The most overrated songs in history as selected by top music sites.
Listen to these songs on Rhapsody
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Thanks to www.Earvolution.com this list is showing up on Google News
I hope all of you who were invited and did not contribute will contribute next time!
I would argue that "American Pie" was overplayed the first time I heard it.
You know, there's not a single song on this list that I hate. I would listen to this playlist and not get annoyed... as long as I hit 'skip' on "American Pie" after a couple minutes.
Synopsis of Robert's musical verdict on the most overrated songs:
American Pie -- too long
Light My Fire -- pyre
Free Bird -- Florence Henderson and Jim Nabors
Hey Ya -- cumma
Pour Some Sugar on Me -- makes no sense
Wonderwall -- not Lennon and McCartney
Memory -- you don't get it
Bohemian Rhapsody -- you hate it
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For -- didn't work for you
Totally Wired -- annoying claptrap
Born To Run -- xylophone
Chewing Gum -- you don't get it
Imagine -- not a fitting Lennon tribute
Thanks for the penetrating analysis!
It's currently the top News Result for the word Bloggers on Google News
That was a great Cliff Notes version, but my only pick was "Hey Ya!"
Sincere apologies. I thought that was your commentary appended to the votes.
The Google link is here
Or just search for "Bloggers" on Google News
This list is really good and I think a case can be made for the inclusion of all of them. I would defend 'Wonderwall' most strenuously of all those mentioned.
First - big ups to Amanda on the Ryan Adams reference. His version is stunning and takes a lot of the sap from the song and makes it more plaintive. That is one reason I would defend the song. Oasis may have done a very big and overblown version of it (which I adore) and it would be easy to dismiss as overly sappy. The song is good enough to withstand an alternate interpretation. In fact, it not only withstands it but became a great song a second time.
Second... I think there are a lot of songs much sappier and perhaps even more prominent.
Third... I have totally drank the Gallagher Kool-Aid and really cannot be objective on this (although I still think 'Standing on the Shoulder of Giants' is mostly a shit album).
The list is good and the post is well-reasoned and a good read.
>Who did Led Zep rip off "Stairway" from?
"I despise "Bohemian Rhopsody" with a fervor that makes want to crush something, anything British.
Yow EO, THAT is a funny line. Oh so true, and anyone who "sings along" with this tune should be shot, at once.
"Stairway to Heaven" takes the acoustic opening guitar line from "Taurus" by Spirit, who toured with Led Zeppelin on their first US tour.
"Taurus" came out three years prior, and Led Zeppelin was paired with Spirit on their first US tour, which also predates "Stairway to Heaven."
I'll give you all the whole story and
background on Stairway To Heaven manana
amigos.A friend of mine knows the whole
story behind this tune and he will be in
touch with me in the morning with this
scoop.So stay tuned News and Film in the
Morning. Well no film actually but...
It WAS a very obscure English group or
performer of the pseudo-folkie variety.
That much I am Positive & CERTAIN of.
It was not the group "Spirit".Although
"Spirit IS an unheralded band and are
one of the most ripped off & uncredited
bands of their time. They have had their
music "borrowed" many,many,many times by
Led Zeppelin was listening to music all
across the board from Celtic Folk to the
Chicago Blues to Rockabilly,the psychout
sounds of such bands as "Love",The Doors
and The Jefferson Airplane,Eastern Music
Ravi Shankar et al.),Velvet Underground,
(in one of the last incarnations of The
Yardbirds, just prior to the formation
of Zeppelin they were including "Waiting
For The Man" in their sets) and so forth
like most of the other bands of the era
were doing.That "Stairway" was nicked
from the dustbin of obscurity by the Zep
should be no real surprise to anyone.
Wow. You really do learn something every day.
No doubt this progression was stolen by Mr. Page. I wonder why Spirit never sued?
Listen for yourself here if you have Rhapsody
For some reason all the links I post are breaking!
Try this one to hear "Taurus"
I give up...
Thanks, Drake. I didn't know that.
I remember now that Led Zep's theivery is well known; courtesy of Wilson & Allroy, here are some more famous lifts:
"Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" - A folk song by Anne Bredon, this was originally credited as "traditional, arranged by Jimmy Page," then "words and music by Jimmy Page," and then, following legal action, "Bredon/Page/Plant."
"Black Mountain Side" - uncredited version of a traditional folk tune previously recorded by Bert Jansch.
"Bring It On Home" - the first section is an uncredited cover of the Willie Dixon tune (as performed by the imposter Sonny Boy Williamson).
"Communication Breakdown" - apparently derived from Eddie Cochran's "Nervous Breakdown."
"Custard Pie" - uncredited cover of Bukka White's "Shake 'Em On Down," with lyrics from Sleepy John Estes's "Drop Down Daddy."
"Dazed And Confused" - uncredited cover of the Jake Holmes song (see The Above Ground Sound Of Jake Holmes).
"Hats Off To (Roy) Harper" - uncredited version of Bukka White's "Shake 'Em On Down."
"How Many More Times" - Part one is an uncredited cover of the Howlin' Wolf song (available on numerous compilations). Part two is an uncredited cover of Albert King's "The Hunter."
"In My Time Of Dying" - uncredited cover of the traditional song (as heard on Bob Dylan's debut).
"The Lemon Song" - uncredited cover of Howlin' Wolf's "Killing Floor" - Wolf's publisher sued Zeppelin in the early 70's and settled out of court.
"Moby Dick" - written and first recorded by Sleepy John Estes under the title "The Girl I Love," and later covered by Bobby Parker.
"Nobody's Fault But Mine" - uncredited cover of the Blind Willie Johnson blues.
"Since I've Been Lovin' You" - lyrics are the same as Moby Grape's "Never," though the music isn't similar.
"White Summer" - uncredited cover of Davey Graham's "She Moved Through The Fair."
"Whole Lotta Love" - lyrics are from the Willie Dixon blues "You Need Love."
Couldn't you just as easily claim the (opening) chord progression is ripped off from "My Funny Valentine"?
Alot of U2 tunes are overrated, but I just don't think Still Haven't Found is one of them.
RE: Funny Valentine
You could claim Spirit stole from that, but the fact that the bands toured together and then they wrote "Stairway to Heaven" shortly after makes the argument. We're not pulling a random song that sounds-alike. It's actual time and place as well.
Page has acknowledged learning a few things from Spirit on their tour, of which included use of the theremin.
Randy California (Wolfe) acknowledged the lift from his instrumental, and was flattered at the time. If he were alive today, he might sue. I know his momma wants him to get credit:
Pour Some Sugar on MAAYYY!!! I agree entirely with that one. The Bruce Springsteen is right on although I have a special place in my heart for the glockenspiel player on that one. The instrumental bridge on Born to Run was one of the sweatiest pieces of turd in all music ending with 1 2 3 4!!!
I nominate "Nights In White Satin" by
The Moody Blues as an overrated song if
ever there was one.It's depressing,dull,
it drags forever it seems and it just
does not go anywhere.You keep expecting
something to happen but it never does.
No tempo shifts,no dynamic build up to
it or anything. It does not get worse.
Ah yes, I must pipe in again (as I often have to do) to defend The Doors.
The writer doesn't like anything so "unusual" as an organ or words like "pyre" in a rock song? Maybe he/she lives in a rock nunnery, but in my world it's cool and even recommended to get inventive and unusual with pop music.
Second, "Light My Fire" was written by Bobby Krieger, not Morrison.
Third, I agree with E Olsen re: Morrison. Great frontman of a band that still entertains and frustrates listeners all these years down the road... and a phenomenally awful and selfish human being.
Duke -- have to agree regarding your Riders on the Storm comment, though that's still a moody and melodic tune if I ever heard one. Morrison's lyrics/poetry are said to vacillate between the sublime to the sophomoric, and it's hard to argue with that.
Finally, and let me be subjective here:
I just fucking love the opening organ riff on "Light My Fire."
So if it's "overrated," I could give a shit.
Oh: regarding the Beatles and the Stones.
I've said before that I've never been into the Stones all that much, though I dig some of their stuff.
Which appalls to no end some rock purists out and about...
Right, E Olsen?
All I ever wanted was for you to be pround of me, Pantagruel. (Actually I am flattered that you liked my comments, oh great music guru.) Bonus points for using the word "sweatiest" - I kept thinking it said "sweetest" though. That changes it entirely, eh?
Somebody (namely, Matthew T. Sussman) talked about people feeling that long songs were overrated. I'm squarely in that camp, I think I just get bored. Especially with Doors songs. Just finish it up already!
"Nights in White Satin" is arty, right? I mean, you got that poetry(?) at the end and all...(OK! I bought a Moody Blues Greatest Hits CD once! It was a long time ago! Happy now?)
Crap. I spelled 'proud' wrong.
You got it babe! Bruce is a "schwetty" man with a "schwetty" instrumental bridge with glockenspiel!!!
The poetry after White Satin is a masterpiece.
Ok, I know I said earlier that I liked all these songs on some level, but I somehow missed "Pour some sugar on me". Maybe I mentally blocked it out when I skimmed through (didn't notice until the comment on it.)
Of all the songs listed, that's the one that feels most out of place. I don't believe the song has ever had critical acclaim... as a matter of fact, I'd argue that instead of 'overrated' that it's rated about right...not at all.
Still not knowing the definition of overrated, I do recall that the Hysteria tour was very well hyped at the time with a world tour where Def Leppard played in the round together with their video for it, though I basque in the not-knowing-ness.
Born to Run definately ahead of it though.
What the HELL is a Knight doing in white satin anyway? And why the HELL did he write letters he wasn't going to send?? Sounds like a pansy knight to me.
Dude! That knight could get some chicks man...for real.
Expect this page to get some traffic come midnight.
Rodney W., Led Zep's "Lemon Song also
incorporates a bit of Robert Johnsons
"Traveling Riverside Blues" as well,just
for posterity. "You Need Love" was a
Muddy Waters tune from 1963 and features
a vicious solo from Earl Hooker.Who had
the solo on "You Shook Me" as well,also
a Muddy waters tune from the same time
I happen to like Def Leppard and Pour Some Sugar on Me. I'm surprised it made your list, because you said your list was comprised of songs which received critical acclaim, rather than commercial success, and I thought Def Leppard was panned by the critics from the beginning.
As far as the lyrics, it makes perfect sense to me.
Mirror queen, mannequin, rhythm of love,
'hey made-up vain/fake babe, let's screw'
do you need me to translate 'do you take sugar?'
I'm so glad to see Free Bird on the list. What is it that people see in that song? How about putting Neil Young's Rockin in the Free World on the list?
Or anything by Dave Matthews, Tom Petty or Stevie Nicks sans Mick Fleetwood.
Matthew, what happens at midnight?
I'm with you Steve S. I love the translation and I wish I had you there to translate the whole album because I NEED that. Where would you have looked to find out about the critical acclaim or lack thereof for the "Leppard" Surely the commercial success could not be acheived without some positive bullshit coming from somewhere right? What comes first the chicken or the egg?
Robert, we gonna let it all hang down, I assume.
From Rolling Stone #509, 1987
"This album sounds terrific. Every track sparkles and burns. There is no filler. That is not to say, however, that the Leppards are actually great songwriters (as opposed to consummate riff-smiths). Because here, as on Pyromania, producer Mutt Lange gets full credit as a cocomposer. He is, in fact, the sixth Leppard â€" the one who takes their riffs and choruses and assembles them into spectacular tracks. A veteran producer of such metal superstars as AC/DC and Foreigner, Lange is a genre master, and this LP is thick with his trademarks: the deep, meaty bass sound; the fat, relentless drums; the dazzling guitar montages; the impeccable sense of structure and separation; the preternatural clarity. Lange also brings a certain ironic wit to the record: one suspects it was he who dreamed up the whispered intro to "Excitable" â€" an aural pun on an old Mothers of Invention track â€" although no doubt the band had a hand in fashioning the rap-chant vocals that turn "Pour Some Sugar on Me" from a good-natured Aerosmith salute into a more complexly admiring tribute to Aerosmith and Run-D.M.C....This is head-banging music of a very high sonic order, executed with great Ã©lan by what remains the most exciting metal-pop band on the scene... "
- Kurt Loder
AMG rating for "Hysteria"?
"The strong pop hooks and "perfect"-sounding production of Hysteria may not appeal to diehard heavy metal fans, but it isn't heavy metal â€" it's pop-metal, and arguably the best pop-metal ever recorded. Its blockbuster success helped pave the way for a whole new second wave of hair metal bands, while proving that the late-'80s musical climate could also be very friendly to veteran hard rock acts, a lead many would follow in the next few years. "
- Steve Huey
What did the snuffy College Music Journal (CMJ) have to say about "Hysteria"?
"After three and a half years, countless hassles and tragedies, and a million-dollar studio bill, it's finally here! And it sounds like...Def Leppard! No, there aren't many surprises here, except that the band is quite obviously stronger than ever. What's interesting about this album is the compromise they've reached between technology and rawness, Hysteria has more effects than your local video shop, but it still has a live feel. It sounds like a new standard in commercial metal: the sound is heavy and the guitars are loud, but underneath it all there lurk great pop songs. Picks: "Animal," "Love Bites" (a ballad), "Armageddon It," "Gods Of War."
- Jem Aswad
Jem Aswad? Quite the unfortunate name.
I must say that that sounds like critical acclaim. Where do we go from here? I imagine that the subjectivity has to kick in for us to decide if it is overrated...If we like the music, do we not disqualify it from the list?
Well, I guess I'll eat my hat (even though these reviews are for the album, not the song in question - so it's going to be a tasty chocolate hat.) I only remember repulsion at the time from true metal fans, and from myself... and rearview mirror reviews, which pretty much pan it. It hasn't aged well at all.
I still stand by my original statement that it sticks out from the rest... just an observation.
Victor Plenty, you made me laugh out loud (really!). Now I'm tempted to stay up just to see what happens!
You know what song I immediately thought of but couldn't pick it for fear of looking really mean? "Tears in Heaven." If it wasn't for the fact that Clapton wrote it for his dead child I would have been all over that like white on rice.
RE: Tears in Heaven
Anton Newcombe (of Brian Jonestown Massacre, and the movie Dig!) had no problem skewering that sacred cow.
His comment ("People talk about Eric Clapton. What has he ever done except throw his baby off a fuckin' ledge and write a song about it?") created quite a comment landslide on Stereogum's site a month ago.
If we were going to look for pure musical doo-doo which became super popular, how about "Louis Louis" by the Kingsmen. They were a garage band with a 1-4-5 progression and garbled lyrics and people still got off on that shit.
Agree with a lot of the choices. However, Wonderwall is an awesome song--one of the best of the 90's. Sorry but it ain't one of the most overrated songs by any stretch.
"Imagine" and "Wonderwall" should not be on list. Both songs are worth their hype.
Louie Louie takes us back to the 'define overrated' question. I think Robert had it right by saying critical acclaim of some sort is key to something being 'overrated' - someone has to 'rate' it positively in the first place, right? Could anyone even understand Louie Louie enough to judge it accurately anyway? Every time I hear this song or see mention of it all I can think of is the comic strip "Bloom County":
http://www.xs4all.nl/~tdg/trivia.html (scroll down)
>Wonderwall is an awesome song--one of >the best of the 90's
I don;t think "Wonderwall" is horrible, but one of the "best of the 90s" common man...
You are gonna have to explain why.