Sister Nancy And 3 Other Jamaican One-Hit Wonders

BY Dora Abena Dzaka October 30, 2023 10:39 AM EDT
Photo Source: Instagram/@sisternancy

One-time hit wonders exist in every musical genre, and frequently their breakthrough single has such a profound effect and great success that it makes it impossible for them to live up to the hype of the marketing.

The hitmakers from Jamaica, who experienced success with just one song during their whole career, discovered a formula that they were unable to replicate.

A musician can make a lifetime’s worth of money from a single hit in the music business; therefore, having one is not a bad thing, and not that the artistes on this list are not talented enough.

While the majority were genuine talents with great promise but, for various reasons, were unable to realize it, others are true industry legends who paved the path for younger generations of musicians to become well-known worldwide.

Despite having robust catalogs, these musicians were able to ascend the metaphorical mountain of music but were never able to reach the heights that their abilities would have us believe they could.

One by One by Laza Morgan ft. Mavado

Laza Morgan’s One By One, which features Mavado, is one of the many Jamaican songs with enormous global potential that require proper promotional support. Second-generation Morgan Heritage member Laza, was never able to find another song just like it. In 2012, he made his solo debut with the song One By One, which debuted at No. 34 in France and performed well in Jamaica.

Sister Nancy’s version of Bam Bam

Bam Bam, produced by Winston Riley and sung by Sister Nancy, is the most sampled song in reggae music. The iconic Jamaican record has been sampled by Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Rihanna. Nonetheless, Sister Nancy has played at some of the greatest events and festivals worldwide as a result of the song’s enormous success. In addition, the song has been featured in television series and films. After selling more than 200,000 copies in the UK, it just shot to the top of the iTunes reggae chart and was certified silver.

My Boy Lollipop by Millie Small

Millie Small’s 1964 hit song, My Boy Lollipop, which peaked at No.2 on both the UK Singles Chart and the US Billboard Hot 100, inspired Chris Blackwell, the song’s producer to engage in intense self-reflection and make a vow to never again “chase the hit.” Millie is the only performer on this list to have passed away. She was overwhelmed by the trappings of success and was unable to replicate the song’s popularity, despite the song selling over 7 million copies worldwide. She was the most successful female performer in the Caribbean and the first international recording star. Additionally, Blackwell acknowledged her for bringing “ska music,” the precursor to reggae, to a global audience.

Angola by Jah Bouks

More conscious music was needed on the airwaves in 2013, and Jah Bouks delivered the hit song Angola. Since then, Bouks has not been able to replicate his popularity on the airwaves. In a recent interview with The Fix, he stated that he takes no offense when people refer to him as a “one-hit wonder.”