With her gravelly voice and soulful blues and rock tunes, Janis Joplin is a musical icon.
But did you know that Joplin is also a one-hit wonder?
The strict definition of a one-hit wonder is an artist or band who only has one song make the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.
Shockingly, Joplin qualifies, albeit technically, twice: once as a solo artist and once as a member of her band, Big Brother and the Holding Company.
“Me and Bobby McGee” hit the top of the charts on March 20, 1971 during Joplin’s solo career.
And while she’s equally known for the smoky vocals of “Piece of My Heart,” that appearance came under her band: Big Brother and the Holding Company.
The song peaked at No. 12 on the charts on Nov. 12, 1968.
Joplin isn’t the only one who’s designation as a one-hit wonder is a bit surprising.
Legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix had a single hit (“All Along the Watchtower”) crack the Top 40. Turns out “Purple Haze” peaked in the 65th slot, and neither “Voodoo Child” nor “The Wind Cries Mary” cracked the Top 100.
The Grateful Dead is another – “Touch of Grey” hit No. 9 in 1987, but none of the jam band’s other songs have been in the Top 40.
And while Garth Brooks may dominate the country charts, his only tune to hit the Hot 100 was “Lost in You” in 1999.
The widespread success of these one-hit wonders should give hope to the hundreds of others who qualify for the designation.
Maybe 40 years from now, Los del Rio’s “Macarena” (ranked No. 8 on Billboard’s All-Time Top 100 Songs) will be just one of a dozen hits for which the band is known.
In the meantime, observe National One-Hit Wonder Day on Saturday. Make a playlist, turn it up and groove through the weekend.
Other days to celebrate include:
Sept. 23: National Great American Pot Pie Day, National Checkers Day
Sept. 24: National Punctuation Day, Hug a Vegetarian Day, National Cherries Jubilee Day
Sept. 25: National Daughter’s Day, National One-Hit Wonder Day, National Ghost Hunting Day
Sept. 26: National Dumpling Day, National Gold Star Mother’s Day, National Johnny Appleseed Day
Sept. 27: National Family Day, National Scarf Day, National Crush A Can Day
Sept. 28: National Good Neighbor Day, National Voter Registration Day, National North Carolina Day
Sept. 29: National Coffee Day, VFW Day, National Women’s Health and Fitness Day