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Thread: Worst song of all time

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    Default Worst song of all time

    By Todd Leopold
    CNN


    Friday, April 21, 2006 Posted: 0825 GMT (1625 HKT)

    Bobby Goldsboro's "Honey" was one of the biggest hits of 1968.

    I knew it was coming.

    Every day, at the end of almost every hour, XM's '60s channel plays the top six hits of a corresponding week from that decade. As an aficionado of the Billboard charts -- I've got a bunch of the Billboard Top 40 and No. 1 books at home -- I knew what was going to be No. 1 when the countdown got to mid-April 1968: "Honey," by Bobby Goldsboro.

    The Worst Song of All Time.

    I sat transfixed in my car as it played, as if I were in the midst of an accident. The simpering melody, the tearjerking lyrics: God, how I hated it. And yet I couldn't change the station.

    "See the tree, how big it's grown / But friend, it hasn't been too long, it wasn't big ..."

    "Honey" wasn't just a hit -- it was No. 1 for five weeks in April-May 1968, one of the biggest songs of the year. According to a Bobby Goldsboro tribute site, songwriter Bobby Russell initially gave the song to Kingston Trio member Bob Shane; when Shane's version got off to a slow start, Russell (who also wrote "Little Green Apples" and "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia") allowed Goldsboro to release it, and the recording took off immediately.

    (The Kingston Trio also did an early version of "Seasons in the Sun." Coincidence? I think not.)

    I've always been at a loss to its success. Sure, it's about a "Love Story"-type romance, and those sorts of tearjerkers sell. But the narrator of "Honey" isn't even kind to his wife: He laughs when she slips, describes her as "kinda dumb and kinda smart" and mocks her for crying at the late show.

    "One day while I was not at home / While she was there and all alone / The angels came ..."

    And then there's her death. Even in 1968, what kind of jerk wouldn't be at his wife's bedside as she died? No doubt, the "Honey" narrator grew up to become the narrator of Harry Chapin's far superior "Cats in the Cradle," ignoring his son as he once ignored his wife.

    But one man's offal is another man's meat, and "Honey" has its defenders.

    "I cried when I first heard it as a child, and still cry as an adult. So what if it's sappy," wrote Fiona on Songfacts.com. "This song is [one of] the most touching and heartwarming songs I have ever heard, second being 'Iris,' by the Goo Goo Dolls," added Dawson.

    Besides, it's foolish to single "Honey" out when there are so many other awful songs. I asked CNN.com staffers what they thought the worst song of all time is -- and you'll get your chance as well.

    Eye on Entertainment can't get them out of his head.

    Eye-opener
    I only had two rules: the song had to have been a hit -- preferably the kind you hear on the radio so often you can't change the station fast enough -- and it can't have been a song that wore out its welcome through repetition. A really bad song is one you hate from the word "go."

    Several people nominated Starship's "We Built This City," a No. 1 hit from 1985 that was also named Blender magazine's worst song ever. CNN Pipeline copy editor James Dinan put it best: "I got a laugh when I read that the original intent of this song was to be a statement against cracking down on artistic freedom. I'd support such a crackdown if it means this song will never be played again."

    The Starland Vocal Band's "Afternoon Delight" got a few votes, as did Billy Ray Cyrus' "Achy Breaky Heart," Mr. Mister's "Broken Wings" and Don Johnson's "Heartbeat." ("Broken Wings" succeeded "We Built This City" as No. 1 by a few weeks; obviously, late 1985 was a golden age for bad songs.)

    A couple folks named "MacArthur Park," which also won a Dave Barry worst song contest several years ago. Barry himself can't stand "In the Year 2525," which he called "relentlessly ugly" in his book "Tricky Business."

    Then there were the generalists, who nominated such things as "anything ever recorded by Celine Dion" and "the REO Speedwagon catalog."

    Of course, there were the novelty songs -- C.W. McCall's "Convoy," Right Said Fred's "I'm Too Sexy," Rick Dees' "Disco Duck" and the Black Eyed Peas' "My Humps" ("so bad as to veer toward evil," wrote a Slate.com reviewer in apparent agreement). But it seems unfair to lump novelty songs in with works that insist on quality and earnestness. (However, it also may be unfair to assume the "quality" and "earnestness" of "Achy Breaky Heart.")

    The submissions spawned their share of quarrels. One person intensely disliked Biz Markie's "Just a Friend," but despite its amateurish rap and clunky background, I find the song perversely charming. And as many people love Toni Basil's "Mickey" as can't stand it. (Rhino Records, never one to miss a trick, has a whole album of bad hit songs: "'70s Party Killer Classics" -- not to mention the classic "Golden Throats" collections.)

    What do you say, dear reader? What do you think is the worst song of all time? Send your responses (and reasons, if you have them) to worstsong@cnn.com. I'll compile them in a future column.

    In the meantime, I'll stick with "Honey." Or, at least, it'll stick with me ... like decomposing, stepped-in garbage on a hot day.
    LOVE the 'Cats in the Cradle' comment, although that song still makes me weepy. Bloody hate 'We Built this City'. But is it the worst song? Of course not. Achy Breaky is worse as is anything by Celine or Anne Murray. Can't actually decide on the worst song....anyone?
    'Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.' Ben Franklin

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."
    --Sinclair Lewis

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    Elite Member Sojiita's Avatar
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    Default Re: Worst song of all time

    Tie between "Afternoon Delight"(makes me almost go insane and want to kill someone) and "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald"(makes me almost go insane and want to kill myself!)

    honorable mention to:

    Most c(rap) songs
    "Mickey"-Toni Basil..insanity inducing..once heard will stay in head for hours!
    "Loveshack"..same as above!
    numerous others that have not come to mind right now(Thank God!)

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    Default Re: Worst song of all time

    "Hey Mickey" at least as the virtue of being easy to bop around to during aerobics. One of my dance classes uses it as a dance sequence and I've come to see there is some redeeming value to the annoying peppy thing.

    You cannot say that about "Honey" or "Afternoon Delight" (ugh, I was just coming to post that as a the worst song ever!!!) I remember when "Afternoon Delight" was a big hit, I was in a band and we got so many requests for it that we ended up learning the damn thing and performing it. I would cring each and every time I had to sing these damned words, "Thinkin' of you's workin' up my appetite and the thought of lovin' you's gettin' me so excited... Skyrockets in flight.." well you get the ugly picture...

    Now "Honey" has a different history for me as to why I cannot stand it. My dumb parents would put on the stereo in their bedroom and this was one of the songs they played endless. They'd put on the stereo, crank it high and fight. I cring and get tense whenever I hear that song. It's like someone ringing the bell at the fights in my mind.

    Another really bad song is "Alone Again Naturally" from the seventies, cheesy, trite and smaltzy. Add in "Me and You and a Dog Named Boo" and it's complete.

    Edited to say oh great, now I've got "Honey" stuck in my head and I feel tense like my parents are fighting and I"m a dumb little kid again. Time for some chemical relaxant and a day spent doing fuck all..hehehheh

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    Elite Member Sojiita's Avatar
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    Default Re: Worst song of all time

    ^^ the problem with Mickey(and Loveshack) is not so much the song...but rather how they have such an ability to get stuck in your head...after 6 hours of having "Oh Mickey you're so fine, you're so fine you blow my mind HEY MICKEY!!" go through your brain you want to stab your eyes with forks!
    "Alone again naturally"-most depressing song of all time! How many have jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge cause of this song?..twenty..thirty..who knows?
    Cannot believe you admitted to PLAYING "Afternoon Delight"...that must be a psychic scar that will NEVER heal!!!!

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    Elite Member darksithbunny's Avatar
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    Default Re: Worst song of all time

    I really can't stand Whitney's version of I will always love you. I also hate Celine's My heart will go on. I have to defend the REO Speedwagon backlash. When Keep on lovin you comes on, I still try and sing at the top of my lungs.

    How about Ice, Ice Baby? ugh. I know some people find My Ding a Ling charming but the hairs on the back of my neck stand straight up when I hear that song, chants more like it.

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    Default Re: Worst song of all time

    Cannot believe you admitted to PLAYING "Afternoon Delight"...that must be a psychic scar that will NEVER heal!!!
    Sojiita you have to remember I stayed massively stoned during most of the mid and late 70s so that deflected the damage somewhat. Dope is helpful for something, ha!

    Darksithbunny, two excellent choices! I was thinking about both of them earlier too. I think I'd rather poke my eardrums out with a rusty crochet hook than listen to "My Heart Will Go On".

    Have to add any song done by Michael Bolton. I cannot stand him or his music!

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    Elite Member Sojiita's Avatar
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    Default Re: Worst song of all time

    Quote Originally Posted by UndercoverGator
    I think I'd rather poke my eardrums out with a rusty crochet hook than listen to "My Heart Will Go On".
    That almost makes me want to start a new thread.."What would you be willing to do to NOT have to listen to your most hated song?" I think I would seriously be willing to jab a sharp pin into my arm to avoid having to listen to "The Wreck of... the Edmuuunnnnd Fitzgeraaaaaaallllllllldddddd"

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    Default Re: Worst song of all time

    It could be worse, I could put in links to stuff like John Ashcroft singing that atrocious "Eagle" song....

    Some of the early Fundie Xian music should be on this list too..

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    Default Re: Worst song of all time

    I have two words (well, syllables, actually) --

    CON-VOYYYYYYYY........♫



    CON-VOYYYYYYYY.......♪


    ...a song that capitalized on a mid-70s craze in CB radio
    and its inane trucker-friendly dialect. And yes,
    they did make a movie around it, featuring
    Ali McGraw . Sung by would-be country rapper
    C. W. McCall, the song had a lot of dumb, impressionable
    kids whinging to their parents, "Mawwwwwwwwm, can we get
    a CB radio?" for months on end.


    ♫` ∴|| ~∞≠∝ ♫♪ $ -4C

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    Default Re: Worst song of all time

    I hate that song "Short People" by Randy Newman and I'm not even short.
    How You Durrin ?

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    Default Re: Worst song of all time

    I'm sick of friggin' Green Day songs. They are always on the radio. Whiny, whiny boys.

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    Elite Member Sojiita's Avatar
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    Default Re: Worst song of all time

    Quote Originally Posted by Killjoy
    I love the song Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald but I'm also a big Gordon Lightfoot fan (Carefree Highway, If You Could Read My Mind how could anyone not love those?)
    I like the others you mentioned. Just hate that one horrific song.

    Quote Originally Posted by ourmaninBusan
    I have two words (well, syllables, actually) --

    CON-VOYYYYYYYY........♫



    CON-VOYYYYYYYY.......♪


    ...a song that capitalized on a mid-70s craze in CB radio
    and its inane trucker-friendly dialect. And yes,
    they did make a movie around it, featuring
    Ali McGraw . Sung by would-be country rapper
    C. W. McCall, the song had a lot of dumb, impressionable
    kids whinging to their parents, "Mawwwwwwwwm, can we get
    a CB radio?" for months on end.

    another song I would stab myself in order to keep from having to listen to it.

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    Default Re: Worst song of all time

    Here's a funny mixture of Angry White Boy Songs like Green Day plays set to the music of Weird Al. http://www.flashplayer.com/music/ang...eboypolka.html

    There were so many bad songs from the 70s that make me want to fill my ears with concrete like "One Bad Apple", anything by the Cassidy Brothers, "Disco Duck", most of disco, Melanie's dirty rollerskate song - was anyone really fooled into not realizing that the skate and key stood for vagina and penis? That decade gave us a collective hangover.

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    Default Re: Worst song of all time

    Quote Originally Posted by Killjoy
    Short people, don't want no short people. They got stubby little hands and...
    I'm scared that I know this song!
    Even scarier I have several Randy Newman CDs and all his old stuff on...gasp! vinyl!

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    Elite Member Glasgow53's Avatar
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    Default Re: Worst song of all time

    Oh Achey Brakey Heart does it for me. I would drip acid into my ears to avoid hearing it. It stays in my head for a week. I have renamed it "Smelley welley farts." Don't smell my farts, my smelley welley farts..." you get the picture. Now I will have it in my head for a while. Please pass the brain acid.
    Keep passing the open windows.

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