by more notable bands such as Maroon 5.

Crazy Town: “Butterfly”

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Scott Gries/ImageDirect
Scott Gries/ImageDirect

“Butterfly” is the one-hit wonder by the American rap rock group Crazy Town. The song gained popularity in November of 2000 and was the third single from their debut album The Gift game. The song received worldwide success and reached No.1 in 15 countries.

It was named the 34th Most Awesomely Bad Song Ever by VH1 and was ranked No. 3 on Billboards chart for one-hit wonders of the 2000s. It was by far the biggest success of Crazy Town’s career and fans have stuck by the song’s side until this day. The band did, however, get booed off the stage at Ozzfest because of the flowery hit.

Phantom Planet: “California”

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Peter Kramer/Getty Images
Peter Kramer/Getty Images

If you were a fan of the television show The OC while it was still on the air, you should be very familiar with Phantom Planet’s song “California.” The song was originally released as the single to their second album The Guest in February 2002 and eventually received major attention after becoming the theme song for the hit television show.

The track went on to become a top ten hit in Austria, Italy, United Kingdom, and Ireland. Although it didn’t have major success on the charts in the United States, it was still a very well-received and known song.

Vanessa Carlton: “A Thousand Miles”

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Getty Images
Getty Images

“A Thousand Miles” was the debut single that was written as well as recorded by American pop singer Vanessa Carlton. The song was released as the single for her album Be Not Nobody which dropped in 2002. It was one of the most popular songs of the year and was her most successful song by far to date.

Along with doing well in the United States reaching the top ten on the Billboard Hot 100, it also reached No.1 in Australia and received similar attention worldwide. Since 2002, it has been covered by numerous artists and featured in many films and televisions shows.

Gotye: “Somebody That I Used To Know”

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Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images
Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

In 2012, Belgian-Australian singer-songwriter Gotye released his track “Somebody That I Used To Know” featuring singer Kimbra. In Australia, the track won the Triple J Hottest 100 Poll in 2011 and AIRA Awards for song of the year and best video.

It topped the charts in 23 national charts and reached the top 10 in more than 30 countries worldwide. The track sold more than 13 million copies, making it one of the best-selling digital singles of all time. The song was well-received and was one of the biggest songs of 2012, however, Gotye seemed to fall out of the limelight after the hype off of the song had died.

The Vapors: “Turning Japanese”

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Released in 1980 by the by the new wave and power pop group The Vapors, “Turning Japanese” was a breakout hit. The song charted at no. 36 in the United States billboards but reached number 3 in the United Kingdom. The song was also popular in Australia, Japan, Canada, and Ireland.

Although the song’s title is “Turning Japanese,” the song’s content focuses primarily on love pictures. The songwriter explains the topic of turning Japanese as turning into something that one might not expect to turn into all of a sudden. The Vapors separated in 1982, just two years after their commercial hit.