Friday, October 03, 2014

Beatles Week: Part V -- Holy Crap, a Brand New Weekend Listomania!!!!

So the other day I was pondering perhaps the greatest bootleg of all time...

...which I actually owned on vinyl; in fact, it was one of my most treasured possessions for many years. (You can find download links to it on the intertube without too much trouble, BTW, and I heartily recommend it).

In any event, the concept of said Elvis bootleg was to anthologize the absolute worst crap songs the King ever committed to magnetic tape (and there was a lot to choose from, obviously).

Here's the track listing, to give you an idea.

1. Old Mac Donald Had a Farm
2. Ito Eats
3. There's No Room to Rhumba In a Sports Car
4. Confidence
5. Yoga Is As Yoga Does
6. Song of the Shrimp
7. U.S. Male
8. Ford Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce
9. Signs of the Zodiac
10. The Bullfighter Was a Lady
11. Wolf Call
12. Can't Help Falling In Love
13. He's Your Uncle Not Your Dad
14. Scratch My Back Then I'll Scratch Yours
15. The Walls Have Ears
16. Poison Ivy League
17. Beach Boy Blues
18. Dominic the Impotent Bull
19. Queenie Wahine's Papaya
20. Do the Clambake
21. Datin'
22. Are You Lonesome Tonight?
23. Outro

Anyway, while contemplating it this week, my thoughts turned, inevitably, to The Beatles, to wit: Would something comparable chosen from their body of work be feasible? However heretical that might strike you or I?

So let's find out, shall we? In classic Listomania fashion.


Arbitrary rule: Tracks from Beatles solo albums will be allowed, but mostly discouraged.

And my totally Top of My Head number one awful Beatles track is --

A tie!!!! Between

1. Only a Northern Song


1. What Goes On

"What Goes On" is actually not really all that bad -- it's a nothing song, clearly, but the band really cooks on it. Still, it gets up my nose, so I'm including it anyway.

"Northern Song," however, is just an unholy mess, sonically; plus, it's so drab and turgid that it makes "Within You and Without You" seem like a party record.

Alrighty, then -- what would YOUR choices be?


wardo said...

"When I Get Home". Anytime I read a review that praises the Hard Day's Night album to the heavens, I think of that song and put on Revolver.

Phil Cheese said...

I'd say about half of the songs on Beatles For Sale. Especially "Mr.Moonlight" and "Honey Don't."

steve simels said...

Seriously Phil?

Beatles for Sale is pretty much my favorite of their early albums. I love every note of it, if truth be told.

cthulhu said...

I finally get the chance to get this off my chest!!!

Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da - the worst of several truly crap songs on the White Album. Although Revolution 9 gives it a run for its money. Dishonorable mention: Rocky Raccoon.

Maxwell's Silver Hammer - doesn't work for me, even as a semi-novelty song. And worse than "Octopus's Garden".

That's enough for now...

Blue Ash Fan said...

Well, as an absolute heretic when it comes to George Harrison's songwriting, and as someone who just as heretically thinks they pretty much should've packed it in after Sgt. Pepper, I could create quite the Listomania here.

Steve already mentioned "Within You, Without You." Worthless.

"Revolution 9." Speaking of worthless.

Harrison's inexplicably beloved dirges, "Something" and "While My Guitar Gently Weeps." OK, "Something" does have a great little signature lick in there, but I have no quarrel with Harrison as a guitarist.

Let me go utterly blasphemous and include "Here Comes the Sun."

"Blue Jay Way."

And just to prove that I don't have some sort of personal vendetta against George, "Hey Jude."

Anonymous said...

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. the extreme end of their interest in that kind of experimentation.

The Kenosha Kid said...

I always found "Got to Get you into my life" to be incredibly grating.

Can we include Decca Audition songs? Because after listening to "Besame Mucho" and "The Sheik of Araby" I totally understand why they didn't get signed.

steve simels said...

OB LA DI is actually a much better and more interesting song than you realize, my friends.

Marc Platt said...

I'll go with yours Steve. Only A Northern Song" and the first song credited to all 4 Beatles "What Goes On."

M_Sharp said...

Yellow Submarine, Octopus's Garden, Your Mother Should Know, and Piggies- George had a shitty attitude sometimes.

George's guitar certainly redeems "What Goes On".

Stu said...

As someone who had to discover The Beatles as a kid in the mid '70s, it was through classic rock radio in Chicago.

There always seem to be some sort of "The 100 Greatest Rock Songs Ever" countdown on weekends.
And quite a few Beatles songs made the lists.
But the number one Beatles song (and overall, many times) was always

"Hey Jude"

And I felt let down. Like, that song? Really? What am I missing?

I mean the top ten included The Stones,The Who, Hendrix, The Kinks, CCR,... hell, even "Stairway to Heaven" seemed better to my prepubescent ears.


pete said...

I can't believe no one has mentioned the ACTUAL worst song the Beatles ever released, "The Ballad of John and Yoko," where Lennon's solipsism and Messiahtry finally get the best of him.

And I hate "Imagine" with a true hatred.

And I LOVE "When I Get Home."

Shriner said...

Mr. Moonlight, clearly.

But Beatles songs I never care if I hear again:

Revolution 9, Good Night, Within You Without You, What Goes On, Ask Me Why, The Inner Light, The Long and Endless Song, Tell Me What You See, You Like Me Too Much, What You're Doing, I'll Cry Instead, When I Get Home,

Just imagine a full album with all of those songs on it. Brr...

I can even suffer through repeated playings of "You Know My Name..." before any of the above...

steve simels said...

Somebody doesn't like Tell Me What You See? I absolutely adore that one--playing it in a band, with a Rick 12 doing the instrumental breaks, was one of the most sublime moments of my life.

Anonymous said...

"The Inner Light." Bad music. And stupid.


edward said...

The End, just because so many people think it's deep.

And on the solo front, side two of Plastic Ono Band Life Peace Toronto and Paul McCartney's Wonderful Christmas Time (bad rock Xmas songs are a whole other listomania if you haven't done it yet (and you can never do it enough))

senormedia said...

Sorry, Northern Song is one of my current faves (probably because I haven't heard it a million times).

Hey Jude and Let It Be make my list.

Anonymous said...

"Why Don't We Do It In The Road?"
It seems an obvious choice.

Richard_thunderbay said...

As a track, I always skip over "Revolution 9", but I wouldn't consider it to be an actual song.

For the worst song performance to appear on one of their records, I'd pick "Mr. Moonlight", that however is a cover.

For a song written by a Beatle, I'd pick "When I Get Home".

Anonymous said...

I'm gonna love her till the cows come home. What's wrong with that song? Lotsa votes for that one. Go figure. I think it kinda rocks.

Throwaways are: NUMBER ONE: Flying. Then Wild Honey Pie, Dig It and Maggie Mae which are all worthless snippets.

Don't Pass Me By, Mr. Moonlight, Anna (Go To Him), Matchbox, Good Night, Misery, Good Night.

I would definitely defend Honey Don't as one of Ringo's finest moments. I don't mind What Goes On either.

Vickie Rock - I've got no time for trivialities

Anonymous said...

BTW, I have that Elvis bootleg as well. White vinyl with a prescription from Dr. Nick were included with first editions. On the Dog Vomit Records label which had Nipper barfing into the grammophone. Was released some time in mid 1982. A true conversation piece:-)

Vickie Rock - Doing the clam

Shriner said...

"Tell Me What You See" -- is dull and has no real drive (or hook) behind it. To me it's one of a number (small) where they sound really bored doing the song. Dull organ solo -- twice! -- too.

I always figured this one made the cut right before "If You Got Trouble".

steve simels said...

The singing on that is utterly gorgeous. And the song itself is Buddy Holly in excelsis.

IMHO. I think it's spine-tinglingly great, always have.

Shriner said...

I hear the Buddy Holly influence on it, sure. But it's sounds like really-bored Buddy Holly.

To each his own! I like Only A Northern Song, so what do I know...

steve simels said...

I knew this was gonna be contentious.

buzzbabyjesus said...

I'm tired of "Hey Bulldog". "The Word", "Girl", "Nowhere Man", "The Long Winded Ballad".

Dave said...

"Within You, Without You" is an obvious choice, and I'm going to make it. Now with CD's and iPads and Spotify, I need not ever listen to it again, but "Good Morning" and "A Day in the Life" are songs I cherish, and when I only had SP in vinyl, skipping the tracks I dislike was a pain. I will always hate "WY,WY" in a way I won't "Revolution #9."

Mark said...

Stu -- I'm with you on HEY JUDE, and have been that way since August 1968. And it just keeps going on and on and on and on.

MJConroy said...

How is "You know my name, look up the number" hasn't been listed yet?
Okay - it's not a proper song, but neither is Inner Light or Only a Northern Song. Did I miss it scrolling through?
Here is someone else's attempt at an album list:

Brian Leonard said...

Another vote for "Mr. Moonlight". Among the self-penned tracks, I have never cared much for "Doctor Robert" or "Baby, You're a Rich Man". I love "Only a Northern Song"!

Anonymous said...

If You've Got Trouble is quite wretched.

You Know My Name (Look Up the Number) is a classic as far as I'm concerned. Threw a cocktail party in West L.A. mid 1970's with a continuous reel of this song playing as background music ad infinitum. The hor d'oeuvres were spiked with the inner glow of madness. You've never seen such cunning revelry. The corruption was overwhelming and complete. Our damned souls fed on each other's energy and lit the trip fantastic.

Vickie Rock - Welcome to Slaggers (clothes are optional)

cthulhu said...

Steve, I didn't know the backstory to "Ob-La-Di", but I still think it sucks, good intentions notwithstanding.

And Pete, I've got your back on the suckitude of "Imagine"; smug treacle at its worst IMHO.

Anonymous said...

There are very few Beatles songs I truly hate. But Wild Honey Pie has no redeeming qualities at all -- unless being short counts as a redeeming quality. And Love Me Do is so far inferior to what the Brill Building crew or the Motown factory were turning out in 1962 that it's a wonder anyone bought that record at all.

I love Tell Me What You See, and even What Goes On.


steve simels said...




The great Arthur Alexander? Only the biggest influence on John's vocal style?

And one of the greatest r&b singer/songwriters ever?


steve simels said...


Also "Misery"?

Say what?

Anonymous said...


... And it's the mystery "oldie" that drives Al Bundy crazy in one of the best "Married With Children" episodes ever. I still work in an honest-to-god bricks-and-mortar store that sells "oldies". The scene where Al and his wife Peg go to the record store and customers are humming lines from old songs to the clerk and he's identifying them... THAT IS MY LIFE! Even if you don't like "Married with Children" as a TV show, if you're a record collector who has ever been desperately trying to find a certain elusive song, you need to dial up that particular episode.

J. Lag

Anonymous said...

Steve: Got no probs with Arthur Alexander's version, though not everything he did was golden. Just think the Beatles cover of Anna is substandard. Never cared for it much.

Misery is hack writing. It sounds close to parody of the Mersey sound. Even Helen Shapiro turned it down:-) Not one of their prouder moments, even though their songwriting was in its infancy. Sounds like wooden crybaby music to me.

It doesn't really matter if I'm wrong, I'm right. Where I belong I'm right.

Good morning. Wanna swim? The water's fine. Dive in.

Vickie Rock - Fixing a hole and filling the cracks

Anna said...

Revolution No. 9. No question.

BTW, was gobsmacked to see "Elvis' Greatest Shit" when I first opened the page. I was (and I hate this word) "frenemies" with the guy who put this out, and would often do artwork for his stuff. My only contribution on this one, however, was Nipper hurlin' into the horn of the record player. It's been nice to see it used by my local free rag, the LA Weekly, from time to time when they wanted to make a point about some lousy album or other. (Been told that it's turned up elsewhere, but I don't remember where offhand.)

Hannes A. Jónsson said...

When I Get Home without a doubt. By anyone's standard, it's just really, really bad.

And so is O-Bla-Di-O-Bla-Da. And Tomorrow Never Knows, Within You Without You, When I'm Sixty-Four, I'm the Walrus, Yellow Substandard, Octopus's Garden, Maxwell's Silver Hammer.

In fact, there's crap on every single Beatles album ever made. Therefore, IMHO, they never made that "perfect" album, a la Pet Sounds and Odessey and Oracle.

And oh yes, Imagine sucks ass. Big time.

Anonymous said...

Hannes: If it wasn't for the Beatles "imperfect" albums, influence and inspiration, Pet Sounds and Odessey & Oracle would never have been made:-)

In their way, Meet the Beatles, The Beatles' Second Album, The UK Help!, US Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Pepper (I don't mind Within You Without You) and Abbey Road are all perfect albums. And if it wasn't for Mr. Moonlight, Beatles For Sale would be perfect.

Vickie Rock - I'll Follow the Sun

steve simels said...

When I Get Home rhymes if you please and trivialities, and thus deserves respect from mere mortals.

I confess to being baffled at the hackles it has raised around here.

Anonymous said...

And what girl wouldn't want her guy to love her till the cows came home?

Only problem is that there should be a cowbell ringing (like on You Can't Do That) on every beat in the bridge. It woulda been perfect.

Anathema to DJ's because it has no padded intro. Goes right into the chorus. No chance for amphetamine rap over the opening pad.

I dig the song. Has a nice pulse and structure. Plus it sounds like John means business. I like that.

The things he wants to "say" and "tell" to his lover require much more than the use of his vocal chords. He can't wait to get home and engage in the fleshly conversation. He wants it because he knows how good she is. And he's gonna take it like a man.

That's rock 'n' roll.

Vickie Rock - I got no time for TrivialiTease

Hannes A. Jónsson said...

Oh, come off it!

The Beatles aren't some sacred cow which could do no wrong. If they were, this post would be pointless, and Steve wouldn't have started it in the first place. One hopes.

I LOVE the Beatles, but I do not subscribe to the idea that they were the beginning and the end of everything. Case in point, no Buddy Holly = No Beatles. No Elvis = No Beatles. No Eddie Cochran = No Beatles. No Little Richard = No Beatles. No Chuck Berry = No Beatles. No Orbison = No Beatles.

As we know and love them. Warts and all. All we need is love - indeed.

Nigel Tufnel said...

I'm going to offer up "Run For You Life". It's Lennon's pre-Yoko misogyny on overdrive and a truly ugly lyric (veiled death threats! Yay!). "You Can't Do That" is pretty bad, but "Run For Your Life" ruins Rubber Soul for me the way that "Within You, Without You" ruins Sgt. Pepper for some.

Brooklyn Girl said...

"Mr. Moonlight" was the first one that came to mind, mainly because I think it was the first of their songs that I actively hated and would always skip.

I agree with Nigel Tufnel --- "Run For Your Life' is as creepy as 'Every Breath You Take" --- although I don't hate the music, I hate the sentiment. In other words, if it had other lyrics I might like it.

Others I can't listen to have been mentioned several times: "Revolution 9", "Piggies", "Wild Honey Pie" --- I also really don't like "Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite" --- but there are some choices upthread that blow my mind. "Tell Me What You See"? Really?

Anonymous said...

About 1/2 of Beatles for Sale and 3/4 of the White Album, which I still don't get. If pushed for one song, Mr. Moonlight - hated it was I bought it in '65 and hate it now.

Voxtron said...

By the time you get to the White album there are more bad songs than good. Paul wrote some absolutely horrendous crap and the more influence he exerted the worse they got.

The worst of all is tough, but Rocky Raccoon, ObLahDe and Why Don't We Do it in The Road are about as pathetic as it gets.