Friday, February 08, 2008

Weekend Listomania (Special Ultra Suede Video Edition)

Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental manservant Hop-Sing and I are off to Arkansas. The sad yellow bastard has been putting on weight at an alarming rate of late -- when he says "around the world" now he really means around the world -- and so we've got him booked for a stomach stapling at the Huckabee Clinic. As a result, posting by moi will necessarily be sporadic for a few days.

But in my absence, here's a fun project for you all to contemplate:

LAMEST HIT SINGLE OF THE SEVENTIES
Yes, it's time to have a good laugh at the expense of that most questionable of decades. The era that brought us the music which moved Paul Westerberg to say -- "Ah, the 70s. When dogshit really was dogshit."

And, yes, I know this is not exactly the most original topic I've ever come up with and that it's almost too easy, given the boundlessly awful stuff you have to choose from.

I don't care. It''s fun. So there.

That said, here's my totally top of my head Top Ten.

10. Chuck Berry -- My Ding-a-Ling



The guy pretty much invented the poetry of rock-and-roll and yet this infantile little sex ditty was his only number one pop hit. Boy, does that suck.

9. Harry Chapin -- W.O.L.D.



"So I drifted on down to Tulsa, Oklahoma to do me a late night talk show
Now I worked my way down home again, here to Boise, Idaho
That's how this business goes."

Uh, Harry...actual radio stations in Boise, Idaho have the letter prefix K -- not W. Way to do the research, dude. Hope it didn't cut into your Idaho airplay....

8. Mac Davis -- Baby, Don't Get Hooked on Me



It's worth noting that Davis followed up this smarmy slab of preening macho self-regard with a song called (without irony) "It's Hard to Be Humble," and yet God did not smite him dead. In fact, she allowed him to star in The Sting II.

7. Neil Diamond -- I Am, I Said



"I am, I said
To no one there
And no one heard at all
Not even the chair"

As Dave Barry famously observed: "Mr. Diamond -- your Barcalounger's on line 4!"

6. Helen Reddy -- I Am Woman



It's amazing feminism actually survived this song. Interesting bit of trivia: To her very great credit, Mary Travers (of Peter, Paul and) turned down the chance to record it first because she couldn't get through the line "I am strong, I am invincible" without cracking up.

5. The Poppy Family -- Which Way You Going Billy?



I actually have a soft spot for this piece of ersatz folkie sludge, partly because the chorus is kind of catchy (compared to the verse, at least), and partly because Susan Jacks is a pretty good singer. Then I remember she and hubby Terry are Canadian and I get over it.

4. Terry Jacks -- Seasons in the Sun



This one, however, just flat out sucks. No wonder the aforementioned Susan Jacks divorced his sorry hippie ass.

3. Morris Alpert -- Feelings



Whoa whoa whoa. A song that makes Zager and Evans sound like Metallica. I'm not actually sure what that means, but where Morris Alpert is concerned, words generally fail me.

2. Styx -- Lady



Countless parodies notwithstanding, this actually would have been more tolerable if it had been sung by Jerry Lewis in flat-out l'idiot stupide mode.

And the absolutely positively lamest song of the 70s is unquestionably....

1. America -- A Horse With No Name



"The heat was hot."

Jeebus fricking Christ. All in all, a lyric that justifies Randy Newman's remark that the song sounds like it was written by two kids who thought they were on acid.

Alrighty, now -- and your choices would be?

39 comments:

MikeJ said...

I heard my momma cry.....

shrimplate said...

3 Dog Nite's "Momma Told Me Not to Come."

Now, why exactly would she say that?

TJWood said...

Steve:

For all the endless number of candidates there are in this category, Barry Manilow not cracking your Top Ten might be a bigger upset than Giants over Patriots. But this is one of those categories that seems easy but actually might be difficult in the sense that there's going to be that "How could I forget that one"? song that will pop into your head about five seconds after posting".

My five totally random, completely off-the-top-of-the-head choices that haven't been mentioned already are:

Sometimes When We Touch--Dan Hill

Afternoon Delight--Starland Vocal Band

Torn Between Two Lovers--Mary McGregor

Billy, Don't Be A Hero--Paper Lace (or Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods),

and, making his debut on this Listomania

I Write The Songs--Barry Manilow (who didn't write this one).

I would have loved to put "Mary Had A Little Lamb" by Wings on there but the category does say hit singles, and Paul McCartney found out you can underestimate the public only so much--other evidence to the contrary notwithstanding.

Gary Oxford said...

Steve - your top-of-the-head list really sucked the air out of the room, but then tjwood looked a little deeper in the septic tank and found some more nuggets. I'm not sure any of these is as lame as "Seasons in the Sun" or "Sometimes When We Touch", but they're still powerfully bad and can make me lunge for the radio buttons like George Bush for an O'Doul's

"Muskrat Love" - Captain + Tennille

"Do Ya Think I'm Sexy" - Rod Stewart

"Love is Like Oxygen" - Sweet

emma said...

Dream Weaver - Gary Wright (gag)
Have You Never Been Mellow - Olivia Newton John (tres whiney)
Me and You and a Dog Named Boo - Lobo (do NOT confuse them with Los Lobos!!)
Delta Dawn - Helen Reddy (man, she knew how to pick 'em)

javaphil said...

Wildfire - Michael Martin Murphy
Run Joey Run - David Geddes

Cangrejero said...

"Escape (The Piña Colada Song)" just slides in December 1979

Anonymous said...

my,my,oh my
do do you know what you've done to me
saying goodbye
well i know i'm a poor boy
and my hair is too long
but i'll love you forever
don't you tell me i'm wrong

now that's a lyric!!!

Brooklyn Girl said...

Cher's "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves" from 1971 (too bad it really wasn't "pygmies" ... ).

Shoot me now. Please.

Not to mention her hair! What a hideous decade.

Sinfonian said...

Ah, I see javaphil got to "Run Joey Run" before I did.

But how about anything by Silver Convention, especially "Fly Robin Fly"?

Give me some time, I'll be back with more. This is right in my wheelhouse ... :)

Sinfonian said...

Oh god ... it's all coming back to me now.

C.W. McCall - "Convoy"
Henry Gross - "Shannon"
The Sylvers - "Boogie Fever"

I'm going to have to figure out how to digitize my 1987 college radio show (preserved on cassette) wherein I play basically my entire collection of 45s from the mid-'70s, so I can share it with you ... :)

Kid Charlemagne said...

My personal fave:

"Convoy" - C.W. McCall



Yes folks this was #1 in 1975!

Kid Charlemagne said...

Great minds think alike Sin!

dave™© said...

Hey - "Shannon" is a FUCKING CLASSIC!

So knock it off!!!

I'll throw in "Thunder Island" by Jay Ferguson... and as far as Helen Reddy goes, "Angie Baby" or "Ruby Red Dress" are MUCH worse than "I Am Woman."

Oh, and let's not forget "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia"...

dave™© said...

Oh, and howzabout Anne Mirray's version of "You Won't See Me"? It charted, I remember that...

peter spencer said...

Henry Gross! I haven't heard THAT name in years. I actually saw his live act once (in Atlanta) and it was nothing like "Shannon." It was tuneful hard rock in the Sweet/Raspberries mold. I couldn't believe "Shannon" was by the same guy.

How about "I Really want to see You Tonight" by England Dan and John Ford Coley? Is that the title? And EVERYTHING by America.

Anonymous said...

Anything and everything by Gary Puckett and the Union Band. Just sayin'. :)

JftB

return of the plumber said...

"Ariel" by Dean Friedman

peter spencer said...

Or "Don't Pull Your Love Out on Me, Baby" by Hamilton, Joe Frank, and Reynolds.

"Boom, Chicka Boom" by Daddy Dewdrop?

Yummy, Yummy" by the (I think) 1910 Fruitgum Company?

Curse you, Simels. I can't stop my brain!

"Open Letter to My Teenage Son" by whoever that guy was.

And let's not forget....Bread.

Or....Curse you, Simels!....John Denver. America, Bread, and John Denver. Talk about an axis of evil!

Anonymous said...

And can I just say I don't GET the Red Hot Chili Peppers or Lenny Kravitz?

TOTAL FRAUDS, the both of them!

JftB

Anonymous said...

Oh, this is supposed to be about the 70's. Sorry... wrong decade!

JftB

TMc said...

As soon as I saw this the first song that came to mind was Shannon. My sister had that album and his voice was so abrasive that we noticed after she would play it all of the drawers and doors in hearing distance seemed to move a bit more freely.

I'd also like to nominate "She's Having My Baby" by Paul Anka

Anything not already mentioned by England Dan and John Ford Coley

"I'm Not Lisa" - Jessi Colter

"Gimme Dat Ding" - The Pipkins

and while I agree that "A Horse With No Name" is right up(?) there with the worst I'm of the opinion that "Me And You And A Dog Named Boo" by Lobo can match pretty much anything put up against it as one of the worst of all time.

I also feel no list of this sort is complete without Dan Fogelberg's name in it. I dated a girl for a short time that was a big fan of his and insisted we listen (and I mean without speaking so we could truly "feel" it)to his stylings. It was my personal equivalent to Vogon poetry. After a couple of sides I had to confess that while it didn't make me physically ill it did make me want to hurt myself so I would have to leave. Amazingly enough she told me I should go.

Ripley said...

"Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes"

"Heartbeat, It's a Love Beat"

steve simels said...

Anonymous said...
my,my,oh my
do do you know what you've done to me
saying goodbye
well i know i'm a poor boy
and my hair is too long
but i'll love you forever
don't you tell me i'm wrong

now that's a lyric!!!



I hate you.

Seriously -- I fucking hate you.
:-)

And BTW --

Shannon is a fricking classic!!!!

Best song the Beach Boys never wrote about a dead dog!!!!!
:-)

Cleveland Bob said...

Everyone has captured all of the goo of the era perfectly leaving me wretching over memories of songs I had hoped to have long forgotten.

I have nothing left to add.

Sadly, I was just listening to the 30th anniversary re-issue of Nick Lowe's Jesus of Cool this morning when I dropped in to PopwerPop. Thanks ever so much there, Steve. Now I'll have to go back to bed and try to rinse this category from my brain.

I'd completely forgotten about "Convoy"...I'm positively quaking wih rage and despair.

Anonymous said...

Steve, sorry you seemed to have an allergic reaction to the classic lyrics I posted:) Anyhoo, I'm shocked and dismembered that there's been no mention of my all time favorite single...Mr Wayne Newton's insufferable "Daddy Don't You Walk So Queer"

emma said...

Since I'm older than dirt (but not older than Simels) the most dismaying thing is.... I have memories attached to a lot of these aforementioned train-wrecks-posing-as-songs. Most of them involve the ex. Thanks a freakin' bunch!!

steve simels said...

emma:

One of the nice things about being my age is that my nostalgia is the beatles and the stones.

I have enormous empathy for those folks younger than me whose nostalgia is Jack Wagner and Styx.

steve simels said...

Anonymous said...
Steve, sorry you seemed to have an allergic reaction to the classic lyrics I posted:) Anyhoo, I'm shocked and dismembered that there's been no mention of my all time favorite single...Mr Wayne Newton's insufferable "Daddy Don't You Walk So Queer"

Dood --

I thought you were return of the plumber (not his real name).

Are you in fact a former Weasel?

Oh. My. God.....

return of the plumber said...

Just reading the words "Former Weasel" makes one's skin crawl. Steve: Be very careful when dealing with this person, very very careful!

racymind said...

the beatles and the stones.

I have enormous empathy for those folks younger than me whose nostalgia is Jack Wagner and Styx.


Hey don't make fun of my collection of early REO Speedwagon and Foreigner. For every Chicago 8 track, I had one of Aerosmith or the Eagles... or ... Journey or...

Never mind.

Amazing what smoking pot and hanging with the bad kids did to my musical tastes later.

Anonymous said...

Steve,
Former Weasel? That's like former Mafia....one doesn't get out that easy. Once a Weasel always a Weasel...Buddy Destitute learned that lesson the hard way!

return of the plumber said...

My God! Their back!!!!

Everyone run for your lives, your ears will never be the same. The Weasels are back!

steve simels said...

anonymous said...
Steve,
Former Weasel? That's like former Mafia....one doesn't get out that easy. Once a Weasel always a Weasel...Buddy Destitute learned that lesson the hard way!


Dood -- if you're either of the two people I think you are, e-mail me. Please.

ssimels@gmail.com

kingchazs said...

The Night Chicago Died - Paper Lace

Although I strongly agree with these winners:

Muskrat Love
Seasons in the Sun
Billy, Don't Be a Hero
Feelings
Me and You and a Dog Named Boo

How about Chevy Van? There was a classic POS in so many ways.

king nosmo said...

Jeans On, by David Dundas. before it was a jingle, it was somehow even worse. The fact that it was not a big hit may mitigate it somewhat.

Here's the nadir, since nobody else will remember this, but "Young new Mexican Puppeteer" by Tom Jones, whose work I love, but my god… surreally awful.

--king nosmo

midnight caller said...

We have to include Torn Between Two Lovers by Mary MacGregor.

And who could ever forget Undercover Angel from Alan O'Day, Don't Give Up On Us Baby from David "Hutch" Soul, and I Like Dreaming from Kenny Nolan?

Grandmère Mimi said...

All those fresh-faced, white young things jiving to the dirtiness is a sight to behold. Hey! I did it before them, way back in the fifties to "Sixty-Minute Man" and " Work With We Annie".

Anonymous said...

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