60 Of The Most Bizarre One Hit Wonders Of The 1960s and 1970s

By Sarah Norman | May 12, 2023

Napoleon XIV, 'They're Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa'

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source: wikipedia

The '60s were amazing because someone could score a Top 5 hit with a novelty song like "They're Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!" and audiences wouldn't bat an eye. The single, released by Jerry Samuels under his Napoleon XIV moniker was a part of an LP all about being insane, which is pretty fun but obviously doesn't have a lot of staying power. That doesn't mean we can't love this insane track all the same.

This novelty record was a nonsensical and fun hit by Napoleon XIV who was actually just one man using a pseudonym. Jerry Samuels came up with the song during his time at New York's Associated Recording Studios. The song featured a snare drum, a tambourine, and a siren that would go off as Samuels' voice rose to a fever pitch during the chorus.

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Left: Jeannie C Riley (Photo by GAB Archive/Redferns). Right: Single jacket art for Zager and Evans' 'In The Year 2525.' Source: discogs.com

Remember "Alley-Oop?" How about "Winchester Cathedral" or "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye?" Many one-hit wonders of the '60s and '70s have stood the test of time as true classics; others remain head-scratchers to this day. Do you ever hear the urge to fire up "Mother-In-Law?" And what was up with "Dominique," the French song by The Singing Nun -- how does a song like that get to #1? 

All of these songs went to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and none of them had a sequel. Although the artists themselves seemed to fade out of sight, many times their songs lived on; either standing on their own, being associated with movies or by being re-recorded by other artists.