The worst songs ever: 1. “Muskrat Love”

October 17, 2013 • 1:54 pm

I know I’m going to insult some people’s taste over the next few days, but I’d like to post a few of what I consider the worst songs in the history of rock/pop. Believe me, I’ve compiled a huge list over the years, but I won’t subject you to too many.

Near the top of any such list must be this song, recorded by the Captain and Tennille in 1976. It’s not that the tune is bad, for it isn’t, but the words are absolutely dreadful. Toni Tennille was a decent singer and a radiant beauty, but even she couldn’t save this one.

I always crack up when I hear these lyrics:

Nibblin’ on bacon,
Chewin’ on cheese,
Sam says to Suzie,
“Honey, would you please be my Mrs.?”
Suzie says,”yes” with her kisses.
Now he’s ticklin’ her fancy,
Rubbin’ her toes,
Muzzle to muzzle—
Now anything goes.
As they wriggle
Sue starts to giggle

Sadly, I doubt that bacon and cheese are on the list of muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus) comestibles; the species lives almost completely on aquatic vegetation. And where would a muskrat get bacon, anyway?

muskratmating
A little wine, a little bacon, a little cheese. . .

Some notes from Wikipedia, which also crack me up.

Despite Captain & Tennille’s stated uninterest in highlighting “Muskrat Love” as an item in their repertoire, it was the song they chose to sing at a July 1976 White House dinner honoring Queen Elizabeth II: the press subsequently ran a statement from a dinner guest who opined it was “in very poor taste” to sing of mating muskrats before the Queen. Toni Tennille responded to this charge saying: “only a person with a dirty mind would see something wrong. It’s a gentle Disneyesque kind of song.”

I probably have forgotten some of the most dire songs, so weigh in below with the ones you hate the most, and I may post a reader’s choice.

And I haven’t forgotten the Beatles.

267 thoughts on “The worst songs ever: 1. “Muskrat Love”

    1. Is it that Donny Osmond is the singer what makes it objectionable? Stever Lawrence, among other artists, gave it a decent rendering.

    2. What??? You don’t like Go Away Little Girl?! Guess you weren’t a big Donny Osmond fan like I was. Had a major crush on him when I was eight 🙂

      1. Oh yes, those lyrics are just ridiculous and it’s so melodramatic though it kind of reminds me of the state the poor woman was in who baby sat me as she had 3 boys around the same age (and I was the good one BTW).

          1. I love MacArthur Park! I just assumed the words were created under the influence of mind altering substances and let it go at that.

            1. I love the song, and the lyrics. I even love Donna Summer’s version, too! Take that, Dave Barry and your readers.

              However, I do agree that most of the other songs at the bottom of Barry’s list are near the bottom of mine, too. His #3 worst, Paul Anka’s “You’re Having My Baby” is probably the most putrid pop song of all time; even that pales in comparison with songs I heard dozens of time in the fundamentalist church I used to attend. Fortunately, those songs are not known outside of that particular church.

    1. Apparently, Weird Al Yankovic has a parody of MacArthur Park called “Jurassic Park” presumably with film references much like his Anakin Guy parody of American Pie. It’s probably much better than the original.

      1. Would a different object left out in the rain have been less objectionable? Perhaps some quarterly mutual fund report?

        1. The metaphors are confusing and weird. Metaphors are supposed to make us understand things better – what makes sense about this:

          I recall the yellow cotton dress
          foaming like a wave

          or

          we were pressed,
          in love’s hot, fevered iron
          like a striped pair of pants.

          Besides, who takes a cake out in the rain and leaves it there? Eat your cake inside, esp if it is raining!

          1. “what makes sense about this:

            ‘I recall the yellow cotton dress
            foaming like a wave’. . . .”

            Well, you need to finish the line (why didn’t you – because it would complete and make sense of the “dress-wave” comparison?):

            ” . . . on the ground around your knees;

            The birds like tender babies in your hands,

            And the old men playing checkers, by the trees.”

            Have you ever been caught in a rain, whether or not it was in a park on a birthday picnic? Ever purposefully walked in the rain, perhaps hiking in the mountains, not caring whether you got wet?

            I grant that “striped pair of pants” is not the most endearing line. Perhaps Mr. Webb should have further contemplated words to rhyme with “dance” in, “Spring was never waiting for us, girl, it ran one step ahead, as we followed in the dance.” Perhaps a line ending with “chance,” in that Love is quite a chancey thang.

    2. But I have to say I enjoyed Weird Al’s “Jurassic Park” take on it:

      Jurassic Park is frightening in the dark
      All the dinosaurs are running wild
      Someone let T. Rex out of his pen
      I’m afraid those things’ll harm me
      ‘Cause they sure don’t act like Barney
      And they think that I’m their dinner, not their friend
      Oh no

      1. I liked MacArthur Park musically, though the lyrics didn’t make much sense, so Weird Al’s take on it is just as good IMO – and hilarious. Loved it!

      1. It’s a moot point, like deciding between toothache and sciatica. But to be fair to Ringo, Paul McC also penned some really dire songs. “Band on the Run” is one of those tracks that makes me shout abuse at the radio. “Silly Love Songs” is another that should make him hang his head in shame.

        1. “Siiiimply haaaaving … a wonderful Christmas time…”

          I always assumed Paul wrote this one while stoned and banging time on a coffee table with a sippy-cup.

        2. “Band on the Run” is one the best post-Beatles songs ever and the album of the same name could have been a Beatles’ album…almost.

          “Silly Love Songs,” though is pretty wretched song, but doesn’t hold a candle to “Let ‘Em In.”

        1. Me, too! Octopus’s Garden is actually one of my favorites.

          But…speaking of Beatles and bad songs, I’d have to put “My Sweet Lord” at the top / bottom of any such list….

          b&

          1. The melody of “Sweet Lord” is so similar to an earlier pop song “He’s So Fine”, that it became the source of a major lawsuit against Harrison.

            According to Wikipedia “”My Sweet Lord” was at the centre of a heavily publicised plagiarism suit due to its similarity to the Ronnie Mack song “He’s So Fine”, a 1963 hit for the New York girl group the Chiffons. In 1976, Harrison was found to have “subconsciously” plagiarised the earlier tune, a verdict that had repercussions throughout the music industry.”

            Lots of gory details at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Sweet_Lord#Copyright_infringement_suit

            1. Of course, some judge made that determination.

              Apparently, judges – by virtue of being judges – like economists by virtue of being economists – are qualified to hold forth on anything.

              The songs “Misty,” “Ebb Tide,” and the theme from the soap opera “Days of Our Lives,” have the same first three notes. Surely that’s enough to prompt one song writer to go after the other two, eh, if the “He’s So Fine” and “My Sweet Lord” case is the penultimate benchmark by which to judge such matters.

          1. For some reason I’ve never forgotten that that song was playing at MIA* when I stepped of a plane after a summer in Costa Rica in 1972. Surreal.

            (Airports used to play pop songs?)

            There was also a big picture of Nixon on the way to Customs…

            1. Indeed, and nice drums by Paul, though it’s not nearly as good as the next song, “Dear Prudence,” the BEST song off of The Beatles. Paul’s bass, piano, and drums play a huge role in what makes this song great. Of course it was also the best song Lennon wrote the White Album.

      2. Indeed, far worse. “Yellow Submarine” is great when you take it as it’s meant: a kids (or hippy) sing-a-long.

        1. Actually, “Octopus’s Garden” is not THAT bad. I mean compare it to the shambling, horribly produced “Don’t Pass Me By,” the only other Ringo penned song to make it onto a Beatles album. (All four Beatles were credited with the writing of “Flying” from Magical Mystery Tour, but that hardly counts – what did Ringo write? The drum line?).

      1. Granted it’s not Grammy-winning material, but it’s just a 12-bar blues like so many other R&R songs. Personally, I’d much rather listen to McCartney raucously doing it in the middle of the road than painfully wobbling his way down a Long and Winding one.

      1. Thankfully neither of those are Beatles’ songs.

        The Beatles did “Revolution 9,” which, while it took a while for it to grow on me, is nice avant garde. Don’t know that I’d buy a full album of it though.

        The Beatles did “Lovely Rita,” which is a great song (Sgt. Pepper has no clunkers) and clever as hell. Listen to it deeper (and preferably psychedelicized).

          1. THE worst Beatle song: “I Dig A Pony.” No contest.

            Other horrors: “The Beat Goes On” by Sonny & Cher: “EE-lectric-lee they show a baseball score.”

            And the all-time worst: “Tin Man” by America:

            “Oz never did give nothin’ to the Tin Man/That he didn’t didn’t already have/And cause never was the reason for the evening/Or the Tropic of Sir Galahad/So please, believe in me.” I like how the last line starts with “So” as though he has proven a point.

  1. Remember the one with the line, “Dropkick me, Jesus, through the goalposts of life.” Sort of a seasonally popular song, I suppose.

      1. If you haven’t heard Hayes Caryl’s (I think I’ve spelled that correctly) song “She Left Me for Jesus” you’ve really missed a song that may or may not be parody, but is really, really funny.

  2. This Muskrat Love song justifies it’s entire existence if it annoyed Henry Kissinger. In fact, it should get a medal.

  3. This brings back memories.

    In 1977, I was a senior at Penn in a 500-level class on Elizabethan love poetry. We were looking at some long-forgotten and not-so-great sonnet by some fairly minor poet alluding to love between two animals- I can’t remember now if it was beavers, otters, muskrats or what. I impulsively started singing two lines of “Muskrat Love” and the class went into hysterical laughter.

    Octopus’ Garden is IMO merely mediocre, but not really awful bad. Some really bad Beatles songs are ones they wrote but (wisely) never recorded but sold off to other rock groups. You can buy them now all on a single CD called “Beatles:Lost Songs”, easily the worst investment I’ve ever made in anything Beatlish in my life.

    My vote for worst song of the 80s: “To All the Girls I Loved Before” by Willie Nelson and Julio Eglesias.
    for worst of the 70s: Barry Manilow’s “I Write the Songs”
    Worst popular song by Andrew Lloyd Weber: “Memories” (the only song in “Cats” with lyrics not primarily by T.S. Eliot from “Old Possums Book of Practical Cats”) (There’s some material by Weber that’s pretty good. I kinda like “Evita” and “Phantom”).

    1. I’ve been surprised at how memory infused these songs are. Maybe they are good memory cues for certain periods since they were played a LOT at some specific point in time but then never again.

    2. Anything by Lloyd Weber could make the list. I kinda got a kick out of the Julio/Willie song…so bad it was fun…

    3. “To All the Girls I Loved Before” by Willie Nelson and Julio Eglesias is beyond pompous and insulting, not to mention unmusical.

      Barry Manilow’s “I Write the Songs” is a collection of trite tropes, not to mention unmusical.

      Could I have written either of these No, but I have other music to compare them to.

    1. I don’t know that last one, but MmmBop is a perfect toe-tapping, sing-along pop song. What’s not to like? By contrast, I’d gladly scratch Craig David in the face for the songs he’s released – all of them.

      1. ‘Achy Breaky Heart’ (even the title is ghastly) gave me such an animus against _anyone_ named Cyrus that it wasn’t till Miley started twerking that I could bear to take any notice of her… 😉

  4. Funny how it’s all in the nuance. By contrast, I happen to think “Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road” is excellent.

    (Bet Queenie loves it too.)

    1. I was noticing that some of these examples are songs I personally like, though I am not proud of it. This one, and ‘My Sweet Lord’ by George Harrison (which was soundly dissed above) being perfect examples.

  5. I liked the America version of Muscrat Love but then I was only 11 or 12 at the time. Also I must admit to having never really listened to the lyrics before. I expect it will be impossible to enjoy the song from now on. But the songs listed here I think shows our age! I agree with that most of the songs given here are pretty dire.

    The I most hated was the Mike Curb Congregation song “Candy Man”

  6. Jerry: I know you’re a huge Beatles fan (as am I) but the older I get the more embarrassed I am when I think back on some of Paul McCartney’s lyrics. For example:

    “Admiral Halsey notified me, he had to have a berth or he couldn’t get to sea. I had another look and I had a cup of tea and a butter pie. (Butter Pie) The butter wouldn’t melt so we poured it in the pie.”

    Or:

    The girl is mine, the doggone girl is mine. I know she’s mine, Because the doggone girl is mine.

    Or even worse:

    “Someone’s knocking at the door. Somebody’s ringing the bell. Do me a favor — open the door and let ’em in, yeah, yeah, yeah.”

    They just don’t write ’em like that any more (thankfully).

    Have I committed a sacrilege?

        1. Reminds me of the National Lampoon answer to the question:

          Q:When did Paul McCartney write Silly Love Songs?

          A: 1963 to….

        2. There are more and better reasons to drop acid. Listening to the Beatles, though, that’s one of the best reasons.

          1. I miss acid. It had a resurgence back in the 90s when I was in my late teens early twenties but it sees to have disappeared. Does anyone even do acid anymore? Anyway, most of the tunes mentioned here would probably improve with a double of acid.

    1. “Someone’s knocking at the door” is a dreadful song. Can’t believe I overlooked it in my earlier comment. It’s cringeworthy. I wonder if he just lost the plot as a result of all the adulation. I bet somebody knocked at his door one day and he thought, Hey, you know what? I can make that into a good song. But he couldn’t.

    2. Yikes, yes. Just by itself that ‘knocking at the door’ song almost destroyed McCartney’s reputation for me. I was charitable and assumed he did it as a satire, or maybe a test to see how much his fans could be pushed.

    3. Acid or not, those lyrics are dreadful. Ys, McCarney was perfectly capable of writing dreadful lyrics, but most especially after he left the Beatles. The Admiral Halsey verse always makes me cringe, as does “knocking on the door”. JEBUS!

    4. I still love “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey.” It was one of my favorite songs as a child and I still thinks it’s great. I even like the lyrics you quote, though I think the lyrics sites got them wrong. It prefer my hearing. Plus I love McCartney’s voicing of that section.

  7. While in college my husband was working alone at a taco restaurant and an obnoxious little kid about 10 years old (and iirc related to the owner) came in and proceeded to play “Run, Joey, Run” over and over again on the jukebox.

    This … is what Hell would be like.

    He eventually told him to knock it off. But seriously, you can’t leave “Run, Joey, Run” off a list of worst songs ever.

  8. Sinatra’s High Hopes ( whoops there goes another rubber tree plant), Teen Angel, Laurie and the Sweater, Green, a Green Grass of Home,..

  9. Toni Tennille also commented that “the Queen smiled.” So she assumed the Queen was not offended.

    Bad song vote: “You’re Havin’ My Baby,” by Paul Anka. Sample lyric:
    “You’re havin’ my baby, what a lovely way to say what you’re thinkin’ of me.”

  10. On the other hand, Weird Al Yankovic’s version of Nirvana’s “Smells like teen spirit” is wonderful. Check the YouTube version of this after watching Nirvana’s version and you’ll doubtlessly agree.

  11. Creed – “What’s This Life For”

    Typical awful lyrics and turbo-fan-blown-hair-video from this awful band.

  12. I gather comments here are restricted to “pop-rock” and “light rock” offerings? On the outside chance that harder rock recommendations are allowed, I submit Bloodrock’s “D.O.A.”

  13. “Truckin'”
    Always it occurs to me
    What a long boring song it’s been.

    (As well as a horrible ear-worm.)

    In fact, I’ll just say everything by the Grateful Dead is horrid.

      1. Take a listen to Taj Mahal’s version of ‘Six Days on the Road.’ Might redeem at least one song in the Truck genre.

    1. Oh yes. I agree emphatically. I just don’t get the whole dead thing. I had a room mate in college who was a seriously committed deadhead. He had 50 or more recordings of the dead. Out of all that I never heard a song I cared to hear twice.

    2. Oh …there IS another person – I thought I was the only one. I can’t listen to any of that jam band type music that goes on forever – especially with under/over tones of “contemporary” – shudder. Shudder. SHUDDER.

    3. Yeah, the Grateful Dead are truly an enigma, almost cult-like. And their songs are universally awful. If I had to listen to that crap on an acid trip (supposedly what that music is good for) I guarantee that it would produce my one and only bad trip. I know and own lots of great psychedelic music, but the Dead just doesn’t fit this category.

  14. One that’s not often listed but should be, “Coward of the County”. A woman’s brutal gang rape is used as a minor plot device for the main focus of the song – her husband’s first fight.

    1. Oh yeah, a first fight in which (IIRC) the protagonist beat up three guys? Good luck with that.

      Quite aside from the message that violence is the answer…

  15. Mickey by Toni Basil – I cannot adequately describe how much I despise this song.

    Endless Love by Lionel Richie & Diana Ross – Attained a record breaking level of monotony.

    We Built This City by Starship – Yuk!

    Jesus Take The Wheel – I loathe this song. I don’t like much country in the first place, and this song is a damn good example of all the attributes about the genre that I don’t like. On top of all that the main premise of the song (I’m in trouble so I’ll just beg Jesus to take control instead of actually trying to do something useful myself), is the distilled putrescence of liberal sounding christianity that is one of the major reasons that I reject religion.

    Lots more where those came from.

    1. There was a period of time when We Built This City was playing frequently on the radio and I got it stuck in my head for such a long span of time that I wanted to take a drill to my head and drill it out.

      1. Oh yeah. That song sucks so bad, and was so over played, that it is definitely a contender for most common cause of self inflicted frontal lobotomy.

        1. Thank Ceiling Cat, as soon as I saw the singer’s name I just hit the “back” arrow on the browser.

          Question: Does what people regard as awful depend on how old they were when they first heard it? I just don’t listen to pop or light rock anymore, it’s either classical or 60s pop (from when I was teen/early 20s), so I have no idea about current music.

      1. Aww c’mon, it’s not *that* bad. I hasten to add, in no sense do I mean to suggest that it’s anything other than crap, and a complete waste of time, but (IMO) at no point does it approach the truly ghastly heights of awfulness that would make me give up several days of my life never to have seen/heard it.

        In fact, two minutes after watching it, aside from a vague impression that Ms Hilton will never ever make a singer or a fashion model or a pr0nstar, it’s faded from my memory already…

  16. Dear Philistines, let me defend “MacArthur Park.” It was part of a trilogy of songs about a breakup that Jimmy Webb had (the other two songs being “Wichita Lineman” and “By the Time I Get to Phoenix”). Regarding the cake, Webb stated: “The cake, it was an available object. It was what I saw in the park at the birthday parties.” The lyrical imagery, the pathos, and the soaring crescendo, all combine to create a mini pop opera masterpiece.

    However, I have to agree that “Muskrat Love” is definitely a Voyage to the Bottom of the Barrel.

    The correct title for “Someone Knockin’ at the Door” by MacCartney is “Let ‘Em In.” I’m not going to defend it because I dislike it too, but it’s not as bad as some other songs I can think of. It makes the bottom 5% but not the bottom 1%.

    1. Yes, but ’99 Dead Baboons’ does correctly state that baboons are not apes, so at least at this website it should get some respect.

      1. That may well be true, but if I’m going to choose my ear-worm I’d much rather have “Dead baboon chow” running around over A Song With a Message.

    1. If you mean by Terry Jacks, I concur.

      However, I recommend the version recorded some decade or so earlier by The Kingston Trio.

        1. Can’t agree. Morning has Broken, Wind Beneath my Wings and Kumbaya are all (IMO) lovely tunes. If they suffer at all, it may be because too many people have tried to cover them or they’ve been played to often, but that’s a quite different issue from being a bad tune.

          Personally, I love Judith Durham’s versions of Kumbaya and Morning Has Broken, and Sheena Easton’s Wind Beneath My Wings (all on Youtube)

          The Jesus one I don’t know, sounds a bit too religious for my liking.

            1. Thanks for the reminder of Cat Stevens. I’ve just listened to it again, and it’s very good, as it’s always been. So I take that rendition off my list back.

              However, the version one young woman did of this in a very high-pitched voice is forever etched my brain, and I want to stab myself in the head with a plastic fork, whenever I hear it. Alas, I can’t remember her name!

              Jesus, Take the Wheel is my other No.1 hate. Great singer, one of America’s sweethearts, but ….
              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lydBPm2KRaU

  17. I think, and I think most biologists and geneticists would agree, that “Puberty Love” is the worst song ever. Who would have thought that one horrible song would shrink those giant tomatoes that I worked so hard to create.

  18. Even though it has a cat hook, Carly Simon’s “De Bat Fly in Me Face” is down near the bottom of the pit.
    “De bat he rat got wings
    All the children know that
    What I need to know from the lord
    Is how you get de wings on the cat
    They say a bat’s got radar
    And he can fly through fan
    But what I am afraid of is
    That he got another plan
    To fly in me face
    Fly in me face….”

    Even worse is her “The Carter Family” from her otherwise-lovely No Secrets album.

  19. “Cruise” by Nelly and some generic country dude. I thought it was a parody when I first heard it. I was cracking up. Then I realized it was real. And THEN….I saw Taylor Swift dance to this song. So yeah…pretty much an all around barf fest. This is the song where Nelly proclaims that it’s just FINE to sport your Dixie flag, and white hoods, and burning crosses…

  20. My nominations:

    “I Shot the Sheriff”
    Hell, shoot the damned deputy, too. I don’t care.

    “Kung Fu Fighting”
    Beyond mental. Better as an instrumental.

    And, oddly enough, this one:

    “Welcome to my World” (Jim Reeves)
    This country classic just grates on my sense of the musical in a subliminal, subversive fashion and I just leave the room whenever and wherever I hear it (tough on an airplane). I’m not sure what it is; perhaps my mind is telling me that the chords in the song just don’t work. Anyone else have the same reaction to this song?

  21. I am totally proud to say that I played bass with a legend who made it onto Kenny Everett’s top 20 worst records of all time. KE was a crap, irritating Radio 1 DJ. He nominated Helpless Huw for the inspiringly titled ‘Sid Vicious was Innocent’. Sadly, I didn’t play on the single and only helped Huw out on bass for a few rehearsals.

    Natheless, the chorus:

    Sid Vicious was innocent,
    But they tried to put him down,
    Just a burned-out junkie
    Who really cared
    The only one who cried
    Was prob’ly his mom
    Sid Vicious died,
    A very lonely man.

    Touching and tragic. Btw Huw is a lovely bloke: always smiling.

    It’s somewhere on Youtube; check it out. Some bonkers bassist who ignored Emperor Josef II. Too many notes.

    Slaínte.

  22. How about a real tear jerker? Red Sovine’s Teddy Bear?

    or Bobby Sherman’s Sunny? Sweet Cesar’s ghost those two make me want to wretch. Now I need a piper cleaner to itch my aching brain.

    1. [Tearjerker? Bobby? Sunny? think think think…. sounds like… Got it!!]

      OK folks, for the ultimate tearjerker I nominate Bobby Goldsboro with ‘Honey’. Just listening to that makes me feel terminally depressed…

      1. I second the Goldsboro/Honey nomination. Despite strong competition, it’s always been a top contender for the Lachrymose Overdone Vomitorious Excellence song award.

        1. Ironically, that wasn’t intended as a correction, I found there was a Bobby Sherman (who I don’t know) and assumed he had done a song called ‘Sunny’.

          But I wouldn’t have remembered ‘Honey’ if you hadn’t called my attention to it, so thank you. (If thanks are appropriate in this context 😉

          1. I hadn’t thought of that way. Perhaps it wasn’t a kindness to bring to the fore that which is best left laying with the sleeping d*gs.

            1. No, no no. Entirely On Topic in this thread. Our host opened the can of worms (or should that be Pandora’s box?), after all.

  23. I posted this under my non de guerre so it probably got held up in moderation.

    One simply dreadful tune is by Red Sovine, the execrable Teddy Bear. One other truly rotten number, Sunny by Bobby Sherman. Wretched.

  24. There are many, but, “Kookie, Kookie Lend Me Your Comb” or “Seasons In The Sun” make my list of the worst.

    1. Technically, Seasons in the Sun is a bad translation rather than a bad song. The original Jacques Brel song, Le Moribund, is brilliant, as are most of his songs. Ne Me Quitte Pas can be proved scientifically to be the best popular song ever written.

  25. if you’re looking for meaningful, thought-provoking lyrics; you can do no worse than:

    Please don’t go (Boyz II Men version)

    &

    Funk Soul Brother (Fatboy Slim)

  26. Wow you have a ton of followers took forever to get here. Hate Muscrat love also,but loved Donny Osmond. He was the Justin Bieber of his day. Thank goodness I had teenage boys now in their twenties.I love Tupak will blast the radio when I hear him. So much for a middle aged white woman listening to the Rolling Stones naw I like Rap most of it.

  27. Many truly gag-worthy songs have been listed here, but so far nobody has mentioned my favorite all-time puker:

    Billy, don’t be a hero
    Don’t be a fool with your life;
    Billy, don’t be a hero
    Come back and make me your wife.

    The fact that the song has admirable antiwar intentions only makes it that much more infuriating.

  28. Not only is Muskrat Love a terrible song, I associate it with a particularly awkward moment. I was in the car with my dad at age 12 and, when this song came on the radio, he used it as a segue to The Sex Talk. Ugh.

    BTW, his parting advice was “if you meet a girl you like, just get a blanket and head off to the woods.” (Hey, it was the 70’s – free love came late to Mississippi, like everything else.)

    All because of those damned muskrats.

    1. Beats the sex talk I got. “If you meet a girl you like, and you touch her before you marry her, you’ll burn in Hell forever and ever. And ever. A million years will go by and you won’t even be started with the burning. And it’ll be hot because you’ll be on fire. And you’ll be thirsty, and no one will give you a drink.” There was nothing actually about sex in the sex talk. Discover what sex is for yourself, burn in Hell. What else did you need to know?

      This made dating into some kind of daredevil act where you walked a tightrope over the never ending flames of Hell, which really ups the anxiety level of an already anxious endeavor.

      I’m pretty bitter about it, to tell the truth.

  29. Ah, Simon & Garfunkel’s Somewhere They Can’t Find Me. Paul Simon obviously knows a good lyric, but it seems he hadn’t finished this when it came time to record it.

    Oh baby, you don’t know what I’ve done,
    I’ve committed a crime, I’ve broken the law.
    While you were here sleeping and just dreaming of me,
    I held up and robbed a liquor store.

    That’s I’ve com – mitted a crime. And, uh, you’ve held up a liquor store? Isn’t that kinda of robbing it?

  30. Pretty sure this one’s coming up soon: The Name Game.

    Otherwise, three that seem de rigueur at the average wedding in Pittsburgh:
    1) Hokey Pokey
    2) Chicken Dance
    3) Electric Slide

  31. Bob Dylan (!) Man Gave Names to All the Animals (during his Jesus Freak stage):

    He saw an animal up on a hill
    Chewing up so much grass until she was filled
    He saw milk coming out but he didn’t know how
    “Ah, think I’ll call it a cow”.

    Steve Miller Band, who were great in the beginning, but achieved fame and AM radio play with crap like “Abracadabra”

    “I Can’t Go For That”
    No Can Do

  32. If you don’t look up Willis Alan Ramsey to learn about this song, then you just need to quit wearin’ them boots, boy!

  33. Oh Great!

    I made the mistake of playing the clip, and now my brains are dribbling out of my ears and onto my shirt.:)

  34. Surprised there’s been no mention yet of “Letter to heaven” by Dolly Parton.

    Hard to believe anyone could come up with a song in which a little girl being hit by a truck is considered a good thing!

  35. Late to the party, there are over 150 replies now, but;

    tie a yellow ribbon
    deck of cards
    obladee obladaa
    d.i.v.o.r.c.e.
    any country and western songs
    convoy
    running bear loves little white dove.etc

    Yes, I refuse to capitalise them!

  36. Tie a Yellow Ribbon…. (Adrian already said it but what a ghastly dirge)
    Knock Three Times (terminally annoying rhythm that won’t get out of my head)
    76 Trombones (even worse….)
    Oh, and almost anything by Englebert Humperdinck…

    1. 76 Trombones? Lovely Robert Preston in The Music Man? How can that feature in a thread like this, when there are so many others to choose from and Phil Collins hasn’t even had a mention yet?

      1. Robert Preston may have been a lovely man, I wouldn’t know, but the tune is just plain irritating.

        As this thread shows, YMMV.

    2. I used to enjoy Humperdinck’s “My Wife the Dancer”–sort of an updated, classier version of “Little Egypt.”

  37. Agree with many many above especially all those early 70s ones.

    I lost my heart to a starship trooper

    Terry Jacks – Seasons In The Sun

    – AAAAAGGGGRRRHHHH!

  38. Here are a few which I’d happily forgotten about until moving to Germany — the home of the world’s worst radio music.

    Blackberry Way by (forgotten who – the guy from ELO, Jeff Lynn’s first band)

    Hands Up Baby Hands Up Gimme Your Love (don’t want to know who by)
    Seasons in the Sun (Also forgotten who by, but it’s played constantly on German radio)

    ….And I don’t even know if this qualifies because it was probably never released as a single, but I heard it in a restauraznt while eating dinner (my apololgies for mentioning this…) — The theme song to The Love Boat (a horrendous 1980’s US TV series with a fittingly horrendous theme song).

    I will also add from Australia, a song called Hey True Blue by John Williams which is lyrically the worst song ever written.

    “Hey true blue, is it me and you, is it mum and dad, isiti a cockatoo, is it standing by your mate, when he’s in a fight, or just vegemite.”

    1. I quite liked ‘Blackberry Way’ and ‘Seasons in the Sun’.

      About that Aussie one though, I presume ‘mate’ in an Aussie accent rhymes with ‘fight’ and ‘vegemite’? 😉

      1. Mate does indeed rhyme with vegemite, but only to everyone else in the world, not to Aussies!

        Regarding the earlier mentioned McArthur Park, a German friend was telling me that a comedian had translated it into German “and the lyrics were so funny, you would not believe!!!” I spent 10 minutes trying to explain that the lyrics are equally ridiculous in English, but they couldn’t quite comprehend what I was saying… for some reason…

    2. i personally like the Move’s “Blackberry Way.” However, I’ve never heard it on the radio so I’ve not been subjected to oversaturation.

  39. “I’ve never been to me” by Charlene.

    Utterly excruciating, I literally have to leave the building if it comes on.

    Can’t believe no-one has mentioned it so far.

    1. Catchy tune. I *like* the tune. Can’t say the same for the moralistic message or the hurl-inducing voice-over that Charlene put in.

  40. At the moment BBC4 (the TV channel, not radio 4) is showing Top of the Pops from 1978, i.e. from the week exactly 35 years ago.

    This has some quite bizarre juxtapositions, showing the amazingly high variance of pop music then.

    Last week we had

    “Public Image Limited” by Public Image Limited, followed by convicted paedophile Jonathan King.

    “Teenage Kicks” by The Undertones followed by convicted scientologist John Travolta and Olivia Newton John.

    I remember watching the show 35 years ago, and back then we thought this was perfectly normal.

  41. “Muskrat Love” was written by Willis Alan Ramsey who has written some excellent songs. But this isn’t one of them! I never understood the appeal and I never like C&T — sheesh what a cheesy musical combo. The Captain?! Only an agent could think this crap up.

    1. One of the funniest things I’ve ever seen: On the Tonight Show, some guest wasn’t behaving too well, and Jay Leno told him that there were more than enough people who lived nearby and would be happy to be guests on the tonight show, for example, the Captain from Captain and Tenille. Later in the show, whenever he wasn’t completely happy with a guest, he said “Bring on the Captain!”.

      What non-members of Pink Floyd sing background vocals on Pink Floyd’s The Wall? Bruce Johnston, of The Beach Boys, and Tenille herself.

  42. Watch Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (excellent film) for a real honor-roll of cringe-inducing songs. And they are lip-synched by Hugo Weaving (Elrond, “The Agent” from The Matrix, etc.) a very young Guy Pearce, and Terrence Stamp, all of them in drag.

    Flipping hilarious. Strongly recommended.

  43. One I still hear played on some “oldies” stations, which infuriates me, is “Indian Giver”, by the “1910 Fruitgum Company”.

    And every DJs I hear play it, seem to be totally oblivious to the overt racism of the song’s title and chorus. I may be fluorescent white, old fart of Celtic descent, but it’s glaringly obvious and offensive to me.

  44. All these comments, and no mention of Cinderella Rockefeller?

    Teenangel.

    Hello Barbie Let’s go party (title?)

    Why don’t we do it in the road (Beatles, but still cringeworthy)

    Bend It (Dave Dee, Dozy, Mick and Titch – how the hell do I remember that?)

    And finally a thankfully obscure English song of the 60s, where I recall one line “Je suis un rockstar”.

  45. I would like to nominate “Crazy Horses” by The Osmans. Nights in white satin” and “Fire”. I think the last one was by “The crazy world of Arthur Brown” or something like that.

    1. Despite (or because of) it’s utter weirdness, I used to like “Fire” a lot. Now I like it more as a nostalgia and novelty piece. And you have the “band” name correct.

    2. I once saw the Sensational Alex Harvey Band play “Crazy Horses” to a large and rather boisterous crowd “back in the day”

      It quite easily made my top 10 list of great live performances

  46. Sweet and gentle sensitive man
    With an obsessive nature and deep fascination
    For numbers
    And a complete infatuation with the calculation
    Of PI

    Oh he love, he love, he love
    He does love his numbers
    And they run, they run, they run him
    In a great big circle
    In a circle of infinity

    3.1415926535 897932
    3846 264 338 3279

    Oh he love, he love, he love
    He does love his numbers
    And they run, they run, they run him
    In a great big circle
    In a circle of infinity
    But he must, he must, he must
    Put a number to it

    50288419 716939937510
    582319749 44 59230781
    6406286208 821 4808651 32

    Oh he love, he love, he love
    He does love his numbers
    And they run, they run, they run him
    In a great big circle
    In a circle of infinity

    82306647 0938446095 505 8223…

      1. Sorry, I thought we were talking about lyrics.

        But here is her shopping list:

        1, drifting,
        2, twisting,
        3, whiteout
        4, blackbird braille,
        5, Wenceslasaire,
        6, avalanche

        Come on, man, you’ve got 44 to go
        Come on, man, you’ve got 44 to go
        Come on, man, you’ve got 44 to go
        Come on, man, you’ve got 44 to go

        7, swans-a-melting,
        8, deamondi-pavlova,
        9, eiderfalls
        10, Santanyeroofdikov,
        11, stellatundra,
        12, hunter’s dream
        13, faloop’njoompoola,
        14, zebranivem,
        15, spangladasha
        16, albadune,
        17, hironocrashka,
        18, hooded-wept

        Come on, Joe, you’ve got 32 to go
        Come on, Joe, you’ve got 32 to go
        Come on now, you’ve got 32 to go
        Come on now, you’ve got 32 to go
        Don’t you know it’s not just the Eskimo
        Let me hear your 50 words for snow

        19, phlegm de neige,
        20, mountain sob,
        21, ankle breaker
        22, erase-o-dust,
        23, shnamistoflopp’n,
        24, terrablizza
        25, whirlissimo,
        26, vanilla swarm,
        27, icyskidski
        28, robber’s veil

        Come on, Joe, just 22 to go
        Come on, Joe, just 22 to go
        Come on, Joe, just you and the Eskimos
        Come on now, just 22 to go
        Come on now, just 22 to go
        Let me hear your 50 words for snow

        29, creaky-creaky,
        30, psycho hail,
        31, whippoccino
        32, shimmerglisten,
        33, Zhivagodamarbletash,
        34, sorbet deluge
        35, sleetspoot’n,
        36, melt-o-blast,
        37, slipperella
        38, boomerangablanca,
        39, ground berry down,
        40, meringuer peaks

        41, crème-bouffant,
        42, peDtaH ‘ej chIS qo’,
        43, deep and hidden
        44, bad for trains,
        45, shovel crusted,
        46, anechoic
        47, blown from polar fur,
        48, vanishing world,
        49, mistral despair
        50, snow

  47. “Mr. Moonlight” by the Beatles. It’s absolutely wretched and painful to hear, especially because the Beatles should never have sounded so awful. I don’t know who did the original version of the song and have not heard it, but I’ve no doubt it’s also unlistenable.

    I cannot believe no one has mentioned “Me So Horny” by the 2 Live Crew. I personally kinds like it as a silly novelty song, but I’m sure others hate it.

  48. I see no one has mentioned “The Pina Colada song” or however you spell it. But as bad as it was, I would agree that many others mentioned here were worse.

  49. “My Baby Takes the Morning Train” by Sheena Easton is 100% quarter notes. Horribly grating.

    “Elvira” by the Oak Ridge Boys is comically stupid. “Baroom papa baroom papa barroom papa mow mow….”

    I sing these songs (with feeling, of course) to annoy my children.

    1. Someone above pointed out that country music deserves its own category or it will crowd out everything else. I listened to country in the seventies and I gotta agree.

  50. Space Oddity (aka, Ground Control to Major Tom) by David Bowie is one of the worst for me. Interminably long and with no redeeming features. I will change the radio station within four notes and stay away for a good long time.

      1. I know, I know.

        I’ve had that same reaction from my poker friends so I wasn’t expecting hosannas here either.

        In my own defense, I have nothing to say.

  51. I think we can all agree that, unlike the category “Best songs of all time”, the category “Worst songs of all time” is bottomless.

  52. Everybody Wang Chung Tonight!

    “Babe” by Styx. (In art class, we had a radio playing and it was always a contest to see who could leap to the radio to switch stations when that song came on).

  53. How did we get this far into the comments without any mention of Leo Sayer? Can you say “More Thank I Can Say”?

    Sure, “Wind Beneath My Wings” and “Seasons in the Sun” were horrible, but come on – “More Than I Can Say” was worse!

    1. owoo owoo yayee yayee
      I love you more than I can say.

      What’s wrong with that? (/joke)

      There could be a whole category for songs that use babble as a rhyme. Like “Ahhhh ahhh ahhh-IME, You’re my favorite waste of time.”

  54. I have always felt that one of the truest evidence ever of my love was when I agreed to my (now) husband’s request to have this song sung during the wedding ceremony (not at a reception after most attendees were drunk.) The whole ‘greater love shown’ bit is nothing to it. I’ve had to live with that memory for almost 40 years. Luckily our close association has vastly improved his taste over time.

  55. I’ll probably burn for this one, so I am going to apologize effusively in advance. But how about –these boots are made for walking–.

    1. We can all burn together.

      My personal best worst is ‘The Chicken Dance’ which thankfully seems to be mostly confined to wedding receptions in this geographic area.

  56. Just pick a few Christopher Cross and Kenny Loggins songs and call it a day.

    For me, “Ordinary Average Guy” by Joe Walsh is probably the worst I’ve ever heard.

    1. I’ll also through in “Whatever Happened to Randolph Scott” by the Statler Bros, who were very popular in the States in the 70s. They might have used Statler Bros. songs down at Guantanamo.

      Check out these completely serious, non-ironic lyrics that my dad subjected us to growing up:

      “Everybody knows when you go to the show
      You can’t take the kids along
      You’ve gotta read the paper and know the code
      Of G, PG and R and X
      And you gotta know what the movie’s about
      Before you even go
      Tex Ritter’s gone and Disney’s dead
      And the screen is filled with sex

      Whatever happened to Randolph Scott
      Ridin’ the trail alone
      Whatever happened to Gene and Tex
      And Roy and Rex, the Durango kid
      Oh whatever happened to Randolph Scott
      His horse, plain as can be
      Whatever happened to Randolph Scott
      Has happened to the best of me”

      Curiously though, “Flowers on the Wall” by the same group is a song that I actually like!

  57. Weird, it seems everyone has forgotten the song “Timothy” by the Buoys…

    I mean seriously, what says bad song beyond selling ones soul during a mining accident with a little cannibalism thrown in as the reward?

  58. Bobby Womack’s “Lookin’ For A Love” should get special mention for having the most chauvinistic lyrics even through the song is just too catchy to call awful…

  59. And oh! Can we get a stop on Miley Cryrus…

    Not that “we can’t stop” is so bad a song, but really folks should check out the doo-wop cover to see why I think Miley wasn’t really up to the task:

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