Top Ten Very Successful Artists Whose Music Career Suddenly EndedSome artists and bands remain active snd successful for decades. The Rolling Stones, Madonna or Eminem have discographies full of legendary music, and whatever they touch turns to solid gold or platinum. In contrast to that, there are so called one hit wonders who have exactly one smash hit that everyone knows by heart but are then never heard of again. Often, this one particular song remains very popular for decades to come, but no one knows who it's by.
But then there's this special case in between: artists who had a very successful career over a certain time span including a bunch of hits and tons of media coverage, but suddenly, from one day to the next, they dropped out of the public eye. They were considered the top league of music and everybody knew their names, but overnight, they were never heard of again. Either their new outputs didn't sell well, or they simply decided to not release anything new. This list is about such artists.
What doesn't count:
1. Artists whose career ended because they died
2. Bands whose career ended because they disbanded
What does count:
1. Artists and bands who haven't released any new music in ages but are alive/still together
2. Bands who are still together although a member died
3. Artists whose career ended before they died
4. Bands whose career ended before they disbanded
5. Unsuccessful comebacks
6. Artists who changed their main profession from music to something else and are successful at that, but not music anymore
I hope that covers all the information you need.
The Top Ten
I am interested to know how long you think it should be before you consider a music act no longer successful because I am thinking of adding the Chainsmokers based on how badly their last album flopped but then it was only 2 years ago that they were dominating? - Powell
You can add whatever you want!
Looking at the DRAMATIC decrease in sales (from top spot to not charting at all), that's definitely a huge step back. - Martin_Canine
Guys why would just end you guys were my favorite childhood band and I still listen to you guys I still love you guys and plus will I am stinks as a solo man
They still exist, but aren't successful anymore.
Last year, they released a great and critically acclaimed album, but it was one of the biggest commercial fails of a band that once had such a huge status. - Martin_Canine
Yeah, sometimes I find myself wondering where the heck these guys are now. Good to know they still make music and do what they love. At least. - Misfire
They were terrible. Absolutely terrible! I'm glad they don't exist anymore!
Thanks for the reply I am actually not from the US so I might be wrong and maybe there she is much better known than in other parts of the world. As for which stars are likely to be remembered I don't think that say Kendrick Lamar is less likely to be remembered than for example Bruno Mars, Adele or Imagine Dragons and also I don't think there is that much of a difference between radio play and sales for hip hop (besides some of the most explicit songs). I think that those artists with big hits that will be less remembered might well be those that don't have as much of a fan base Pitbull, Flo Rida and the like (judging by them having relatively low album sales) but that is just a guess.
It just feels weird to think that she had 6 number 1 hits that is more than Eminem when you basically don't hear about her at all I doubt that most people would even know the name and fewer could name a song of hers. Do you think that there is anyone that big today who will likely be forgotten in 20 years time?
Again thanks for the reply the only thing I am interested to know now is do you know why hip hop is rarely played on the radio in Germany? Is it because it only recently became popular? I live in New Zealand and I hear (mainly US) rap on the radio fairly frequently.
Because she sucks! - RobertWisdom
I think she's one of the people that least deserve to be on this list. Apart from the fact that since the 1980s she had countless hits and worldwide number one albums, her newest record was just released and didn't even have the chance to chart yet.
Also... would it really be "suddenly" if after over 30 years of success her sales would decrease? This is more about artists who were extremely hyped for a certain period of time and were expected to become the next big stars that would go down in music history, then suddenly went into obscurity overnight either failing to have further success or simply not releasing anything. Madonna is far past that state. - Martin_Canine
I just realized you added Madonna to the list breaking your own rules. Lol - RobertWisdom
Shouldn't be on the list. She's always killing the charts even if I personally think she isn't all that good. - RobertWisdom
In the 90s, Ace of Base were already hailed as the next ABBA. They were Swedish, they made pop with exceptionally good songwriting, they consisted of two women and two men, and were also hugely successful worldwide, critically and commercially. Their debut album, titled "The Sign" in the US, Canada, Mexico and Japan, and "Happy Nation" in the rest of the world, was a big smash hit in 1993, that not only topped the American charts (as well as those of 13 other nations) but was certified nine times platinum there. Overall, it sold 19 million copies internationally. The album spawned a number one hit in several countries called "All That She Wants", and its deluxe edition (which is identical to the US version) contained the chart topper "The Sign". In 1995, their sophomore record "The Bridge" followed, and still was a top ten success in much of Europe, but only did moderately in the USA. Its single "Lucky Love" topped the ...more - Martin_Canine
Also doesn't qualify for the list. His 2019 album "Harverd Dropout" was a top ten success in the US and spawned a worldwide hit single with "I Love It". - Martin_Canine
I wouldn't see it that way, because as you said the album sold more overall units in the US, it had a high chart position in the biggest music market in the world and sold solidly elsewhere and it spawned a very, very successful single. From what I see, he does even better - "Gucci Gang" was only big in very few countries (including the US), "I Love It" was an international phenomenon (again, including the US, but many more countries). - Martin_Canine
From 2003 to 2007, 50 Cent was the face of hip hop, next to Eminem. His style was sinister and thug, but still had a certain coolness and laid back vibe to it. His first two albums, "Get Rich or Die Tryin'" and "The Massacre" were multi-million sellers that topped the American charts and hit the top ten in numerous other countries. He even had his own movie, titled after his debut album (which retrospectively gives a good look at how differently hip hop was seen back in 2005). With "In da Club", "21 Questions" and "Candy Shop", he managed to have three number one hits in the USA, that were also very successful abroad, and also managed to have other top ten songs that were well known at the time. But in 2007, it happened. The two most anticipated hip hop albums of the year were released simultaneously: 50 Cent's "Curtis" and Kanye West's "Graduation". Both albums sold very well… but Kanye West was the one who would top the US charts, and 50 Cent the one who would come in second place ...more - Martin_Canine
Wait whaa - Luckys
If you live in America, you'll probably wonder what this group is doing on this list. In the US, the sole hit of Rednex was "Cotton Eye Joe", which peaked at number 25 on the Billboard charts and was seen as little more than a mildly funny novelty song, but in much of Europe, the Swedish band were major superstars of the mid-90s. The group mixed country (or rather the European vision of country, with banjos, fidels, rodeos, cowboys and squaredance) with then-modern dance beats, and created an inventive blend of genres. "Cotton Eye Joe" was one of the biggest number 1 hits of the year in several nations. But that wasn't all. The two follow up singles, "Old Pop in an Oak" (in the same musical style) and "Wish You Were Here" (which surprised audiences as it is a dramatic, emotional ballad) were major hits as well, that even managed to also top the charts in some countries (in Austria, all 3 were number one hits, and "Wish You Were Here" was the best selling song of 1995). Naturally, ...more - Martin_Canine
I like Cotton Eye Joe. - Userguy44
The career of Lauryn Hill is legendary and well known. Both a gifted neo-soul singer and a skilled rapper, she originally made herself a name in the industry starring in the sequel of the successful musical comedy "Sister Act" in 1993. As part of the hip-hop/RnB Fugees, she would later on become a worldwide superstar after their second studio album "The Score" became a worldwide chart topper in 1996 (the first one, "Blunted on Reality" didn't chart yet). Their rendition of Roberta Flack's "Killing Me Softly" that was found on the record became a number one hit in several countries all around the world, in some even the biggest song of the year. In the USA, it hit number 2 on the Airplay charts. Both the album and the song have since become beloved classics of the 90s. It was followed by the more rap oriented "Ready or Not", which also managed to enter the top ten in some individual nations. However, right after this success, the group disbanded for reasons unknown. But in 1998, Lauryn ...more - Martin_Canine
The fugees debut did chart. Not nearly as successful as the follow up but it still went gold shipping over 500,000 units. - RobertWisdom
Update: her 2019 comeback album "DNA" actually entered the German top ten, peaking at number 8, even though none of its singles even entered the charts. That was unexpected. So I guess... she's back. - Martin_Canine
German singer Jeanette Biedermann originally got famous as an actress in the biggest German soap opera, "Gute Zeiten, schlechte Zeiten". The series first aired in 1992 and is still running, currently having over 6750 episodes. Biedermann joined the cast in 1999 and starred in over 1000 episodes until she left in 2004. Simultaneously, she started her career as a singer in 2000, known mononymously as Jeanette. Initially, on her first two albums "Enjoy! " and "Delicious", she had a teen pop style similar to that of early Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, and though she had top ten hit songs with "Go Back", "How It's Got To Be" and "No More Tears", her albums didn't sell well (although especially the latter was lots of fun). That is, until she departed from her previous genre towards more pop-rock oriented music. What followed were two top ten albums, "Rock My Life" and "Break on Through", that were commercial successes and spawned numerous hit songs: "Rock My Life", "We've Got ...more - Martin_Canine
Dat Adam's existence was very short, the group having only been together from 2015 to 2018, but in between these four years they have pretty much been through all stages a career can have. The trio consisted of rappers Taddl and Ardy and producer Marley, and they made a more experimental, electronic genre of hip hop that some tried to put in the soundcloud territory, but which the group themselves dubbed as cyber hip hop. Taddl and Ardy already were famous before, as they had much subscribed YouTube channels on which they released comedy videos, useless facts and let's plays. However, in early 2015, both deleted all of their work, announcing they could no longer identify with it and are dissatisfied with the commercial evolution of YouTube, and the impact it had on their own character. This was basically career suicide. They founded Dat Adam the same year, but didn't announce it. They turned down a major label contract in favour of full creative freedom and didn't use their names to ...more - Martin_Canine
Admittedly she has not had a true "flop" album but she has not released in so long that I feel like she belongs on this list. - Powell
German singer LaFee became famous in 2006 at the age of 15, with songs like "Virus" and "Prinzesschen" (English versions "Scabies" and "Little Princess"). Her style and imagery was heavily inspired by the gothic subculture and her lyrics sometimes used pretty vulgar vocabulary, but her topics commented on relatable problems of teenage and young adult life (superficiality, first love, first night together, dealing with being cheated on...), as well as some very dark subject matter that mainstream didn't talk about (child abuse, bulimia,...) Thing is, her outfit was edgy and revolting (sometimes, the music was very Rammstein-esque), but her content had some pretty decent values and gave good advice for those who felt insecure while growing up - so much that she even had an unexpectedly big adult following. Her first self-titled album from 2006 immediately managed to top the German and Austrian charts, and one year later, her sophomore record ...more - Martin_Canine
His relevance is honestly decreasing, especially after Nuthin' 2 Prove. N2P was decent and the best of the 3 albums his put out but it's not saying much. Also, it did flop and Lil Boat has generally been flopping in album sales. I don't see much for Lil Boat 3. - AlphaQ
Yes, he slightly decreased in relevance and sales, and probably will even further, but I'd wait until he releases more music. Number 12 on the US charts is still decent, judging by the size of the country. - Martin_Canine
Tracksh-ttaz were an Austrian techno-pop-rap duo, who arguably had the harshest downfall of any artist on this list. In 2010, they had a smash hit with "Oida taunz! ", which topped the Austrian charts. The song had an inventive idea that wasn't heard of before, by interpolating Austrian dialect and aesthetics into the EDM style that was internationally popular at that time. It was self ironic and entertaining, and nonetheless catchy and infectious. The follow up single "Guuugarutz" repeated this success, being another number one hit. Naturally, their debut album "Oidaah pumpn muas's" also shot straight to the top of the charts in 2011. Just under 5 months later, their next album was released: "Prolettn feian längaah". Although it contained no hit single, it also became a number one record. In 2012, the duo participated in the Eurovision Song Contest with their track "Woki mit deim Popo", and in Austria, this massive international ...more - Martin_Canine
They are excluded by the rules of the list maker. Their lead vocalist died and they disbanded. - RobertWisdom
Their offshoot band the Foo Fighters popularity would also seem to rule them out. - Powell
Tool is coming with a new album this year. We can party now. - DarkBoi-X
Come on, we need the new System of a Down album. Even Tool will be releasing an album this year. - DarkBoi-X
I only know her because of Steven Universe and We Bare Bears - RoseWeasley
I only know 1 song from her honestly. TAKE ME ON A TRIP I'D LIKE TO GO SOMEWHERE. - AlphaQ
After Physical Graffiti it seemed that they didn't have much success? Were they killed by punk? - JoLeKosovo
Eh, I wouldn't really put a one hit wonder on this list. - RobertWisdom
She is not a one hit wonder she had a song called "Good
Time" with Owl City that also made the top 10 even "I Really Like You" could be considered a hit as it reached the top 40. - Powell
These guys broke out in 2014 with Selfie a minor hit song mocking social media in a way reminiscent of Aquas Barbie Girl. From the response I would have not been surprised if they had ended up as a one hit wonder. Yet they proceeded to top it with a pretty significant hit Roses released in 2015 and becoming a hit in 2016 then getting a massive hit with Don't Let Me Down one of the biggest hits of 2016 and earning the duo a Grammy. Then came their mega hit closer Closer which spent 12 weeks at number one and a record equaling 32 in the 10 besides this it got to number one across most of the rest of the world as well making the top ten best selling singles of both 2016 and 2017. All this was before their debut album Memories Do Not Open which naturally made the upper reaches of chart around the world and included significant hits Paris and Something Just Like This (3rd best selling single of 2017 worldwide) despite being severely panned by critics and music lovers (worst album of the ...more - Powell
I guess that quite a few people voted for these guys given that they have moved a fair way up the list with out being on either remix. - Powell
Broke out with mega hit "Fancy" in 2014 featuring UK singer Charli XCX she also had a a feature on Ariana Grande's "Problem" and and released Black Widow with Rita Ora. Fancy and Black Widow were also included on her debut album which she had the confidence to proclaim "The New Classic". She put out several singles including a couple minor hits Pretty Girls and Booty with Britney Spears and Jennifer Lopez respectively before putting out her much delayed follow up In My Defense in 2019. It appeared that not many fondly remembered The New Classic as the new album charted in only a few countries (nowhere very high) and did not generate a real hit anywhere. It was also torn apart by critics with a score of 39 on Metacritic (this would put it in the top ten worst albums of the century I think although it does not have enough reviews to make an official list) - Powell
My favourite rapper. Unfortunately he hasn't released an album since 2011. But he has made collabs with artists after that. Just hope his 5th album comes soon. - DarkBoi-X
Ummm... their last album was in 2018 and it hit number 1 in the USA, the biggest music market in the world, plus it had good chart positions internationally. - Martin_Canine
Sisqo, the lead singer and frontman of popular 90s R&B band "Dru Hill" was on top of the world. A string of platinum and multi-platinum albums from Dru Hill and a ton of hit songs to follow led to a solo album. In late 1999, Sisqo released his debut solo album, "Unleash the Dragon." the lead single "Got To Get It" was a huge success. He followed that up in 2000 with his trademark song and biggest hit to date, "Thong Song" The album would produce 2 more smash hits after that being, "Incomplete' and "Unleash The Dragon." The album went on to sell over 5million units. in 2001 Sisqo released his much anticipated follow up, "Return Of Dragon." The album suffered from poor reviews by critics and only manged to produce one minor hit "Can I Live." He released a second single, "Dance For Me" but it failed to chart. despite these let downs, Sisqo's sophomore effort still managed to go platinum selling 1 million units. A couple of years later in 2003 Sisqo reunited with his band Dru Hill ...more - RobertWisdom
Major world wide success from The Spice Girls from 1997-2000. Then they just seemingly vanished. - RobertWisdom
These guys were huge from 1991-1995. And then just mysteriously dropped off the face of the earth not to be seen until 2014 a failed come back attempt. - RobertWisdom
These guys fell off just as quick as they became popular. But then again they are one hit wonders. - RobertWisdom
Definitely. Although it's a thin line between this list and one hit wonders ("Somebody That I Used To Know"), the reason he remained a one hit wonder is that he took a long time off and ended his own career. One hit wonders usually try to come up with a worthy follow up but fail. Plus he had solid successes in his home country before, so I'll make an exception for this. - Martin_Canine
A smash hit album with critcal acclaim, commercial success in 2001, and were never heard from again. Google them. - RobertWisdom
After Be Here Now they quickly faded into the background. - JoLeKosovo
He made 2 Legit 2 Quit and then quit. How ironic. - AlphaQ
Faded away as gangsta rap was on the rise - JoLeKosovo
Rose to fame with a collaboration with Bruno Mars "nothing on You" a sweet song flattering a girl that became a huge hit. However while his featured singer went on to dominate 2010s pop B.o.B had far less success after that his song "Airplanes" with Hayley Williams of Paramore had a similar level of success to nothing on You" and he also had a feature on "Price Tag" Jessie J which reached the top 5 in several countries but within a couple years he had fallen off and did not have another hit. Each of his albums performed significantly worse than the previous one. - Powell
He had a 2 massive hits with "Pillowtalk" and his duet with Taylor Swift "I Don't Wanna Live Forever". His debut album also topped the charts around the world giving him probably the most successful solo career of former One Direction members. After that though his followup flopped hard only making the top 40 in a few countries while Dusk Till Dawn was a hit in many countries it was perhaps his last hit. Will the other former One Direction members go the same way? - Powell
He is mostly known as a one hit wonder with "Crank That" in 2007 however he had another significant hit with "Kiss Me Thru the Phone" and arguably a couple others "Turn My Swag On" and "Clumsy" as featured by Fergie. His debut album also performed fairly well on the charts reaching number 4 on the US charts. Like B.O.B though each of his albums performed considerably worse than their predecessor and by the end of the 2000s he was irrelevant. - Powell
Principally known for 2 songs "Dynamite" and "Break Your Heart" both of which massive in 2010 he had a couple of other hit songs Hangover and Higher but within a year or 2 he had lost his popularity and did not have another hit. He had only 3 albums with his second one being the only really successful one. - Powell
Most of the artists on this list seem to be stronger on singles but Susan Boyle was instead an artist that at first performed spectacularly with albums. In 2009 after winning that years Britain's got talent at the age of 48 she released her debut album which topped that charts around the world and sold over 10 million copies a feat done by only 4 albums since then. Her follow up the next year also topped the charts in many countries but after that each album came short of the previous one in 2016 her album charted in only a few countries. Despite her massive early success on albums she never had much success with singles with only a couple minor hits outside the UK. - Powell