Top 10 Artists and Bands Whose Debut Single is Their Biggest Hit

These are artists whose debut singles in the mainstream of music are not only their most successful debuts, but also their most successful songs to this day.

They've received tons of positive reception and these songs remain their signature hits.
The Top Ten
1 Britney Spears (...Baby One More Time) Britney Jean Spears, born on December 2, 1981, is an American former singer and actress. She was born in McComb, Mississippi, and raised in Kentwood, Louisiana. As a child, she performed acting roles in stage productions and television shows, such as "The Mickey Mouse Club," before signing with Jive... read more

Her debut single is Baby One More Time, which was her biggest hit as well as the biggest debut single in the history of music. It hit #1 in 22 countries and was certified gold in many places. It was the best single of 1999 in the U.S. Long live Britney Spears.

2 Ke$ha (Tik Tok) Kesha Rose Sebert (formerly known as Ke$ha) was born on March 1st, 1987 in Los Angeles, United States. She is best known for her hits like Timber, Tik Tok, and We R Who We R... read more

Her debut single is TikTok, which was #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for nine weeks and achieved the biggest weekly sum of all time by a female artist, with 610,000 downloads in one week. It was certified eight times platinum by the RIAA and sold 6.8 million copies in the U.S. and 12.8 million worldwide.

Overall, it was the best-selling global single of 2010, with nearly 20 million copies sold, making it one of the best-selling digital singles by any artist to this day. It ranked 61st on the top Billboard Hot 100 songs of all time.

3 Avril Lavigne (Complicated) Avril Ramona Lavigne is a Canadian–French singer-songwriter and actress. By the age of 15, she had appeared on stage with Shania Twain; by 16, she had signed a two-album recording contract with Arista Records worth more than $2 million.

Her debut single is Complicated, which hit #1 in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, and Norway, as well as #2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and #3 in the U.K. It broke the record for the longest time at #1 on the Billboard Adult Top 40, staying there for 16 weeks in a row.

Complicated was nominated for two Grammy Awards for Song of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Performance. To this day, she has never made another song as successful as Complicated.

4 Olivia Rodrigo (Drivers License) Olivia Isabel Rodrigo (born February 20, 2003) is an American singer-songwriter and actress who rose to fame after playing Paige Olvera in Bizaardvark and has also played Nini Salazar-Roberts in High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. She gained much more fame after the release of her debut single... read more

Her mainstream debut single is Drivers License, which hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for eight weeks in a row and became the most streamed song of 2021 on Spotify. Even Deja Vu and Good 4 U didn't receive quite the same reception, though Good 4 U surpassed Drivers License as her highest-charting song on the Billboard Year-End chart.

All I Want, released earlier, wasn't mainstream, as it was simply made as a soundtrack for High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, and her theme for American Girl's Grace wasn't mainstream either. So Drivers License was her debut on the mainstream music scene, which is what we focus on today.

Omg. Her song Driver's License has skyrocketed in popularity.

5 Lorde (Royals) Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O'Connor (born 7 November 1996), better known by her stage name Lorde, is a singer-songwriter from New Zealand. She released her first EP "The Love Club" in 2012 and gained worldwide popularity with her song "Royals" at the age of 16... read more

Her debut single is Royals, which achieved international success, reaching #1 in Belgium, the Republic of Ireland, Israel, Italy, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, the U.K., and Canada. Royals stayed at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for nine weeks and was certified Diamond by the RIAA. It sold 10 million units worldwide, making it her best-selling song and one of the best by anyone worldwide.

It was also the second most consumed song of 2013 in New Zealand and was certified nine times platinum in Australia and Canada. It won Grammy Awards for Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance. Royals is credited with bringing alternative-focused artists into mainstream music.

6 Spice Girls (Wannabe) The Spice Girls are an English pop girl group formed in 1994. The group consists of Emma Bunton (Baby Spice), Melanie Chisholm (Sporty Spice), Victoria Beckham (Posh Spice), Mel B (Scary Spice), and Geri Halliwell (Ginger Spice).

Their biggest hit was in fact their debut single Wannabe, which peaked at #1 in many places and sold 100,000 copies from June to October that year.

7 Billy Ray Cyrus (Achy Breaky Heart)

His cover of Achy Breaky Heart was his first and biggest hit, making him a one-hit wonder as a solo and lead artist.

8 Phil Collins (In the Air Tonight) Philip David Charles "Phil" Collins is an English singer-songwriter and musician, who has also worked as a record producer and actor.

His debut single as a solo artist is In the Air Tonight, which hit #2 on the U.K. Singles Chart, #1 in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and Sweden, and the top 10 in Australia, New Zealand, and several European countries. It peaked at #19 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and #2 on the Rock Tracks Chart. It was eventually certified gold by the RIAA, with 500,000 copies sold. The music video by Stuart Orme received heavy play on MTV.

9 Norah Jones (Don't Know Why) Norah Jones is an American singer, songwriter, pianist & actress. She won several awards and sold more than 45 million records worldwide. Billboard named her as the top jazz artist of the 2000–2009 years.

Her debut single is Don't Know Why, which peaked at #30 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and was critically successful, more than any other song of hers. It won three Grammy Awards in 2003 for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

It was her biggest hit in the U.S. and worldwide and her only hit to reach the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100. It ranked #5 in Australia, #24 in New Zealand, and #59 in the U.K. It was ranked #459 on the list of the 500 Greatest Songs That Played Since You Were Born.

10 Evanescence (Bring Me to Life) Evanescence is an American alternative rock/alternative metal band. It was founded in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1995 by singer/pianist Amy Lee and guitarist Ben Moody.

Their debut single was "Bring Me to Life," which received mostly positive critical responses. Critics praised the song's melody, Amy Lee's vocals, and their accompaniment by McCoy. It remains the band's signature song.

Following the inclusion of the song on the Daredevil soundtrack, it became a commercial and critical success, topping the charts in Australia, the United Kingdom, and Italy. It charted in the top 10 in more than 15 countries, including the U.S., Argentina, Germany, and New Zealand. "Bring Me to Life" was certified platinum by the RIAA and twice platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA).

Some interpreted the song's lyrics as a call for new life in Jesus Christ, which helped it chart on the Christian rock charts, despite it not being the songwriters' intention. Evanescence won the Best Hard Rock Performance category at the 46th Grammy Awards, where the song was also nominated for Best Rock Song.

Directed by Philipp Stölzl, the accompanying music video shows Lee singing and climbing on a skyscraper while having nightmares in her bedroom. "Bring Me to Life" was part of the set list during the Fallen and The Open Door Tour. Many artists recorded cover versions of the song, including the classical singer Katherine Jenkins and American pianist John Tesh. It was also used on several television shows.

The Contenders
11 Vanessa Carlton (A Thousand Miles)

Her debut single A Thousand Miles was her only hit to reach the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #5 and making it her only top 5 hit.

12 A Touch of Class (Around the World (La La La La La))

Their debut single is Around the World, which covered Pesenka by the Russian band Ruki Vverh. It hit the top 20 in many countries worldwide, proving a Russian song can be enjoyed worldwide, not just in Russia.

13 Frankie Goes to Hollywood (Relax)

The band's debut single is Relax, which hit #1 on nine charts, #5 on four charts, #11 on one chart, #9 on one chart, and #10 on one chart. It was also their only global hit, making them one-hit wonders worldwide. They had multiple hits in several local places though.

14 Michelle Branch (Everywhere) Michelle Jacquet DeSevren Branch is an American singer, songwriter and guitarist. During the early 2000s, she released two top-selling albums, The Spirit Room and Hotel Paper.

Her debut single was Everywhere, which topped the charts and won an MTV Video Music Awards Viewer's Choice Award in 2002.

15 The Zombies (She's Not There) The Zombies are an English rock band formed in 1962 in St Albans and led by keyboardist and vocalist Rod Argent and vocalist Colin Blunstone.
16 No Angels (Daylight in Your Eyes) No Angels were an all-female pop band from Germany formed in 2000. The group consisted of band members Nadja Benaissa, Lucy Diakovska, Sandy Mölling, Vanessa Petruo, and Jessica Wahls.

Their debut single Daylight in Your Eyes hit the top of the Austrian, German, and Swiss Singles and Airplay Charts, making it their biggest hit to this day.

17 The Killers (Mr. Brightside) The Killers is an American pop rock band formed in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2001, by Brandon Flowers and Dave Keuning.

Their first single, "Mr. Brightside," was massive ever since it was released in 2003 and even bigger when re-released a year later. It is still on the U.K. charts after all this time and is around the 100th most streamed song on Spotify.

18 Juli (Perfekte Welle) Juli is a German alternative rock band consisting of Eva Briegel (vocals), Jonas Pfetzing (guitar), Simon Triebel (guitar), Andreas Herde (bass) and Marcel Römer (drums), that formed in 2001. They had their national breakthrough with their debut single “Perfekte Welle” in 2004, with the follow... read more
19 Carly Rae Jepsen (Call Me Maybe) Carly Rae Jepsen is a Canadian singer and songwriter from Mission, British Columbia, and later based in Vancouver. She is best known for her hit song "Call Me Maybe" which topped many charts in 2012.

No way, because her debut single isn't her biggest hit, which is Call Me Maybe. That blew up on multiple charts, making history for all of pop music. Yet it made her a global one-hit wonder as it's her only global hit to this day.

20 The Knack (My Sharona) The Knack was an American rock band based in Los Angeles that rose to fame with their first single, "My Sharona", an international number-one hit in 1979.

Their debut single My Sharona hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart for six weeks and was #1 on Billboard's 1979 Top Pop Singles Year-End Chart. They became one-hit wonders for this. They never had another global hit.

21 Silento (Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)) Richard Lamar Hawk, better known by his stage name Silentó, is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer and actor. He is best known for his debut single "Watch Me", which reached number three on the Billboard Hot 100. Recently, he is also known for murdering his cousin and is currently... read more

His song Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae) hit #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and became a trend in the early 2010s, making it his only song to do so. He is a one-hit wonder for these reasons. Though he is no longer a hit after he killed his cousin and got arrested for it.

22 Rage Against the Machine (Killing in the Name) Rage Against the Machine is a rap metal band formed in Los Angeles, California. The band consists of vocalist Zack de la Rocha, bassist Tim Commerford, guitarist Tom Morello and drummer Brad Wilk.
23 Tokio Hotel (Monsoon) Tokio Hotel are a pop rock band from Magdeburg, Germany, consisting of Bill Kaulitz (singer), Tom Kaulitz (guitar), Gustav Schäfer (drums) and Georg Listing (keyboards, bass) that formed in 2001... read more
24 JoJo (Leave (Get Out))

Her debut single Leave (Get Out) peaked at the top of the U.S. Billboard Pop Songs chart while she was 13, making her the youngest to ever achieve that.

25 Samantha Mumba (Gotta Tell You) Samantha Tamania Anne Cecilia Mumba is an Irish singer and actress. She shot to fame in 2000 with the release of her debut single "Gotta Tell You", which reached the Top 10 in Ireland, United Kingdom and the United States.
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