No era has seemingly spawned as many one-hit wonders as the ‘80s.

Many factors contributed to the explosion. Advancements in technology – especially electronic synthesizers – gave young artists the chance to get in on the ground floor of a brand-new sound. International acts, especially those throughout Europe, were distributed to the U.S. market more than ever before. Meanwhile, music labels were flushed with money, resulting in many acts getting signed to recording contracts before they’d even laid down demos.

While this environment helped many previously unheard bands grab sudden stardom, it was oftentimes fleeting. We’ve highlighted 22 one-hit wonders from the ‘80s below and taken a look at what they’ve done since their brief chart success. Some artists have continued to have long and influential careers, even after their time in the global spotlight faded. Others decided to change career paths completely, including one artist who later found success as a Silicon Valley CEO.

For our purposes, a one-hit wonder is defined as any act that scored a single song in Billboard Hot 100’s Top 20 chart and then never returned.


The Hit: "Whip It"
We start with an artist whose inclusion is sure to upset many music fans. Devo is unquestionably an influential act in music history, whose contributions go far beyond chart success. That said, it’s somewhat surprising that the band scored only one Top 20 hit - 1980’s “Whip It” - while such well-known tracks as “Freedom of Choice,” “Working in a Coal Mine” and “Beautiful World” failed to reach the Billboard Hot 100’s Top 40.

Where Are They Now?
Mark Mothersbaugh has enjoyed a long, successful career as a film and television composer. His credits include 13 years – and three theatrical movies – for the animated series Rugrats, as well as the score to Thor: Ragnarok. Brother and bandmate Bob Mothersbaugh has collaborated with Mark on many of his TV endeavors, including the Rugrats run. Meanwhile, Devo bassist Gerald Casale – who helmed many of his band’s music videos – ventured into directing. He’s been behind the camera for videos by Rush, Soundgarden, Foo Fighters and A Perfect Circle. Casale’s brother Bob, who played keyboards in Devo, died in 2014 due to heart failure. The band’s drummer, Alan Meyers, died the year before. The surviving members of Devo still occasionally perform together. The band has been nominated for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame a few times but has yet to be enshrined.

Lipps Inc.

The Hit: "Funkytown"
Record producer Steve Greenberg formed Lipps Inc. in 1979 as a vehicle for singer Cynthia Johnson, a former beauty queen who was named Miss Black Minnesota in 1976. Surrounded by a talented group of session musicians – including guitarists David Rivkin and Tom Riopelle, along with bassist Terry Grant – Lipps Inc. scored a smash hit with 1980’s “Funkytown.” The upbeat track reached No. 1 in the U.S. and countries all over the world. Even though Lipps Inc. would continue to be popular in dance clubs, they never scored another mainstream hit.

Where Are They Now?
Johnson left the band in 1981 (Lipps Inc. would officially disband two years later). The singer later found success as a member of the gospel group Sounds of Blackness, taking home three Grammy Awards during her tenure. Johnson, who released her first solo album in 2013, continues to tour and perform. She has a memoir in the works titled From Funkytown to Higher Ground and teaches whole-food classes at wellness centers when not making music. Rivkin, meanwhile, became better known as David Z, the record producer and engineer known for his work with Prince. More recently he’s worked in film, contributing to the soundtracks of Shattered, Where the Money Is and I’ll Be Home for Christmas.

Tommy Tutone

The Hit: "867-5309/Jenny"
First, let’s just get this out of the way: Tommy Tutone was not an individual but rather a group. Formed in 1978 by singer Tommy Heath (there’s your titular Tommy) and guitarist Jim Keller, the band’s lineup featured a fluctuating assortment of bassists and drummers. The band struck gold in 1981 with "867-5309/Jenny,” a song about a girl’s phone number scribbled on the bathroom wall. The catchy track reached No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and became one of the most recognizable songs of its era. However, Tommy Tutone wasn’t able to ride that momentum into further hits. The group disbanded in 1983.

Where Are They Now?
Tommy Tutone returned in the mid-'90s, with Heath once again at the helm. The band released an album, Beautiful Ending, in 2019. Keller is no longer a part of the lineup but is still active in music. He went on to become the director of Philip Glass' publishing company, Dunvagen Music Publishers, and separately founded another publishing group, St. Rose Music. Keller has also put out solo material, releasing four solo albums between 2009 and 2022. Heath relocated to Portland, Ore., where he became a computer analyst and software engineer, but he still regularly performs under the Tommy Tutone name. “I think we had a good run there,” Heath said in 2017, noting his status as a one-hit wonder. “Could have been better. It’s just a one-hit wonder, but there aren’t many books on two-hit wonders.”

Soft Cell

The Hit: "Tainted Love"
Synth-pop duo Soft Cell was composed of singer Marc Almond and multi-instrumentalist David Ball. They met while attending Leeds Polytechnic University in the U.K. and officially formed Soft Cell in 1977. After early releases garnered little attention, the group had a breakthrough in 1981 with their version of “Tainted Love,” a soul song originally released in 1965 by Gloria Jones. Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love” became a worldwide hit, reaching No. 1 in 17 different countries and peaking at No. 8 in the U.S. Its 43 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 set a then-record for the longest consecutive stay on the chart. Although Soft Cell scored a few more hits in the U.K., they never again found success in the U.S. By 1984, Almond and Ball decided to go their separate ways, bringing Soft Cell to a (temporary) close.

Where Are They Now?
Almond and Ball brought Soft Cell back in 2000 for a series of performances, beginning the band’s second act. The duo began touring regularly again and released two albums: 2002's Cruelty Without Beauty and Happiness Not Included in 2022. Outside of Soft Cell, Ball has worked as a producer for other artists, working with such acts as Kylie Minogue and Gavin Friday, while remixing material for David Bowie and Erasure, among others. Meanwhile, Almond has enjoyed a long and prolific career as a solo artist. The singer released a total of 25 solo albums between 1984 and 2020. In 2018 he was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire, an honor from the government recognizing Almond’s contributions to arts and culture.


The Hit: "Don't Close Your Eyes"
The ‘80s glam-metal explosion is often linked with Hollywood, but bands did come from other places. Kix is one example. Formed in Maryland, the group made a name for itself behind its energetic live performances. The band’s first three albums failed to find mainstream success, but its fourth effort, Blow My Fuse, clicked with a nationwide audience. The LP was powered by “Don’t Close Your Eyes,” the classic power ballad that hit No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100. The band was unable to match this commercial success on its next album, 1991’s Hot Wire. By the time 1995’s $how Bu$ine$$ came out, rock, and music in general, was in a very different place. Kix broke up shortly after its release.

Where Are They Now?
Kix reformed in 2003, though founding bassist Donnie Purnell did not return. In 2014 the group released Rock Your Face Off, their first album in 19 years. Kix currently features classic lineup members Ronnie Younkins, Brian Forsythe, Steve Whiteman and Jimmy Chalfant.

Buckner & Garcia

The Hit: "Pac-Man Fever"
Musical history features many surprising novelty hits, but none are more memorable than Buckner & Garcia’s 1981 single “Pac-Man Fever.” The duo, formed in Akron, Ohio, tapped into the popularity of the video game, riding the single to No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100. Its success spawned an entire album of video-game-inspired tunes, but none of the other tracks – including follow-up single “Do the Donkey Kong” – came close to matching the original single’s popularity.

Where Are They Now?
Buckner and Garcia continued making music in the decades after “Pac-Man Fever,” mostly finding success as jingle writers for TV commercials. The duo occasionally released new songs, including the 2010 charity single "Keepin' the Dream Alive.” In 2011, Garcia died in his Florida home at the age of 61. Buckner later recorded a new song titled "Wreck It, Wreck-It Ralph!" for the 2012 Disney animated film Wreck-It Ralph. He still occasionally performs “Pac-Man Fever” at gaming conventions, and in 2015 he came face to face with Pac-Man creator Toru Iwatani. “We were introduced and talked through interpreters,” Buckner recalled to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “At one point, he leans over to my ear and softly sings, ‘I got Pac-Man fever!’ That was incredible!”

The Fabulous Thunderbirds

The Hit: "Tuff Enuff"
Coming out of Austin, the Fabulous Thunderbirds developed a reputation as a powerhouse live act. The lineup was in continual flux, though singer Kim Wilson and guitarist Jimmie Vaughan were among the mainstays. Even though the band scored opening gigs for such big acts as the Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton, the Fabulous Thunderbirds failed to find commercial success. That changed with their 1986 single “Tuff Enuff.” The bluesy, churning track peaked at No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, aided by its inclusion in the films Gung Ho and Tough Guys. “Tuff Enuff” spurred the album of the same name to platinum sales in the U.S. Although the band would enjoy success on other soundtracks, including notably being part of the hugely popular soundtrack to Cocktail, the Fabulous Thunderbirds never again cracked the Top 40.

Where Are They Now?
Vaughan left the Thunderbirds in 1990. That same year he recorded Family Style with his younger brother, Stevie Ray Vaughan, but Stevie Ray died in a helicopter crash before the album’s release. Starting in 1994, Vaughan embarked on a solo career and has released more than a half-dozen albums since then. He's also taken home four Grammy Awards in his career. Wilson continues fronting the Thunderbirds, while also performing and releasing material as a solo artist. The Fabulous Thunderbirds' Strong Like That arrived in 2016.

Joey Scarbury

The Hit: "Theme From The Greatest American Hero (Believe It or Not)"
After working as a session and backup singer, Joey Scarbury got his big break in 1981 when he teamed with composer Mike Post on the theme song to the television show The Greatest American Hero. The song – later known as just “Believe It or Not” – became an unexpected pop hit, reaching No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. The follow-up single "When She Dances” made it to only No. 49 and marked Scarbury’s last song to appear on the chart.

Where Are They Now?
Scarbury’s pop success may have been fleeting, but his work in television continued for many years. He again teamed with Post for “Back to Back,” the theme of mid-’80s TV drama Hardcastle and McCormick. Other highlights included the theme for the TV show Jennifer Slept Here and songs in the Peanuts special It's Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown. Scarbury also penned the song “No Matter How High,” which was a country hit for the Oak Ridge Boys in 1989. In the early 2000s, Scarbury ventured into the world of auto sales, becoming the manager of a Lexus dealership in Southern California. He continues in that industry to this day, now working as an independent auto broker.

Toni Basil

The Hit: "Mickey"
Toni Basil jumped into the entertainment business early in life, dancing professionally when she was a child. Years later, she choreographed an assortment of variety shows and TV series, further making a name for herself in Hollywood, eventually snagging roles in movies like Easy Rider and Five Easy Pieces. At the same time, Basil was developing her singing career. Early highlights included performances on The Merv Griffin Show and Saturday Night Live. Things took off even further in 1982 when Basil scored a massive hit with the catchy single “Mickey.” The track's infectious chorus and pep rally-style chant struck a chord with listeners all over the world. The song hit No. 1 in the U.S. and was certified platinum. Basil landed another two singles far down the Billboard Hot 100 – "Shoppin' from A to Z" (No. 77) and "Over My Head" (No. 81) – but never came close to replicating her “Mickey” success. Her last album, a self-titled effort, came out in 1983.

Where Are They Now?
Basil has always been a Jane of all trades, and that trend has continued even as her music career faded. The multitalented artist has acted in a variety of films and television shows and regularly speaks as a guest lecturer at universities. She has also served as a choreographer on a range of films, including That Thing You Do! (1996), My Best Friend's Wedding (1997), Legally Blonde (2001) and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019).

After the Fire

The Hit: "Der Kommissar"
“Der Kommissar” was originally released by Austrian singer Falco of “Rock Me Amadeus” fame. (He doesn’t appear on this list because he scored a second Top 20 hit.) The original “Der Kommissar” was performed in German, but the song reached broader audiences when released in English by the band After the Fire. The U.K. group had started turning heads in its homeland before releasing the single, creating enough buzz that it was booked to open for Van Halen on the Hide Your Sheep tour in 1982. It was around the same time that After the Fire’s "Der Kommissar" began to take off in the U.S., peaking at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100. Despite the success, disagreements within the group became too much to handle. By 1983, After the Fire had disbanded.

Where Are They Now?
After the Fire's drummer, Pete King, joined the German rock group BAP, staying in the lineup until his death from cancer in 1987. Andy Piercy, After the Fire's guitarist and lead singer, transitioned into Christian music. In addition to producing work by other artists, he has created an ongoing collection of spiritual songs and hymns. He also helped create Investing in Worship, a certificate class for the coaching and development of worship leaders. Meanwhile, Peter Banks (not the same-named artist who was in Yes early on), who was After the Fire’s keyboardist and singer, revived the group in 2004. An album, their first in over 20 years, would follow in 2006. After the Fire has continued to make occasional performances since then, with Banks the only remaining original member.

Thomas Dolby

The Hit: "She Blinded Me With Science"
Raised in a family of intellectuals, Thomas Dolby became interested in the intersection of music and technology early in life. As electronic music began to dawn, Dolby began his solo career with the 1982 album The Golden Age of Wireless. That same year he released "She Blinded Me with Science,” a stand-alone single that rocketed to No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100. (The song was added to later U.S. pressings of the album.) Dolby would release a total of five studio albums, with many more singles, yet his second-highest charting song, 1984’s “Hyperactive,” managed to make it to only No. 39.

Where Are They Now?
Dolby’s solo output was just a small part of his larger career. He's produced albums for a range of artists, including Joni Mitchell and Prefab Sprout. He also played keyboards for Foreigner, Thompson Twins, Roger Waters and George Clinton, among others. In the early ‘90s, Dolby and his family headed to Silicon Valley, where he founded Headspace, Inc., a company specializing in interactive audio technology. Early on, Dolby and his company made music for video games. Later, after changing its name to Beatnik, the company pioneered sound files that could be used as ringtones. Those sounds coming from your Nokia in the early 2000s? Dolby’s company was responsible for them. The musician stepped down from his position as Beatnik CEO in 2002, millions of dollars richer thanks to his work. Dolby then spent the next decade serving as the musical director for the TED Conference. He’s also spent recent years as a professor at Johns Hopkins University and the Peabody Institute.

Midnight Oil

The Hit: "Beds Are Burning"
By 1987, the Australian rock band Midnight Oil was already a sensation in its home country. The group’s first five albums had all been certified platinum in Australia, while the single "Power and the Passion" became a Top 10 hit in Australia. Still, things reached a new level in 1987 as the group reached international success with its album Diesel and Dust. The LP was powered by "Beds Are Burning," a catchy, moving track that criticized the Australian government’s treatment of Indigenous people. The single peaked at No. 17 on the Billboard Hot 100, the band’s only Top 20 hit in the U.S.

Where Are They Now?
Midnight Oil’s mainstream popularity in the U.S. may not have endured, but the band carved out a devoted following among college rock and alternative fans. In Australia, their popularity has never waned: The band’s 2022 album Resist debuted at No. 1. Known for his politically charged lyrics, frontman Peter Garrett took things even further. The socially minded singer became a politician in 2004, eventually being elected to Australia’s House of Representatives. He served as Australia’s Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts from 2007-10 and the Minister for School Education from 2010-13. He retired from politics in 2013.

Dazz Band

The Hit: "Let It Whip"
Kinsman Dazz, a funk group that formed in Cleveland in 1976, had already enjoyed some marginal success by the early ‘80s. The band’s first two albums, Invitation to Love and Dazz, were produced by Earth, Wind & Fire’s Philip Bailey. And though they didn’t generate any mainstream hits, the LPs generated enough buzz to help the band score a new record deal with Motown. In 1981 the group, now known as the Dazz Band, would break through with the hit song "Let It Whip." The single reached No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and earned the group a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. The Dazz Band would go on to release six more albums with Motown and a total of 13 in their career, but they never again landed a Top 20 hit.

Where Are They Now?
The Dazz Band is still active and in 2022 embarked on a run of performances celebrating the 40th anniversary of “Let It Whip.” Only saxophonist Bobby Harris and singer Sennie "Skip" Martin – who also enjoyed a successful run as a member of Kool & the Gang – remain from the Dazz Band’s “Let It Whip” era.

Dexys Midnight Runners

The Hit: "Come On Eileen"
Formed in Birmingham in 1978, Dexys Midnight Runners was co-founded by Kevin Rowland and Kevin "Al" Archer, who left in 1981. The band’s first album, Searching for the Young Soul Rebels, was released in 1980 and scored a pair of Top 10 singles in the U.K. However, the group didn’t catch on overseas until two years later, when the single “Come On Eileen” topped the charts in the U.S. and other countries around the world. The earworm and its “Too-ra-loo-ra Too-ra-loo-rye-ay” lyric became one of the distinctive tracks of the era. Even though Dexys Midnight Runners continued to have success in the U.K., “Eileen” was their only U.S. hit.

Where Are They Now?
The lineup for Dexys Midnight Runners was continually in flux, both before and after the band found fame. The group initially disbanded in 1987 after failing to continue its commercial success. Rowland released material as a solo artist for several years before eventually relaunching Dexys Midnight Runners in 2003. The band’s name would be shortened to Dexys in 2012. They’ve released two albums since then, and have continued touring and making television appearances. A planned 40th-anniversary tour celebrating the album Too-Rye-Ay (which featured “Come On Eileen”) was canceled after Rowland was injured in a motorcycle accident. Trombonist Jim Paterson is the only other original member currently in the band’s lineup.

Frank Stallone

The Hit: "Far From Over" (1983)
Who had a Top 10 hit in 1983 with the song “Far From Over”? You guessed it, Frank Stallone! The single was featured on the soundtrack to Staying Alive and even scored Stallone Golden Globe and Grammy nominations. It remains the only hit in the singer’s career.

Where Are They Now?
Sometimes it pays to be related to Sylvester Stallone. Frank’s songs have been featured in Rocky, Paradise Alley, Rocky II, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Over the Top and The Expendables 2, all films that starred his older brother. Frank has released a total of eight albums through 2007. Stallone has also maintained a busy acting career, with more than 60 credits to his name. A 2021 documentary titled STALLONE: Frank, That Is chronicled his career.

Eddy Grant

The Hit: "Electric Avenue"
Guyanese–British singer Eddy Grant first found success as a member of the band the Equals, which had five Top 40 hits in the U.K. in the ‘60s and ‘70s. He’d later branch out as a solo artist, scoring multiple U.K. hits in the early ‘80s. Still, success in the States eluded him, until the 1983 single “Electric Avenue.” The upbeat track had a dark origin, inspired by race riots in the Brixton area of London. Still, Grant managed to turn the subject matter into a captivating song, which reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. A year later, Grant’s single “Romancing the Stone” would reach No. 26, but that was the closest he’d come to further chart success in the U.S.

Where Are They Now?:
Grant has released more than a dozen solo albums during his career, including 2017's Plaisance. He's played at many high-profile events, including the Glastonbury Festival and Nelson Mandela's 90th birthday concert in 2008. Grant has received multiple honors from the government of Guyana, including a postage stamp in his likeness and a Lifetime Achievement Award. He continues to make music and currently lives in Barbados.

Frankie Goes to Hollywood

The Hit: "Relax"
Frankie Goes to Hollywood emerged out of Liverpool in the early ‘80s. Personnel changes were commonplace in the group’s early days, but Holly Johnson (vocals), Paul Rutherford (backing vocals), Peter Gill (drums), Mark O'Toole (bass) and Brian Nash (guitar) rounded out what would become their classic lineup. In 1983 they released their debut single, “Relax,” which went on to become the biggest hit of their career. The track sparked controversy in the U.K. – after months of playing “Relax,” the BBC suddenly took offense to the lyrics “Relax, don’t do it / When you want to come” – and the song was subsequently banned. This only made the song more popular. “Relax” hit No. 1 in the U.K. and No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Where Are They Now?
Although Frankie Goes to Hollywood scored additional hits in the U.K., further chart success in the U.S. proved difficult. Follow-up singles “Two Tribes” and “Welcome to the Pleasuredome” both peaked outside the Top 40. Within the group, tensions ran high. Johnson and O’Toole notably had an altercation backstage in 1987, and the group disbanded later that year. Johnson embarked on a successful solo career spanning more than two decades. The singer, who in 1993 announced that he was HIV positive, has also been an active and outspoken member of the LGBTQ community, while still making music, like contributing the song "Ascension” to the 2015 film Eddie the Eagle. Rutherford launched a solo career, too, though it was comparatively less successful. He relocated to New Zealand and has reportedly been living there with his partner since 2003. Nash continues making music under the name Nasher. He is also a member of the Fellowship of Professional Celebrants, officiating formal ceremonies such as weddings and funerals.

Peter Schilling

The Hit: "Major Tom (Coming Home)"
German singer Peter Schilling had long been enthralled with science fiction, a theme he would indulge in with his 1983 single “Major Tom (Coming Home).” Schilling built upon the Major Tom character created by David Bowie, adding a new chapter to the story as the astronaut drifts into space. The song reached No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100, the only song of Schilling’s career to chart in the U.S.

Where Are They Now?
Schilling has continued releasing material in both English and German for the better part of four decades. In 2018, the German publishing company Tessloff Verlag released Der kleine Major Tom, a children’s book based on the Major Tom character. Schilling provided the astronaut’s voice for the audiobook version. He released Vis Viva in 2021.


The Hit: "Too Shy"
In 1978, bassist Nick Beggs, guitarist Steve Askew, keyboardist Stuart Croxford Neale and drummer Jez Strode formed the band Art Nouveau. Singer Chris Hamill, known professionally as Limahl, joined in 1982 and the band changed its name to Kajagoogoo. Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran produced their first single, “Too Shy,” which reached No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100. Hamil was soon fired from the group, a sign of the turmoil going on within Kajagoogoo behind the scenes. Only one of the band’s following singles, 1983’s "Hang on Now,” made it onto the chart, peaking at No. 73 before falling off completely. By the end of 1985, the group had broken up.

Where Are They Now?
After Kajagoogoo ended, Beggs became a gun for hire, working with a long list of artists including Gary Numan, Alphaville, Belinda Carlisle and John Paul Jones. He co-founded a U.K. music school called Guitar-X and has spent more than a decade in the touring band for Steven Wilson. Askew was part of the short-lived group Smalltown Elephants but has largely worked behind the scenes, writing, recording and producing artists from his studio. Neale devoted his life to religious music and continues performing at places of worship all over the world. Limahl released three albums in his solo career, scoring a hit with the song "The NeverEnding Story" from the 1984 film of the same name. All five members of Kajagoogoo got back together in 2003 for the VH1 special Bands Reunited. They proceeded to tour and record music for several years afterward. Their final performance together was in 2010.


The Hit: "Somebody's Watching Me"
Singer Rockwell was born Kennedy William Gordy, son of Motown founder Berry Gordy. As a teen, the aspiring singer wrote the song “Somebody’s Watching Me,” but he was reluctant to pursue a record deal with his father’s label given the perceived nepotism involved. Eventually, after gaining the support of record executives apart from his dad, Rockwell released the single in 1984. Then just 19 years old, he suddenly had a hit on his hands - thanks to a huge assist from Michael Jackson, who sang on the record. The track reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was certified gold. Despite his musical momentum and Motown’s backing, Rockwell never scored another hit. "Obscene Phone Caller,” also released in 1984, peaked at No. 35, Rockwell’s only other Top 40 single.

Where Are They Now?
Rockwell’s third and final album, The Genie, was released in 1986. He reportedly still works in the entertainment industry, having established both a production company and a label imprint. In 2016, the singer announced he’d be releasing new music, but it still hasn’t seen the light of day. Legal issues have also plagued Rockwell in recent years, including numerous cases with allegations ranging from abuse to indecent exposure.


The Hit: "99 Luftballons"
Gabriele Susanne Kerner became known to the world as Nena, singer of the German synth-pop band of the same name. The group released its debut album in 1983, featuring the single “99 Luftballons.” The song, which managed to make nuclear war sound poppy, was released in German before being rereleased in English. An international audience latched onto the track, which peaked at No. 2 in the States and reached No.1 in other countries. No other Nena song ever charted in the U.S. The band broke up in 1987; Nena continued as a solo act beginning in 1989.

Where Are They Now?
Further proof that being a one-hit wonder is not a recipe for failure: With her solo and band output combined, Nena has sold over 25 million albums, ranking her as the most successful German pop singer in history. Since 2009, she’s released material on her signature label, adding "record executive" to her list of titles. Nena continues to tour and regularly features her adult children singing backing vocals during performances. An album, Licht, came out in 2020.

Bobby McFerrin

The Hit: "Don't Worry, Be Happy"
Jazz fans were introduced to singer Bobby McFerrin in the early ‘80s. In 1988, the world discovered him. After some well-received early releases, McFerrin burst into the mainstream with his upbeat single “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” Not only was the track the first a cappella song to hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, but it displaced Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child O' Mine” to claim the top spot. At the 1989 Grammys, "Don't Worry, Be Happy" took home Song of the Year, Record of the Year and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance honors. Despite this overwhelming popularity, McFerrin never again had a Hot 100 charting song.

Where Are They Now?
Even though he may have faded from the public eye, McFerrin has enjoyed a long career. The singer has released nearly a dozen albums since the success of “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” collaborating with such legends as Chick Corea, Yo-Yo Ma, Quincy Jones and producer George Martin along the way. McFerrin continues touring and performing and has accumulated a total of 10 Grammys.

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