Friday, March 19, 2010

Weekend Listomania (Special Hanging's Too Good For Them! Audio/Video Edition)

Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Yes, my Cialis Museum curator Fah Lo Suee and I will be off to...oh hell, just insert GOP anti-HCR congressperson du jour joke here. I haven't got the energy to write one myself at this point.

That being the case, further posting by moi will have to be sporadic for a day or two while I try to recharge my batteries. That GQ spread (heh!) on Rielle Hunter might do the trick, of course.

In the meantime, then, here's a hopefully fun little project for us all:

The Rock and Roll Hall of Shame -- Most Embarassingly Awful Moments Ever Perpetrated in the Name of the Music We Love By People Who Really, Really Should Have Known Better!!!

And my totally top of my head Top Seven is --

7. Don Johnson -- Heartbeat



Honorable mention: Eddie Murphy and Bruce Willis. Oh, and I was going to include that astoundingly awful "Just the Way I Planned It" video by Johnson's Miami Vice co-star Philip Michael Thomas but I figured that would be like shooting the proverbial ducks in the barrel.

6. Beyoncé -- Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)



Apart from being one of the most gratingly ugly songs in music history, this video is just...well, words fail me. About as sexy as an exit wound, perhaps. The whole thing is just hideously embarrassing on every level.

5. Elvis Presley -- Dominic the Impotent Bull




Granted, picking just one of the appalling Elvis songs from his movies is a tad daunting...

4. Bob Seger -- Old Time Rock and Roll



You know, I really like Bob Seger, but even apart from the whole Tom Cruise Risky Business thing, I have never forgiven him for this philistine reactionary piece of shit.

3. Paul McCartney -- Let 'Em In



"Someone knocking at the door/Somebody ringin' the bell/Someone's knocking at the door/Somebody's ringing the bell/Do me a favor -- open the door and let 'em in." Jeebus, compared to this crap, "Silly Love Songs" was A Dance to the Music of Time.

2. Rod Stewart -- Downtown Train



From Rod's Songs I Learned In the Limo On the Way to the Studio collection of 1990. Seriously, I'm glad composer Tom Waits made a boatload of money on this, but jeebus could this version be any more clueless compared to the original?

And the numero uno Not Even So Bad it's Good moment in rock history has to be, without any question whatsoever...

1. The Beach Boys -- Here Comes the Night (Disco Version)



I'm not completely sure which of the Beach Boys thought this hideous dance remake of one of the most perfect Wild Honey songs was a smart idea. I'm going to blame Mike love just on general principles, however. Fuck you, Mike. As Hurley said on Lost the other week, you're a tremendous douche.

Alrighty, then -- what would your choices be?

[Shameless Blogwhore: My parallel Cinema Listomania -- theme: Best or Worst Drug Movie, Pro or Con -- is now up over at Box Office. As always, if you could see your way to going over there and leaving a comment, it would help convince management that my exorbitant freelance fee is totally justified. Thanks.]

41 comments:

TJWood said...

I don't know if I'd put Don Johnson and Beyonce on the list of those who should know better, but the rest are actual Hall of Famers.

For McCartney, I'd actually go with either one of those hellish duets, "The Girl Is Mine" and "Ebony and Ivory" (done with Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder, respectively, both HOFers themselves). "Let 'Em In" is a merely a trifle whose opening lines provide an excuse for reeling off the name of relatives and others in the sort-of chorus--on a pure annoyance level, it can't touch either one of the duet numbers. Then, of course, there's "Bip Bop" from Wild Life...

Other mentions:

Neil Young--we all love Neil, but there's a lot of dreck he has to answer for. Pick just about anything off Greendale for starters.

Bob Dylan--see Neil Young. You've mentioned his version of "The Boxer" a couple of times in past Listomanias, but I'll go with the entirety of his live album from the Budokan in Japan.

U2--I'm a huge, huge fan, and not afraid to say so, and the over-the-top experimental Zooropa has become a favorite target of U2 haters, but the album has enough interesting moments to justify its existence. One of them, however, is not "Babyface", which I found totally annoying from listen #1.

Peter said...

Revolution Number 9, Number 9, Number 9, Number 9, Number 9.

Today's verification word: unsinger

Sal Nunziato said...

Though I know how you feel about Bowie, I will still go with my choice of "Shining Star" from his "Never Let Me Down" LP. That whole record is shit, but the rap duet with Mickey Rourke on "Shining Star" is just unforgiveable.

steve simels said...

Sal -- I hate to say it, but Bowie doing a rap duet with Mickey Rourke almost sounds entertaining to me in a perverse way.

geor3ge said...

I'm frankly not that shocked or surprised by the Beach Boys. It was 1979. The goddamn Boston Pops had a disco album.

That said: the Grateful Dead should never have done anything Motown. Ever.

geor3ge said...

Here you go: Saturday Night Fiedler.

http://blog.wfmu.org/freeform/2007/05/unfortunately_o.html

You're welcome. :)

CoolSchool said...

Rolling Stones-Indian Girl

In the immortal words of Stan Lee-'nuff said.

steve simels said...

There is a story -- and I'm not sure if its apocryphal or not -- that the Beach Boys (i.e. Mike and Bruce Johnston) went to Studio 54 one night because they were told the DJ was going to try out "Here Comes the Night" on the crowd.

Unfortunately, they couldn't get in. The bouncer didn't think they were cool enough or know who they were.

Edward said...

I know it is a whole list catagory in itself, but pretty near every original christmas song ever recorded by a rock band or singer (Fairytale of New York being the exception).

Without looking things up or digging through my collection:

Paul McCartney
Squeeze
Kate Bush
John Lennon (yes, I hate that song)
Prince

etc, etc.

dave™© said...

Well, since I like both "Bip Bop" and "Revolution #9," I think I'm precluded from commenting today.

I will say that Beach Boys' Studio 54 story is awfully close to the (true) story of Brian taking the just-completed final mix of "Heroes and Villains" to KHJ one night and being told they couldn't play it because it "wasn't on the playlist".

Sal Nunziato said...

I like Bip Bop, too. But now that the Dead was mentioned, everyone must listen to their version of "Hey Jude" from the Fillmore 69 CD. No music is more horrible. In no civilized society would that even be considered music.

steve simels said...

Speaking of the Dead and the Beach Boys, is that famous Fillmore thing they did together which kicked off the BBs 70s comeback -- the night Dylan was there -- been bootlegged?

geor3ge said...

Okay, I just caught that "Hey Jude" on Rhapsody. Ouch.

Hard to believe that "Live/Dead", brilliant as it was, came from the same three month period.

Kid Charlemagne said...

I'll never forgive Ray Davies for (I Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman).

Michael said...

We Are the World

David said...

"Unfortunately, they couldn't get in. The bouncer didn't think they were cool enough or know who they were."
Must have been Mike Love's flowered shirt.
To this list I'd add Bruce Willis's butchering of classic R&B songs, the Blues Bros.' butchering of classic R&B songs, R.E.M.'s "Flowers of Guatemala," Dee Dee Ramone's foray into hip-hop, Vanilla Fudge's desecration of "You Keep Me Hanging On," Phil Collins's desecration of "You Can't Hurray Love," and I have to say I've always hated "Mr. Moonlight." That skating rink organ just makes me sad. One more little known atrocity: Denny Doherty's solo "Whatca Gonna Do?" is just horrible.

steve simels said...

Kid Charlemagne said...
I'll never forgive Ray Davies for (I Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman).


KC: I have never understood what got up people's noses about that record, unless you just think that That Beat is intrinisically evil. To my ears, it was just another fiendishly clever Ray Davies song.

Granted I haven't heard it in years.

Gummo said...

Speaking of the Grateful Dead --

In 1976 they decided to revive their cover of Dancin' In the Streets -- a pretty good cover for them back in '69-'70 -- and rearrange it into the wimpiest, most embarrassing discofied abomination ever perpetrated on an audience of stoners.

And while much of Dylan's Christian period is pretty embarrassing, nothing comes close to God Gave Names to All the Animals. Hard to believe such Sesame Street-level lobotomy fuel is by the same guy who wrote and recorded It's All Right, Ma.

And I LIKE the Kinks' Superman.

Gummo said...

steve simels said...

Speaking of the Dead and the Beach Boys, is that famous Fillmore thing they did together which kicked off the BBs 70s comeback -- the night Dylan was there -- been bootlegged?


I'm pretty sure you're talking about 4/27/71 at the Fillmore East. Yeah, it's out there. Never heard it myself, though, so I have no idea if it's any good.

steve simels said...

Gummo:

As I've just learned from geor3ge
The Dead/Beach Boys 71 show is on YouTube. Or at least the medley of "Help Me Rhonda" and "Okie from Muskogee." In stereo.

Quite interesting......

geor3ge said...

Almost every Dead bootleg imaginable is on archive.org. Although I notice with chagrin that entire dates are pulled if even a small portion is available commercially. That includes the Beach Boys date.

Gummo said...

geor3ge -- Yeah, but it can still be had. There are bittorrent and mp3 boards where that stuff freely circulates.

Brooklyn Girl said...

Slightly OT, but Linda Ronstadt's covers of standards were DOA. Lovely voice, boring as hell. Even the Nelson Riddle arrangements couldn't bring them alive. Of course, she's not a great true rock singer, either.

There are a fairly good number of rockers who think they can sing standards. They are wrong (yes, Rod, I mean you).

Then there are other good rock performers who don't know what their limitations are in their own genre: Bono should NOT try to sing Bruce or Stones songs. And the recording of the Yardbirds at the Anderson Theater in 1968 proved that Keith Relf could not handle "Dazed and Confused"; conversely, the early Led Zep show (from the Fillmore, I think) made it painfully clear that Robert Plant had no clue what to do with "The Train Kept A-Rollin'" ...

geor3ge said...

Gummo, true. Maybe I'll find that elusive "audience" copy of 5/14/74 in Missoula.

Gummo said...

Alas, geor3ge, I just checked my "main" Dead board and while they have 5/12 and 5/19/74, no 5/14/74. Sorry.

Jeffrey said...

Doubtless, Renée Fleming's forthcoming Dark Hope will be a contender. Hearing her sing the Arcade Fire song, with its hugely portentous lyrics, should alone qualify.

Faze said...

Hoo am I with you on "Old Time Rock 'n' Roll". What a draggy, lead-footed, ugly example of nothing-that-could-ever-be-considered rock 'n' roll before then. As for worst ever albums by human beings who should have known better, the Hollies full-group reunion album of the 1980s was a breathtakingly bad wash of bland synthesizers, mediocre songs, a undistinctive vocals.

Michael said...

Billy Joel's "It's still rock and roll to me" would make a great B side for the Seger's "Old Time Rock 'n' Roll"

geor3ge said...

Renée Fleming cut her teeth as a jazz singer, so I don't know that it'll be as big a stretch as some.

However, generally anything that smacks of "classical crossover" reminds me of Bill Hicks's admonition to anyone in marketing or advertising: kill yourselves.

dave™© said...

I'm surprised no one has mentioned "Emotional Rescue".

Peter said...

I'm with you on the Bob Seger, An anomalous piece of tin-eared exploitation from a guy who's usually right on the money, emotionally. I grew up listening to singles like "Rambling, Gambling Man" on CKLW out of Windsor, Ontario. And I love "Fire Down Below." He's usually got a lot more humanity than this.

On the other hand I really like "Let 'em In." Always have. It's a wonderful piece of goofy, stoner surrealism, like "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey," insanely catchy, rocketing beyond kitsch into a kind of genial weirdness that could almost be Michael Hurley, if Snock knew his way around an orchestra.

Marsupial said...

Rolling back up to the first comment: I still believe that 'The Girl is Mine' is the worst atrocity ever unleashed unto the radio.

When it comes to 'It's Still Rock n Roll to Me' by ol' BJ -- I just had a conversation about this song a week or so ago. I consider it more of a novelty cut than a serious song. Of course, it charted well, but that happens all the time, right? (If you really want to piss off a Billy Joel, compare 'ISRnRTM' to 'Fish Heads.' Heads will explode!

Marsupial said...

Fan. That should read "piss off a Billy Joel FAN," not just any random Billy Joel you happen to run into.

steve simels said...

I actuall don't have a problem with "It's Still Rock n Roll". Granted, it's Billy Joel with his usual oversized chip on his shoulder, but in the context of what was going in rock at the time, it was a perfectly reasonable insight. Plus, the rest of that album is actually mostly really good.

David said...

Re: Emotional Rescue: someone did weigh in on the particularly odious "Indian Girl." As for the title track, Jimmy Guterman got it right when he wrote about Mick's spoken section ("riding across the desert/on a fine Arab charger") "all we can do is hope he gets stuck in the middle of the Sahara without food or water."

Noam Sane said...

I thought Todd Rundgren's "With a Twist" - lounge-y remakes of his earlier work - was pretty awful...just about the only thing of his that I can't stomach.

OK, 2nd Wind as well.

That Billy Joel song would be fine, except that the guy has never had anything to do with rock & roll. He's a lounge act - a very successful one, but still - and it's ridiculous for him to pretend otherwise.

Dave said...

I object to the Bob Seger song more on musical than lyrical grounds. We don't equate one of Tom Waits's or Randy Newman's character songs as a manifesto of their own philosophy, why can't "Old Time R&R" be an expression of part of Seger's mind, or how he felt at that particular moment? It only became an annoying anthem because it became popular.

Compared to Rod Stewart butchering my favorite Tom Waits song, it was a misdemeanor at worst.

I'd have to put Bob Dylan's entire "Self Portrait" as my #1 (as worthy as the BB's "Here Comes the NIght" is, too).

steve simels said...

Noam --

I actually disagree about your characterization of Joel as a lounge act -- I think that's a huge oversimplification.

Not a fan, mind you. Just don't think the tag is fair, on balance.

Anyway, perhaps we'll deal with that down the line...
:-)

cthulhu said...

Not trying to get into a defense of Billy Joel, but the guy did some pretty good work back in the late '70s - the whole 52nd Street album is quite good. But once he met Christie Brinkley - instant dog vomit.

Back to the topic at hand - you know, Rod Stewart has stepped in (hell, wallowed in it) it more than just about anybody else over the last 30 years. Makes you wonder if Every Picture Tells A Story was the fluke. I have to nominate the excreble "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy" as the exact moment when he plunged into the abyss.

George Harrison - anything from the middle '70s.

Lou Reed - ditto.

Steve Miller - some mid '80s disc with a 14 minute closing track, the name of which escapes me and I don't feel like looking it up; just screamed "contractual obligation album."

John Lennon - "Imagine"; best rewrite: "imagine there's no Yoko / it's easy if you try..."

dave™© said...

I have to nominate the excreble "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy" as the exact moment when he plunged into the abyss.

Perhaps Rod's most subtle lyrical triumph.

John Lennon - "Imagine"

We're done here.

Joscha said...

No one has the balls to bring up Stevie Wonder? Ok!


Stevie Wonder!