Although some artists on this list have managed to continue their success long after their first big smash, the list shows the difference between potential and greatness. Many names on this list had that one big hit and could never come close after that. (Note: this is not an all-encompassing list; rather, it includes some of the biggest first releases of the Rock Era.)
Average White Band
"Shake You Down"
This artist from New York scored a monster hit in 1986 when his first release when Platinum, #1 on the Popular chart, and became one of the biggest R&B songs of the '80s. Although he continued to be successful R&B, he never hit the Top 40 again.
Paul Carrack is recognized as one of the most underrated lead singers of the Rock Era. His group Ace hit the Top 5 with this one in 1975. Carrack went on to become successful with Squeeze and Mike + the Mechanics, but Ace was a One Hit Wonder.
"More Than Words Can Say"
This act had plenty of potential, when former Sheriff ("When I'm With You" lead singer Freddy Curci and guitarist Steve DeMarchi teamed with former Heart members Roger Fisher (guitar), Steve Fossen (bass) and Mike Derosier (drums). They landed just one spot away from #1 with this huge hit in 1990, but never reached the Top 10 again.
"A Horse With No Name"
America released this classic in 1972. Unlike most of the artists on this list, they became superstars, and nearly matched their initial release with the #1 "Sister Golden Hair" three years later. They had 17 hits in their career, including 7 in the Top 10.
Anderson was a respected equestrian prior to recording, named the California Horse Show Queen in 1966. Her first release is one of the top Country crossovers in history, yet after this song, she never sniffed the Top 40 again.
"The House Of The Rising Sun"
We have another of the few supergroups in this category. This legendary song landed at #1 for three weeks in 1964. They finished their career with 19 hits, including not only three more Top 10 songs, but many underrated songs that in hindsight should have made the Top 10.
Heat Of The Moment"
This group had loads of potential when Yes guitarist Steve Howe joined Carl Palmer, drummer of Emerson, Lake & Palmer, keyboardist Geoff Downes of the Buggles and vocalist and bassist John Wetton, previously with King Crimson and Uriah Heap. Thanks to being one of the most-played songs on MTV (which used to stand for Music Television before they became Mundane Teleevision), Asis reached #4 with this great song. They had some other good songs, but could never come close, although they did reach #10 with "Don't Cry".
Average White Band
"Pick Up The Pieces"
This group of Scottish natives formed a group in 1972 and promptly hit #1 with this instrumental. They did follow it up with the #10 song "Cut The Cake", but never came close to #1 the rest of their career.
"Can't Get Enough"
This great British group has tons of Top Tracks* that are very worthy of listening by most Rock Era fans. Lead singer Paul Rodgers and drummer Simon Kirke were previously in the group Free, while guitarist Mick Ralphs is a Mott The Hoople alum and bassist "Boz" Burrell was previously a member of King Crimson. They scored another Top 10 with "Feel Like Makin' Love", underrated at #10. But they never came close to matching their first release.
Bainbridge, from Melbourne, Australia, is another One Hit Wonder. She scored the Top 5 song "Mouth", but never reached the Top 100 again.