Knit to This (Or Not!): The Worst Songs of All Time?

By Ann Shayne
August 10, 2019

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52 Comments
  • I submit two contenders. The first is obvious: Big Girls Don’t Cry by Fergie. This song is absolutely cringe-worthy on every level, and yet is somehow a playlist staple at every doctors office and grocery store. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=agrXgrAgQ0U

    And, what I suspect will be a more controversial pick: Hotel California by The Eagles. The song is just plain terrible from those first annoying guitar notes all the way through to the end, which always seems like it will never actually happen because the thing is also about an hour long. It is so bad. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=yYkL5igsG4k

    • 100% agree with you on both.

    • Absolutely. I was a radio station Music Director for over 20 years. To say the Eagles are horrible is heresy – to some. I say it. This song proves it.

  • I submit two contenders. The first is obvious: Big Girls Don’t Cry by Fergie. The thing is cringeworthy on every level, and yet it is somehow a playlist staple at every doctors and dentist office. Really, really terrible song. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=agrXgrAgQ0U

    And, what I suspect will be a more controversial selection: Hotel California by The Eagles. From those first insufferable guitar notes all the way to the end (which always seems like will never actually happen because the thing is an interminable SEVEN MINUTES long), it is the worst. Also, it is a prime example of a song that takes itself WAY too seriously. But – what is it about? Drugs? The American dream? Satanism? WHO CARES – THE THING IS TERRIBLE AND JUST WONT END. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=yYkL5igsG4k

    • I wholeheartedly agree about Hotel California!

    • Brilliant choice, Hotel California.

    • Have to respectfully disagree about Hotel California. It was a breakthrough song at the time. And at the Eagles last concert tour, it was more than enthusiastically enjoyed.

      • I like it, too!

    • Yah, with you re the Eagles. So bland.

    • Hotel California has been redeemed by The Moog Cookbook. They throw everything at it, including Popcorn (the song) and cows mooing. I enjoy the original but I listen to this more. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dmxo_vIyfJc

  • Apologies if my comment posted twice – it has seemed to disappear into the internet ether both times I tried to post it. If the comment never actually appears, please know it included two of the all time worst songs in history.

  • I can barely even type the title of this without screaming and covering my ears…”Hallelujah” – it drives me absolutely nuts!!! Horrible earworm

    • Heartily endorsed. Every version. Each worse than the last.

      • The worst!

    • There are a lot of “Hallelujah” songs, not least of which is the Hallelujah Chorus. But since we’re talking pop songs of the last few decades, I suppose that you mean Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah? As it happens, I love k.d. lang’s version. That being said, I have more than once jokingly quoted the lines “Our love is not a victory march/It’s a cold and it’s a broken ‘hallelujah'” to my partner!

      • There’s just something dirge-like about it, and I haven’t heard a version yet I can listen to without wanting to grab my earplugs. Too bad, I love Leonard Cohen

      • Rufus Wainwright’s version is the only one I know and I LOVE it!!!

  • Oh Ann! You have opened up a Pandora’s box. My all time favorite terrible song is the Bon Jovi version of Sylvia’s Mother. It’s the most melodramatic version of the most melodramatic song of all time. And I LOVE IT!! There I said it. I LOVE IT!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbIsBvBX9M0

    • Of course I had to watch the video now. The arm tension! The jazz hands!

    • OMG! I had totally forgotten Sylvia’s Mother, and now I’ll be humming it for a week. I was in high school (freshman, I believe) when the Dr. Hook version was released, and one of my good friends was named Sylvia. It was not a good time to be a teenager named Sylvia…….

  • First of all, I love the song “Dirty Laundry ” so I guess it’s a matter of taste. Second, the best meme of all time is the picture of Dorothy and Toto from The Wizard of Oz where Dorothy is thinking “I miss Kansas and Toto is thinking “I miss the rains down in Africa.” Funniest Meme Ever! I laugh every time I see it. As far as worst song, anything rap.

    • Love this

      • The Toto joke

    • I 2nd this! Rap is crap

  • I don’t know how the NPR list failed to include True by Spandau Ballet “Why do I find it hard to write the next line?” is like a space holder where a real lyric should go. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AR8D2yqgQ1U

    • Oh – I loved this in 1984!! 🙂

    • Yes.

  • Dear Ann, Thank you for sharing this podcast. My husband and I listened to it together this morning. We giggled. We laughed. We shimmied. Kisses to you.

  • Of course I love all your posts about knitting, but where else would I be introduced to such humorous pod casts, radio shows, TV shows etc. Thank you for making me laugh. You two are the best.

    • Anything by Bryan Adams, ZZ Top, or here’s my controversial pick…. I loathe Led Zeppelin.

      • I loathe Led Zeppelin too!

  • I too really like Dirty Laundry. It’s catchy, but it’s more than that. The lyrics that come to mind here:

    We got the bubble headed bleach blonde.
    She comes on at five.
    She can tell you bout the plane crash
    With a gleam in her eye.
    It’s interesting when people die.
    Give us dirty laundry.

    There is a very very uncomfortable truth to those lyrics from 1982.

    My local news shows broadcast little but what I’ve come to think of as “disaster porn”: car accidents, shootings, house fires. (Yes, it’s news, in that it happened, but it doesn’t really tell me what’s going on in my city.)

    Are we all really okay with this? I’m certainly not!

  • Oh, dear, what a can of worms to open. Off the top of my head, my vote for worst song ever is ‘The Pina Colada Song’. Or maybe ‘Yummy Yummy Yummy I’ve Got Love in My Tummy’. I feel old now.

    • Yes! The Pina Colada Song was sooo overplayed.

  • I listen to NPR all of the time as I dumped my TV when the president was elected. Between the NYT and The New Yorker, that is how I obtain my news. I had missed this and I am laughing so hard. Thanks for the information !

  • OMG, there are so many! Most overplayed song ever: “Stairway to Heaven.” Worst theme song from a movie: “The Morning After.” Second worst theme song from a movie: “Stayin’ Alive.” Worst perky anti-war song: “Billy, Don’t Be a Hero.” Worst earworm commercial jingle: “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing.” Worst children’s song: “Baby Shark”. And the list goes on, and on, and on, and on…just like that battery-operated bunny!

    • OMG! I’ve always hated Billy Don’t Be A Hero!!!
      But I must admit to very fond summer childhood memories of Candy Man…..

    • I can’t stand Billy Don’ be a Hero and Tie a Yellow Ribbon!

  • Over a decade in retail means my personal list of horrible songs is looooooooong. “All I Want for Christmas is You” sends me into immediate Scrooge-like hatred of the season, for one.

    My personal lists include:

    – The whiny manchild anthem, “Please Read the Letter” (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=rjs0p5FWpzc) I will never understand how Robert Plant went from Led Zeppelin to this.

    – The Suzan’s “Home,” a horrible combination of xylophone and unintelligible lyrics that nevertheless get stuck in your head (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-lh35pYVxLQ)

    I also despise Paula Cole’s “I Don’t Wanna Wait” solely for the terrible grammar of “say a little prayer for I” just to make it sort-of rhyme. (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hJb5RvAs4BI). It does not help that I was in middle school during the start of Dawson’s Creek and all my close friends were watching it, so I had to listen to this song over and over and over again.

  • I agree about Dirty Laundry. The video may be very dated, but the topic of the song is still very relevant. I still think of it when I read a salacious headline or story.

  • Love the Eagles! To each their own!
    Tie Me Kangaroo Down. Or what the name is , I heard it A week ago AND I Can’t STOP SINGING IT ahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!

  • Anything by Phil Collins.

  • O.M.G. Jack and Diane.
    John Cougar Mellonballs.
    And ANYthing by Firefall. Totally agree about Paradise By The Dashboard Light.

  • Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall,” with a chorus of British schoolchildren singing annoyingly (and grammatically incorrectly) about how they don’t need no education. That’s a double negative. They DO need education, apparently. So, so annoying. 🙂 I also find all those album-oriented rock songs from the 70s about being in a rock ‘n’ roll band or being a music man or being up all night jamming with one’s rock band to be kind of self-involved and pointless. And anything by Meatloaf— that overly dramatic voice of his, and the fact that he’s called Meatloaf. Lastly, so that it doesn’t seem like I’m picking on the 70s, the Pet Shop Boys’ soulless cover of “You Were Always on My Mind.” I was an 80s kid, but give me Willie Nelson any day. 🙂

  • Wait! I remembered one more: “God Bless the USA” by Lee Greenwood. There are patriotic songs that bring tears to my eyes— “America the Beautiful,” “Battle Hymn of the Republic”— but this one is so corny and calculated and commercial. It reminds me of the song by the bratty teenage country singer on Parks & Rec: “You bring the beer, I’ll bring the girls, and the troops will bring the freedom.” 🙂

  • Strangers in The Night! A friend got it stuck in my head in high school algebra and all these years later it’s still stuck. Thanks Danielle!

  • Seasons in the Sun by Terry Jacks. And now I’m going to have Sylvia’s Mother in my head for the rest of the day. lol

  • This has been such a fun thread to follow! So MANY bad songs! My personal hell is “I’m not Lisa” but followed closely by The Final Countdown, Baby Shark and the Macarena.

  • “Jesse’s Girl”. I cringe every time I hear it.

  • Jon Bon Jovi has a slew of terrible, gawd-awful songs. But also, Bruno Mars. Really icky.

  • Two words—Small Town. Here’s my controversial pick—Born in the USA. It’s basically Bruce Springsteen yelling the same phrase over and over. And, for the “ick” factor, I submit “Tonight’s the Night” by Rod Stewart. Listen to the lyrics. It sounds like it was written by a guy who drives a van with “Free Candy” written on the side. Eww!

  • Unchained Melody by the Righteous Brothers, for years the most played song in the U.S. Give me a break! Sorry everyone who has used this in their wedding.