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Thursday, November 11, 2004

THE WORST SONGS THAT EVER MADE IT INTO THE BILLBOARD TOP 100

While there is so much terrific music out there, I have to ask myself why I take such pleasure in truly awful recordings. It’s easy to understand when it comes to various loopy novelty songs, but what is it about the truly pain-inducing pop songs that are not only flat-out horrible but are also completely serious?

I recently pondered exactly what were the absolute worst records ever to make it into the top 100 of the Billboard record chart, a thankless task if ever there was one, and here are the songs that make me feel ready to commit violent, messy homicide. Your opinion will no doubt vary from mine, so please write in with other aural offenders.

PATCHES-Clarence Carter
A very strong contender for the title of "Most Depressing Song Ever Recorded," this tells the tale of a dirt-poor Southern black guy who sacrifices everything for his family due to a promise made at his father's deathbed. Not only depressing, it's just plain maudlin:

(spoken) I was born and raised down in Alabama
On a farm way back up in the woods
I was so ragged that folks used to call me Patches
Papa used to tease me about it
'Cause deep down inside he was hurt
'Cause he'd done all he could

(sung) My papa was a great old man
I can see him with a shovel in his hands, see
Education he never had
He did wonders when the times got bad
The little money from the crops he raised
Barely paid the bills we made

For, life had kick him down to the ground
When he tried to get up
Life would kick him back down
One day Papa called me to his dyin' bed
Put his hands on my shoulders
And in his tears he said

He said, Patches
I'm dependin' on you, son
To pull the family through
My son, it's all left up to you

Two days later Papa passed away, and
I became a man that day
So I told Mama I was gonna quit school, but
She said that was Daddy's strictest rule

So ev'ry mornin' 'fore I went to school
I fed the chickens and I chopped wood too
Sometimes I felt that I couldn't go on
I wanted to leave, just run away from home
But I would remember what my daddy said
With tears in his eyes on his dyin' bed

He said, Patches
I'm dependin' on you, son
I tried to do my best
It's up to you to do the rest

Then one day a strong rain came
And washed all the crops away
And at the age of 13 I thought
I was carryin' the weight of the
Whole world on my shoulders
And you know, Mama knew
What I was goin' through, 'cause

Ev'ry day I had to work the fields
'Cause that's the only way we got our meals
You see, I was the oldest of the family
And ev'rybody else depended on me
Ev'ry night I heard my Mama pray
Lord, give him the strength to face another day

So years have passed and all the kids are grown
The angels took Mama to a brand new home
Lord knows, people, I shedded tears
But my daddy's voice kept me through the years

Patches, I'm dependin' on you, son
To pull the family through
My son, it's all left up to you

Oh, I can still hear Papa's voice sayin'
Patches, I'm dependin' on you, son
I've tried to do my best
It's up to you to do the rest

I can still hear Papa, what he said
Patches ...

Patches, hand me the double-barrelled shotgun and let me blow your fucking head off!


WE BUILT THIS CITY (ON ROCK 'N' ROLL)-Starship
Do I really have to explain why this song sucks most egregiously? So bad that it inspired a vicious drinking game in which each player is given a six-pack and they have to finish the whole thing while the song plays. If the player finishes before the song ends, they can leave the game. For the players who remain, if they don't finish the six-pack before the song ends, the song is started again and they can't leave until the beers are done. Sheer evil.

(YOU'RE) HAVING MY BABY-Paul Anka and Odia Coates
The song that single-handedly set back the Women's Movement by 500 years, this horror actually made it to #1 for three weeks back in 1974. During an era that gave the world some of the most ass-kickin' rock 'n' roll of all time, how the fuck did this atrocity ever become a hit? Get a load of this:

PAUL: Havin' my baby
What a lovely way of sayin' how much you love me
Havin' my baby
What a lovely way of sayin' what you're thinkin' of me
I can see it, face is glowin'
I can see in your eyes, I'm happy you know it

BOTH: That you're havin' my baby
PAUL: You're the woman I love and I love what it's doin' to ya
BOTH: Havin' my baby
PAUL: You're a woman in love and I love what's goin' through ya

PAUL: The need inside you, I see it showin'
Whoa, the seed inside ya, baby, do you feel it growin'?
Are you happy you know it? That you're

BOTH: Havin' my baby

ODIA: I'm a woman in love and I love what it's doin' to me
BOTH: Havin' my baby
ODIA: I'm a woman in love and I love what's goin' through me

PAUL: Didn't have to keep it
Wouldn't put ya through it
You could have swept it from you life
But you wouldn't do it, no, you wouldn't do it

BOTH: And you're havin' my baby

ODIA: I'm a woman in love and I love what it's doin' to me
BOTH: Havin' my baby
ODIA: I'm a woman in love and I love what's goin' through me

PAUL: Havin' my baby (havin' my baby)
What a lovely way of sayin' how much you love me

FADE
PAUL: Havin' my baby (havin' my baby)
ODIA: I'm a woman in love and I love what's goin' through me (fade)

I'm all for motherhood, but I haven't heard this song in many, many years and I still want to bludgeon both Paul and Odia with a baseball bat.


WHAT'S GOING ON-Four Non Blondes
The lead singer's wildly off key warblings bring to mind a modern day Mrs. Miller (look it up), but it's the chorus of "HHHHHY-YAAAAAAY-YAAAAAAAY-YEEEEEAAAAYEAH" that really puts this one in this list.

RADIO GA-GA-Queen
Next to "I'm In Love With My Car," this is definitive proof that even a group as excellent as Queen could turn out some seriously wretched shit. Meant as a protest against the cookie cutter bullshit that infests the airwaves, this song ends up being exactly what it complains about.

RUN JOEY RUN-David Geddes
One of the great bad songs of the '70's, this is the story of a young girl who gets pregnant, and her crazed, gun-totin' dad goes after the guy who's responsible. The unforgettable chorus and the twist ending make this worth requesting from the local oldies station (thereby tormenting innocent listeners); read these lyrics and judge for yourself:

(off key as hell) Daddy please don't, it wasn't his fault, he means so much to me
Daddy please don't, we're gonna get married...just you wait and see.

She called me up, late last night, she said Joe, don't come over
My dad and I just had a fight, and he stormed out the door
I've never seen him act his this way, my God, hes going crazy
He says he's gonna make you pay, for what we've done, he's got a gun, so

Run Joey Run Joey Run
Daddy please don't, it wasn't his fault, he means so much to me
Daddy please don't, we're gonna get married...just you wait and see.

I got in my car and I drove like mad, till I reached Julie's place
She ran to me, with tears in her eyes, and bruises on her face
All at once, I saw him there, sneaking up behind me, WATCH OUT!
Then Julie yelled, he's got a gun, and she stepped in front of me
Suddenly, a shot rang out, and I saw Julie falling
I ran to her, I held her close, when I looked down, my hands were red,
and heres the last words Julie said...

Daddy please don't, it wasn't his fault, he means so much to me
Daddy please don't, we're gonna get married.....aaahhh..ahhhh
ahhhh....ahhhhh (ethereal, heavenly music)

Run Joey run Joey run Joey run Joey run Joey run (ad infinitum)


LONELY BOY-Andrew Gold
The sad tale of a loser, and Andrew Gold honestly expected us to empathize with the sorry son of a bitch. There are a million songs like this, but this one stands out for the sheer wimpiness that will turn you into a total pussy just by listening to it:

He was born on a summer day 1951
And with a slap of a hand
He landed as an only son
His mother and father said what a lovely boy
We'll teach him what we learned
Ah yes just what we learned
We'll dress him up warmly and
We'll send him to school
It'll teach him how to fight
To be nobody's fool

Oh what a lonely boy
Oh what a lonely boy
Oh what a lonely boy

In the summer of '53 his mother
Brought him a sister
And she told him we must attend to her needs
She's so much younger than you
Well he ran down the hall and he cried
Oh how could his parents have lied
When they said he was an only son
He thought he was the only one

Oh what a lonely boy
Oh what a lonely boy
Oh what a lonely boy

Goodbye mama, goodbye to you
Goodbye papa I'm pushing on through

He left home on a winter day 1969
And he hoped to find all the love
He had lost in that earlier time
Well his sister grew up
And she married a man
He gave her a son
Ah yes a lovely son
They dressed him up warmly
They sent him to school
It taught him how to fight
To be nobody's fool

Oh what a lonely boy
Oh what a lonely boy
Oh what a lonely boy


I'VE NEVER BEEN TO ME-Charlene
The worst piece of female soul-searching ever committed to vinyl, this is a prime example of what is meant by the term "so bad that it's good." I honestly believe that it is impossible to intentionally write a comedic song like this. Ultra-schmaltzy and pretentious, read the lyrics to this one and be amazed:

Hey lady, you, lady, cursin' at your life
You're a discontented mother and a regimented wife
I've no doubt you dream about the things you never do
But I wish someone had a talk to me like I wanna talk to you
Ooh I've been to Georgia and California, oh, anywhere I could run
Took the hand of a preacherman and we made love in the sun
But I ran out of places and friendly faces because I had to be free
I've been to paradise, but I've never been to me

Please lady, please, lady, don't just walk away
'Cause I have this need to tell you why I'm all alone today
I can see so much of me still living in your eyes
Won't you share a part of a weary heart that has lived a million lies
Oh I've been to Nice and the isle of Greece
Where I sipped champagne on a yacht
I moved like Harlow in Monte Carlo and showed 'em what I've got
I've been undressed by kings and I've seen some things
That a woman ain't s'posed to see
I've been to paradise, but I've never been to me

(this part is spoken...) Hey, you know what paradise is? It's a lie.
A fantasy we create about people and places as we'd like them to be.
But you know what truth is?
It's that little baby you're holding, and it's that man you fought with this morning,
the same one you're going to make love with tonight. That's truth, that's love.

Sometimes I've been to cryin' for unborn children
That might have made me complete
But I, I took the sweet life and never knew I'd be bitter from the sweet
I spent my life exploring the subtle whoring that cost too much to be free
Hey lady, I've been to paradise, but I've never been to me
I've been to paradise - never been to me
(I've been to Georgia and California, and anywhere I could run)
I've been to paradise - never been to me
(I've been to Nice and the isle of Greece
While I sipped champagne on a yacht)
I've been to paradise - never been to me
(I've been to cryin' for unborn children...)
(fade)


PLAYGROUND IN MY MIND-Clint Holmes
A nauseating reminiscence of childhood that would have been bad enough on its own, but it’s the cloying and over-the-top segment where the children in the singer’s mental playground sing about themselves that acts as musical syrup of ipecac:

My name is Michael/I got a Nickel
I got a nickel shiny and new
I'm going to buy me all kinds of candy,
That's what I'm gonna do!

My name is Cindy/When we get married
We're going to have a baby or two
We're gonna let them visit their grandma
That's what we're gonna do!

Don't it just make ya wanna puke?


COME ON EILEEN-Dexy's Midnight Runners
During high school this was my least favorite song. Not only is the record truly irritating, the band looked like a cross between a bunch of Lower East Side junkies and a bunch of homeless leprechauns. From the never-to-be-forgotten blockbuster album “Too-Rye-Ay.”

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mr. Roboto is at the top of my list. Total Eclipse of the Ass is pretty unlistenable, too. Anything by those Crash Test Dummies douchebags induces homicidal rage.

RAGE GIRL! said...

Hey, Mr. Roboto is too quirky to be bad. Love that song.

If you want my all time worst...

Boom boom boom, let's up to my room!
And we can do it all night and you can make me feel right!

I'm guessing it was on Billboard because back in the 80's it played non stop for a few weeks (usually right after Kylie Minogue's Locomotion, another brilliant piece of crap). No idea who sang it but quite possibly the worst song ever.

Anonymous said...

How about the mega turd "Achy Breaky Heart"?

-Rob

Anonymous said...

Tom Petrone -
Songs that cause homicidal urges to well up in me:
1. Afternoon Delight....The Starland Vocal Band
These no talent assholes actually had a very brief summer replacement variety show when their obnoxious song hit the charts.
2. Too Shy......Kajagoogoo
Not sure which I hate more, the song or the name of the band.
3. Mr. Roboto.....Stynx
As much as i love Renegade, I despise this pretentious rubbish.
There are more , but I'm getting angry just thinking about these three. So I better stop.

zacchai said...

Copacabana tops my list for one reason only--you can't get it out of your head. It's like some star trek worm that burrows into your subconscious and stays there, dormant for weeks, months or years and suddenly when your guard is down at the bank, Barry Manilow appears out of nowhere and it's "At the Copa, Copacabana... music and passion are always in fashion at the CO-O-O-Pa-a-a-a, don't fall in love..."

Soren said...

Aw, I love "Come On Eileen". I worked at a record store when it came out, and it was one of the few songs that could survive the experience. (Whereas Flashdance and Cats make me want to kill to this day.)

A few personal candidates:

"Escape (The Pina Colada Song)" by Rupert Holmes. Smarm.

"Heaven on the Seventh Floor" by Paul Nicholas. Smarm squared and cubed.

"Eve of Destruction" by Barry McGuire. I can never believe that anyone took this tripe seriously.

"Hey Baby" by No Doubt. I hear a lot of awful Gwen Stefani at work, but this is the worst.

Anonymous said...

"I just died in your arms tonight" puke, vomit, et al.

BLUZULU said...

OMG...I hate AND I MEAN HATE anything by that god awful group Mister Mister. So take these broken wings...and shove em up your ass losers!

And Phil Collins SUUUUUUUUUUCCCCKKKKSSS!!! I don't know whos dick this nasaly sounding, bald headed, troll ass looking fucker fucked to get a record deal, but I'm probably guessing it was none other than Sa Sa Satano himself.

Anonymous said...

I have been looking for the lyrics to run joey run since I was a little girl and it was pulled off the radio stations for being to graphic at the time (imagine that, today's music is God Awful) I call it ugly rap. Anyway, a lot of the songs listed I love, miss and would love to hear them again on the radio. Now that I know the name of the song, I can request it from my local radio station.

Anonymous said...

wonder wall suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuccccccccccccckkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkssssss who the hell likes that song???????