Great One Album Wonders

Great One Album Wonders

jeff buckley
(Photo: Jeff Buckley's album cover, Grace)

Sure, we all know and can name plenty of one HIT winders, but there were some absolute perfect examples of one ALBUM wonders that have left an immense impact.

Of course, we are only talking one original studio recordings - not reissues, or live albums or compilations. 

So, despite being short-lived, these bands and albums left a lasting impression on the decades that followed, their longevity a testament to the quality of this one body of work.

Mother Love Bone – Apple (1990)

How many times have people lamented on how the musical landscape would be different if MLB were able to continue? The transition from glam hair fusing with Seattle grunge was taking shape in MLB, and if it weren’t for the untimely heroin overdose of lead singer Andrew Wood just prior to the release of Apple, yeah, things would’ve been different, we may never have gotten Pearl Jam for a start. 


Temple Of The Dog – Temple Of The Dog (1991)

There’s a good reason this was a one-album wonder band, because of course it was a tribute to the fallen Andrew Wood put together by his then roommate, Chris Cornell. This was a true Seattle grunge all-star cast including Jeff Ament, and Stone Gossard from Mother Love Bone, guitarist Mike McReady, Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell and drummer Matt Cameron, and Eddie Vedder, who had flown to Seattle to audition for Mookie Blaylock (who became Pearl Jam). This is a band that many wish had stayed together for a long time, so deep was the talent and magic. You’ll be forgiven if you tear up at this one. 


Minor Threat – Out Of Step (1983)

As big a punk influence as Bad Brains, Sex Pistols and the Ramones, Minor Threat only released one studio album. Nine tracks that came in at under 22 minutes and it’s so fantastic that I had to include it. Completely raw, powerful, no airs or graces, this is music at its most basic and primal genius. Released with mistakes, no overdubs, and sounding like it was recorded in a garage. 


Jeff Buckley – Grace (1994)

A lot has been said about Jeff Buckley over the years, and it’s sometimes hard to quantify since we only got one album. Although there have been many posthumous releases that have been put together, we have to speculate that his follow up studio album would have created the same buzz, the same awe, and the same success. His voice was often angelic and haunting at the same time, and there was always an underlying magic that you can’t quite put your finger on. Definitely worth revisiting if you haven’t done so lately. 


New Radicals – Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too (1998)

These guys epitomise both the one-hit wonder and one-album wonder category. Weird to think that the song we hear so much of on the radio, "You Get What You Give" was really their only contribution. This was the brainchild of songwriter Gregg Alexander, and he broke up the band before the second single from this album was even released! For the record (pun intended) this was to be the second single, "Someday We’ll Know".


Sex Pistols – Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols (1977)

Hands down the greatest one-album wonder in the world. Massively influential, legendary, raw, and brilliant. It was a game changer. One of the great things about this is due to Sid Viscous being so crap at bass, they got guitarist Steve Jones to play bass on the album, with previous bass player Glen Matlock performing on Anarchy In The UK, and Sid only on one song, "Bodies". The band was a mess to begin with, so reading stories like that only added to the majesty of this band. They were dropped by A&M during the process, and rejected by CBS, Decca, Polydor and Pye. Richard Branson's label, Virgin were where they ended up, and they rushed "God Save The Queen" out as a single while recording continued. 


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