Published on May 3rd 2010 by Leon Shepherd

This top ten list features the top 10 black female one-hit wonders of all time.  A one-hit wonder is a recording artist who has a big hit, but fails to achieve another successful recording, or is just never heard from again. Well, in addition to being a one-hit wonder, the criteria for making this list was based on record sales, Grammy Award recognition, and how well the artist did on both the R&B and pop charts. In other words, the bigger the hit, the higher the artist ranked. So sit back, reminisce, and enjoy the list. Hopefully it will bring back some pleasant memories.

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10. Cheryl Pepsii Riley- “Thanks For My Child”

 

Cheryl “Pepsii” Riley-Grace (born October 18, 1968) is an American R&B/gospel singer and actress, best known for her 1988 ballad, “Thanks For My Child.” The song went to # 1 on the R&B charts and #32 on the pop charts.

Memorable lyrics:

(Chorus)                                                                                                                           
Thanks for my child
I’m really thanking you,the man above
Thanks for my child
You brought me so much joy,its bundle of love
Thanks for my child
And though your father he ran away free
The love I have for you baby is the love I have in meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee{Chorus}
Thanks for my child
I’m really thanking you,the man above
Thanks for my child
You brought me so much joy,its bundle of love
Thanks for my child
And though your father he ran away free
The love I have for you baby is the love I have in meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee{Chorus}
Thanks for my child
I’m really thanking you,the man above
Thanks for my child
You brought me so much joy,its bundle of love
Thanks for my child
And though your father he ran away free
The love I have for you baby is the love I have in meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeThanks for my child,
I’m really thanking you, the man above
Thanks for my child
you brought me so much joy
this bundle of love
Thanks for my child
and though your father, He ran away free.
The love I have for you baby, is the love I have in me

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9. Shirley Brown – “Woman to Woman”

 

Shirley Brown (born January 6, 1947, West Memphis, Arkansas) is an American soul singer, best known for her million-selling single “Woman to Woman” which was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1975. “Woman to Woman” spent two weeks at #1 in the Billboard R&B chart and climbed to #22 in the Billboard Hot 100. It sold over one million copies by December 1974, and was awarded a gold record.

Memorable lyrics:

“Hello may I speak to Barbara? Barbara this is Shirley.   

You might not know who I am but the reason I’m calling you is,

 because I was going through my old man’s pockets this morning,                                

and I just happened to find your name and number.” 

“So woman to woman, I don’t think it’s being any more than fair to call you,    

 and let you know where I’m coming from.    

Now Barbara, I don’t know how you’re gonna take this,  

 but whether you be cool or come out of a bag on me,”   

 you see it doesn’t really make any difference.  

 But it’s only fair that I let you know that,  

 the man you’re in love with he’s mine;  

 from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet.

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8. Carol Douglas – “Doctor’s Orders”

 

Carol Douglas (born April 7, 1948) is an American singer whose hit “Doctor’s Orders” (1974) was a pioneer track in the disco genre. “Doctor’s Orders”, reached #2 on Billboard magazine’s Disco chart, #9 R&B and #11 on the Billboard Hot 100: the single also reached #4 in France.

Memorable lyrics:

Doctor’s orders say, there’s only one thing for me
Nothing he can do ‘cos only you can cure me
Says in my condition love’s the best physician
He’s prescribed a potion full of warm emotion
Every day a lovin’ spoonful to be taken
It’s the only way to stop this empty heart of mine from breakin
Won’t get better till you’re back again
He told me, doctor’s orders need your loving arms to hold me
Darling, now I know there ain’t no doubt about it
I’m so hooked on your love, I can’t live without it
You’re away but please don’t treat me like a stranger
Doctor’s orders say, one kiss from you and I am out of danger

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7. Des’ree- “You Gotta Be”

 

Des’ree (born Desirée Annette Weeks, 30 November 1968) is a Barbados-born British pop/soul singer who is mostly known for her hit “You Gotta Be”.  The motivational song peaked at number 5 on the Billboard pop charts.

Memorable lyrics:

Listen as your day unfolds
Challenge what the future holds
Try and keep your head up to the sky
Lovers, they may cause you tears
Go ahead release your fears
Stand up and be counted
Don’t be ashamed to cry

You gotta be…
You gotta be bad, you gotta be bold, you gotta be wiser
You gotta be hard, you gotta be tough, you gotta be stronger
You gotta be cool, you gotta be calm, you gotta stay together
All I know, all I know, love will save the day

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6. Gwen McCrae – “Rockin Chair”

 

Gwen McCrae (born Gwen Mosley, December 21, 1943, Pensacola, Florida, United States) is an R&B singer, best known for her March, 1975 hit “Rockin’ Chair”, a #1 R&B hit which also reached the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Top 10.

Memorable lyrics:

Sexy baby, good lovin daddy
Ooh, let me be your rockin chair
Just-a rock me way from here
Lets get it on, come to me baby
Ooh, let me be your rockin chair
Just-a rock me way from here

Let your arms, shelter me from all hurt and pain
Mmm, light my heart, with your everlasting flame
Ooh, mmm-mmm

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5. Amii Stewart – “Knock On Wood”

 

Amy ‘Amii’ Paulette Stewart (born January 29, 1956) is an American contemporary R&B/disco/dance-pop singer, dancer and actress most famous for her hit disco record “Knock on Wood”.  The song reached #1 on the pop charts, and #6 on the R&B charts.  The song earned Stewart a platinum record and a Grammy Award nomination.

Memorable lyrics:

I’m not superstitious, about ya.
But I can’t take no chance
You got me spinnin’, baby,
you know I’m in a trance
‘Cause your love, is better,
than any love I know
It’s like thunder, lightning.
The way you love me is frightenin.’
You better knock, knock, knock on wood, baby

Think I better knock, knock, knock on wood
Think I better knock, knock, knock on wood
Think I better knock, knock, knock on wood
Think I better knock, knock, knock on wood
Think I better knock

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 4. Sylvia – “Pillow Talk”

 

Sylvia Robinson (born Sylvia Vanderpool, March 6, 1936, New York) is a singer, musician, music producer, and record label executive, most notably known for her work as founder/CEO of the seminal hip hop label Sugar Hill Records. She is credited as the driving force behind two landmark singles in the genre: “The Message” by Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five and “Rapper’s Delight” by the Sugarhill Gang, the latter being the world’s first rap record to be released by a hip hop act.  As a solo performer and billed as Sylvia she recorded and released the single “Pillow Talk” on the Vibration label in 1973. She had originally hoped “Pillow Talk” would be recorded by Al Green. But he turned it down, because it was too risqué, and against his religion. “Pillow Talk” reached number one for two weeks on the R&B chart and number three on the pop chart.

Memorable lyrics:

Ooh, hey, baby, let me be
The one who turns you on from A to Z, ha-ha
What you friends all say is fine
But it can’t compete with this pillow talk of mine

Ooh… baby
Ooh, baby, la-la-la-la-la-la-la
Ah …would you, baby
Would you, baby, la-la-la-la-la-la-la
I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I
Uno momento por quito
Uno momento por quito
I, I, I, I
Nice daddy, nice daddy, nice daddy
I, I, I, I
Oh, my God

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3. Jean Knight – “Mr. Big Stuff”

 

Jean Knight (born Jean Caliste, January 26, 1943, New Orleans, Louisiana), is an soul/R&B/funk singer, best known for her 1971 Stax Records hit single, “Mr. Big Stuff”Mr. Big Stuff” became a huge crossover hit. The song spent five weeks at number-one on Billboard’s Best Selling Soul Singles and peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart. “Mr. Big Stuff” would become one of Stax Records most popular and recognizable hits.

Memorable lyrics:

Now because you wear all those fancy clothes (oh yeah)
And have a big fine car, oh yes you do now
Do you think I can afford to give you my love (oh yeah)
You think you’re higher than every star above

Mr. Big Stuff
Who do you think you are
Mr. Big Stuff
You’re never gonna get my love

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2. Anita Ward – “Ring My Bell”

 

Anita Ward (born December 20, 1956, Memphis, Tennessee) is best known for her 1979 million selling chart-topper, “Ring My Bell”. Before signing a recording contract, Ward obtained a degree in psychology from Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi, and had become a schoolteacher. While recording her debut album, record label owner Frederick Knight presented her with a song he had written the previous year for Stacy Lattisaw. Ward did not like the song, but Knight insisted that a dance track was needed to capitalize on the current disco trend, and Ward relented. The song, which was originally a juvenile targeted tune about teens talking on the telephone, was rewritten with more ‘adult’ lyrics, and the result was the single “Ring My Bell”. The single reached number one in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom in 1979.

Memorable lyrics :

You can ring my be-e-ell, ring my bell (ring my bell, ding-dong-ding)
You can ring my be-e-ell, ring my bell (ring my bell, ring-a-ling-a-ling)
You can ring my be-e-ell, ring my bell (ring my bell, ding-dong-ding)
You can ring my be-e-ell, ring my bell (ring my bell, ring-a-ling-a-ling)

(you can ring my bell, you can ring my bell
ding, dong, ding, ah-ah, ring it!
you can ring my bell, anytime, anywhere
ring it, ring it, ring it, ring it, oww!
you can ring my bell, you can ring my bell
ding, dong, ding, ah-ah, ring it!
you can ring my bell, anytime, anywhere
ring it, ring it, ring it, ring it, oww!)

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1. Thelma Houston – “Don’t Leave Me This Way”

 

Thelma Houston (born May 7, 1946, Leland, Mississippi) is an American singer-songwriter and actress. She scored a number-one hit in 1977 with the song, “Don’t Leave Me This Way”, which won the 1978 Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. Besides its US success “Don’t Leave Me This Way” became a hit in at least twelve countries, including the UK where it reached #13.

Memorable lyrics:

Aaah baby, my heart is full of love and desire for you
Now come on down and do what you gotta do
(Now come on girl and do what you gotta do)
You started this fire down in my soul
Now can’t you see it’s burning out of control
Come on (now) satisfy the need in me
Only your good lovin’ can set me free… hey
Don’t, don’t you leave me this way, no
Don’t you understand I’m at your command
Oh baby please, please don’t leave me this way

Entertainment, Music | Comments (22)


22 Responses to “Top 10 Female One-Hit Wonders”

  1. Shack Says:

    Leon – This looks like a great list. Agree totally with the top three especially Anita Ward.
    Thought of another who some of us may remember and she was definitely a OHW. Does anyone remember an artist named ZULEMA around 74′ or 75′? She had a pretty big R&B hit but I don’t remember the name of it…

    Will come up with more and comment as they come to mind…

  2. Shack Says:

    What about Gloria Gaynor? – She must have had another hit besides the disco monster I will survive otherwise I know you’d have listed her name.

  3. Leon Says:

    Shack…regarding Gloria Gaynor, you’re right, you know me.
    Gloria Gaynor was the first person that came to mind when I was putting together the list. But after some research, I was reminded that she did a rendition of “Never Can Say Goodbye”, which was a top 10 hit in 1974.

    Zulema, wow! How did you come up with that one? lol
    Anyway, in 1970, Zulema had a top 20 R&B hit with a group called, Faith, Hope & Charity. Their hit was “So Much Love.” The song peaked at #15.
    As a solo artist, the only time she hit the charts was with a rendition of the Michael Jackson song, “I Wanna Be Where You Are.”
    The song peaked at #58 on the R&B chart.

  4. Lenora Dorsey Says:

    Great list! I barely remembered some of these songs. Who made the song Want Ads?

  5. Leon Says:

    Thanks Lenora.
    And, a group called Honey Comb made the song”Want Ads.”

  6. Shack Says:

    I Know Al Green didn’t have the audacity to turn down that song “Pillow Talk” because of his religion LOL. No He Didn’t!

    What about his other “steamy” songs. Don’t think I have to name them but something happended after 71′to change his mind…perhaps he changed religions or realized that money talks!

  7. Lenora Dorsey Says:

    To Shack…It was those hot grits!LOL

  8. Shonee Says:

    I like this list Leon!

    Cheryl “Pepsii” Riley can be seen in a few of Tyler Perry’s stage plays.

    I believe Gwen McCrae had another hit, “Funky Sensation.” That was the jam at backyard BBQs!

    I loved the drums on Amii Stewart’s “Knock on Wood.”

    I still have Anita Ward’s “Ring My Bell” album.

    And I thought Thelma Houston had another hit “You Use To Hold Me So Tight”? Yes/No?

  9. Leon Says:

    Shonee…great observations regarding G. McCrae, and T. Houston.
    Gwen M. did have a song called, “Funky Sensation.” The song peaked at #22 on the R&B chart. Since it didn’t crack the 10, I included her on the one-hit wonder list.
    And, regarding Thelma Houston, you might have a point. Houston, as you mentioned did have another hit called, “You Use To Hold Me So Tight.” The song peaked at number 13 on the R&B chart. But because she had a huge top 10 hit with “Don’t Leave Me This Way, and failed to have another top 10 hit, I decided to include her on the one-hit wonder list.
    However, I will concede that many will consider a top 20 hit, like Houston’s song, “You Use To Hold Me Tight,” good enough to keep her away from being labelled a one-hit wonder.
    Good stuff, Shonee!

  10. Trisha Says:

    From the looks of the comments another good list.

  11. Shack Says:

    Leon – You know me…Guess I’m STUCK IN THE SEVENTIES but who sang Misty Blue? Was it Dorothy Moore?

    She should qualify as a OHW!

  12. rod moore Says:

    Back from mall purgatory. Just a couple of names though they are not solo acts Alton McClain & Destiny It must be love Shirley & company Shame shame shame & High Inergy (with an I) with You keep turning me off. Dont know if this applys but Sylvia had a hit in the 60s as a duo called sylvia & eddie if im remembering right. Any way nice list Peace

  13. rod moore Says:

    Dont know how big a crossover hit this was but what about Shirley Murdocks As we lay dont know whether she had a previous hit or a follow up but thats the only one I remember her having

  14. Leon Says:

    Shack…Dorothy Moore is not a bad choice, but in additon to “Mist Blue,” she had another top 10 hit in 1976 called, “Funny How Time Slips Away.”
    The song peaked at #7 on the R&B chart.

    By the way, I’m surprised no one has mentioned Rebbie Jackson’s Centipede.
    I thought that she would qualify for the list, but I discovered that she had another top 10 hit, “Plaything,” released in 1988. The song peaked at #8 on the R&B chart.

  15. Leon Says:

    Rod…Only doing solo artists right now. Duets, and groups will appear on another top 10 list.

  16. Leon Says:

    Rod, Shilrley Murdock, was one of the first names that came to mind when I was putting together the list, however, after doing some research, I discovered that not only did she have the huge hit, “As We Lay,” but she also had 3 additonal top 10 hits. In 1987, “Go On Without You,” peaked at # 5 on the R&B chart. In 1988, “Husband,” peaked at #5 on the R&B chart. And in 1991, “In Your Eyes,” peaked at #7 on the R&B chart.

  17. rod moore Says:

    Figured that just wanted to put those out there because they came to mind. Man I dont know any of those songs by Shirley murdock. Like I said didnt know of previous or follow up hits. What about Latoyas Hot potato & yes Im embarassed to even admit i remember a latoya jackson song.

  18. grapevine Says:

    Leon, great list, I have a couple of possibilities: Pebbles 1980′s hit Girlfriend, and Kelly Patterson “You can’t turn me off” (in the middle of turning me on). What do you think?

  19. Leon Says:

    Rod, “Hot Potato” peaked at #43 on the R&B chart. So Latoya has never had a hit to be considered a one-hit wonder.

  20. Leon Says:

    Grapevine, Pebbles had a follow-up hit that was even bigger than “Girlfriend.”
    “Mercedes Boy” went to #1 on the R&B chart, and #2 on the. pop chart.

    The song, “You can’t turn me off” (in the middle of turning me on) was recorded by the group, High Inergy. (that’s how they spelled energy)

    But here’s the twist…Kelly Patterson, had a top-ten hit, “If It Don’t Fit, Don’t Force It.” That was her only hit, which definitely makes her a one-hit wonder, and possibly place her on my top 10 list.

    Now the question is, “Should you get credit for this great discovery, even though you had the name and song wrong? lol

  21. Shack Says:

    Shack says the following: Rebbie J. should DEFINITELY Be in the TT. Don’t recall Plaything and don’t think anyone else will either. Latoya – Surely you jest!

    Kelly P. would be an honorable mention (Not TT) although I remember the song and her fine frame on that skateboard on the album cover (Reminds me of SQUIRT at ETSU-RDF you listening)?

    Grapevine should get the credit!

  22. grapevine Says:

    Thanks Shack, I will accept credit.