Sunday, May 06, 2012

The Worst Songs of All-Time

I haven't done this in a couple of years but it's one of my favorite features -- suggesting and asking you to contribute to the list of "Worst Songs of All Time."   The fun is reading your cringeworthy suggestions.   There are, uh... "No Boundaries".   I'm sure I will also get outraged people defending some of these choices.  If you think "Disco Duck" belongs in the Great American Songbook next to "Stardust", I want to hear from you too. Hello from Seattle, by the way.

Here are a few of my nominees to get you going.  Most are oldies.  Although I'm sure today's music has as many if not more.
Honey....Bobby Goldsboro

Good Morning Starshine....Oliver

The Night Chicago Died....Paper Lace

Billy Don't be a Hero....Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods

One Tin Soldier....Coven

My Boy Lollipop.....Little Millie Small

Surfin Bird....Trashmen

Mule Skinner Blues....Fendermen

He Hit me and it Felt like a Kiss....Crystals

Transfusion....Nervous Norvis

Ballad of the Green Beret....Sgt. Barry Sandler

Laurie...Dickie Lee

Deck of Cards....Wink Martindale

Hooray for Hazel....Bobby Roe

Yummy Yummy Yummy....1919 Fruit Gum Co.

My Dad...Paul Peterson


Unicorn Song...Irish Rovers

Watching Scotty Grow...Bobby Goldsboro

I've Never Been to Me...Charlene

Paper Tiger...Sue Thompson

Wildfire...Michael Murphy

Indiana Wants Me...R.Dean Taylor

Letter From Elena...Tom Clay

Little Black Egg....Nightcrawlers

Disco Duck...Rick Dees

Baby I'm a want you....Bread

Past, Present, Future…the Shangri Las

Wreck of the Edmond Fitzgerald....Gordon Lightfoot

Girls girls girls are made to Love...Eddie Hodges

Seasons in the Sun...Terry Jacks

Love Jones....Brighter Shade of Darkness

Heartbeat is a Love beat -- Delfranco Family

The Streaker...Ray Stevens

She Can't Find Her Keys...Paul Peterson

Ringo...Lorne Green

I Sold My Heart to the Junkman....Bluebells

Gallant Men....Senator Everett Dirkson

Which Way you Goin Billy....Poppy Family

Torn Between Two Lovers....Mary McGregor

Happiest Girl in the USA ...Donna Fargo

Ben...Michael Jackson

Open Letter to my Teenage Son...Victor Lundberg

The Men in my Little Girl's Life....Mike Douglas

Tin Man...America

Johnny Loves Me...Shelley Fabares

I Put a Spell on You...Screamin' Jay Hawkins

Claire...Gilbert O'Sullivan

Walk like an Egyptian…the Bangles

Today is Cindy's Birthday....Johnny Crawford

Close to Cathy....Mike Clifford

Locomotion...Grand Funk Railroad

The Americans...Byron McGregor

Haunted House...Gene Simmons

Ruby Don't Take Your Love to Town....Kenny Rogers

Bottle of Wine....Fireballs

Wait For Me...the Playmates

How am I supposed to live without you…Michael Bolton

Sad Movies make me cry…Sue Thompson

Martian Hop....Randells

Skinny Legs and All....Joe Tex

Hello Hello....Claudine Longet

Tutti Fruitti....Pat Boone

Mrs. Robinson....Frank Sinatra

We are the World…USA for Africa

Do the Clam....Elvis Presley

Hello…Lionel Richie

I Remember You…Frank Eifield

Sometimes when we touch…Dan Hill

Uh oh (part II)….the Nutty Squirrels (as if part I is any good)

Wam Bam (Shang-a-Ling)….the Silvers

Laugh at Me...Sonny & Cher

Little Green Apples....O.C. Smith

I Wish I were a Princess...Little Peggy March

You Really turn me on...Ian Whitcomb

I'm Henry the Eighth....Herman's Hermits

Muskrat Love...Capt. & Tanille

Sit on my face, Stevie Nicks...the Rotters (although that's a great title)

Jingle Bells...the Barking Dogs

Downtown...Mrs. Miller

Ain't No Way to Treat a Lady...Helen Reddy

Candy Man...Sammy Davis Jr.

Puppy Love...Donny Osmond

Touch me in the Morning...Diana Ross

Another Somebody done somebody wrong song...B.J. Thomas

Float On…the Floaters

Dominique…the Singing Nun

How does that grab ya, darling….Nancy Sinatra

Chick a Boom...Daddy Dew Drops

Mmmmm Bop...Hanson

You Light up my Life…Debby Boone

Neanderthal…Hot Legs

Call Collect...Art Linkletter

Karma Chameleon…Culture Club

Please Mr. Please...Olivia Newton John

Mickey...Toni Basil

Old Rivers...Walter Brennan

You Better Sit Down Kids...Cher

Indian Lake...Cowsills

Ding dong the witch is dead....Fifth Estate

Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep...Mac & Katie Kissoon

Wild Thing...Senator Bobby

Tall Paul...Annette

Feelings…Morris Albert

Dreams of the Everyday Housewife…Glen Campbell

Roses are Red…Bobby Vinton

Stayin’ In…Bobby Vee

Chevy Van…Sammy Johns

England Swings…Roger Miller

Patches…Dickie Lee

Popsicle…Jan & Dean

I am Woman…Helen Reddy

Playground in my mind…Clint Holmes

Wind Beneath my Wings…Bette Midler

Trying to stop the feeling…Barry Manilow

The Doggone Girl is Mine…Michael Jackson & Paul McCartney

Ain’t Gonna Bump with no Big Fat Woman…Joe Tex

Speedy Gonzales….Pat Boone

I'm Not a Juvenile Delinquent...Frankie Lyman & the Teenagers

Dead Skunk...Louden Wainwright III


Paul Smith Jr. said...

Some of these fall into the "So cheesy, they're good" category, but I truly love "Ballad of the Green Berets."

Mike McCann said...

Ironic that the song whose title is the common thread among many of your "honorees" is missing from your list: Paul McCartney's "Silly Love Songs."

Tony Mariani said...

MacArthur Park. Cake out in the rain, icing flowing down and a yellow cotton dress foaming! Sounds like a trip!

Pete Darby said...

Someone not trying to write a script on a deadline should make this into a Spotify Playlist.

Rays profile said...

I'll say it like I always say it - "A Horse With No Name," America.

1. "The heat was hot." Thank you, Al Roker.

2. "There were plants and birds and rocks and things." And you too, Mr. National Geographic editor.

3. The whole song was sung in a monotone.

4. Finally ... nine days, you're in a desert with nothing to do ... GIVE THE HORSE A DAMN NAME.

Anonymous said...

I worked at a bank and we had different Muzak channels we could choose to listen to. The manager discovered the 70s channel and was so excited to play that all day long. The only thing was it really just played the same songs so you were hearing the same 20 songs over and over. After hearing Wildfire the third time I told my boss I was ready to kill myself because that song was so awful and so depressing. Luckily she was nice enough to not want me to die and let us change it.

bmfc1 said...

Where's "The Pina Colada Song"? Whenever that comes on XM 7, I almost hurt my arm trying to quickly change the station.

BTW, it's "Muskrat Love" and it was originally recorded by America which would make them two-time "honorees" in this survey.

Wendy M. Grossman said...

I thought Henry the Eighth was fun when it was originally out there... He Hit Me and It Felt Like a Kiss I never heard until the recent MAD MEN episode that used it as the outtro. It was so appropriate the way it was used it kind of needed to exist.

Mostly, the songs that get me are the ones that are sung too often by people who don't understand them. Goodnight, Irene is one such.

Star-Spangled banner is actually a *terrible* song, at least for its intended purpose as a national anthem.

Of course, the *real* worst songs of all time, we don't know - because they were so bad they've been forgotten and weeded out.

Not to spoil your fun. :)


Wendy M. Grossman said...

Tony Mariani:

Oh, God, I *hated* MacArthur Park. I've forgiven it a little bit since learning it was written by the actor Richard Harris. Apparently there was a real cake that got left out in the rain on a drinking binge...

That memory also brings back that godawful song by Procol Harum - the thing about feeling kind of seasick and the crowd calling out for more. More what? Vomit?


Jack Friday said...

I will add the 1966 classic by Napoleon XIV "They're Coming to Take Me Away". I played this song while I was working at a Mental Hospital in Pennsylvania when it was first released, so the song holds fond memories. I was a volunteer (DJ) there at the time and it was really my first "radio" job long before I was actually being paid to be on the air. Little did I know the song foreshadowed a long career of insanity that was to come over the years that followed. I'd rate the song a "2"...interesting lyrics but you can't dance to it.

cityslkrz said...

Seeing your list reminded me of growing up in 1970s and the gawd-awful songs we had. thanks...I think.

Keith said...

Well, as far as Goldsboro is concerned, you should really list "A Butterfly for Bucky".

Here's some more 70's cheese:
Tell Laura I Love Her - Ray Paterson
Run Joey Run - David Geddes
I Lost My Heart To A Starship Trooper - Hot Gossip
I Like Dreamin' - Kenny Nolan

In order to make this list I merely had to look in my YouTube history over the past week. Don't judge me!

vince said...

Wendy M. Grossman:

MacArthur Park was sung by Harris but written by songwriter Jimmy Webb.

Ken, some of the songs on your list I'd say are simple and just plain fun, but most of them - yeah, I agree.

I'd add "Feelings" - Morris Albert, "My Heart Will Go On" - Celine Dion, "Achy Breaky Heart" - Billy Cyrus, and "America A O" - Aaron Carter.

Also, almost all children's songs, like "If You're Happy and You Know It," "Bingo." etc. I hated those songs as a child, and my hatred of them has only grown stronger as an adult.

Jack Friday said...

Another just came to mind. Roger Whittaker's 1975 top 20 hit, "The Last Farewell". I'll include it only because it was a terrible choice to have been played on Top 40 format stations...and played it was. Another worst song nominee is "I Was Kaiser Bill's Batman" performed by Whistling Jack Smith who arguably is credited with 'whistling' the theme to the motion picture "The Good the Bad and the Ugly".

Daniel said...

Worst original song: "Old Shep."

Worst cover: Madonna's recording of "American Pie."

Pete Darby said...


Michael Hagerty said...

Wendy: Richard Harris recorded "MacArthut Park", but it was written by Jimmy Webb, who at the time (1968) was one of the hottest songwriters in America (By The Time I Get To Phoenix, Wichita Lineman, Up Up And Away).

brian t said...

A better title might be "The Worst American Songs of All-Time". The rest of the world has a lot to answer for, too. (Bucks Fizz, anyone?)

One I particularly hate is "Love Is In The Air" by John Paul Young, which was made in Australia but was huge worldwide. It's doubly horrifying because JP Young was from a genuinely musical family: his brother George wrote "Friday On My Mind" and became a respected producer, while two of his other brothers, Malcolm and Angus, were founding members of AC/DC!

The only reason I've heard of "Honey" is because it was #1 in the USA on the day I was born. But I wasn't Born In The USA, so that's OK then. That's my excuse, and I'm sticking with it.

As for Lionel Richie's "Hello": Lionel has a fairly healthy attitude towards its (de)merits, as he showed on German TV a few years ago.

Don K. said...

It looks as if you copied the Top 40 playlist from my formative years growing up in Chicago in the 60's and 70's. I think WLS and WCFL played all of these.

But hey, Chick A Boom??? That's a classic!!! I seem to remember some DJ in Chicago played that song something like 20 times in a row, maybe more, just because they could.

Manhattan Hillbilly said...

"Ive Got A Brand New Pair of Roller Skates." by Melanie.
Hands down guaranteed to make your ears bleed.

404 said...

"I Wanna Hippopotamus for Christmas" by somebody who wrote a song so terrible I can't even be bothered to look it up.

Oh, and the entire Journey catalogue. Yuck.

MikeFab said...

The song that stands out for me as the most God-awful, almost unlistenable, would have to be Blue Cheer's version of "Summertime Blues". I liked alot of the 60's psychadelic-type music that was getting popular at the time, but this was an audio descent into utter madness. And this version screwed up a perfectly good song.

Phillip B said...

By 1980, 40% of all new material delivered to landfills in the US was made up of Melanie LPs.

Seriously, this is a vast field of cultural debris. Most of the sons citied by Ken were bona fide chart toppers - but somehow were just "wrong."

Another category is bad or misguided cover versions. I'm still looking for Father Guido Sarducci's version of "MacArthur Park" - in Latin, but for now here's the extended video version of Steve Lawrence and Edie Gorme doing "Black Hole Sun" -

YEKIMI said...

Working at a station with a disco format back in the late 70s, I loved "Ring My Bell" by Anita Ward...until after about a month when ever other phone call was for people requesting it. I ended up telling people that I was no longer going to play it cause I was sick of it and broke the record on-air. [Not to worry, we actually had two back up copies so after a couple of days I started playing it again] Nowadays, I can listen to it maybe twice a year without breaking out in hives.

Bkos said...

I know I've watched too many Cheers episodes when I recognize two of those songs from the show:
The Ballad of the Green Beret- the song that kept Cliff from moving to Canada with Maggie.
And "Seasons in the Sun"- the love song from Norm's stalker secretary.

Oliver said...

J. J. Barrie - No Charge.

DwWashburn said...

Without listing them, I can say that I like about 75% of the songs you listed. In fact I have the sheet music for nearly half of the songs and play them often on th piano.

Since I have pretty much given up on popular music since MTV started (Video Killed the Radio Star, you know) I could probably list all popular songs of the last thirty years. Except rap, of course, because that's not music and therefore should not be considered in this list.

David no longer from Montreal said...

How could you forget Elvis' rendition of "In The Ghetto"

iain said...

I'll just leave another one by your multiple nominee Bobby Goldsboro right here, so please enjoy,"Straight Life:"

A few other key points:

1) I believe this song was covered by other multiple nominee Glen Campbell & written by Sonny "Love Is All Around" Curtis.

2)Holy cow, would the lyric "Leavin' the straight life behind" carry a different connotation these days, or what?

3) Do do do do do, do do do do dooooo.

MomQueenBee said...

What? You missed the worst song of all time, "Sugar Sugar" by the Archies, and included "I Am Woman" by Helen Reddy? That's the only flaw in this list of the worst songs written since the invention of music. Cavemen could not have done worse.

Norah said...

Here are a few I didn't see on the list:

Afternoon Delight- Starland Vocal Band
Hey Paula – Paul & Paula
White on White – Danny Williams
You’re Having My Baby – Paul Anka
Bobby’s Girl – Marcie Blaine
I Will Follow Him – Little Peggy March
Rocky - Austin Roberts (this was a tearjerker about a woman who died young, not about the Sly Stallone character.)

Pete Grossman said...

Seasons In The Sun, Feelings, Billy Don't Be a Hero. Damn, they all appear in the same space and I'm not sure I can recover from cringing.

Damn, you really hit the horseshit highlights.

gottacook said...

Oh, c'mon, "Transfusion" is great! "I got the cotton-pickin' convolutions, no I'm never never never gonna speed again... Slip the blood to me, bud!" And car crash sound effects too. It's a Mad magazine cartoon (by Don Martin, perhaps) in audio form.

"Trying to stop the feeling…Barry Manilow" probably refers to his record "Tryin' to Get the Feeling Again," which was written by a fellow named David Pomeranz - the only reason I know this was that he was the opening act when I saw Laura Nyro in concert in 1976 in Boston. Someone must have thought that if one Manilow could succeed in that genre, there was room for another.

And how could you forget, as long as you're including "Hello," Lionel Richie's song "Endless Love" recorded by him and Diana Ross - the most putrescent duet ever? (A shame about the movie for which this song was written - a much better movie could be adapted from the same novel today, and it would likely be Brooke Shields-free.)

Mr. McCann: Paul McCartney himself realized "Silly Love Songs" was deficient. For the re-recording done for his 1984 vanity movie Give My Regards to Broad Street, he did some things to add musical interest - such as modulating to a different key for a while - but regrettably the lyrics were unchanged. That version was less offensive on the whole but received little radio play - the hit record from that movie was "No More Lonely Nights."

MikeFab: I LOVE Blue Cheer's version of "Summertime Blues" and always have, but am careful not to hear it more frequently than every 5 years or so.

John Pearley Huffman said...

Rock-A-Hula by Mr. Elvis Aaron Presley.

Bradley said...

Tall Paul is awful, but the worst Annette song of all time is Stuffed Animal. Hands down.

Good choices overall, even if Little Green Apples is probably my favorite song of all time.

Pete Grossman said...

Oh, and pretty much anything by Celine Dion. Who ever plays that freakin' Somebody please bury that Titanic theme with the ship!

Pete Grossman said...

Re-posting from above (correctly!) Oh, and pretty much anything by Celine Dion. That freakin' Titanic theme should be buried with the ship!

cadavra said...

Hey, I'll defend "I Put A Spell On You" and "Skinny Legs And All"--they are novelty songs, after all. And yes, it's not good in the conventional sense, but "Surfin' Bird" has an undeniable fascination that keeps it chugging along.

If you want a list of REALLY awful songs, look no further than the Oscar winners for Best Song starting around 1967, among them:

that godawful TITANIC song


cbm said...

I'll grant you everything on this list, except I Put A Spell On You, which is all kinds of awesome.

Paul Eisenbrey said...

Hey -- don't blame the song when the singer screws with it. Nothing wrong with Mrs Robinson, until Frankie added his special 'magic'.

Don K. said...

I wonder how many people who are defending I Put A Spell On You are thinking of the Credence Clearwater Revival version, rather than Screaming Jay Hawkins'.

Brent said...

No offense Ken, but I think this is one blog post I'll pass on reading Because if i do, I'll have a song I despise running through my head that I won't be able to get rid of. And I'll blame you. Since you'll be my baseball announcer for the next two weeks, I just can't have that.

I won't even tell you my vote for worst song. Pretty much anything by Captain and Tenille would fit that bill. Diabetic coma, here we come.

willie b said...

First off, "I Was Kaiser Bill's Batman" was SO great I used it as a theme on my college radio show. People would whistle it in the halls when I passed by.
When I finally got a paying radio gig, one of the big songs was a novelty called "Telephone Man" by Meri Wilson, a double-entendre song about the telephone man installing a phone in her house. Hated it. When someone would call and ask for the telephone song, I played "Telephone Line" by ELO -- which also sucked, just not as badly.
Insanity finally hit me hard when "Mickey" went to number one and I had to play it twice an hour.

Chas Cunningham said...

Rod McKuen's words for "Jean."

"Jean, Jean, you're young and alive! Come out of your half-dreamed dream. And run, if you will, to the top of the hill. Come into my arms, bonnie Jean..."

Mike Barer said...

Ilove reading this because I always find a song that I love. Not really this year. Some songs to add...
Billy Don't Be A Hero
The Night Chicago Died
Junk Food Junkie
P.S. To Norah
PM Delight is an old stand by on the Levine worst songs list.

@IFeedUrTV said...

Thanks so much for making me ashamed to be a product of the '70s. I had to grow up with that dreck!

Seriously though, some of the stuff I have in my collection would make your list sound great. In short, I can add to your list: "just about any song covered by a celebrity." Especially if that celebrity is Ed McMahon. Ask me how I know.

CAPTCHA: Cherity Mantex...sounds like a condom manufacturer.

71dude said...

Dear Mr. Jesus
I Don't Want to Miss a Thing - Aerosmith
Rock Star (or any Nickelback)
Lips of an Angel - Hinder
Love Shack - B52's
Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now - Starship
Boot Scootin' Boogie - Brooks & Dunn
Bandstand Boogie - Barry Manilow
You & Me Against the World - Helen Reddy
Think of Laura - Christopher Cross
Turn Back Time - Cher
After All - Peter Cetera & Cher
Glory of Love - Peter Cetera
Afternoon Delight - Starland Vocal Band
On My Own - Patti Labelle & Michael McDonald
Thank God I'm a Country Boy - John Denver
I Just Wanna Stop - Gino Vanelli
Dancing on the Ceiling - Lionel Richie
Party All the Time - Eddie Murphy
Wives & Lovers - Jack Jones

Barry Traylor said...

Curse you Ken Levine. Just reading some of the titles have a horrible song or two stuck in my head!!!!

Becca said...

"I Put a Spell on You" ROCKS, and yes...I'm thinking of Screamin' Jay's version.

I'd like to add my voice to the "MacArthur Park" chorus (not literally), and add:

- Born Free
- Ah Mo Be There
- That's What Friends Are For (has me lunging for the insulin in seconds)
- Windmills of Your Mind
- Manic Monday
- Cherish (The Association or Kool & the Gang...different songs, same suckitude)

Mike Botula said...


It's a small, small world.

David Baruffi said...

I had this question myself when I did Facebook's "30 Day Song Challenge". I thought of a couple of your songs, (and btw, scratch off "Locomotion", I don't care even if it's GFR's version, that song's been a hit in three different decades, doesn't belong on that list. Carole King wrote that btw) but I don't with, for pure stupidity, uselessness, and waste of time writing a song to begin with "Thong Song," by Sisqo, really has to be number one, and should be added.

Tom Quigley said...

I'd say most of what's on the list are songs I'd flip away from the radio station within a second and a half of hearing them begin, but for me, my all-time "finger-down-the-throat" tune has to be "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia" by Vicki Lawrence.

BTW, regarding "Johnny Loves Me" by Shelley Fabares, which evidently was her follow-up to "Johnny Angel" (I couldn't tell you, I don't recall ever hearing the song), but I have a soft spot in my heart for "Johnny Angel." I once wrote a parody of "Johnny Angel" for Shelley where I turned Johnny into a hit man for the mob. Gave it to her through a mutual friend and she loved it -- and it gave me the chance to meet her a few weeks later.

Greg Ehrbar said...

First of all, some of the songs you listed were personal favorites, one of which makes me weep unashamedly ("My Dad").

Music is one of the most subjective forces in the galaxy. Our love or dislike of songs has a lot to do with the circumstances surrounding them.

That's why I would put "I Shot the Sherriff" on your list. In high school, one person seemed to have complete control of the cafeteria jukebox and I heard it over and over, for an hour, every weekday for an entire school year. Yaaagh!

My mother has always had an issue with the song, "Shrimp Boats" by Jo Stafford, so naturally I had it played at her third wedding, in multiple renditions. We kid because we love.

And now, something with a bit more gravitas. It needs to be said.

I cannot emotionally deal with Annette Funicello and "Tall Paul" being on your list. Annette is the goddess of the beach. She has captured many of our hearts forever and ever. Annette is my idol and I adore her. ***No, no! Sorry! Not listening to practicalities and cooler heads! Hands over my ears! Hmm, hmm, hmm! La, la, la, la...! Can't hear you!***

Besides, without Annette and "Tall Paul" there wouldn't be a Disney World. Yes, indeed. There is a razor sharp, head-slapping logic to that statement, found right here:

Greg Ehrbar said...

Oops, sorry, actually the incisive, surely definitive explanation of how Annette built Disney World is here:

Kati said...

Frankie Teardrop by Suicide.

To be fair, I've never made it through the whole song - I think I'm scared that my stomach will invert and fly out my mouth, OR the world will sonic boom and crumble around me. Maybe both.

RCP said...

"Pillow Talk" - Sylvia
"Feelings" - Morris Albert
"Silly Love Songs" - Paul McCartney
"Afternoon Delight"
"Muskrat Love" - Captain and Tenille (already mentioned but so offensive it deserves two slams)
"Old Time Religion"
ANY song by The Shaggs

Wow - other than talk, it's been a long time since I've listened to the radio.

lolly b said...

Too fun. So many of these song titles are the most memorable of my youth. omg - my age is showing.
Oddly, these are among the songs to which I actually understood the lyrics.

Reading this has brought to mind the names of the children of a fellow I once met. He was in the music industry and named his kids Boston and Journey. Perhaps a list of - hmmm - 'poorly chosen' names could be fun. Not that I am one to laugh at the misfortune of others.

'Drop kick me Jesus through the goal posts of life'

The Narrator said...

I don't know, Ken; I think you've combined three different types in your list: Weeper songs (Patches, Wildfire), novelty songs (Martian Hop, Transfusion, Dead Skunk), and just plain dreck (Seasons in the Sun, The Night Chicago Died, Ben).

Some transcend category: Gilbert O'Sullivan's schtick was weepers, but they were just so... so... horrible.

Henry VIII was a fine song. It's just that when you were a DJ you could pair that with The Letter by the Box Tops and claim "two in a row!" So you played it... a lot.

Maybe I'm just sensitive because I had a lot of these on 45s -- and most of them are still on my iPod.

And I think you missed one of the all time worst... Spiders and Snakes!

Ken Copper said...

A more recent steaming pile of a song is: "You're Beautiful" by James Blunt. You risk a loss of 10 IQ points with every listen. The most insipid offering in years.

Mike Schryver said...

"I'm still looking for Father Guido Sarducci's version of MacArthur Park - in Latin"

This reminds me of a great bit on SNL around '85. One of those late-night record commercials with Don Novello as (cue Don Pardo) "Gianni Tucci, the most popular Italian singer in all of Ireland!"

Novello goes on to sing a bunch of Irish folk songs in Italian. "Harrigan" is particularly good this way.

Kirk said...

Man, are you tough on music! I like a at least half those songs, and can tolerate half of the rest. So I despise maybe 1/4 of your list. Also, you seem to have declared war on early '70s Top 40. Is it because you were a disc jockey at the time, and just got sick of hearing the same songs over and over again?

Anyway, my nomination for worst song goes to "Dear Mr. Jesus", a 1987 Christmastime hit for six-year old Sharon Batts. The song is about child abuse. I normally have the greatest sympathy for victims of child abuse, but hearing this song made me want to beat the shit out of six-year old Sharon. In the song, she asks Jesus to get her father to stop hitting her. In the last verse she tells Jesus that if Dad stops, maybe Mom will, too, which actually made me laugh the first time I heard it, though I don't think it was supposed to.

-bee said...

Just my 2 cents, I think the sheer number of bad songs of the 70's reflects an angry backlash against the perceived nihilism of the counterculture (i.e, the dirty hippies).

There are exceptions (say "One Tin Soldier" or "Hair" from the musical) but I think it is the prevailing sentiment.

Just looking for songs from earlier times, I would propose:

- The Cowboy and The Rancher Should be Friends (from Oklahoma) and It was a Real Nice Clambake (from Carousel - I love R&H but most of their musicals have at least one really embarrassing song).

- Mama Don't Bark (novelty song of an earlier era)

- Mammy (bad maudlin racist pap)

- My Mothers Arms (bad maudlin pap with weird oedipal overtones)

Megan vW said...

"Red Solo Cup" - Toby Keith
As if an ode to keggers by a 50-year-old man wasn't bad enough on principle, the song is horrible.

Powerhouse Salter said...

Les Crane's reading of "Desiderata." As in:

"...You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should..."

Zappa the Unholy said...

Dirt Road Anthem by some redneck I refuse to acknowledge. Hello Walls by another annoying hick. In da club (if for no other reason than 'learn to pronounce Birthday) Let's just go with all Rap and 95 percent of country.

Larry said...

I'm with the people who say a lot of these songs are good. Some are even great. And most are better than the latest from Justin Bieber or Lady Gaga.

Tom Reeder said...

"Shaddup You Face" (Whatsamatta you/Gotta no respect) by Joe Dolce disrupted our sleep patterns around 1980.

For those old enough to remember 1960, "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" by Brian Hyland should provoke a shudder or two.

Joe Fortunato said...

No contest. The worst song ever is "I've Never Been To Me" by Charlene...

darms said...

Man, you're dissing "Surfin Bird" by the Trashmen? Yeah it's kinda stupid but it really rocks. And for those of you hatin' on "I Put A Spell On You", track down a copy of the version by The Crazy World Of Artur Brown". It's really powerful & has some amazing musicianship as well.

Craig L. said...

The big question is how many of these "Worst Songs" are still on the 10,000-song playlist of GreatBigRadio (which IS on your linklist). Are you willing to diss Howard Hoffman's programming chops?

Jeff said...

Actually, I've never heard of 99% of these. How old ARE you, anyway?

Mike said...

Somebody said "Brand New Key" by Melanie...are you kidding me?? Watch "Boogie Nights" sometime and you'll come around...

Nicolette Eus said...

Here are a couple of Canadian additions for Worst Songs of All-Time.

Havin' My Baby - Paul Anka
Seasons In The Sun - Terry Jacks

Really enjoy your Blog, btw.
Nicolette Eus

BigTed said...

The horror of "mellow" music from the '70s! Half these songs are what spewed from my AM radio when I was a kid -- it's a wonder I survived.

I vote for "Seasons in the Sun" as the absolute worst of all time -- a dirge about suicide translated by America's worst poet, Rod McKuen, from a song by French crooner Jacques Brel. The fact that Kurt Cobain covered this song doesn't make it any hipper -- it just seems, in retrospect, like a cry for help.

Tom Wolper said...

One song I remember from the early 70s which belongs on the list is "Daddy Don't You Walk So Fast" by Wayne Newton.

Alan H. said...

I'd be awesome if this was made into a Spotify playlist. I might get around to it if I have nothing to do...

Lisa said...

I think "American Idol" should do a "Worst Songs of All-Time" night. Whoever does the worst gets to stay!

Jeffrey Mark said...

Pretty bad...they all stink!

Coward of the County - Kenny Rogers
A Cowboy's Work Is Never Done - Sonny & Cher

Sylvia's Mother - Doctor Hook
Long Haired Lover From Liverpool - Little Jimmy Osmond

Daisy a Day - Jud Strunk (Stank)
Jim Dandy - Black Oak Arkansas

Hot Child In The City - Nick Gilder
The Streak - Ray Stevens (Really bad! Really...)

Kung Fu Fighting - Carl Douglas
Undercover Angel - Alan O' Daze

Jungle Fever - Chakachas (Complete with faked orgasmic moaning in Spanish, too!)

I'm In You - Peter Frampton
Shannon - Henry Gross

(Had enough yet?)

Jeans On - David Dundas
Ariel - Dean Friedman

(Why do I know all of these songs?)

And my all time fave - In The Navy - The Village Peeps

I also played most of these songs when I was a radio D-Jay. Some fun.

Jeffrey Mark said...

Rounded up a few more choice morsels...

Stumblin'In - Suzi Quatro and Chris Norman (whoever he is/was)

Makin' It - David Naughton ( He was famous for five minutes, right?)

TUSK - Fleetwood Mac. (Pretty bad)

Da Doo Ron Ron - Shaun Cassidy. (Really bad...)

Long Tall Glasses - Leo Sayer

Baby What a Big Surprise - Chicago

(Tortured enough yet? Hold your stomach gang...a couple more...I'm on a roll here.)

Can't Stop Dancin' - Captain and Toe-Nail

Black Betty - RamJam (Bam-a-lam, indeed...)

Wild Thing - FANCY (Troggs fans unite!)

My fab, gear, fave-rave worst piece of crap song of all time...

Hooked On A Feeling - Blue Suede (Ooooga-chuck-a Ooooga-chuck-a yourself to death, baby!)

Ooops...found one more...hopefully won't offend anyone in the audience...The Lord's Prayer - Sister Janet Mead (sorry sis)

Jeffrey Mark said...

Hate to hog the conversation...

Please Mister Please and Have You Never Been Mellow.

From America's 1975 sweetheart...Olivia Newton John...(AKA Olivia Neutron Bomb)

I will confiscate your ipods if you have either of those two songs on it. (You all know who you are.)

Jeffrey Mark. said...

NO...Somebody STOP me...! Can't...can't resist...Nooo, it can't be...

I'm Not Lisa - Jessi Colter Yes, a number 4 song June, 1975


1975...true golden age of top 40 chicken manure.

jbryant said...

While I can't argue with most of those, I'm a bit surprised how many I find tolerable. Surely the main problem with some of them is that you had to hear them over and over as a deejay.

I'll stand up for "He Hit Me and It Felt Like a Kiss;" not for the sentiment, of course, but for the songcraft (Goffin and King). And I think "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town" is well-written, too (by Mel Tillis). I also don't hear what's so bad about "England Swings," and I'd say "Trying to Get the Feeling" is actually one of Manilow's most tolerable tunes.

I also try not to beat up songs that have good tunes but a bad lyric or two (e.g., "Baby I'm-a Want You").

As for the worst ever, add my vote to the tally for "I've Never Been to Me." Horrific.

Rick Nye said...

Bilbo Baggins- Leonard Nimoy
I Just Called To Say I Love You- Stevie Wonder
Wonderful Christmastime- Paul McCartney
Any Christmas song

Chas said...

Surprised that there has been no mention of "Almost Cut My Hair" by Crosby, Stills & Nash. Insipid is always the adjective that comes to mind about this song.

R's Woman said...

I'm with those who like many of the songs on the list (even though I was born in the 70s)!

I know you said readers contributed, but you must've surely vetted. KEN, how can you not love Lionel's Hello and Bette's Wind Beneath My Wings?!!!!

Being a Jamaican, I take issue with Jamaican Miss Millie's My Boy Lollipop being on the list. Twas a huge hit in the UK. And, it launched the career of producer Chris Blackwell, who went on to produce Bob Marley.

You could make a much, much longer list from the awful songs of the past 10 years, which are mostly forgettable anyway, while many of your 'worst', Ken, are unforgettable!

Fun post though. :)

By Ken Levine said...

Hey, I LOVE Ariel by Dean Friedman!

Aside from that, some GREAT horrible songs, guys!!!

By Ken Levine said...

Hey, I LOVE Ariel by Dean Friedman!

Aside from that, some GREAT horrible songs, guys!!!

Tim Simmons said...

How about Shannon by Henry Gross. timothy is an awesome song. The only hit song about cannibalism!

Tim Simmons said...

Oh, also listen to direct tv channel 804, the 70's channel.
You'll hear 80% of these songs every two hours.

I actually like these songs, but another honorable mention is:

We got to get you a woman by Todd Rundgren

cshel said...

Great post, Ken. I laughed out loud at Honey.

What about Last Kiss - the cryin' tires, the bustin' glass, the painful scream that I heard last?

Also have to agree with the previous poster who mentioned Havin' My Baby. That has to be on the top of the list.

I also agree with the other previous poster who suggested they have a worst songs night on Idol. That would be awesome.

I'd add anything that Paul McCartney has done post Beatles.

Mark said...

Too many damn songs-- it can't be a "worst of all time" list. if it's this long, it's just a list of "songs I really don't like".

And BTW, I'm outraged: I Put a Spell on You and Dead Skunk are pure, crowd-pleasing fun.

You Grinch!

Tom Galloway said...

How can you not like Timothy, I believe the only song about cannibalism to make the Top 40?

Cap'n Bob said...

I like at least 10 of those songs a lot. Others I can tolerate, but on most of them I agree with you. I don't agree with the poster who added "Almost Cut My Hair."

I'd add "On Top of Spaghetti," by Lou Monte. Or "Crazy Mary," by Lou Monte. Or "What Did Washington Say When He Crossed the Delaware," by Lou Monte.

Was Tiny Tim listed? I'm too lazy to go back and look.

Pat Reeder said...

To Bee (or not to Bee):

Thanks for mentioning "Mama Will Bark." That was my nominee for worst Frank Sinatra duet of all time, and he actually recorded "I've Got You Under My Skin" with Bono. (I don't count Celine Dion's desecration of "All The Way" because it was done after Frank died. If not, it would've killed him).

"Mama Will Bark" was a duet with then-hot TV star Dagmar, Jerry Lester's buxom, deadpan sidekick. It's so hilariously awful, I wrote a "Hollywood Hi-Fi" article all about how it came to be for Cool & Strange Music magazine. It's believed to be this song more than any other that led to the famous moment years later when Columbia A&R man Mitch Miller, who forced Frank to cut the song, saw him in an airport and approached with his hand outstretched, and Frank responded with an unrepeatable suggestion and added, "Keep walkin'."

BTW, my personal most-hated on that list would be "Seasons in the Sun" (with a dreaded children's chorus!), but Charlene's "I've Never Been To Me" gives it a run for its money. Her duet with Stevie Wonder, "Used To Be," is almost as bad, but at least it has Stevie Wonder.

Jango said...

Lionel Richie's 'Hello' is not that bad, surely!

The same chris said...

Surfin Bird is great!!!

Gloria said...

Some of these are the soundtrack of my youth in Chicago in the 60's and 70's, so I love them even if they are bad. My absolute favorite bad song is Brandy by Looking Glass. What the hell are they saying in that song?

Also, it's "Heartbeat (It's a Love Beat)", by the DeFranco Family. I LOVED them!! Tony DeFranco is a realtor in LA now.

Mike Barer said...

Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald drove me crazy in college.

iain said...

Tim Simmons:

I think "Timothy" was the song about cannibalism. "Shannon" was about a dead dog. Your call about where they fit on the depres-o-meter scale of sad songs.

Both songs were staples on "The Big 8, CKLW."

iain said...

& now I realize that's exactly what you said. I'm gonna apologize, blame the allergy meds, & shamefully skulk away.

Oh, & somebody earlier mentioned "Dear Mr. Jesus," which I think is only matched by "Butterfly Kisses" on the cringe factor.

McAlvie said...

Ha. What I'm noticing is how many of these songs are deemed horrible today but were mini hits in their day. Which makes me wonder how the hits of today will be viewed 30 years from now. I suspect most songs from the last two decades would make this list.

But while we are all poking fun at these less than stellar oldies, it's worth mentioning that these are songs most of us know, whether from our own memories or because they are still kicking around. There's some staying power there that I don't hear in most of today's songs.

Cheryl said...

Anything by Barry Manilow, Wayne Newton, Gilbert O'Sullivan, the Captain and Tenille, the Shangri Las and the Cowsils should be at the top of that list. Individual songs about dead teen-agers - Teen Angel and Tell Laura I Love Her. And who can forget Kung Foo Fighting?

Jeffrey Mark said...

No...sorry, no...THE SHANGRI-LA'S RULE! Next to the Supremes and the Crystals best girl-group of all time. (Ya wanna argue about this just talk to Steven (Syl) Van Zandt.)Mary Weiss (Lead singer in the group) was brilliant on Leader of the Pack, Remember, and Give Him a Great Big Kiss. Tough, yet tender were the Shangri-La's. And for true heartbreak, go back and listen to I Can Never Go Home Anymore. They just don't play pure melancholy like that on the radio anymore.

I know, I know, I'm a big music geek with all of this useless knowledge. Big geek.

BigTed said...

I have to agree, Dean Friedman's "Ariel" is a pop classic. I never heard it until long after it was released (maybe it was just an East Coast hit?), but the lyrics (and maybe Friedman's entire career) really capture a certain '70s Jewish hipster type perfectly.

Mike said...

I loved Muskrat Love when it was out. I wasn't quite 3 years old yet.

I'm still haunted by the synthesizer part.

For some good reading on a subject you never knew you cared about, check out the story of the song on Wikipedia.

(Yes, I realize "for some good reading on a subject you never knew you cared about" could be the Wikipedia tagline.)

Donald said...

Fun's fun, but I must defend "Ringo." In addition to being an awesome song in the great spoken-word tradition (like "Big Bad John"), the B-side of the 45 had Lorne Greene singing the words to the "Bonanza" theme, which, by the way, were not the lyrics used in that classic "Cheers" cold open. Did the writers make up its own "Bonanza" lyrics?

Brian said...

Boheium Raspody

Todd Ayres said...

Well I've heard of roughly 7 of these. Thanks for making me feel young!!!

Anonymous said...

"Hey There Lonely Girl" by Eddie Holman is the most grating, obnoxious song ever recorded. His shrill falsetto sounds like Scratchy the Cat from "The Simpsons" being tortured.

Kevin Jq said...

This is oddly satisfying.

Reelin' in the Years Steely Dan

Life in the Fast Lane Eagles

Glory Days Springsteen

Hey Jude/Let it Be I love the Beatles but 7 minute Paul McCartney ballads are brutal

Rasberry Beret Prince

Like A Rock Bob Seeger

Layla Eric Clapton (Derick & the Dominos)

Any 80's Phil Collins hits.

Anonymous said...

I will read all of the comments, I promise, but mine are:

Havin' My Baby-Paul Anka

McArthur Park-Richard Harris

I Am Woman-Helen Reddy

The radio goes off whenever those come on.

Pam aka SisterZip

Anonymous said...

And since my 3 offerings had been mentioned a few times, I offer these:

I Write the Songs

by Barry Manilow

I love Barry. I've seen him 5 times live and he puts on a great show. But I really HATE those songs. He didn't write I Write the Songs and who wants to hear a song about an old, haggy, lounge lizzard? Yuck.


Mike Doran said...

About I'm Henry VIII, I Am:
That's an old English music hall song, dating to the early years of the 20th century.
It was A big favorite of Peter Noone's growing up, so he used his hitmaker status to put it on record. Just lucky that it became a hit.
My favorite version was the 1966 cover by Arthur Treacher and Merv Griffin, part of an LP they did of British variety songs. I've been waiting years for a CD reissue.

gottacook said...

"I Write the Songs" is by Bruce Johnston, a member of the Beach Boys off and on since the 1960s (and part of the current tour).

Anonymous said...

I vote for Hall and Oates, "It's a laugh."

The chorus sounds like a suspect stalling during an interrogation.

Cap'n Bob said...

Correction, it's "Lazy Mary," not "Crazy Mary," by Lou Monte. His big hit, also deserving a place on the shit list, is "Pepino the Italian Mouse."

Just listened to the game with Ken in the booth. M's come back from a 2-0 score in the bottom of the 9th to win 3-2. Great finish.

Melissa Banczak said...

Wow, lots of clunkers on that list. Some were just cheesy fun, like, I'm Henry the 8th. Songs in recent songs- that umbrella song has the stupidest lyrics ever written. Umbrella ella ella ella eh eh eh eh. I don't even want to listen to it again to see if I'm remembering it right.

Jeffrey Mark said...

Kevinjq: Hey Jude? Really? My gawd, must be joking, right? Where are you from? Yeah, just your opinion, mate...but, Hey Jude? I think I'm going to have to call up some of my Jersey "friends" and have them force you to listen to one of the best songs of the '60s over and over and over...and over...'till your earlobes sweat.

Layla? Layla? My gawd, must be joking, right? (Ok, here we go again.) Next to Born To Run, quite possibly the best song of the entire 1970s. I'm calling my "friends."

Jeffrey Mark said...

Has anyone mentioned "Loving You" by Minnie Riperton? If not, may I be the first? Yeah, I know, everyone touted and celebrated that song back in 1975, due to her untimely death. But...still...her shrill trill still don't thrill. RIP Minnie.

Kevin Jq said...

Joffrey Mark-

Born to Run? Jesus. You better go call your girlfriends.

You're not even in the ballpark for best song of the 70's, you need to head in the direction of something like Won't Get Fooled Again or Shattered.

chuckcd said...

Brand New Key - Melanie

chuckcd said...

In response to Lisa:
Don't they already do that?

Brian Phillips said...

Grayson Goofed - Waldo, Dudley and Dora (It's one thing to parody Tom Dooley, but another entirely to do it "badly" and have it turn out this poorly)

To Wendy Grossman: The Procol Harum song you are referring to is "Whiter Shade of Pale", which I like, but it was certainly overplayed.

"He Hit Me..." is a good tune, but the lyrics are made even creepier by the fact that it was inspired by what Little Eva, the songwriter's babysitter/future recording artist said about her abusive boyfriend AND the fact that it is a Phil Spector production.

Big Shot - Billy Joel. Not a bad song, per se, but it is scuttled by the over-the-top delivery.

Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer - Elmo and Patsy: Oy vey.

Montego Bay - Bobby Bloom: Reasonable song, but every station I know fades it at the end to keep from hearing the a cappella rendition of "O, What a Beautiful Mornin'" that is the REAL end of the record.

To Ray Barrington: "Horse With No Name" was parodied once by the old BBC radio show "Radio Active":

"On the first part of the journey
I was looking at all the life
There were plants and birds and rocks and things
There was sand and hills and rings,

On the second part of the journey
I was looking at all the life
There were plants and birds and rocks and things
There was sand and hills and rings,

On the third part of the journey
I was looking at all the life
There were plants and birds and rocks and things
There was sand and hills and rings,

I've been stuck in the desert on a horse with no legs..."

RockGolf said...

Purely accidental timing but I put out a poll of the Worst #1 Songs of all time at Sporcle yesterday. There's almost 200 bad #1s to select from and you can pick as many or as few as you like. Songs range from 1960 to 2010, so there's bound to be something to offend everyone. The link is in my name.

Jeffrey Mark said...

Kevie jq:Let's debate, why not, old boy. First off, Born To Run came out to rave rave rave reviews from EVERY major (and minor) rock music critic the world over. That 4 minute song embodied everything that was transformational about the spirit of rock and roll music. The positive energy of rock and roll is not only captivating, but also can set you free. Born To Run is the ultimate anthem for the pursuit of a NEW LIFE. What more could you ask for in this life?

Not in the ballpark - what Fenway, Yankee Stadium or Rigley? Dude, Layla is perfection in a deeply adult love song. "Layla - you got me on my KNEES/begging darling PLEASE." Please...if that ain't true love, what the frick is? And the piano coda..? Man, that is perfection...haunting, lilting, melodic like you've never heard piano before on any record. Clapton was a heroin addict, but with the help of the amazing Duane Allman they created this breathtaking song.

We can debate this night and day. I will concede to you that Won't Get Fooled Again is brilliant in its own way as Layla and Born To Run. Number one for the entire '70s? Many will rate it that. I'll give you this: Layla, number one. Born To Run, number two. Won't Get Fooled Again, number three. Hell, they're all number one, really...

But, gawd, no, no...not Schmotel Califonia...the most over-played song on current - what passes for good radio - FM classic rock drivel. Listeners on those stations certainly would vote that song number one of the '70s. Enough!

Anonymous said...

Fun fact: Capitol Records passed on The Beatles (I think "She Loves You") to release Frank Ifield's "I Remember You." Of course they later released the Beatles, but…

RJ Battles said...

Maybe if I was around when "Born to Run" came out I'd be more impressed by it, but with all the pianos or keyboads it sounds kind of lame. The Bangles have songs that are more "rocking".

"Layla" is OK, but that song came out, what- in 1970? I think even by then "Down on my knees/ begging you, please" was tired and used up. That's almost as bad as "Take you by the hand/ And make you understand"

I agree that "Hotel California" is horrible and over-played.

Jeffrey Mark said...

RJ: Born To Run came out in the early fall of 1975, and let me tell you, after the pablum and crap of the previous year or two played on the radio, was a significant breath of fresh rock and roll air. All of us young radio on-air geeks at KFJC in the San Francisco Bay Area dropped our heavily "mic'd" jaws and collectively said, "What the fuck?!" upon hearing Born To Run. And then we played the crap outta it until the following spring. Really. It made that big of an impact - pretty darn close to that of the Beatles 9 years earlier.

"The highway's jammed with heroes on a last trans-power drive/everybody's on the run but there's no place left to hide." "I want to die with you Wendy on the beach tonight in an everlasting kiss!" Not bad words o' wisdom for an otherwise bleak 1975 full of mostly crap coming out on the row-day-dee-oh.

And, back to's "You got me on my knees..." I dunno, the way Clapton sang that line...heart breaking in half...pretty darn powerful in 1970...still powerful today...nothing "hokey" about it. "Won't You Ease My Worried Mind" is the other line. Still has impact. I'm gonna have to get my "friends" out in Newark to come pay you a visit...forced at i-pod-point to listen to the song over and over. And, while they're at it, Born To Run,too. (And then, they'll break the i-pod into little pieces, sorry to say. )

Kevin Jq said...

Jeffrey Mark – Check that, I put Born and Layla on the list only because I've listened to them too much on records, tapes, cd's, and the radio. I used to love both of those songs, when I got my hands on the Derek & the Dominos LP I played the hell out of it. Same with Born, it was to me a perfect song & masterful compared to the crap playing on the radio in the 80's. I was a huge Clapton fan, saw him in concert, had all his albums, etc., I just reached critical mass with Layla along with Born, but that's just my opinion, they have a lot of other great songs too, say like Motherless Children, you can't beat Jamie Oldaker and Clapton in step together.

Hey Jude/Let it Be are still tough ones for me to get through, I know it's masterful song writing and they're important Beatles songs, again I just played them too much. Those along with Layla and Born shouldn't be on a bad song list, I just thought of those moments when I'm in the car and one of them comes on the radio and I change the station.

I should have put something like I'm Still Standing by Elton John, or
Yah Mo Be There by Michael Mcdonald

Now that is some bad sh*t!

Tom Mason said...

"Young New Mexican Puppeteer" by Tom Jones.

Anonymous said...

Roses from the bottom trailer

Please leave a comment

Anonymous said...

what do you think about this

jbryant said...

Before this thread fades into history, I have to mention some more recent travesties:

Just about anything by Train, especially the ubiquitous "Hey Soul Sister" and "Drops of Jupiter." The tunes are tolerable (until overexposure), but jeez, those lyrics.

Another huge hit that drives me insane is Plain White Ts' "Hey There Delilah."

The Milner Coupe said...

Was gone for a few days a missed this post. Sorry, can't bear to read 133 responses by folks I'll certainly disagree with. But...

Going through the list most of your choices were obvious, but it strikes me as odd that a writer doesn't appreciate quite a few of those bubblegum gems for their perfect cadence and melody. Claire by Gilbert O'Sullivan is a terrific song. And you throw Bread under the bus? A lot of these were hugely popular but very much a product of their times. Not all cheese ages well.

Anyway, great post but you know shit about music.

Courtney Suzanne said...

Late to the party here, but how could no one mention "Sugar Shack"? That thing is horrible!

I hated it before Glee, but I cannot stand "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey, or really anything they do.

JJ said...

MacArthur Park..Holy God Why...WHY?

Anonymous said...

The songs you list are all mundane. This does not qualify for "worst."

There are thousands of bad pop songs. "Ebony and Ivory" is transcendently bad--bad in ways a Marc Cohn or Dan Hill could only dream of aspiring to. It is "meta-bad"-- horrible just by it's very existence.

Anonymous said...

Tryin' to Get the Feeling Again is a masterful song, and Manilow's rendition is superior. Any musician with any sense and training would agree. Manilow's music will last for generations, and this song is timeless for sure!

Sun Ra's lost cousin Moon Beam said...

What? No ACDC? No Eagles? No Styx? "Come sail away, come sail away, come sail away with me, lads!" GAAAG. And i guess heavy metal just never happened? Jeez. Your list is disproportionately focused on 60s-70s.

James said...

Friday Song by Rebecca Black. It's fairly new compared to the ones on the list. I think it came out last year or 2 years ago.

jeffelz said...

Sugar Shack. Putrid.

Karenlynne1111 said...

I'm so pleased to see someone mentioned "Kung Fu Fighting." That and "Muskrat Love" and "Believe" by Cher's electronic voice are the grossest songs; and this is coming from someone whose first 45 ever was "I Think I Love You" (David Cassidy--swoon)!

Klay Stumerfun said...

Midnight at the Oasis - Maria Muldaur.

HorrorFan said...

Ben is my favorite song of all time.

Anonymous said...

How about these;
Eyes without a face
Goody two shoes
Jocko Homo(we are devo)
What's new pussycat
Dance your ass ass off
99 luftballoons
Ill tumble for you

cbell muzicman said...

How about these;
Eyes without a face,
Goody two shoes,
Jocko Homo(we are devo),
Dance your ass ass off,
What's new pussycat,
I ll tumble for you
Buffalo girls,
Buffalo stance.

Unknown said...

Eyes without a face
goody two shoes
dance your ass ass off
jocko homo(we are devo)
I ll tumble for you

Unknown said...

Here are a few more stupid songs;
Dance your ass ass off
Goody two shoes
Jocko Homo(we are devo)
Buffalo Girls
Buffalo Stance
Gypsy Woman(la da dee la da daa)
Run Joey Run

Unknown said...

Eyes without a face, goody two shoes,
Dance your ass ass off, run joey run,
Whats new pussycat, jocko homo(we are devo)

Unknown said...

Oops there goes my dress

Unknown said...

Jocko Homo(we are devo;
Dance your ass off;
Gypsy Woman ( .la da dee la da daa)

Todd Hehl said...

"The Night Chicago Died" always cracked me up because of the first line. "Daddy was a cop, on the east side of Chicago." I guess he was on the scuba team because his beat would have been Lake Michigan.

hana said...

Horse With No Name!? Please! I step in to defend(although I shouldn't need to) one of the most melodically exquisite pop songs ever written - I agree that the lyrics are daft, even ridiculous, but it really doesn't matter; no-one wrote anything more gorgeous in the seventies, even taking into consideration A Day In The Life Of A Tree, 'Til I Die, Lennon's Oh My Love...The fact that Horse With...has occasionally awful lyrics is rendered irrelevant by the utter perfection of the tune. America never wrote anything else of interest, but this one song was more than enough to justify their existence - anyone who would put a song like this in a worst song list can I put this delicately...not fully human. Of course this is just my(correct) opinion, so feel free to(wrongly) disagree with me.

Queen of Nothing said...

Any time i hear Payphone by maroon 5, Gangnam style psy, or friday r b i go into a beserker rage. :/

Sinclair said...

Ah, how I am cringing! I had many of these songs on 45s and they do not age well. I would like to add "Ballroom Blitz" ("It's -- it's -- the ballroom blitz" repeat and repeat and repeat), Funny Face, The Men in My Little Girl's Life, Timothy, One Tin Soldier, Midnight at the Oasis, Snoopy versus the Red Baron. And, yes, I am old(er).

PCL said...

This list seems a little dated; it is too heavily biased toward '60/'70 novelty and bubble-gum records that, for better or worse, just don't matter anymore. The list also includes some records that, whether or not you like them, command some respect from a historical perspective. "Little Black Egg", whether it was really about heroine or just some contrived nonsense, it considered a power-pop gem along the lines of "The kids are alright" or "The Las" version of "There she goes" (another drug-inspired song that appears to be about almost nothing) by many critics. "My Boy Lollipop" introduced much of the world to the Ska/Blue-beat/Reggae genres. "Ruby" was a daringly topical song when it came out; some who suffered the side effects of the Vietnam war actually found the lyrics painfully poignant. The problem with the rest is that bad music from the '80s-on has been much worse than any of that stuff; just about anything Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson or Michael Bolton did during the '80s renders even a song as bad as "Billy don't be a hero." harmless by comparison.

Reb said...

Actually "MacArthur Park" is a nice piece of orchestral music when Richard Harris just shuts the heck up. Be careful of the seeds you plant; don't forget Donna Summer recorded a disco version of this tune. Some re-makes are actually an improvement; no matter how irritated you may be by "Summertime Blues" or "Money (That's What I Want), the covers by The Flying Lizards are worth a listen (once.) If you name your band after the river which surrounds hell, Styx, it ought to tell you something and if you sing a song about a disposable "Red Solo Cup," you owe them royalties. Yet, as Mark Mothersbaugh and company once reminded us; "Freedom of choice is what you've got. Freedom FROM choice is what you want" (so put that in your Achy-Breaky Butt, Billy.)

Anonymous said...

Silvia's Mother by Dr. Hook is actually funny as hell..the song sounds like it is a send up of every sappy break up song ever written.
Besides, I knew a girl in HS named Silvia and she got teased without mercy over this song!
I've Never Been to Me, OTOH, is just the most insipid, teeth grating piece of dreck ever put on vinyl.
And it is so anti women it ain't funny.
The song was written by two surprise, considering the patronizing, borderline misogynistic tone to this song.
Just listen to the lyrics...I Am Woman it is not.
It sounds like it was written in the 70's alright...the 1570's.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Jesus .
It came out when I was in seventh grade. Us school kids did not know if we should laugh or cry. It was played so much we did both. That song stunk !

Thomas Armstrong, Ph.D. said...

Three songs that should definitely be on this list:

Tall Paul - Annette Funicello
Hats off to Larry - Del Shannon
Dark Moon - Gale Storm

kim bitar said...

What about that piece of crap Telephone Man by Meri Wilson? What about Moonlight Feels Right by Starbuck? Time Passages by Al Stewart?

kim bitar said...

Dead Skunk by Loudon Wainwright the 3rd. My Ding a Ling by Chuck Berry- how wss that even allowed on radio back then? Makes me cringe just thinking sbout it!

Ruby Stevens said...

Probably get lynched here but 'My Way' drives me nuts, no matter who's singing it and would like to add 'Ice, Ice, Baby' to the list.

Anonymous said...

Jack said:

Lots of dogs in that list but how could you possibly include Claire by Gilbert O'Sullivan? That was so wonderful-the lyrics were pure poetry. :-(

Sooke said...

Here in Canada, our political masters decided that 50% of the songs on the radio had to have Canadian content. So you think you're sick of "Seasons in the Sun"?

Here are some other Cancon songs that I hate with a passion:

"Sweet City Woman" The Stampeders

"Big Yellow Taxi" Joni Mitchell

"Sundown" Gordon Lightfoot

No wonder terrestrial radio is dead in Canada.

Unknown said...

Loving You - painful.
Sugar Shack - blecch
It's in her kiss (?!) Hall and Oates
Anything by Billy Joel - too boring for words

George L said...

Uh What's wrong with "Touch Me In The Morning"? And come on. "Do the Clam" rocks!!!! So does Frank Ifield.

George L said...

Okay couple of more thoughts -- If you have to pick a Diana Ross song how about "Last Time I Saw Him"? Cannot stand that one! I agree "Honey" & "Watching Scotty Grow" are bad ones, but B Goldsboro DID do some good songs ("Little Things" "It's Too Late"-not Carole King's song & even "Pledge of Love" from the HONEY album). I know everyone hates the dreaded BABY song by Paul Anka, but I have heard some cuts from one of his 70s albums that are pretty good. It seems like a singer slips up with a few bad ones & gets thrown under the bus.

Agree "Kung Ku Fighting" was kinda stupid, but Carl Douglas was a pretty good soul singer. And "KKF" actually had a good arrangement. Would've liked to see what Douglas would have done with better material.

For me, the mid-70s (73-74-75) had some of the worst music. Decade started out good & then got a little better near the end.

Anonymous said...

If you weren't alive when they came out or they weren't part of your youth, then your opinion may be clouded by your age. You could do the same thing with clothes people wore during a particular period. At the time, they were "hip" and now they just look not so hip. Most of the songs you listed were favorites of mine (I graduated from high school in 1967).

Jeff Greentree said...

John Paul Young is no relation to George,Malcolm or Angus Young.They are all Australian but that is the only connection.

auragoneboy said...

Flying Purple People Eater Sheb Wolley
Does Your Chewing Gum Lose it's Flavour? Lonnie Donegan
Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport - sang by Rolf Harris
anything by Johnny Horton
Witch Doctor David Seville

Aslo White said...

Whatchoo talkin' bout, bro?! Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "I Put a Spell on You" is a GREAT song!

Sheogorath said...

I can't believe you put I'm Henry the Eighth, I am on the list. It's brilliant once it's parodied! :D
BTW, is this the same Ken Levine of Bioshock fame?
@ auragone: Tie them little girls down, sport
Tie them little girls down
I'll still like them when they're teens, sport
But tie them little girls down

Unknown said...

You had me on board up until I saw Surfin' Bird on the list. Obviously you haven't heard...

John Kantor said...

The worst songs are obviously anything you like. Every one of these songs existed and was popular for a reason. Don't write about something you don't understand and aren't going to take the time to learn about.

Historical Ken said...

I think I disagree with about 75% of your selection. Maybe it should be re-titled "Songs I Don't Like, " but, seriously, many of these were great pop songs of their day. For instance, I consider The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald to be right there among the great American folk songs (even though it's Canadian lol) that tells the story (dramatization) of a historical event.
But most you have listed here were pretty much fun teen/poppy music.
That being said, I do really despise MacArthur Park.
But if I had to pick just one world's worst song, it would probably be "We Built This City" by the Starship.