Wednesday, May 04, 2022

EP273: Listing the worst songs of all-time

Ken offers his picks for some of the worst songs of all-time. You’re welcome to share some of yours. It’s good cringing fun! More podcasts at WAVE:

Listen to the Hollywood & Levine podcast!


scottmc said...

I really enjoyed this edition of Hollywood and Levine. At one point I wondered which Bobby Goldsboro song would be featured, Honey or Watching Scotty Grow.
A word or two about some of the other songs that were included;
Mule Skinner Blues is a country music staple. Bill Monroe and Dolly Parton are among those who have recorded it, but the version that you played truly was cringe inducing.
The Unicorn. A Shel Silverstein song. (He also wrote A Boy Named Sue.) I hold it in a little higher esteem than you do.
The Mike Douglas song reminded me of his afternoon talk show. His show was quite popular. I think Tiger Woods, at age two or three, made his television debut on it. And I seem to recall that John and Yoko were fans and appeared on it.
At the moment I can't think of a song that I could add. You either played or mentioned the ones that I would have offered. But if any do come to mind, I will share them.

Jim Rafferty said...

"Ebony and Ivory" -- two geniuses come up with a bland piece of junk that actually trivializes racism
"Jack and Diane" -- is the thrill of living really gone after you turn 18?
"We Built This City" -- I wish you hadn't
All three were #1 hits

Irv said...

Great list Ken.

This is like shooting fish in a barrel:
Release Me
Playground in My Mind
Tie a Yellow Ribbon
The Candy Man
You're Having My Baby
Everything by Bobby Goldsboro except "It's Too Late."

And one from the "you can't play it anymore" file: They're Coming to Take Me Away.

You left "You Light Up My Life" off but the song is such a given that it's akin to one of baseball's unwritten rules.

1974 was a particularly bad year.

Thanks for a fun podcast.

Jeff Boice said...

The story goes that Sonny Bono wrote "Laugh At Me" for Cher, but she told him it would be better if he sang it. I like the production on it, though. It made the top 10!

I couldn't stand the Bee Gees in the 1960's. To me they were like that Irish band Sam hired in Bar Wars VII- their songs were all about 'death, death, death." My least favorite was "I Started A Joke", The last verse starts "I finally died", which cheered me up some.

And on the list of songs DJ'S got sick of playing there's "The Night Chicago Died". And it's an incredibly stupid song.

Mike said...

"And it's that man you fought with this morning." I have never heard the song before and I did think for a moment that the fought was going to be a word beginning with fu...

71dude said...

Dear Mr. Jesus - Powersource
Sometimes When We Touch - Dan Hill
Afternoon Delight - Starland Vocal Band
Cherry Pie - Warrant
Leave Me Alone Ruby Red Dress - Helen Reddy
The Morning After - Maureen McGovern
Can't Fight This Feeling - REO Speedwagon
Mr. Roboto - Styx
Say Say Say/The Girl Is Mine - McCartney & Jackson
Say You Say Me - Lionel Richie
Sussudio - Phil Collins
You're the Inspiration - Chicago
Another One Bites the Dust - Queen
Beth - KISS
Dude Looks Like a Lady - Aerosmith
Once You Understand - Think
On & On - Stephen Bishop

Laurie said...

Muskrat Love
Loving You by Minnie Ripperton

Roger Owen Green said...

Damn, you hit my WORST TWO, by Douglas and Goldsboro. I was describing The Men In My Little Girl's Life to friends at church last year, and they thought I was putting them on. "The music of the '60s was good!" Well, not all of it.

I agree with the comment about Mule Skinner Blues. A Great song done badly.

ELNo said...

I have never ever understood why so many people love Mr Blue Sky by ELO. I hate that song with a passion, especially the blood boiling chorus.

Stealthlite said...

Despite its positive message, "Don't Worry, Be Happy" has always annoyed the hell out of me!

YEKIMI said...

Bo Donaldson may have done "Billy, Don't Be A Hero" but to make it twice as bad, Paper Lace also did it hitting #1 in the UK and Australia before Bo hit #1 in the USA.
Vomit inducing my book:

Freddy Fender-Before The Next Teardrop Falls. Aim and play this at the Russian troops in Ukraine, they'd immediately surrender or kill themselves.

Berlin-"Take My Breath Away". I wish they would have taken the singer's breath away. The Motels were offered this first and smartly turned it down.

Baha Men-"Who Let The Dogs Out?" Don't know, but they should have turned them loose on the Baha Men.

Eddie Murphy-"Party All The Time" or as I called it Farty All The Time.

David Soul-"Don't Give Up On Us" or as I called it "Don't Throw Up On Us"....till the PD said "Funny....but knock it off!"

Any Justin Bieber song.

Michael Bolton-"How Am I Supposed to Live Without You?" I don't know but I wish you'd give it a shot...preferably in your head.

Morris Albert-"Feelings". A song that would cause a month old corpse to puke.

Pat Boone-"Tutti Frutti". Anyone would get off for justifiable homicide if they took him out for this. If Little Richard killed him I'd give him a medal and declare him a national hero.

Paul Anka-"(You're) Having My Baby" Make the Supreme Court judges listen to this, they'd probably change their upcoming votes. Supposedly was originally called "Having OUR Baby" but some record exec. somewhere said "Change it to 'MY' and it'll cause controversy and sell a shit-ton of records"

Vanilla Ice-"Ice Ice Baby". or as I called it "Lice Lice Baby". Be better if he had lice, he would have been too busy scratching to record this crap. [Again a "Knock it off!" from the PD.]

Wayne Newton-"Daddy Don't You Walk So Fast". Should have RUN when someone offered him this tune.

Will Smith-"Gettin' Jiggy Wit' It". He should have had the shit slapped out of him by everybody for this turd.

Taco-"Puttin' On The Ritz" Nowadays I can tolerate the song. But back then I called it "Givin' Me The Shitz"....but never on air.

Rupert Holmes-"Escape (The Pina Colada Song)". Liked it when it first came out but the station I was at at the time played the ever-loving shit outta this tune, like, about 75 times a day. By the time it finally faded away I would have killed Rupert Holmes if he had been anywhere within 15 miles of the station......and I like Rupert Holmes just because he wrote "Timothy" my favorite song about cannibalization and played piano on the single by The Bouys. Took to calling it "The Penis Colada Song" on overnights, which got me a few phone calls from listeners who asked "Did you just say what I think you said?" I could tolerate it when it started making a comeback on the oldies...ooops, pardon me "Classic Hits" station....but thanks to Clear Channel and their limited playlists I am starting to hate it again.

Sure there are others I could list but I mercifully must have forgotten them by now.

Steve Lanzi f/k/a qdpsteve said...

I seem to specialize in loving/enjoying songs others hate, although there are some tunes I just can't deal with, such as if they're what I would call relentlessly depressing/downbeat. "Is That All There Is?" by Peggy Lee, for instance. (But I *love* "Fever.")

Here's an example of a ditty most people probably can't stand. Yes, it's syrupy, sentimental, manipulative, and sounds like an escapee from a closed-the-first-night Broadway play. But I love it.

Mark said...

Still shocked that never been to me beat out sometimes when we touch

Tom from Massachusetts said...

Ken you were lucky you were not a DJ in the 1980S, you would have had to play the god awful It's Raining Men, a song that is enough to make you hate men forever

Steve Lanzi f/k/a qdpsteve said...

Ken, one more comment: just listened to the podcast. The first podcast I've ever listened to of yours, btw. As Wayne & Garth would say, Excellent!

And, agreed about Clair, by Gilbert O'Sullivan. Wouldn't you have loved to be his agent back in 1972?:

"Baby, yeah I know the song about offing yourself (Alone Again Naturally) was huge, everybody loved it, but are ya *sure* ya wanna follow it up with a song about your crush on a FIVE-YEAR-OLD niece??!! Have ya lost your ever-lovin' mind, Gil??"

Jim said...

71dude distinguished himself with his excellent selection, ‘The Morning After’. Maureen McGovern yelled out a true anti-masterpiece there.

My entry is a song played nationally on the radio…so it counts. Sort of. The worst ditty of all time is the Kars for Kids jingle.

My red hot hatred for that horror shall never, ever abate. Never. Ever. Everyone involved in birthing that monster belongs behind bars. In Russia. Or worse. I hear it at least 3 times a week and I break the Laws of Physics by flying to turn off the radio the second I hear the opening.

Howard Wasserman said...

I had never heard that Fendermen song. But it was the basis for a series of 70s-era Levis ads, featuring kids and running in August/September for back-to-school shopping.

DwWashburn said...

Loved this week's podcast mainly because I love most of the songs you played and most of the songs you listed at the end. Some notes about the ones you played --1) the superior version of "I've never been to Me" was the original Mary MacGregor version. No recitation and it doesn't sound like she's beathless from a 5 mile walk. 2)Surfin' Bird is one of my ringtones and a great song to dance to. 3)I agree with "The Men in my Little Girl's Life" and "Honey" 4) I have never heard "Mule Skinner Blues" and "Charlie Chan" but they sound pretty bad.

OK my list. I'll preface this by saying that I have all of the Billboard charts from 1961 to 1979. I decided to use 1964 to 1969 because that was the time I was absorbed in music. I also only listed songs that hit at least the top 10. It's not fair to go after the cellar dwellers. I'm not listing songs from groups and acts who put out terrible after terrible songs (Supremes, Beach Boys, James Brown, Frank Sinatra). And with that, on with the countdown --

The Name Game
Jolly Green Giant
Ebb Tide (Spector ruined it. I can't understand a word because of the "Wall of Sound")
Ballad of the Green Berets
Sweet Soul Music
It Must be Him
Those were the Days
Hello Goodbye (yes, even the Beatles could release a dog single)

Notice I didn't list any Monkees' songs. How could I with a name like "DW Washburn".

Buttermilk Sky said...

"Laugh at Me" -- or why Cher went on to a solo career and Sonny went on to be a Republican congressman.

"Seasons In the Sun" -- remember when Rod McKuen was taken so seriously he even published a book of "poems"? People bought it.

For 100 proof sexism "Honey" may be worse than "Wives and Lovers".

Next time don't forget Gary Puckett and the Union Gap. God knows I can't.

Mike Barer said...

I'm surprised that you didn't put "Afternoon Delight" on the list, since it shows up on every list of bad songs that you have talked about on the podcast or blogged.
Personally, I like the song.
I think the takeaway that I get from everyone's lists is that we don't like narrations or ballads.
We like instruments and a good beat. Other than that, some of the songs you played were just terrible.

YEKIMI said...

My entry is a song played nationally on the radio…so it counts. Sort of. The worst ditty of all time is the Kars for Kids jingle.

The best put down of that song came when "The Good Place" was on the air. The evil ones from the Bad Place end a meeting: OK, where done her. Let's end by singing our anthem" and break into the Kars for Kids jingle. I laughed so hard, I thought I'd wet myself. Will & Grace sorta did a knockoff joke on it with Jack & Karen slapping each other as they sing a similar type jingle in an elevator.

STABBA said...

Anything by ABBA. I was so sure when I escaped the 70s/early 80s, that I would never hear from these floppy haired, jump-suited, bleating muppets again. And yet, here they still are. Tie for the worst ABBA--Dancing Queen and Fernando.

Copa Cabana, as someone mentioned earlier--though with some affection and tolerance that I have never had, not for an instant.

Silly Love Songs. I buried Paul? I wish you had before this came out.

Muskrat Love. Did I not see this mentioned anywhere above? How could it not be?

Kung Fu Fighting.

Annnnnd--Mandy. Wouldn't it have been great to have a cruise featuring entertainment by Barry Manilow, Helen Reddy, The Captain and Tenille, Neal Diamond, Celine Dion, and most of all ABBA? A true voyage of the damned, right down the River Styx and straight to Hades.

brian t said...

This podcast started with some songs that I had heard before and never felt like hearing ever again. I didn't mind the Charlene song, but then I hadn't listened closely to the lyrics. WTF is that "subtle whoring" supposed to mean, or that conservative spoken word bit?

I knew about "Honey" because I looked up the US #1 on the day I was born ... it's a good thing I wasn't born in the USA, then. I hadn't heard of the Mike Douglas song before: another WTF moment.

One more reason why I play podcasts at 2x speed: the Sonny Bono track sounded suitably angry, like some proto-punk thrash.

tvfats said...

A winner! Seems like you need to make "WSOAT" a quarterly feature on Hollywood and Levine...Awesome poddie material...

Matthew said...

Surfin Bird was used for a potato chip advert in New Zealand. The visual was penguins waddling about sped up.

Daniel said...

My older sister and some of her friends used to hang out in her room, listening to records. They'd play that Bobby Goldsboro record of "Honey" and get weepy and teary-eyed. They thought it was terribly sad and romantic and heart-breaking.

I always wonder who (aside from my sister) bought records like that. Things like "Honey" and "Billy Don't Be a Hero" and "The Night Chicago Died." These days they're pretty widely reviled, to the point where it's almost a cliche to see them on "worst song" lists. But they sold a kajillion copies and if you listened to Top 40 radio you heard them incessantly. So I've always wondered--if they were hated so much, who the hell was buying the records and pushing them to the top of the charts?