First, let me just share how I arrived at the idea for today’s blog. I often find it interesting to think about how things are connected, and how the world wide web makes it so easy to start one place, and end up somewhere you never imagined.
I was going through my usual sources for blog ideas – various newspapers (New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Crain’s), writers (Seth Godin, Dan Pink, Dan Ariely, Tim Ferriss), and my Twitter and Facebook feeds.
I was not aware that there was a Wikipedia entry for Unusual Articles, but there is. So of course I had to visit it. Here is Wikipedia’s description that accompanies the listings:
There are over five million articles in the English Wikipedia. These are the ones that Wikipedians have identified as being a bit unusual. These articles are verifiable, valuable contributions to the encyclopedia, but are a bit odd, whimsical, or something one would not expect to find in Encyclopædia Britannica. We should take special care to meet the highest standards of an encyclopedia with these articles lest they make Wikipedia appear idiosyncratic.
It looks like you could spend a full day browsing the list, but I thought I’d just focus on one of the articles that caught my eye:
List of songs topping polls for worst songs
and then add value to that list by proving videos where you can actually watch and listen to some of these “worst songs ever” (a soundtrack, so to speak for when you are having a bad day).
But before we get to the list, I thought I would share just one item from the list of unusual articles that shows just how odd some Wikipedia articles can be:
Mariko Aoki phenomenon – A Japanese expression referring to an urge to defecate that is suddenly felt after entering bookstores. Feel free to read the fairly lengthy article at your own risk…
Anyway, on to the worst songs ever…
According to Wikipedia, the list of music considered the worst consists of albums or songs that have been considered the worst music ever made by various combinations of music critics, television broadcasters (such as MTV), radio stations, composers, and public polls. A piece of music needs to have been notable, popular, or memorable to be deemed the “worst ever”, or it would be unlikely to top all-time public polls a few years after it was released. As such, a piece usually needs to have had a high-profile at the time of its release, such as an unexpected hit that was highly disliked outside of its fanbase, albums with poor material or songs that are most disappointing by artists.
In my list below, I have only included songs that I am familiar with. Note that since these songs were popular at one time, there is a chance you may actually like some of the songs on the list…
MacArthur Park (Richard Harris, 1968): The Jimmy Webb-penned “MacArthur Park” is popularly held as the worst song ever written. In 1992, Miami Herald journalist Dave Barry conducted a poll among his readers who selected the Harris original as the worst track ever recorded, both in terms of “Worst Lyrics” and “Worst Overall Song”.
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (The Beatles, 1968): Loathed by band members John Lennon and George Harrison, this ska track was voted the worst ever recorded in a listener poll organized by Mars. It also appeared in Blender‘s “50 Worst Songs Ever”.
(You’re) Having My Baby (Paul Anka, 1974): The No. 1 worst song as voted by CNN.com users in 2006; even at the time of the song’s release, it received extensive backlash from feminists for its patronizing celebration of pregnancy.
The Birdie Song (The Tweets, 1981): Voted the most annoying track of all time in a 2000 Dotmusic poll. The Clash guitarist Mick Jones also named it the worst song ever written (along with “Billy Don’t Be a Hero” by Paper Lace), as did Simon Burnton in The Guardian.
Ebony and Ivory (Paul McCartney featuring Stevie Wonder, 1982): This duet, which used the materials that constitute the black and white keys on musical keyboards as a metaphor for the potential for racial harmony, ranked number one in a BBC 6 Music poll of the worst duets in history, number 10 in Blender‘s poll of worst songs ever, and has repeatedly been described as “saccharine” for its heavy-handed approach to its subject.
Don’t Worry, Be Happy (Bobby McFerrin, 1988): This song was named by Village Voice critic Michael Musto as the worst of all time, and it topped Q100 DJ Bert Weiss’s list of tracks he would forever ban from radio. In the “50 Worst Songs Ever”, Blender said that “it’s difficult to think of a song more likely to plunge you into suicidal despondency than this”, and also lambasted its “appalling” lyrics.
Achy Breaky Heart (Billy Ray Cyrus, 1992): The song has appeared on multiple “worst songs ever” lists. The track was named the worst of all time in The Independent on Saturday, and was ranked second in Blender‘s “50 Worst Songs Ever”. It also placed first in a Sydney Morning Herald reader poll to determine the worst track of the 1990s, and was voted by Chicago Tribune readers as the worst song of 1992.
Who Let the Dogs Out? (Baha Men, 2000): Number one on Spinner’s “Top 20 Worst Songs Ever”.
You’re Beautiful (James Blunt 2005): Voted by music fans as the most irritating track ever recorded in a OnePoll survey. Spike writer D. Sussman called it “the worst song in the history of mankind”, and Gigwise editors placed it first in “The 20 Worst Love Songs Of All Time”. It was also ranked first in Heavy.com’s recounting of the worst tracks of the 2000s.
Friday (Rebecca Black, 2011): Friday has been widely described as the worst song ever recorded, attracting derision for its weak lyrical content and excessively Auto-Tuned vocals. It became an Internet sensation, making it the subject of multiple parodies and ridicule.