I hope you haven't had anything to eat recently, because,
as promised last week, today I am presenting the winners
of the Bad Song Survey.
In analyzing these results, I had to make a few adjustments.
For example, the Bob Dylan song Lay Lady Lay
would have easily won as Worst Overall Song, with
17,006 votes, except that I had to disallow 17, 004
votes on the grounds that they were cast by my Research
Department, Judi Smith, who tabulated the votes, and
who HATES Lay Lady Lay.
To win, a song had to be known well enough that a
lot of people could hate it. This is a shame in a
way, because some obscure songs that people voted
for are wonderfully hideous. One reader sent a tape
of a song called Hooty Sapperticker by a group
called Barbara and the Boys.
This could be the worst song I've ever heard. It consists
almost entirely of The Boys singing Hooty! Hooty!
Hooty! and then Barbara saying: Howdy Hooty Sapperticker!
Several readers sent in an amazing CD from Rhino Records
called Golden Throats, which consists of popular actors
attempting to sing popular music, including William
Shatner attempting Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds,
Leonard Nimoy attempting Proud Mary, Mae West
attempting Twist and Shout, Eddie Albert attempting
Blowin' in the Wind, and -- this is my favorite
-- Jack Soul Webb attempting Try a Little Tenderness.
You need this CD.
But now for our survey results. Without question, the
voters' choice for Worst Song -- in both the Worst Overall
AND Worst Lyrics category -- is ... (drum roll ...)
MacArthur Park, as sung by Richard Harris, and
later remade, for no comprehensible reason, by Donna
Summer. It's hard to argue with this selection. My 12-year-old
son, Rob, was going through a pile of ballots, and he
asked me how MacArthur Park goes, so I sang it,
giving it my best shot, and Rob laughed so hard that
when I got to the part about leaving the cake out in
the rain, and it took so long to bake it, and I'll never
have that recipe again, Rob was on the floor. He didn't
BELIEVE those lyrics were real. He was SURE his wacky
old humor-columnist dad was making them up. The clear
runner-up, again in both categories, is Yummy Yummy
Yummy (I Got Love In My Tummy), performed by Ohio
Express. (A voter sent me an even WORSE version of this,
performed by actress Julie London, who at one time --
and don't tell me this is mere coincidence -- was married
to Jack Webb.)
Coming in a strong third is (You're) Having My Baby
by Paul Anka. This song is deeply hated. As one voter
put it: It has no redeeming value whatsoever -- except
my friend Brian yelled out during the birth scene in
the sequel to `The Fly' in full song, `Having my maggot
' Honorable mention goes to Bobby Goldsboro, who got
many votes for various songs, especially Honey. One
voter wrote: Why does everybody hate Bobby Goldsboro's
`Honey'? I hate it too, but I want to know WHY.
Why? Consider this verse: She wrecked the car and she
was sad; And so afraid that I'd be mad, but what the
heck; Tho' I pretended hard to be; Guess you could say
she saw through me; And hugged my neck. As one reader
observed: Bobby never caught on that he could have bored
a hole in himself and let the sap out. A recent song
that has aroused great hostility is Achy Breaky Heart,
by Billy Ray Cyrus.
According to voter Mark Freeman, the song sounds like
this: You can tell my lips, or you can tell my hips,
that you're going to dump me if you can; But don't tell
my liver, it never would forgive her, it might blow
up and circumcize this man! Many voters feel a special
Lifetime Bad Achievement Award should go to Mac Davis,
who wrote In the Ghetto, Watching Scotty Grow,
AND Baby Don't Get Hooked On Me, which contains
one of the worst lines in musical history: You're
a hot-blooded woman-child; And it's warm where you're
touching me. That might be as bad as the part in
Careless Whisper where George Michael sings:
I'm never gonna dance again; Guilty feet have got no
rhythm. Speaking of bad lyrics, many voters also cited
Paul McCartney, who, ever since his body was taken over
by a pod person, has been writing things like: Someone's
knockin' at the door; Somebody's ringin' the bell; (repeat);
Do me a favor, open the door, and Let Him In.
There were strong votes for various tragedy songs, especially
Teen Angel (I'll never kiss your lips again;
They buried you today. ) and Timothy, a song
about -- really -- three trapped miners, two of whom
wind up EATING the third.
Other tremendously unpopular songs, for their lyrics
or overall badness, are: Muskrat Love, Sugar Sugar,
I'm Too Sexy, Surfin' Bird, I've Never Been To Me, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,
Afternoon Delight, Feelings, You Light Up My
Life and In the Year 2525 (VIOLENT hatred for this
song). In closing, let me say that you voters have performed
a major public service, and that just because your song
didn't make the list, that doesn't mean it isn't awful
(unless you were one of the badly misguided people who
voted for The Tupperware Song ). Let me also
say that I am very relieved to learn that there are
people besides me who hate Stairway to Heaven.
P.S. Also I Shot the Sheriff.
© Copyright 1993 the Miami