One-hit Wonders of the '80s Quiz


By: Staff

5 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

Raise your hand if you wore high-waisted jeans and Reebok Pumps in the ‘80s. Now keep it raised if you love listening to ‘80s smash hits on Spotify. If your hand is up, you most certainly know these one-hit wonders… and you still rock out to them today!

Because who WOULDN’T rock out to songs that remind us of our favorite ‘80s movies? Remember a certain "Dirty Dancing" actor who wooed us with a blowing element? Or how about the amazing pop hits we first heard on MTV and VH1?

There were so many memorable songs that left us wanting more in the ‘80s… but in some cases, all we got was a lousy phone number! You probably don’t even remember “her” name because the only part you could remember was the number! You know what we’re talking about! That’s one thing all of these one-hit wonders had in common – they got stuck in your head - which wasn’t always a bad thing, especially when someone offered to stop the world and melt with you! (Yes please!)

So let's see how you do. It’s time to put on your best leotard and slouched leg warmers, then flaunt that maniac dance. We’re not gonna take it if you can’t!

Where did the band A-ha originate?

The Norwegian A-ha came from Norway to score six trophies at the 1986 MTV Video Music Awards thanks to the song "Take On Me."


What band hit No. 1 of the Billboard singles chart in 1986 with "(I Just) Died in Your Arms"?

Cutting Crew scored a major hit with "(I Just) Died in Your Arms" off their 1986 debut album "Broadcast."


What were singers Martha Wash and Izora Armstead better known as?

Wash and Armstead formed a group known as the Weather Girls. They made it to No. 46 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1982 with the song "It's Raining Men."


Singer Marc Almond was the driving force behind this band, known for the song "Tainted Love."

Almond and Soft Cell hit No. 1 in 17 countries with their 1981 song "Tainted Love."


This song by Frankie Goes to Hollywood sold over a million copies in 1984.

Frankie Goes to Hollywood scored their biggest hit ever with the 1984 No. 1 song "Relax."


What Michael Sembello song was featured in the movie "Flashdance"?

Sembello's song "Maniac" was written about a psycho cat killer, but the lyrics were later changed to fit the wild dancing in "Flashdance."


True or false: "99 Luftballons" was a protest song.

The Nena song — later recorded in English as "99 Red Balloons" — was written as a protest against the Cold War.


Two Oregon bands called Pilot and Seafood Mama joined forces to form this band, which was known for the song "Harden My Heart."

The two bands joined forces to form Quarterflash, which scored a hit with "Harden My Heart" in 1981.


Who sang the 1984 song "She Blinded Me With Science"?

Thomas Dolby never had another major hit after "She Blinded Me With Science" and went on to teach music for film at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.


Who sang the cheerful ditty "Don't Worry, Be Happy"?

Bobby McFerrin scored his biggest hit with "Don't Worry, Be Happy "off his 1988 album "Simple Pleasures."


What was the most famous song to come off the album "Rhythm of Youth" by the band Men Without Hats?

Men Without Hats scored a massive hit with "The Safety Dance," a song off of their 1981 debut album.


What band was the first to have its video shown on MTV?

Back when MTV played music videos, the very first one they played was "Video Killed the Radio Star" by the Buggles.


What year did Kajagoogoo hit No. 5 on the charts with "Too Shy"?

Kajagoogoo won fans with the 1983 hit "Too Shy." Vocalist Chris Hamill later sang the theme song for "The NeverEnding Story."


What band is best known for the song "Our House"?

Thanks to heavy MTV airplay in 1983, Madness scored a top ten hit with "Our House."


What stage name did Motown founder Berry Gordy's son use when he released the song "Somebody's Watching Me"?

To distance himself from his famous father, Gordy's son performed under the name Rockwell and had a hit with the 1983 song "Somebody's Watching Me."


What band instructed listeners to "whip it good!" in 1980?

Devo soared up the charts with their song "Whip It" from their 1980 debut album "Freedom of Choice."


Manager Malcolm McLaren helped get the Sex Pistols together and also helped form this "I Want Candy" band.

Bow Wow Wow hit No. 62 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1982 with the cheerful "I Want Candy."


What Gary Numan album features the song "Cars"?

"Cars" from the album "The Pleasure Principle" was a top ten hit for Gary Numan after it was released in 1979.


Before they declared "We're Not Gonna Take It," this band was known as Silver Star.

Glam rock group Twisted Sister started off as Silver Star before hitting it big with the song "We're Not Gonna Take It."


What band released the 1983 Top 10 hit "I Melt With You"?

Modern English broke the Top 10 with the 1983 song "I Melt With You," which was later featured in the movie "Valley Girl."


What band sang the 1982 smash "Come On Eileen"?

In a 2013 ranking of the best one-hit wonders of the '80s, VH1 put "Come On Eileen" by Dexys Midnight Runners in the top spot.


What song brought Matthew Wilder into the spotlight in 1983?

Wilder had his biggest career song in 1983 with "Break My Stride" and went on to produce No Doubt's 1995 platinum "Tragic Kingdom" album.


What was the 1982 song "Electric Avenue" named after?

"Electric Avenue" was inspired by a real street in Britain — the first street in the area to get electric lights. Eddy Grant hit the No. 2 spot on the charts in both the U.K. and U.S. with his version of the tune in 1982.


What year did A Flock of Seagulls gain fame for the song "I Ran (So Far Away)"?

A Flock of Seagulls ran away with the top spot on the music charts in the summer of 1982 with "I Ran."


What song made Stacey Q a star in 1986?

Teen pop queen Stacey Q won fans over with her 1986 tune "Two of Hearts" and with guest appearances on "The Facts of Life" and "Full House."


What year did Dead or Alive spin listeners 'round like a record player?

Dead or Alive topped the charts with "You Spin Me Round" in 1985, while a Kesha and Flo Rida cover of the song hit No. 1 in 2009.


What band cracked the Top 10 in the U.S. in 1985 with "Obsession"?

Animotion scored a top ten with "Obsession." Just four months later, their follow up "Let Him Go" barely made it into the Top 40.


What song was a big hit for British band the Outfield in 1985?

The Outfield made a career out of the 1985 song "Your Love." The band's other claim to fame is the song "Winning It All," which was featured on the soundtrack for "The Mighty Ducks."


True or false: Toni Basil's "Mickey" was about Monkee Micky Dolenz.

Though Basil choreographed the 1968 movie "Head" for the band, the song was originally called "Kitty" and had nothing to do with Dolenz.


This song by Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard charts in 1988.

Rob Base and E-Z Rock mixed hip-hop and dance house sounds to create the 1988 smash "It Takes Two."


Explore More Quizzes

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!