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Love Me Two Times: 20 Greatest Two-Hit Wonders of All Time

Here today, here a second time, gone tomorrow

Tim Roney/Getty Images; Peter Noble/Redferns; Tim Roney/Getty Images

The term "one-hit wonder" is thrown around derisively, aimed at artists whose pop success were a bit too evanescent – how else could we rationalize Kajagoogoo and Lou Bega to future generations? Here's 20 artists who managed to stick around a little longer. By Keith Harris and Maura Johnston

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4. Young M.C.

"Bust a Move" (1989, Number Seven) and "Principal's Office" (1989, Number 33)

His greatest hit is (deservedly) a wedding DJ staple and (undeservedly) a punchline for snarky people who like stuff like "Stuff White People Like." But in his day, when everyone knew rap would cross over but nobody knew exactly how, this hitmaker and Tone-Loc ghostwriter seemed a contender for stardom – more radio-ready than Kid 'N Play, less kid-friendly than the Fresh Prince, lyrically nimbler than Hammer. Label hassles sidelined him for more than a year and, in the interim, the game did what the game does: changed.

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3. ? and the Mysterians

"96 Tears" (1966, Number One) and "I Need Somebody" (1967, Number 22)

An unlikely chart-topper, "96 Tears" is a masterpiece of brokenhearted OCD vengeance, with ? (government name: Rudy Martinez) enumerating exactly how much he wants his ex to cry over nagging organ stabs. These garage-rockers kept the public's attention with "I Need Somebody," again distinguished by a repetitive organ riff before it breaks unexpectedly into "Mary Had a Little Lamb." A third Mysterians tune, "Can't Get Enough You Baby," wasn't a hit until Smash Mouth covered it in the late Nineties.

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2. Golden Earring

"Radar Love" (1973, Number 13) and "Twilight Zone" (1982, Number 10)

This chugging Dutch outfit's first chart success came from a pulsing track about a man communicating with his lover while driving – something that's commonplace now, sure, but during the pre-cellphone era it required mental powers of a more advanced nature. The strident "Twilight Zone," which hit for them nine years later, is a spoken-sung chronicle of a descent into madness inspired by the spyjinks of Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Identity. Years after its release, it would be incorporated into the Twilight Zone pinball game.

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1. Men Without Hats

"Safety Dance" (1983, Number Three) and "Pop Goes the World" (1987, Number 20)

Let other new-wavers moon about nuclear war or impersonate post-apocalyptic pirates – these Montreal goofs bucked the zeitgeist with chirpy utopian glee. To hear Ivan Doroschuk sing of it, "The Safety Dance" wasn't just a (somewhat hazily defined) way of moving your body, it was a (no less hazily defined) way of life. The even sprightlier "Pop Goes the World" was the tale of Johnny and Jenny, a pair who form a synth-pop band and remake our culture in their own adorable image. The keyboard hook was so infectious that the most aggro meathead might wish this twee fantasy was a reality.