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Worst. Songs. Ever.

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Blender magazine and VH1 have compiled a list of the 50 worst songs ever… the whole list is to be revealed on a VH1 special on May 12.

Their list inspired me, and I decided to compile my own. I had a couple of prerequisite qualifications… one, all songs from 1971-1975 were immediately disqualified: that five year stretch was so full of cheese — in music, in fashion, in television, in everything — that it should be called the Gouda Period. By definition and point of origin, 95% of all songs from this time period were hideously cheesy (exceptions being anything by James Taylor or the Eagles, “Dream On” by Aerosmith, and some of Elton John’s work), and were too slam dunk to include on my list. (You can bet that “The Night Chicago Died,” “Billy Don’t Be a Hero,” and “Croccodile Rock” would otherwise have made the list.) The second rule was that songs intended to be cheesy or novelty songs were also too obvious to be included (thus eliminating “Macarena,” “Convoy,” and “Pac Man Fever”).

I’m sure I missed a bunch; music history is littered with flotsam and jetsam, songs people are embarrassed years later to admit that they liked. But here are my nominees for the P. Diddy Lifetime Achievement Award in Crappy Music.

25. Boogie Oogie Oogie, A Taste Of Honey The most childish song title ever (most childish band honors go to Kajagoogoo). Not only that, but it was a freakin’ awful song.

24. When The Children Cry, White Lion This is your brain. This is your brain when dropouts try social commentary. Any questions?

23. You Light Up My Life, Debby Boone It wasn’t the first poorly written, schmaltzy love song. It wasn’t the last. It was just the worst.

22. I’ve Never Been To Me, Charlene No song written as part of someone’s therapy should ever be released as a single. Ever. 14 year old girl poetry is better than this drudge about some chick being undressed by kings and sipping champagne on a yacht. Hey, honey? If you’ve been knockin’ boots with royalty and flitting about on yachts, your life is pretty damn fulfilled. You’re self-discovered already; quit bitching.

21. In Da Club, 50 Cent Not on the list on its own “unmerits” so much as for representing an entire genre. I’m just flat out sick of “artists” who mistake street grammar, boasts about toughness, and explicit references to sexual prowess for talent. Yeah, yeah, I get it. You’re tough, you have street cred and you score lots of women. Yawn. And by the way, deliberately misspelling your titles doesn’t make you phat, it just makes you look stoopid.

20. Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, Wham! The only song in history to use “yo-yo” as a rhyme in the chorus, and a song that stands out for its cheesiness in an era of kitsch.

19. Far From Over, Frank Stallone Question for the ages: which is worse, Frank’s singing or Sly’s acting?

18. Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?, Culture Club Yes. For this song? Yes, I do.

17. Mickey, Toni Basil Cheerleaders do not belong in a top ten chart unless it’s one of those movies. What’s next – “We Got Spirit?”

16. Spill The Wine, Eric Burdon & War Makes the list simply for including the phrase, “overfed, long haired, leaping gnome” in the lyrics.

15. Mambo #5, Lou Bega Talent was #2. I could have used a little bit of stomach flu in his life.

14. Wannabe, Spice Girls. What I really, really wanted was for Baby Spice to be the one with the nekkid pictures.

13. Vision of Love, Mariah Carey Introduced the “Look, I can squeak like a dolphin” school of vocals to pop music. Dogs within a 200 mile radius come running when they hear this song.

12. Do You Feel Like I Do, Peter Frampton Frampton Comes Alive! Frampton Uses Cheesy Synth Device! Frampton Sucks!

11. Silly Love Songs, Paul McCartney Marks the official point at which Paul stopped being a former Beatle and started being embarassing.

10. I Will Always Love You, Whitney Houston Okay song when Dolly did it, but Whitney’s version had way too much stooo-ooh-OOH-uh-ooh-OOH-pid over the top vocal inflection.

9. Free Bird, Lynyrd Skynyrd The song that launched 1000 lighters; the NASCAR quotient alone puts this in the top ten. The whole southern rock genre makes me want to call up General Sherman and ask if he’s busy.

8. We Built This City, Starship The musical equivalent of a skid row bum, this was the example of the once proud band falling on hard times and wandering the streets drunk and in need of a shower. For this song she should have to change her name to “Fall From Grace Slick.”

7. Rico Suave, Gerardo Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrico… Suckay. Proved once and for all that talentless cheesy performers could cross over into all genres of music.

6. Achy Breaky Heart, Billy Ray Cyrus Of course, everyone always remembers The Mullet That Ate Nashville. But look beyond the single worst haircut of all time, and you find juvenile lyrics and a lame riff. Hall of Fame levels of suckitude.

5. Back To Life, Soul II Soul This song single-handedly began my hate-hate relationship with hip-hop.

4. Ice, Ice Baby, Vanilla Ice White guys rapping isn’t embarrassing in and of itself. But white posers with crappy hair cuts who invent a false motocross resume are embarassing. Dude… you lied about your background to give yourself more street cred, and all you could come up with was being a motocross champion?

3. The Greatest Love of All, Whitney Houston I believe that rehab is my future…

2. My Heart Will Go On, Celine Dion On the soundtrack to the worst movie of all time. Also on the soundtrack in Hell. This song is featured in the Fox television special, “When Over-Emoters Attack!”

And my #1 worst song ever is:

Desert Moon, Dennis DeYoung I mean no offense to Mr. DeYoung; I’m sure he’s a nice guy and all. But when you take an inexplicable desire to bring Broadway-like storytelling to pop music — minus Meatloaf’s tongue-in-cheek self-awareness — you get a cheesy, overwrought, melodramatic piece of schlock about meeting up with your first love. The lyrics are as painful as a Bush press conference, and the video quite possibly was the lamest ever to run on MTV.

There you have ’em – my 25 worst songs ever. If I listed one of your favorites and you’re all upset, too bad… I am sure that your list of 25 would contain one or two of my favorites. But that’s the beauty of music… everyone is free to choose their own sucky songs as guilty pleasures.

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About The Chronic Curmudgeon

  • Leo Jones

    There aren’t even close. Remember that song Fish Heads? THAT is a dumb song. When you know something about dumb stuff, come back and say something but you are way out of your league with this list.

  • Victor Lana

    Well, Chris, we could list many more. I was thinking of others like “Boys,” “Chains,” and “‘Til There Was You,” but they were covers so I’m not sure how that fits in here.

  • Victor Lana

    “You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)” ranks as one bad song and the worst Beatles song ever.

    • Worst Beatles song ever? Not even close!

      When I’m 64
      Hey Jude

      to name but three!

  • Kevin

    I agree, Free Bird sucks! Should be number 1!

  • Kay

    Free bird? Are you crazy? That is a fuckin great song. Can’t believe you think it’s one of the worst!! And titanic is one of the worst movies? You must be joking…

  • glcinpdx

    What, no ‘Muskrat Love’?

  • Anonim

    “Anything by led zeppelin”!, give me a break, led zeppelin are one of the best bands ever. [Gratuitous vulgarity deleted by Comments Editor]

  • TnT

    ”Fluffy” By Gloria Balom takes the title for worst song ever.

    If you can sit through this, I will be very surprised!!!

    Ps ”The End” by The Doors should be added to the Best Ever Song list, please remove from this list!

  • Allan

    the worst song I ever heard: Dan Hill “sometimes when we touch”

    Overplayed on the radio. Whenever I hear it, I hit the tuner dial.

  • evan

    follow me by uncle kracker should not be on the list at all. in my opinion follow me is a really good song. that said there is so many worse songs that didn tmake the list. The most annoying song in history(Who let the dogs out)wasnt on the list.

  • vince

    C’mon –


    Without a doubt the very worst EVER!!!

  • Snx for you job!
    It has very much helped me!

  • pat

    The early 70’s kind of blew–that’s why we needed punk rock. Gotta say I like “Spill the Wine” too.

  • jdc

    1971-75 were fantastic years for music, and the 70s were the best decade music has ever seen, imo.

  • Chris

    Hey “Do u feel like i do” by frampton is awesome so shut up

  • MikeCheck

    McCartney and Eric Burdon should be off your list. AND DEFINATELY FREE BIRD. Best southern song next to Ramblin’ Man by the Allman Brothers.

  • It’s sad that Chris felt the need to put “Spill The Wine” on the “worst songs” list. “Overfed, long-haired, leaping gnome”?!?! Perfectly absurd lyrics, just like the entire song! I love it – great riff, great mood, great organ, great singer, wonderfully different and imaginative ….

  • Critic68

    I may be showing my age here, but I’ve got to throw in a vote for “Betty Davis Eyes.” Absolutely one of the worst songs ever.

    Got to agree on REM’s Stand. Dreadful.

    I agree on the above comments about Police vocals. Completely annoying… I believe “Message in A Bottle” closes with “Sending out an S.O.S.” exactly 19 times. If you crank up the volume, you might be able to pick out a twentieth rep.

    This is an ongoing pattern in Police songs, but “Message” is an extreme example. The same pattern afflicts lots of Oak Ridge Boys songs. The big difference, the Oak Ridge Boys have vocalists. Both bands need to learn to recognize when a song is over.

    I may be amending my list very soon. The Spice Girls movie is on the tube. Don’t know any of their “music”, but the movie is as bad as (actually worse than) I had heard.

  • clfusco

    The Pina Colada Song still makes me want to shove straws in my ears

  • Andi

    worst song ever guys has gotta be pearl jam alive
    closely followed by billy joel i love u just the way u are zwan love to love or anything by bloody pantera slayer or any obscure equally crappy death metal bands who people just listen to cos the band has a cool name and itd sound good to listen to a band whos name has rape and sex in it

  • GoHah

    I have to add my most dishonorable mention: one-hit-blunderer Dan Hill’s treacly, cringe-inducing “Sometimes When We Touch (The Honesty’s Too Much).” No, Dan, the nausea’s too much.

  • matt

    Why is “My Humps” (along with every other song the Black Eyed Peas have ever sung) on this list?

  • matt

    I have never really noticed The Police’s lyrics, and I do not really care for Sting on his own, but the band members of The Police are awesome musicians.

  • Geoff

    Message In A Bottle by the most over rated, talentless, lyrically challenged group (the word must be used in it’s loosest possible sense) must rank as the second worst sone ever. The tedious time consuming repetition of “Sending out an SOS” at the end of the song (how many times do Sting’s nasal whinings bleat out this message) is truly awful.
    The worst song?
    My accolade also goes to The Police for the authentic back of a cigarette packet lyrics of Walking On The Moon. For God’s sake
    Giant Steps are what you take
    Walking On The Moon
    I hope my leg don’t break
    Jesus H Christ.
    Why hope his leg doesn’t break, clearly his voice won’t.
    IMHO—Total Kerrapp

  • Best comment ever, Alex.

    There’s yet another Barger? How come the other Bargers seem somewhat rational? What happened to the Senator?

    Can we trade Al for his brothers?

    I agree most of these songs are horrible. I would leave out “In Da Club” by 50 for sure, though. Massively overplayed, but a great Dre-produced beat. If you must pick a horrible 50 Cent song his latest album has tons of them, like say “Candy Shop.” No song written by Andre Young can ever be on a worst songs ever list.

    VH1 has a decent list (though they played most of these songs). I actually find the Spin Doctors pleasant if stupid and hippieish. I’m also ashamed to admit I like that cheesy Deep Blue Something song, even though the guy’s clearly singing with a fake British accent and they’re clearly ripping off Brit-pop guitar chords. I saw an interview with them when the song came out and he’s like, “I don’t know why everyone asks if we’re British. We’re hicks from Texas.” Maybe because you sing with a British accent throughout the whole damn song? I kinda like the 4 Non Blondes song, ObLadi and Billy Joel (well, at least “Longest Time”) too.

    Good catch on Five for Fighting, I hate that song too. Crash Test Dummies is an all-time most hated for me as well.

    I don’t think Wang Chung’s worst ever bad, though.

    Ricky Martin is not techno.

    And Real McCoy was awesome.

    You all forgot “One Week” by Barenaked Ladies, one of the whitest songs ever, and “You Get What You Give” by New Radicals, one of the most annoying ever.

    That is all.

  • Alex

    wow your douchebags

  • worse than “Billy, Don’t Be A Hero”.

    no friggin’ way!

  • ‘Stand’ REM. The worst song I have ever heard period.

  • Judith Moshenek

    The song I hate most in the world is

    1.) Achy breaky heart. Yech. I despised the song AND Billy Ray Cyrus.

    2.) Freebird. I wasn’t that fond of Lynard Skynard to begin with and my ex husband made it worse by playing it every time he got drunk which was every few days it seemed……usually late at night and at the loudest possible volume which annoyed everyone in a ten block radius.

    3.) Anything by Led Zepplin. Same reason as #2.

    4.) Anything Elvis Presley ever sang.

    5.) Meatloaf. see reason #2.

  • 50. Celine Dion – My Heart Will Go On: Hard to agree, even if I don’t like the song.
    49. Right Said Fred – I’m Too Sexy: Don’t know.
    48. The Beatles – Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da: Never heard it – or can’t remember.
    47. Bryan Adams – The Only Thing That Looks Good on Me is You: Perhaps, but he’s done worse, like “Have You Really Ever Loved A Woman”
    46. New Kids on the Block – Hangin’ Tough: Perhaps
    45. Ja Rule featuring Ashanti – Mesmerize: Probably as awful as Blender says, even if I now know the origin of the name “Ashanti” from reading anthropology.
    44. Meatloaf – I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That): Agree. It is just as bad a Queen.
    43. Uncle Cracker – Follow Me: Don’t know
    42. Simon and Garfunkel – The Sounds of Silence: Maybe. It is nothing to enjoy.
    41. Billy Joel – We Didn’t Start the Fire: he’s done far worse: I’d have put “The Longest Time” in over this by far.
    40. Color Me Badd – I Wanna Sex You Up: Probably
    39. Ricky Martin – She Bangs: “Weird” techno deserves this fate. Why no Real McCoy??
    38. Rednex – Cotton Eye Joe: Pretty dreadful. Deserves it.
    37. Gerardo – Rico Suave: I’d imagine this to be dreadful.
    36. Master P. featuring Silkk, Feind, Mia X and Mystikal – Make Em Say UHH!: Ditto
    35. R.E.M. – Happy Shiny People: No way. This from from R.E.M.’s last great album.
    34. Dan Fogleberg – Longer: Don’t know
    33. Aqua – Barbie Girl: Possibly
    32. Will Smith – Wil 2K: Probably
    31. Crash Test Dummies – Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm: Hardly that bad, even if the irony wears out very fast.
    30. Whitney Houston – The Greatest Love of All: Remember hearing “pain-ter” to the tune of this song, but perhaps does not deserve it when there any many contenders left out.
    29. Deep Blue Something – Breakfast at Tiffany’s: Agree. this was the kind of noisy grunge that moved me away from the radio.
    28. John Mayer – Your Body is a Wonderland: Perhaps would be out-competed if I thought. Doesn’t mean I’d like it.
    27. Europe – The Final Countdown: Remember hearing “glorious countdown” as a child, but it is not good.
    26. The Doors – The End: Hard to judge.
    25. Puff Daddy featuring Faith Evans and 112 – I’ll Be Missing You: Pretty awful dance-pop, so maybe deserves this fate.
    24. Five For Fighting – Superman: Don’t know.
    23. Corey Hart – Sunglasses at Night: Not a good song, but there’s plenty of bad 80s songs left out, like “Cum on Feel the Noize”, “Pump Up The Volume”, “50 Years” (Uncanny X-Men), “The Time Warp”
    22. Toby Keith – Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American): Don’t know
    21. Spin Doctors – Two Princes: On “50 Worst Artists”. I have memories of hearing “little bliss kept me rolling” and “two fishes”. Pleasant enough perhaps to exclude
    20. Lionel Richie – Dancing on the Ceiling. Enjoyable, probably would not include
    19. Mr. Mister – Broken Wings: Ditto
    18. Chicago – You’re the Inspiration: This is one that does belong here.
    17. Hammer – Pumps and a Bump: Probably awful, judging by the name.
    16. 4 Non Blondes – What’s Up?: Awful band, don’t know this one
    15. The Rembrandts – I’ll Be There For You: Agree, just like “Breakfast At Tiffany’s”
    14. Bette Midler – From a Distance: Typical ballad, scarcely dreadful enough.
    13. Genesis – Illegal Alien: Would have chosen “No Son Of Mine”.
    12. The Beach Boys – Kokomo. Remember singing “computer, Bahama” and “Chicago, Montego” when a boy. Slight, but not unbearable. Doubtful
    11. Clay Aiken – Invisible: Never heard.
    10. Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder – Ebony and Ivory: Barely heard, but try “Music of My Mind” if you want some of the BEST songs ever.
    9. Madonna – American Life: Never heard
    8. Eddie Murphy – Party all the Time: Don’t remember
    7. Bobby McFerrin – Don’t Worry Be Happy: USed to sing “worry, don’t be happy”, but never liked this one. Too silly, really, more so than “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm” actually
    6. Huey Lewis and the News – The Heart of Rock and Roll: Pleasant rock, but no substance.
    5. Vanilla Ice – Ice Ice Baby: hard to bear. Would agree, really.
    4. Limp Bizkit – Rollin’: Would agree if reputation and taste is anything
    3. Wang Chung – Everybody Have Fun Tonight: There’s far worse 80s dance music out there.
    2. Billy Ray Cyrus – Achy Breaky Heart: Tuneless mess of a song and deserves the honour, but not so high.
    1. Starship – We Built This City: Any other Starship song from the 1980s would be more deserving, actually, like “Jane”.

  • Free Bird (and some other picks) might be great songs but suffered the over-play, ram down your throat, I don’t want to hear it right now, again… syndrome.

    For instance,’Won’t Get Fooled Again’ by the Who could fall into this catagory. Great song, Who’s Next is an all-time great album.

    But, play it too much…


  • Taloran

    What is commonly forgotten is that 28 or so years ago Free Bird was a great song. Having said that, I never, ever want to hear it again, and loved the General Sherman comment. But to a 9th grader in 1976, Free Bird fuckin’ rocked, man!

    I like Spill The Wine, especially the long-haired leaping gnome part. Some on your list I’ve never heard, but for the most part I don’t disagree.

  • godoggo

    As with the other lists, it’s mostly songs I don’t know, and it includes a few I like e.g. “Spill the Wine.” My vote for Most Annoying Song (which I think is more meaningful – let’s face it, I’m willing to bet that not a few readers of this list have written worse songs than any that are included; God knows I have) is that one about “I Want the Truth to Be Heard” by whoever did it, and who cares.

  • I can understand how you don’t personally dig a certain song, but at least a couple of these songs are really good in different ways.

    “Silly Love Songs” however, ranks in a special class. It should be on your BEST EVER list. Indeed, this would be one or the top half dozen prototype Paul McCartney songs.

    I can understand how you could get real tired of ANY song, but “Freebird” ranks as a major classic.

    Actually, I’d go as far as to defend “Ice Ice Baby.” Your disdain for his silly personae are fine, but this one was actually a pretty good SONG. Dig up the Big Daddy version, in which they play it like a Chuck Berry song. It works. I swear.

  • Hey, some of us like “Longer.” I will go along with dissing that Adams tune though.

  • Oh! Man, I should have put that one on here! Honorable mention there!

    No, it was “Everything I Do, I Do It For You.”

  • “Our wedding song”

    A guess: “Longer”?

  • brown_boognish

    When it comes down to it, i think there must be some absolute truth regarding songs. There is something that makes them good that is not subjective in nature. Why else do we listen to critics at all, or write criticisms of our own?

  • Well, I was trying to be somewhat tongue in cheek. (I’m so rarely funny when I try to be… only unintentionally.)

    However, you do bring up what I think is a very valid point: that music is an experience, not simply sound. Think of the songs you love – what is it about them? So many people love songs that have positive memories or feelings attached to them.

    In fact, I showed my original list to a colleague, and she instantly pointed to one and said, “Oh! You can’t hate that song! It was my wedding song!” (In deference to her, I took it off.)

    So whether bad or good, I think any individual’s appreciation — or lack thereof — of any song relies in great part on the culture or perceptions or feelings that surround them.

  • brown_boognish

    I agree with many of your choices.

    Your reasoning behind many however leads me to believe that you based many of these choices on the circumstances surrounding the song instead for the actual music. I guess its difficult to consider many of these songs while excluding the culture that surrounds them.