Crossovers that are just WRONG

OK, so I’m listening to my “Best of the Manhattan Transfer” album the other day, and once again, the song “Let’s Rock” made me cringe. I cringe at some other Manhattan Transfer tunes as well, but for different reasons. The thing is, Manhattan Transfer doesn’t rock. They jazz. They jazz very, very well. Their singing is almost always technically perfect, with close harmonies and all the right notes being hit in all the right places. They’re like a barbershop quarter, only they have two chicks in the group and they do jazz instead of fossiliferous standards.

And that’s what makes me cringe about the song. It’s like the period back in the sixties when all the dinosaur pop singers finally figured out that rock was gonna be It for some time to come, so they tried to come out all hip and rocking, and of course, there wasn’t a hip bone anywhere in their bodies, except of course for their actual hip bones. It’s an embarrassing attempt to be something they’re not. It’s WRONG. The Manhattan Transfer is a fine jazz vocal group, why did they have to try to rock?

I’m sure there are other examples in film, books, TV, etc.

Michael Bolton singing opera. It is truly horrible. I just wanted to scream…“Stop torturing those poor arias! What did they ever do to you to deserve this?”

I’ve wanted to get that off my chest for a while now, thanks for the opportunity EC.

In the late 1970s, several rock acts tried to jump on the disco bandwagon with varying degrees of success. The Rolling Stones managed to pull off “Miss You”. On the other hand, it took Rod Stewart years to rid himself of the stench of “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?”

In the world of film, James Cameron is a kick-ass action director. I love “Terminator”, “T2”, “Aliens”, the first and last act of “True Lies”. Heck, I’ll even defend the second half of “Titanic” as great spectacle. But whenever he attempts something non-action, be it the mystical bits of “The Abyss”, the supposedly comic middle third of “True Lies”, or lovey-dovey gunk that filled the first half of “Titanic”, he falls flat.

David Lee Roth’s Van Bluegrass (warning, YouTube video) may very well go down as one of the worst ever.

Ever hear Sammy Davis Jr. doing the theme from Shaft? <snrk>

Almost any crossover that Robbie Robertson arranged for “The Last Waltz.” I know I’m going to get a lot of hate for this, but Neil Freaking Diamond? With the Band? On the same stage as Muddy Waters? Please.

My favorite “shouldn’t have crossed over” album is Pat Boone’s In a Metal Mood: No More Mr. Nice Guy. It’s even worse than you might expect.

Bill Murray trying to add some Shakespeare to his repertoire was rather cringe-worthy.

Star Trek and X-Men. (Yes, it does exist. I’m still debating if I want to try and read it or not, even though the reviews seem to be pretty good.

<< But reading the manual isn’t any fun! >>

Hehe. All true, but Stewart doesn’t even scratch the bottom of the “Worst Entries In The Rock Band Disco Sweepstakes” barrel. How about KISS’ “I Was Made For Loving You” or the Grateful Dead’s “Shakedown?” I think I just barfed in my mouth a little bit. :o

In a perverse way I sort of like “Shakedown Street.” Despite it’s disco-y-ness, the Dead left their own unmistakable stamp on it. You know it’s definitely a Dead tune.

Whether they should have left their own unmistakable stamp on that particular genre is another matter entirely.

Feh. Greasy kid stuff. Make it through Ethel Merman’s disco album, then will you know pain.

The Brady Kids did a cover of “The Day The Music Died.” You don’t know what wrong is until you hear little Cindy lisping about Thatan laughing with delight.

And a song that’s so wrong it goes right past wrong and loops back into sublime, Richard Harris singing “MacArthur Park.”

That’s exactly what I came in here to post when I saw the thread title.
Music wise, the Belgin youth choir Scala covering “I Touch Myself” by the Divinyls is…interesting. (It’s very well done, I’m just not sure it was the best song for young teenage girls to cover)

Kevin Smith directing Degrassi Jr. High was a cringe-fest.

I think the Three Tenors are just plain awful when they try to do showtunes. Their version of “New York New York” is unlistenable.

The entire Golden Throats album is exhibit number one for this thread:

  1. Proud Mary - Leonard Nimoy
  2. It Ain’t Me Babe - Sebastian Cabot
  3. Blowin’ In The Wind - Eddie Albert
  4. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds - William Shatner
  5. A Whiter Shade Of Pale - Noel Harrison
  6. I Can See For Miles - Frankie Randall
  7. Try A Little Tenderness - Jack Webb
  8. Twist And Shout - Mae West
  9. House Of The Rising Sun - Andy Griffith
  10. Mr. Tambourine Man - William Shatner
  11. You Are The Sunshine Of My Life - Jim Nabors
  12. Like A Rolling Stone - Sebastian Cabot
  13. White Room - Joel Grey
  14. If I Had A Hammer - Leonard Nimoy

Yes, Shatner’s “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” is justly reviled, but it is hardly the worst song on the album, and not even Shatner’s worst here. Nimoy is even more awful; Noel Harrison can’t even get the lyrics right, and Joel Grey doing “White Room”???

Only Jack Webb comes off as barely OK.

I have an album by a band called “Celtic Jazz Collective”. The main problem is not the idea of fusing Irish trad and jazz-- I think that’s an intriguing fusion with much potential-- but it’s that this CD isn’t so much a fusion as an, uh, gluing together. It’s basically just Irish tunes with jazz drumming and upright bass in the background. It sounds less like an intentional project and more like an Irish seisiún group and a jazz duo rented the same studio time to save money.

To be frank, though, it’s grown a lot on me since the first listen. I don’t hate it.

Odd, that idenitcal lyric is also in American Pie.

The Candyman. 'nuff said.

And of course Donna Summer introduced it to disco ten years later.


My local bar has that album on the jukebox. Selections from that are occaisionally played for evil purposes.

In a not-so-special episode of St. Elsewhere some of the characters visited Cheers.

Why not? They were both set in Boston, after all. :smack:

It was cringe-worthy.

Carla Tortelli is hilarious in a sitcom context. In a dramatic context she’s NOT.

The same insulting bitter old bitch character who is funny with a laugh track and amusing back-and-forth between other comic characters, is leaden and mean-spirited with no laugh track and with dramatic characters who become mere victims or who choose not to participate in insult competition.

At least it was a short bit in just one episode.

In an earlier episode of St. Elsewhere a character said “Maybe it was Dr. Charles, Dr. Burroughs, or Dr. Charles.” The producers of Cheers were Charles, Burroughs, and Charles. That was cute. Not a knee-slapper, but cute for those in the know.

You don’t. Even as a teenaged fanboy that owned ~300 Trek novels, I thought it was pretty dumb.