There’s a reason why people place so much emphasis on the fact that George Strait has 61 number one hits. It’s no easy feat to be able to generate so many hit songs, even if you are a gifted singer/songwriter.
Various factors can work against a perfectly talented artist that keep them from reaching Strait-like numbers in terms of hits. In many cases an artist will score one big hit that seems to secure their status as a country star. But for whatever reason, they can never get another song to do as well.
While some of these artists fade away from the spotlight shortly after their one big hit, others remain active as recorders and performers. In fact, some of these artists have become highly respected members of the country music community.
Bet you never realized before that some of your favorite country songs were actually one hit wonders. Based on how popular these songs were, you won’t believe that they were their respective artists’ only major hit. Go ahead and click on the button below to see the songs on the list!
“Harper Valley PTA” By Jeannie C. Riley
Jeannie C. Riley became the first female country artist to top both the Billboard Hot 100 and the U.S. Hot Country Singles charts with the same song, her 1968 release “Harper Valley PTA.” Her record remained unbroken until Dolly Parton released her hit single “9 to 5” in 1983.
Today, Riley’s sassy hit has sold over 6 million copies. That’s impressive, considering the fact that it was her debut single. But over the years, Riley has never been able to match its success.
Although Riley has charted many more singles throughout her career, “Harper Valley PTA” is her only number one hit. She eventually turned to recording gospel music, and still performs today.
“Ode to Billie Joe” By Bobbie Gentry
Bobbie Gentry’s second single “Ode to Billie Joe” took the country by storm. The tragic tune hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and claimed the 17th spot on the U.S. Country Singles chart.
“Ode to Billie Joe” earned a total of eight Grammy nominations, and ended up winning three awards. Billboard even named it as the third best song of 1967, right behind the Box Tops’ “The Letter” and Lulu’s “To Sir With Love.”
However, Gentry never earned another number one hit in the U.S. Her single “Fancy” topped the chart in Canada in 1970, but today Reba McEntire‘s recording is more well-known.
Gentry finished performing in 1981, and currently lives in a private gated community.
“I Breathe In, I Breathe Out” By Chris Cagle
After his first two singles made a decent showing on the charts, Chris Cagle earned his first number one hit with the heartbreaking “I Breathe In, I Breathe Out.” The song also became a crossover success, and peaked at the 35th spot on the Billboard Hot 100.
A few more Top 10 hits came along for Cagle in the years that followed, including “Chicks Dig It” and “What a Beautiful Day.” But nothing ever climbed as high on the charts as “I Breathe In, I Breathe Out.”
Cagle released his last single in 2013, and officially retired from country music in 2015.
“I Hope You Dance” By Lee Ann Womack
No one could ever forget Lee Ann Womack‘s touching hit from 2000, “I Hope You Dance.” The song made a clean sweep of the charts, and claimed the top spot in multiple countries.
“I Hope You Dance” won the award for Song of the Year from the CMA, ACM, BMI, and more. In addition, the song earned the Grammy for Best Country Song and was nominated in the all-genre Song of the Year Category. As of August 2016, it has sold over two million digital copies.
But we bet you’ll be surprised to learn that “I Hope You Dance” is Womack’s only number one hit. She has no shortage of charted singles, but they just couldn’t compete with “I Hope You Dance.”
Womack does have the chance to change all of that. She is still active as a performer and a recorder, and released her latest single in 2015.
“Daddy’s Money” By Ricochet
Country music group Ricochet made a powerful debut with their first single, which hit the fifth spot on the charts. They followed it up in the perfect way by releasing “Daddy’s Money,” which became a number one hit.
The peppy tune was so popular that the chart data placed it as the fourth best country song of 1996. After such success, it seemed like Ricohet was well on the way to becoming the next big country music group.
Although Ricochet released some great songs in the years that followed, none of them performed as well on the charts. The followup single to “Daddy’s Money,” titled “Love is Stronger Than Pride,” never climbed any higher than the ninth spot.
The group hasn’t released any new singles since 2009, but they did release an album in 2012 and continue to perform today.
“I Don’t Have To Be Me (‘Til Monday)” By Steve Azar
Steve Azar earned one of the biggest hits of 2001 when he released “I Don’t Have to be Me (’til Monday).” The song’s fun vibe and catchy lyrics made it a recipe for success, and it was.
“I Don’t Have to be Me” climbed as high as the second spot on the country chart and the 35th spot on the Billboard Hot 100. A few more hit songs followed, but Azar has never been able to break the Top 10 since he released his signature song.
Azar is still performing and releasing music today. In fact, his 2010 single “Sunshine” caught a lot of buzz, and Taylor Swift even named it as her favorite song of that year!
“Dust On The Bottle” By David Lee Murphy
“Dust on the Bottle” is one of those songs you just can’t help but sing along to. Apparently the entire country felt the same way when it was released in 1995, because it became a number one hit.
David Murphy also wrote the song, which remains his signature hit. He has experienced some decent success on the charts over the course of the past few decades, but has never scored another number one. However, he does have some other Top 10 singles, including “Every Time I Get Around You” and “Loco.”
We haven’t heard the last from Murphy though. Although he hasn’t released any new music since 2004, he’s penned some major country hits in recent years, including Thompson Square’s “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not” and Jason Aldean‘s “Big Green Tractor.”
“Who I Am” By Jessica Andrews
This is the song that managed to capture everyone’s attention in 2000. “Who I Am” was a number one country hit for 16-year-old Jessica Andrews, and also hit the 28th spot on the Billboard Hot 100.
The song’s popularity continues today, and was even performed by Voice winner Danielle Bradbury during her season on the show. Considering all of the hype around “Who I Am,” you’d assume that Andrews would be one of country music’s biggest stars right now.
But for some reason, listeners never responded as well to Andrew’s other singles. Other than “Who I Am,” her biggest hit is 2002’s “Summer Girl,” which reached the 17th spot on the chart.
Andrews released her latest single, “The Clown” in 2014, and seems to have taken a break from music for now.
Were you surprised to hear about any of the one-hit wonders on this list? Are there any others that come to your mind? Let us know!