I just read the introduction of a paper that should not be set aside lightly--it should be thrown across the room with great force. Since my inner curmudgeon is out today, here are some songs that I consider among the worst I've ever heard. I don't have a plausible explanation for how they ever got any radio play, but I've heard them all on the radio at one time or another. I'm excluding Christmas songs here--I could do another such post with just Christmas music.
1. Toni Basil, "Hey Mickey": The most annoying 80s song ever, with ridiculous video to match. (Hint to the ladies: If you're old enough to legally buy alcohol in this country, and you want people to take you seriously, do not put on a cheerleader's uniform.) A repetitive song with nothing even vaguely resembling a hook. If you really must hear what this song sounds like, look for Weird Al Yankovic's parody "Hey Ricky," which is actually halfway decent.
2. Norman Greenbaum, "Spirit In The Sky": This guy must be in league with Satan, because few things will turn you off of Jesus faster than this song allegedly in praise of Jesus. Repetitive bad lyrics. Bad theology, too, in the line "I've never been a sinner."
3. Alice Cooper, "Eighteen": You're not 18 anymore, Alice, so stop taking up airtime singing about it already.
4. Elton John/Kiki Dee, "Don't Go Breaking My Heart": There are lots of Elton haters out there, and this song is a strong argument in favor of that position. There are a few good Elton John songs out there, but not the ones that get significant airplay.
5. Guns 'n' Roses, "Knocking On Heaven's Door": A brilliant idea--let's have a Bob Dylan tune covered by just about the only famous singer (Axl Rose) with a worse singing voice than Bob Dylan! There are other ways in which this song is a bad stylistic match.
6. Black Sabbath, "Iron Man": Bad physics and bad chemistry ("He was turned to steel/In a great magnetic field") to go along with the annoyingly repetitive musical phrase (with the lead guitar doubling the singer, no less).
7. Led Zeppelin, "Whole Lotta Love": OK, Led Zeppelin fans, explain this one. The song is much too long, with a long stretch of moaning, and another annoying singing voice--Robert Plant in falsetto range. This is one of my arguments that Led Zeppelin was highly overrated.
8. Rolling Stones, "Under My Thumb": Another overrated classic rock band. Proof that misogynistic lyrics did not start in the rap era.
9. Gang Green, "Voices Carry": The original version by 'Til Tuesday isn't so bad, but screaming the refrain, as is done in this version, completely contradicts the meaning of the song.
10. Huey Lewis and the News, "Hip To Be Square": Huey Lewis rates as the biggest disappointment among the prominent musical stars of my teen years. He had the talent. He could have been somebody. Instead he became a pop sellout with songs like this one.