The WORST Songs Ever!

Posted by Dave

Earlier today, my music-loving pastor asked me – as a guy who plays tunes for a living, as opposed to for my own enjoyment – which songs I’d be happy to never play again. After reflecting on that question for a few hours, I’ve decided that my “List of the Least” would have to fall into 3 categories:

1. Ubiquitous melodies. Joy To The World (“Jeremiah was a bullfrog…”), Tie A Yellow Ribbon, and Feelings (“Woah-oh-oh…”) were so overplayed for so long that – whatever their merits – I just got sick to death of playing them. Even truly beautiful songs like Unchained Melody (the Righteous Brothers hit featured in Ghost) can and have been worn out, simply from excessive use.

2. Over-dramatic tunes. Lushly produced, hyper-emotional songs (pretty much anything by Whitney Houston, Michael Bolton, Celine Dion, and Barry Manilow) get really old, really fast. And so did New York, New York (about 30 years ago, and ever since.) The fact is, all these hits are much more showcases for the vocal chops and technique of their singers than they are great songs. I think it’s instructive that the 2 best known purveyors of New York, New York (Liza Minnelli and Frank Sinatra) are both Academy Award-winning actors. Given one of these talents, a 36-piece orchestra, and enough reverb, even Itsy Bitsy Spider could be a show-stopper.

3. Just plain lame songs. “In the desert, you can’t remember your name, ’cause there ain’t no one for to give you no pain.” (Aah – where should I even begin with this one?) This excerpt from the ’70s hit Horse With No Name tortures its syntax, uses double negatives, and displays a total logic lobotomy – all to set up a rhyme that doesn’t rhyme!

But my vote for the Worst Lyrics Ever is this verse from another ’70s classic, Put Your Hand In The Hand Of The Man. “Every time I look into the Holy Book, I wanna tremble / When I read about the part where the Carpenter cleared the temple / ‘Cause the buyers and the sellers were no different fellers than what I profess to be / And it causes me pain to know I’m not the man that I should be.”

This song was a huge hit. And we who made its composers rich deserved more than them (not) rhyming “tremble” with “temple.” Secondly, last I heard, Joseph was the carpenter, Jesus was a rabbi (teacher.) Next, the buyers and the sellers were only “no different fellers” if you like the idea of attending worship services where the Eucharist is brought to you by Pepsi-Cola. And finally, the composers set up the verse to end with a rhyme for the word “be.” They had an alphabet full of options to work with, including “me,” “see,” and every adverb ending in -ly. So which of the dozens of possibilities did they choose to rhyme with “be?” Why – be, of course! (At least it actually did rhyme, though I suspect Cole Porter rolled over in his grave a few times.)

But now that I’ve given you my non-hit parade, I would ask you to please remember that – if you hire me – you can feel free to request any of these songs you wish. (And Ring My Bell. And Torn Between Two Lovers, To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before, and… )

 

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