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Old 01-29-2018, 12:35 PM
Ellen Cherry Ellen Cherry is offline
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Terrible songs that never deserved to be hits

Inspired by this thread: One-hit wonders that don't deserve to be. I mistakenly thought this was going to be about terrible songs that never deserved to be hits, one-off or not.

So that's what this thread is.

My nominations:

I've Never Been to Me. Surely one of the most awful songs ever written. It makes no sense. It sounds terrible. I defy you to name ONE thing that "a woman ain't 'spose to see."

Loving You by Minnie Ripperton. This has to be one of the most saccharine-sweet, disagreeable songs ever recorded. Watch this video. I dare you.

Achy, Breaky Heart, Sir Billy Ray Cyrus. I don't know about the rest of the world, but being from Kentucky I was at Billy Ray Ground Zero in 1993. There was nowhere to run. People were wearing T-shirts. They were working "achy breaky heart" into conversations. They were talking about growing up with Billy Ray in Flatwoods. I'm still not over it.

You Light Up My Life, Debby Boone. For those of us alive in 1977, this song is now vomit-inducing. I was 14 years old and couldn't go for 10 minutes without the radio on, and heard this song approximately twice an hour for a year solid. It might be an objectively fine song, but I have to include it on my list because it makes me seek a root canal for the sheer relief it would bring from listening to this song.

Don't get me wrong, though. There are some terrible songs that I love. Billy Don't Be a Hero, Run Joey Run, Tub-Thumping, Rocky ("Rocky, I've never been in love before/Don't know if I can do it.." Yeah buddy!). All these are fine.

The above list, though? They are just utterly terrible. Not good-terrible in the slightest. What are yours?
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Old 01-29-2018, 12:46 PM
kenobi 65 kenobi 65 is offline
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Afternoon Delight, a treacly song about the joys of midday sex, which, inexplicably, was a #1 hit in 1976, and led to the Starland Vocal Band actually getting a variety show on CBS.
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Old 01-29-2018, 12:50 PM
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Seasons In the Sun by Terry Jacks.

/thread
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Old 01-29-2018, 12:56 PM
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I see your Terry Jacks and raise with Minnie Riperton.
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Old 01-29-2018, 12:56 PM
davidm davidm is online now
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I've posted this before in similar threads but I'll say it again.
Sylvia's Mother

Last edited by davidm; 01-29-2018 at 12:58 PM.
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Old 01-29-2018, 12:57 PM
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"The Gambler" by Kenny Rodgers (and just about everything else he wrote). "The Gambler" stands out because the "advice" is meaningless and the message is pure unadulterated clinical depression ("The best you can do is die in your sleep"??????!!!!!!!! That's not even a low bar; it's a ditch ). What's worse is that people think it's inspiring.
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Old 01-29-2018, 01:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellen Cherry View Post
Inspired by this thread: One-hit wonders that don't deserve to be. I mistakenly thought this was going to be about terrible songs that never deserved to be hits, one-off or not.

So that's what this thread is.

My nominations:

I've Never Been to Me. Surely one of the most awful songs ever written. It makes no sense. It sounds terrible. I defy you to name ONE thing that "a woman ain't spose to see
Harvey Weinsteins junk? (Unless you're Ms. Weinstein, that is.)
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Old 01-29-2018, 01:21 PM
Leaffan Leaffan is offline
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I see your Terry Jacks and raise with Minnie Riperton.
Did you even read the OP?

Anyway, I nominate Foreigner for "I Want to Know What Love Is." Terribly treacley price of crap. And it reached number one.

"In my life there's been heartache and pain
I don't know if I can face it again
Can't stop now, I've traveled so far
To change this lonely life

I want to know what love is
I want you to show me
I want to feel what love is
I know you can show me"

Barf.
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Old 01-29-2018, 01:21 PM
Derleth Derleth is offline
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"In the Year 2525" has stupid, obvious rhymes and a vision of the future which is so disconnected from reality it's pointless to think about. The only relevant part in the whole thing is a brief "green" message; the rest is just curmudgeonly chuntering about stuff the songwriters didn't understand and therefore considered terrible. (Like... what do they really have against IVF?) It isn't even very musically interesting. The only amusing thing about it is that it's on the 2001 Clear Channel memorandum (songs Clear Channel asked its stations to not play after 9/11) for some incomprehensible reason, and that thing has some real gems: "Great Balls of Fire" by Jerry Lee Lewis, or "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye" by Steam, anyone?
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Old 01-29-2018, 01:46 PM
cochrane cochrane is offline
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I see your Terry Jacks and raise with Minnie Riperton.
I actually don't hate that song. It was amazing how high she could go with her voice. And she gave birth to Maya Rudolph.
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Old 01-29-2018, 01:48 PM
drad dog drad dog is online now
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Originally Posted by RealityChuck View Post
"The Gambler" by Kenny Rodgers (and just about everything else he wrote). "The Gambler" stands out because the "advice" is meaningless and the message is pure unadulterated clinical depression ("The best you can do is die in your sleep"??????!!!!!!!! That's not even a low bar; it's a ditch ). What's worse is that people think it's inspiring.
Kenny didn't write that, or any song I know of. It was written by Don Schlitz, who became the go to nashville country songwriter after that. Yeah it was stupid, but that was endemic to the industry. This is the reason I can't listen to contemporary country music except out of curiosity.
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Old 01-29-2018, 01:50 PM
Jackmannii Jackmannii is offline
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Originally Posted by Ellen Cherry View Post
Loving You by Minnie Ripperton. This has to be one of the most saccharine-sweet, disagreeable songs ever recorded.
Worst of all were her high notes, which reverberated off your fillings, cracked plaster and caused every dog in earshot to howl in distress.

You could cite almost any disco song as being in the undeserved/terrible category (the Hues Corporation's "Rock The Boat" sticks in my mind as a harbinger of years of disco awfulness).*

*I excuse K.C. and the Sunshine Band from this category, as I perversely liked a few of their songs.
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Old 01-29-2018, 01:58 PM
Skywatcher Skywatcher is online now
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Did you even read the OP?
Obviously not close enough.
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Old 01-29-2018, 02:09 PM
Dung Beetle Dung Beetle is offline
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Sorry, Ellen, I have fond memories of singing "I've Never Been to Me" along with my little tweenage girlfriends at a slumber party.
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Old 01-29-2018, 02:14 PM
Biffster Biffster is offline
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I actually don't hate that song. It was amazing how high she could go with her voice. And she gave birth to Maya Rudolph.


Wait a minute. According to South Park it was John Stamos's little brother who couldn't hit the high note in that song.


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Old 01-29-2018, 02:17 PM
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"And When I Die" by Blood, Sweat and Tears. With that chugachug harp it just reminds me of some after school special.


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Old 01-29-2018, 02:22 PM
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Have you heard Trap Queen by Fetty Wap? It was a big hit in 2015 peaking at #2.

I like a lot of rap - e.g., Kendrick Lamar is wonderful these days - but this song is terrible.
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Old 01-29-2018, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Ellen Cherry View Post
You Light Up My Life, Debby Boone. For those of us alive in 1977, this song is now vomit-inducing. I was 14 years old and couldn't go for 10 minutes without the radio on, and heard this song approximately twice an hour for a year solid. It might be an objectively fine song, but I have to include it on my list because it makes me seek a root canal for the sheer relief it would bring from listening to this song.
Back in mmpphh grade, at one of those crap show you have to do every couple months for your parents, They had us go up on stage and sign that horrible song as it blared over the shitty grade school PA system.
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Old 01-29-2018, 02:23 PM
CalMeacham CalMeacham is offline
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Worst of all were her high notes, which reverberated off your fillings, cracked plaster and caused every dog in earshot to howl in distress.

You could cite almost any disco song as being in the undeserved/terrible category (the Hues Corporation's "Rock The Boat" sticks in my mind as a harbinger of years of disco awfulness).*

*I excuse K.C. and the Sunshine Band from this category, as I perversely liked a few of their songs.
Minnie Ripperton reportedly had a five-octave range. She couldn't only hit those high notes -- she could sing in them, too.

I think you judge Maya Rudolph's mom too harshly. This is, sadly, the one song we know her by (go ahead -- name anything else by her without looking it up), and it's one made for her kids -- Maya and later, her brother. That it's treacly isn't surprising (and, I have to admit, it annoyed the hell out of me when it was new, and always seemed to be on the radio). But it's probably not typical and indicative of her oeuvre.
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Old 01-29-2018, 02:25 PM
Tzigone Tzigone is offline
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"The Gambler" by Kenny Rodgers (and just about everything else he wrote). "The Gambler" stands out because the "advice" is meaningless and the message is pure unadulterated clinical depression ("The best you can do is die in your sleep"??????!!!!!!!! That's not even a low bar; it's a ditch ). What's worse is that people think it's inspiring.
Really? I always thought it was funny (as in, I chuckled and though it was intentional) because the gambler got the narrarator's whiskey, cigarettes, and even got a light from him. That's a guy that doesn't pay for anything.

Last edited by Tzigone; 01-29-2018 at 02:26 PM.
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Old 01-29-2018, 02:27 PM
Loach Loach is offline
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Brown Sugar- The Rolling Stones

Classic rock hit about someone dancing good... wait what is Mick mumbling about? Let me look up those lyrics...
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Old 01-29-2018, 02:27 PM
Darren Garrison Darren Garrison is offline
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Almost everything that originated from YouTube.
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Old 01-29-2018, 02:28 PM
CalMeacham CalMeacham is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellen Cherry View Post
Inspired by this thread: One-hit wonders that don't deserve to be. I mistakenly thought this was going to be about terrible songs that never deserved to be hits, one-off or not.

So that's what this thread is.

My nominations:

I've Never Been to Me. Surely one of the most awful songs ever written. It makes no sense. It sounds terrible. I defy you to name ONE thing that "a woman ain't 'spose to see."

I think of this as "The Bodice-Ripper Song". It seems abundantly obvious to me that the song is told from the point of view of a heroine in one of those romance novels, chiding a fan for wanting to live her life. It's the romance novelist equivalent of Shatner's bit on SNL yelling at his fans to "Get a Life!"

For some reason, most critics don't seem to realize this.


This isn't to excuse the song -- it IS awful (although, if you want REALLY bad, there are alternate lyrics for a male singer to use with the song. I've read them, but fortunately haven't heard a rendition of it.), but it at least makes things comprehensible. "I've seen some things that a woman ain't supposed to see..." "Like what," asked one critic, "the Secret MAN Handshake?" Well, no -- it's a romance writer's dodge for "imagine some really bad -- to you -- thing".
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Old 01-29-2018, 02:43 PM
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The muskrat song. Muskrats aren't cute, and singing about their escapades is freaky.

Oh, and how about Screaming Jay Hawkins' Constipation Blues?
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Old 01-29-2018, 03:00 PM
Dung Beetle Dung Beetle is offline
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The muskrat song. Muskrats aren't cute, and singing about their escapades is freaky.
I only didn't say that because I thought it had to be a one-hit wonder. Muskrat Love is objectively the worst song in the world.
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Old 01-29-2018, 03:03 PM
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Well, no -- it's a romance writer's dodge for "imagine some really bad -- to you -- thing".
Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion?
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Old 01-29-2018, 03:03 PM
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The Name Game, by Shirley Ellis. There are a lot of deserving songs mentioned so far that are offensively sweet, or maudlin, or whatever. The Name Game is offensively vacuous. Something about it just always set my teeth on edge. It's like being lectured on the strategic richness of Chutes and Ladders.
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Old 01-29-2018, 03:06 PM
WOOKINPANUB WOOKINPANUB is offline
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Originally Posted by kayaker View Post
The muskrat song. Muskrats aren't cute, and singing about their escapades is freaky.

Oh, and how about Screaming Jay Hawkins' Constipation Blues?
Whadya talk? Muskrats are very cute. Don't really need to picture them mating, though.
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Old 01-29-2018, 03:14 PM
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"And I Will Always Love You" beats out even "The Piña Colada Song" and "You're Beautiful." I detest the last two, but absolutely loathe the first. It did not surprise me at all to learn it was written by Dolly Parton, whom I equally loathe.
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Old 01-29-2018, 03:38 PM
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The Name Game, by Shirley Ellis. There are a lot of deserving songs mentioned so far that are offensively sweet, or maudlin, or whatever. The Name Game is offensively vacuous. Something about it just always set my teeth on edge. It's like being lectured on the strategic richness of Chutes and Ladders.
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Old 01-29-2018, 03:42 PM
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Muskrat Love by anybody. I'm amazed and appalled at how many artists have covered this one.

Patches by Clarence Carter. I hope to heaven I never hear that one again.
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Old 01-29-2018, 03:48 PM
Beckdawrek Beckdawrek is online now
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I'm having your baby
Can't remember who sang it.
Paul Anka???

Or is it, You're having my baby??

Last edited by Beckdawrek; 01-29-2018 at 03:48 PM.
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Old 01-29-2018, 03:51 PM
Derleth Derleth is offline
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I'm having your baby
Can't remember who sang it.
Paul Anka???

Or is it, You're having my baby??
"(You're) Having My Baby", by Paul Anka, and you're not alone:
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Despite its commercial success, the song has been criticised for its maudlin sentimentality[3] and perceived sexist undertones,[2] and has appeared in "worst song" lists. It was voted the #1 "Worst Song of All Time" in a poll conducted by CNN.com in 2006.[4]
  #34  
Old 01-29-2018, 03:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellen Cherry
Inspired by this thread: One-hit wonders that don't deserve to be. I mistakenly thought this was going to be about terrible songs that never deserved to be hits, one-off or not.

So that's what this thread is.

My nominations:

• I've Never Been to Me. Surely one of the most awful songs ever written. It makes no sense. It sounds terrible. I defy you to name ONE thing that "a woman ain't 'spose to see.
Quote:
Originally Posted by CalMeacham View Post
I think of this as "The Bodice-Ripper Song". It seems abundantly obvious to me that the song is told from the point of view of a heroine in one of those romance novels, chiding a fan for wanting to live her life. It's the romance novelist equivalent of Shatner's bit on SNL yelling at his fans to "Get a Life!"

For some reason, most critics don't seem to realize this.


This isn't to excuse the song -- it IS awful (although, if you want REALLY bad, there are alternate lyrics for a male singer to use with the song. I've read them, but fortunately haven't heard a rendition of it.), but it at least makes things comprehensible. "I've seen some things that a woman ain't supposed to see..." "Like what," asked one critic, "the Secret MAN Handshake?" Well, no -- it's a romance writer's dodge for "imagine some really bad -- to you -- thing".
How true. Listening to that song is like being force to read the collected works of Danielle Steele at gunpoint.

I remember reading somewhere that the record's success had a lot more to do with greasy palms than actual public demand. I can't verify that fact so it probably belongs in the category of urban legend/nasty rumors. Still, I do find it curious that the song seemed to disappear quickly after it finally fell off the charts. When my local Top 40 station later did their end-of-the-year countdown, they didn't have a copy of the record to play when they got to the song's spot on the list. I also haven't heard the song played on any oldies stations.
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Old 01-29-2018, 03:55 PM
Ellen Cherry Ellen Cherry is offline
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I only didn't say that because I thought it had to be a one-hit wonder. Muskrat Love is objectively the worst song in the world.
Dung, my darling, we might disagree about never having been to us, but I am with you on muskrats being worthy song material.
  #36  
Old 01-29-2018, 04:02 PM
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"We Built This City" aka "We have Grace Slick's family hostage."
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Old 01-29-2018, 04:11 PM
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I nominate "Winchester Cathedral" by the New Vaudeville Band. Not only was it not by an actual band (the songwriter hired one-off studio musicians just for the one session to record the song), and not only did it spend three weeks at the top of the US charts, it also won the Grammy for Best Song, beating out "Good Vibrations", "Eleanor Rigby", "Monday Monday", "Last Train to Clarksville", and "Cherish"!
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Old 01-29-2018, 04:16 PM
Derleth Derleth is offline
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"We Built This City" aka "We have Grace Slick's family hostage."
I like that song simply because Jefferson Airplane Jefferson Starship Starship unironically sing about nobody caring about corporation names changing.

More to the point, it's the whole arc in a nutshell, isn't it? They went from being cultural touchstones in the 1960s psychedelia to being out-of-touch arena rockers complaining about the music industry in the 1980s.
  #39  
Old 01-29-2018, 04:21 PM
kenobi 65 kenobi 65 is offline
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I like that song simply because Jefferson Airplane Jefferson Starship Starship unironically sing about nobody caring about corporation names changing.

More to the point, it's the whole arc in a nutshell, isn't it? They went from being cultural touchstones in the 1960s psychedelia to being out-of-touch arena rockers complaining about the music industry in the 1980s.
Which is exactly why I abhor that song.
  #40  
Old 01-29-2018, 04:31 PM
DooWahDiddy DooWahDiddy is online now
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This far into a 'terrible song' thread and no one's mentioned MacArthur Park yet?

Good Lord. And yet it hit number 1 in 1978!
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Old 01-29-2018, 04:34 PM
terentii terentii is online now
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"If Lovin' You Is Wrong, I Don't Wanna Be Right." Also a candidate for the biggest dick song, even if it is sung by a woman.
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  #42  
Old 01-29-2018, 04:41 PM
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The Pina Colada Song? "We Built This City"? Now for really awful chart toppers you have to go to the UK
Cinderella Rockafella, Esther and Abi Ofarim
Shaddup Your Face, Joe Dolce
And for the absolute bottom of the barrel, Mr. Blobby. Words fail me.
  #43  
Old 01-29-2018, 04:43 PM
installLSC installLSC is offline
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How did I forget this gem? Star Trekkin, the Firm.
  #44  
Old 01-29-2018, 05:02 PM
CaptMurdock CaptMurdock is offline
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How did I forget this gem? Star Trekkin, the Firm.
Ah, come on. That's a novelty song. It's meant to be cheesy.

----

That's What Friends Are For. I worked in a building in the mid-80s that could only get AM Radio, and this piece of schmaltz was on heavy rotation. It got to where I could barely keep from screaming when the opening bars came on.
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  #45  
Old 01-29-2018, 05:06 PM
Robot Arm Robot Arm is online now
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How did I forget this gem? Star Trekkin, the Firm.
I was going to say that was never a hit, but apparently it was in the UK.
  #46  
Old 01-29-2018, 05:08 PM
nearwildheaven nearwildheaven is offline
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"Music Is The Doctor", the Doobie Brothers
"Kokomo", the Beach Boys
"Macarena" by whoever did it
"Mr. Roboto", Styx (FWIW, that song killed their career)
"Hold On", Wilson Phillips (WHY is this still on heavy rotation more than 25 years later?!?!?!?)

I'll think of some others.
  #47  
Old 01-29-2018, 05:11 PM
Skywatcher Skywatcher is online now
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This far into a 'terrible song' thread and no one's mentioned MacArthur Park yet?
Passé.
  #48  
Old 01-29-2018, 05:14 PM
nearwildheaven nearwildheaven is offline
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Here's another.

"When I'm With You" by Sheriff. In the mid 1980s, I worked at a restaurant where the cooks always had the album rock station on, and I would hear that miserable dreck every Saturday morning. A couple years later, I started hearing it on the Top 40 station, and called them to inquire. What happened was a DJ put it on in some big market, as filler I guess, and the switchboard lit up with people going, "Whoa, what was that? This song is GREAT!" and not long afterwards, it hit #1. The album it was from also climbed the charts, and more than one reviewer said that "When I'm With You" was the only good song on it, and the rest sounded like "warmed-over Boston."

I'd also nominate "99 Luftballons" in every version except the original German, and Pearl Jam's "Last Kiss".
  #49  
Old 01-29-2018, 05:17 PM
nearwildheaven nearwildheaven is offline
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Originally Posted by Ellen Cherry View Post
Achy, Breaky Heart, Sir Billy Ray Cyrus. I don't know about the rest of the world, but being from Kentucky I was at Billy Ray Ground Zero in 1993. There was nowhere to run. People were wearing T-shirts. They were working "achy breaky heart" into conversations. They were talking about growing up with Billy Ray in Flatwoods. I'm still not over it.
In the spring of 1994, I did rotations on an Indian reservation, and they had a community radio station with a totally free-form format, and anyone who wanted to be on that station could be. There were some kids who would come in after school and play requests, and the #1 request was that song
SPOILER:
by the Chipmunks.


One of the other pharmacists, a middle-aged woman who was a devout Christian, said, "What the hell is this crap?"

Last edited by nearwildheaven; 01-29-2018 at 05:19 PM.
  #50  
Old 01-29-2018, 05:24 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kenobi 65 View Post
Afternoon Delight, a treacly song about the joys of midday sex, which, inexplicably, was a #1 hit in 1976, and led to the Starland Vocal Band actually getting a variety show on CBS.
I love that song. The vocals are quite nice the song is easy to listen too, quite relaxing.

My nominee is MacArthur Park. sung by Richard Harris. I loathe that song. "Someone left the cake out in the rain"????
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