The schlockiest songs of all time?

I’m still thin on the ground and can’t brain: I’m revising the last chapter of my book, teaching all afternoon, and have precious little time left for posting. Mea culpa.  Fortunately, readers still send me items, some of which are worth mentioning.

One, from reader Barry, is this deeply misguided list from Vulture of the “150 Greatest Schlock Songs Ever.”  The problem is that the compiler, Jody Rosen, doesn’t define “schlock,” so the list winds up being simply weird, with #1 and #2 being “Over the Rainbow” and “Purple Haze,” respectively. “Over the Rainbow” is a great song, and if it’s schlock, well then any song about love, or longing, is also schlock. “Purple Haze” is not a schlock song by anyone’s lights: it’s a very good psychedelic song, meant (I think) to mimic an acid experience.

I know a bit of Yiddish, and my conception of “schlock” meets that of the Merriam Webster Online Dictionary’s: “of low quality or value.” Those songs (and many on Rosen’s list) don’t fit that.

You can read the rest, but I have my own list; I’ve had it for years, and besides many sub-lists of great music (“soul”, “country”, etc.,) it includes a list of bad schlock songs, and there’s no quarreling with it:

Ballad of the Green Berets; Sgt. Barry Sadler

An Open Letter to My Teenage Son; Victor Lundberg

Spill the Wine (Dig that Girl); Eric Burdon

I Got a Brand New Pair of Rollerskates; Melanie

I’ve Never Been to Me; Charlene

Octopus’ Garden; The Beatles

Macarthur Park; Richard Harris

Old Rivers; Walter Brennan

Take the Money and Run; Steve Miller

Muskrat Love; The Captain and Tenille

The Name Game; Shirley Ellis

Drops of Jupter; Train

Needless to say, feel free to add your own. You can either go by Rosen’s guidelines, which I guess include “good but sappy songs”, or mine (truly dreadful songs).

 

 

330 Comments

  1. estraven
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Anything by Bread.

    • Barry Lyons
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      Some of those Bread songs might sound better with a different (non-falsetto) singer, but point taken.

      • steve harvith
        Posted May 28, 2014 at 6:12 am | Permalink

        The song that makes me cringe is Feelings Shlock? Oy vay!

        If you want to do kareoke and have cabbages thrown at you…..try singing “Feelings.”

        • merilee
          Posted May 28, 2014 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

          A resort I took my kids to in the Muskokas north of Toronto had karaoke once a week. There was a guy who thought he could sing and who insisted on doing Rocky Raccoon not once, but twice, an evening…I think Canadians were too polite to throw veggies…

          On the bright side, despite our not being much of karaoke buffs- or good singers, my 13-yr-old (at the time) son deigned to sing Clapton’s Sunshine of your Love with me, his mother, while his 11-yr-old sister cringed in the wings…And on a more professional note, Corky Laing, drummer for Mountain (Mississippi Queen) was also a regular there and he did a killer tongue-in-cheek version of I’m Too Sexy for my…Very talented and funny guy.

        • Filippo
          Posted May 28, 2014 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

          Not to be confused with another song of the same title by Barry Mann/Cynthia Weiss.

    • Posted May 27, 2014 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      Continuing in the “anything by” vein:

      Anything by Vivaldi.

      I chose Vivaldi out of many other classical options because most other untalented classical composers aren’t known well, ie, people have rightly judged that their music isn’t worth knowing.

      But Vivaldi is for some reason not just popular but revered, even among pro musicians.

      • Merilee
        Posted May 27, 2014 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

        What’s so bad about Vivaldi?

        • Posted May 27, 2014 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

          Well, it’s a little difficult to explain without invoking a bunch of somewhat esoteric music theory, but in very general terms, here goes:

          With changing times, one of course has to expect changing musical idioms, conventions, “rules” if you will. That’s fine. But Vivaldi was horrible at playing by the “rules” prevalent in the 1700s, and not in an “I’m going to break this “rule” because my genius has invented a context in which it is acceptable” way. To the trained listener it just sounds like he didn’t have a deep understanding of what he was doing.

          He or she might not be able to articulate why, but even the casual listener should be able to hear a difference between Vivaldi and, say, Bach, and that the Bach is somehow better.

          To get back to my original comment, this goes to demonstrate, imo, the power of peer pressure and groupthink. Even trained listeners will sometimes ignore what their ears are telling them and instead opt for the safety of conformity. I think the popularity of Vivaldi among professional musicians can be chalked up to argumentum ad populum.

          • Merilee
            Posted May 27, 2014 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

            Thanks for the explanation. I’ve listened to much classical music, but don’t have training in theory. I would probably prefer Bach to Vivaldi if I had to choose, but still enjoy The Four Seasons and the Gloria ( maybe because one of my dorm-mates ( who happened to be David Packard’s daughter) used to blast The Gloria 5 minutes before the dinner bell.). Maybe my affection for the piece is Pavlovian:-)

            • Posted May 27, 2014 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

              And that’s fine, too! There are pieces of music that I wouldn’t call great that have a special place in my heart because of the context of my experience with them.

              I think a clearer way if saying what I tried to say above is that Vivaldi’s music is amateurish, as though he sat down at a keyboard hunting and pecking until he stumbled across a short passage that sounded ok, then strung a bunch of these mostly unrelated passages together.

              With the true greats, fastidious planning and unassailable logic is amply evident.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted May 27, 2014 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

            Just like when buying speakers.

            • Merilee
              Posted May 27, 2014 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

              My ex ( when he was my pre) built my wonderful speakers about 40 yrs ago. They are ugly, but have great sound. Every other speaker sounds tinny. I think I may have replaced a woofer or 2 about 10 years ago.

          • Gregory Kusnick
            Posted May 27, 2014 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

            Plus, Bach is right on the first page of my phone’s music catalog. For Vivaldi I have to laboriously scroll all the way to the end, which I am rarely motivated to do.

            • Merilee
              Posted May 27, 2014 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

              Poor Vivaldi. Always at he end of the alphabet. Probably got chosen last for baseball, too…

              • Posted May 27, 2014 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

                You bet he got picked last. Between his asthma, his red hair, and playing the violin, he was the archetypal nerd.

            • Posted May 27, 2014 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

              That Bach. Clever, clever, clever.

          • Posted May 27, 2014 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

            So, do you see Richter’s version of *Le quattro stagioni* as an improvement rather than a sacrilege?

            /@

            • Posted May 28, 2014 at 7:06 am | Permalink

              I don’t think I’d use either of those terms.

              I haven’t heard the the entire set, but the movements I have heard seem to me to be best described simply as new pieces that quote Vivaldi. Which is not a new practice. I wouldn’t call the opening movement of a Bach cantata (which usually features an existent Lutheran hymn tune woven into newly composed music) an improvement on the hymn tune. The hymn tune is source material.

            • Merilee
              Posted May 28, 2014 at 7:07 am | Permalink

              Or Nigel Kennedy’s?

  2. Barry Lyons
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Thank you for using “brain” as a verb.

  3. Stephen Barnard
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Big John — Jimmy Dean.

    • estraven
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      Good one.

    • Posted May 27, 2014 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      Oh… I actually kinda like this. Childhood memories, maybe.

      /@

      • Stephen Barnard
        Posted May 27, 2014 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

        I think this was the first 45 I bought as a kid.

      • teacupoftheapocalypse
        Posted May 27, 2014 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

        As I recall, it was regularly played on Auntie’s ‘Two-way Family Favourites’ around midday Sunday. The mere mention of it evoked the smell of gravy!

        • MikeN
          Posted May 27, 2014 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

          “Through the dust and the smoke of this man made hell
          Walked a giant of a man that the miners knew well
          Grabbed a saggin’ timber, gave out with a groan
          And like a giant Oak tree, he just stood there alone, Big John”

          Great stuff!

          • Merilee
            Posted May 27, 2014 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

            Don’t forget the bad…Big bad Johnnnnnn

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted May 28, 2014 at 1:35 am | Permalink

              Is that schlock or schmaltz?

              (Is there a difference?)

              • Joe
                Posted May 28, 2014 at 2:03 am | Permalink

                I’d say the difference between schmaltz and schlock was roughly that between Cat Stevens and Billy Joel. (Schmaltz: sentimental, mawkish; schlock: low-grade, ersatz.) My apologies to any fans of the aforementioned…

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted May 28, 2014 at 2:42 am | Permalink

                I have a soft spot for Billy Joel. ‘The Entertainer’ for example is sufficiently cynical to appeal to me:
                I am the entertainer,
                I come to do my show.
                You’ve heard my latest record,
                It’s been on the radio.
                Ah, it took me years to write it,
                They were the best years of my life.
                It was a beautiful song.
                But it ran too long.
                If you’re gonna have a hit,
                You gotta make it fit–
                So they cut it down to 3:05.

              • Stephen Barnard
                Posted May 28, 2014 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

                Interesting question. I’ve always taken them as synonyms, but there is a difference. They aren’t independent categories, though. If you draw a Venn diagram of schmaltz and schlock there will be considerable overlap. That’s where Big John resides.

          • Filippo
            Posted May 28, 2014 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

            I suppose that “Big John” is a “song,” but is it “sung”? What specific notes is Mr. Dean singing?

      • JohnnieCanuck
        Posted May 28, 2014 at 2:05 am | Permalink

        Childhood memories here too. It came out when I was 13 and the tallest kid in the grade. I was shy and occasionally picked on, so it was a matter of some pleasure to have kids call me Big Bad John and associate me with the hero.

        Stephan’s link is to the sanitised version. The alternate ending is, “Here lies one hell of a man”. That raised some eyebrows, back then.

  4. Barry Lyons
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    My bad: Jody Rosen has an accompanying essay called “In Defense of Shlock Music:”:

    “Schlock, at its finest, is where bad taste becomes great art. Schlock is music that subjugates all other values to brute emotional impact; it aims to overwhelm, to body-slam the senses, to deliver catharsis like a linebacker delivers a clothesline tackle. The qualities traditionally prized by music critics and other listeners of discerning taste — sophistication, subtlety, wit, irony, originality, “experimentation” — have no place in schlock. Schlock is extravagant, grandiose, sentimental, with an unshakable faith in the crudest melodrama, the biggest statements, the most timeworn tropes and most overwrought gestures.”

    http://www.vulture.com/2014/05/jody-rosen-in-defense-of-schlock-music.html

  5. jwiss
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    You mention the word and meaning of ‘schlock’. Years ago I had reason to read several Yiddish language websites and had a roaring good time understanding the multitude of phrases and the explanations of humor and history. I’ve never seen so many words that start with sch or sh. What a rich language. It was such fun.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

      You may enjoy the book, Born to Kvetch which details the history of Yiddish.

  6. Diana MacPherson
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    Oh noes, I just read the title “Muskrat Love” and now that dreadful song is in my head!

    I have an odd aversion to any song that incorporates so-called “Hawaiian guitars” which means a large portion of country songs drive me crazy. It’s as if the twangy sound directly accesses my amygdala & I go my version of all nuts like River Tam does in Serenity when she sees an embedded message in the crazy cartoon commercial.

    I figure if there is a hell, this will be mine!

    • estraven
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 10:34 am | Permalink

      I used to feel that way. Somewhere along the line my reaction changed. Who knows why.

    • merilee
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      Anything by or like Don Ho:-((

      I find MacArthur Park so bad that I kinda like it in a smarmy kind of way.

      What about Tell Laura I love Her and the one about Laurie and the Sweater…and not to forget Teen Angel. Schlockissimo!

      • estraven
        Posted May 27, 2014 at 10:43 am | Permalink

        Yeah, all the “teen tragedy” songs! “Leader of the Pack” . . .

        • merilee
          Posted May 27, 2014 at 10:47 am | Permalink

          But Leader of the Pack at least has a kind of good sound. Vrrrmmm vvrrmmm. And there was that take-off The Leader of the Laundromat;-) The others have nada to recommend them.

          • estraven
            Posted May 27, 2014 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

            Haha, too true. My dad bought “Leader of the Laundromat” and we all thought it was funny.

        • Taz
          Posted May 27, 2014 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

          “Last Kiss”

          • estraven
            Posted May 27, 2014 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

            Absolutely.

      • merilee
        Posted May 27, 2014 at 10:50 am | Permalink

        In college I had a friend whose bf was being a twerp. We baked a cake and left it at his front door in a rainstorm. Can’t remember what the upshot was, but it made her feel better at the time. We howled the song for a while thereafter which may be why I have a tiny bit of affection for the song.

      • Posted May 27, 2014 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

        Donna Summer made something out of that one.

    • Barry Lyons
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      Fortunately, I don’t recall “Muskrat Love” — and there’s no way I’m going to click on a YouTube video to be reminded of it!

      • JohnnieCanuck
        Posted May 28, 2014 at 2:13 am | Permalink

        You have learned well, grasshopper. This is one of the things that once heard, cannot be unheard. Just the same, somebody must have liked it, to have made it a top hit.

    • eric
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      “I have an odd aversion to any song that incorporates so-called “Hawaiian guitars””

      Iz Kamakawiwoʻole used a Hawaiian guitar to sing Somewhere Over the Rainbow, which is a schlock twofer. And yet, I’d argue it’s not schlocky at all. Though being a matter of taste, you can feel free to disagree on that.

      • Gregory Kusnick
        Posted May 27, 2014 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

        That’s a ukulele he’s playing on “Somewhere”.

        I took Diana’s “Hawaiian guitar” reference to mean pedal steel guitar, which (as she indicates) is a staple of country music. I’m not a fan of country music, but Jerry Garcia put the instrument to excellent use on such tracks as “Dire Wolf”, “Pride of Cucamonga”, “Teach Your Children”, and many more.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted May 28, 2014 at 1:52 am | Permalink

          Or (if Diana really does mean pedal steel) – take Dave Gilmour playing it in ‘High Hopes’. That is really, really not a ‘country’ sound. ;)

          (That is so not the song of the same name sung by Frank Sinatra…)

          • Merilee
            Posted May 28, 2014 at 7:15 am | Permalink

            I love Sinatra but his High Hopes really really sucked. Somewhere i read that he kind of had to be forced by his agent or producer or record company to do that one.
            Whoops there goes another rubber tree plant:-(

  7. trombus
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    “Spill the Wine”???? . . .
    Come on down to my boat baby by Every Mother’s Son (but, this is so bad that I love it).
    Joy to the World by the Three Dog Night

    • trombus
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      Oh, I almost forgot . . .
      I’m Henry the 8th by Herman’s Hermits

      • merilee
        Posted May 27, 2014 at 10:39 am | Permalink

        ‘Enery the 8th is kind of fun.

        • trombus
          Posted May 27, 2014 at 11:15 am | Permalink

          My niece once worked in a psychiatric hospital and there was one poor man there who had “‘Enery the 8th” stuck in his head relentlessly constant. I am sorry, but that would be a living hell . . .

          • Gordon
            Posted May 27, 2014 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

            Don’t do this-it now sticks in my head. Cruel and unusual

            • Gordon
              Posted May 27, 2014 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

              … but better than “The Wheels on the Bus” which sticks for days after I see the grandkids

              • Stephen Barnard
                Posted May 27, 2014 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

                I once bonded with a crusty old guy on a fishing trip because we both knew the lyrics to Spongebob Squarepants — his grandkids, my daughters.

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted May 27, 2014 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

              Yeah having ABBA’s Dancing Queen in my head for a week during exams one year was he’ll enough. My dad used to sing that stupid Henry the 8th song and now whenever I hear “Henry the 8th”, I hear that song. You can imagine what reading Wolf Hall was like for me recently.

            • trombus
              Posted May 27, 2014 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

              “Second verse, same as the first . . .”

  8. tom
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Rock and Roll Heaven by the Righteous Brothers.
    “If there’s a rock and roll heaven, you know they’ve got a hell of a band.”
    Worst lyrics ever.

  9. estraven
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    “Farmer John” by The Premiers. Wait, that’s just really bad, not necessarily schlock. My sister and I once went to have a post-NOW- meeting drink and there they were playing their one-hit wonder. But the lead guy came over to our table and we had a nice chat. But boy, that song really sucks. Probably not really schlocky, though.

    • teacupoftheapocalypse
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      Neil Young did a cover version that I have loved since I first heard it. http://goo.gl/gOWkjP But then, IMHO, Neil Young can do no wrong.

      • Merilee
        Posted May 27, 2014 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

        Not sure how I’ve never heard Farmer John?? I do like Most of Neil’s stuff.

      • Achrachno
        Posted May 27, 2014 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

        Sorry, but to my ears he couldn’t save that one. Maybe not schlock, but pretty poor.

    • Nick
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

      Disagree. Farmer John is pretty standard garage rock sound from the 1963-64 era. No schlock involved, or at least in the way Rosen defines schlock in his accompanying essay.

  10. Rebecca
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    It also makes me wonder what ‘great’ means in this. Does it mean Most Schlock-y? Worst Quality? Or the songs that are the audio equivalent of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese*: cheap, easy to produce, but touching an emotional wellspring of nostalgia and playing on some basic sensations**.

    * Or other foods of that nature. I suspect this niche of food is pretty cultural specific.
    ** We have some pretty old instincts of ‘fat and sugar = calorie dense = good food (because there might be a famine)’.

  11. Posted May 27, 2014 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Terry Jacks, “Seasons in the Sun.”

    And “Octopus’s Garden” isn’t even the schlockiest Beatles song. “Martha My Dear”?

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/perpetua/18-beatles-songs-that-john-lennon-totally-hated

    • merilee
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      I’ve always hated Yellow Submarine…

    • Curt Cameron
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 10:45 am | Permalink

      My two nominations are Seasons in the Sun (you beat me to it), and that damn “if you like piña coladas” song, whatever it’s called. Both those make me retch.

      • Posted May 27, 2014 at 10:49 am | Permalink

        “The Pińa Colada Song”!

        /@

      • mental reservation
        Posted May 27, 2014 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

        Pina Colada BANG!, on the other hand, is really awesome.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted May 27, 2014 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

        Yeah maybe those stupid piña colada drinkers who like being caught in the rain should go eat that stupid cake that has been out in the rain too.

      • aljones909
        Posted May 27, 2014 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

        “Seasons in the Sun” is certainly in a class of it’s own.

        • Filippo
          Posted May 28, 2014 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

          ‘ “Seasons in the Sun” is certainly in a class of it’s own.’

          I think the Kingston Trio’s late 50’s/early 60′ earlier version redeems Terry Jack’s 1974 rendering. I was aware of the latter before the forgotten-in-the-mists-of-time former.

    • estraven
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      Yes, the Terry Jacks version is vomit-inducing. However, the original is sarcastic and refers to the wife’s infidelity. It’s a very different song from Jacks’ version!

      • Pete Taylor
        Posted May 28, 2014 at 3:41 am | Permalink

        “Le Moribond” by Brel? Yes, much better. Even with my meagre French I do get the meaning.

    • Gregory Kusnick
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      I confess I kind of like the gargly backup vocals in “Octopus’s Garden”.

    • Posted May 27, 2014 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      Yup. Seasons in the sun.

  12. Posted May 27, 2014 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    “The Deck of Cards”

    /@

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted May 28, 2014 at 1:55 am | Permalink

      Oh now that really makes me wanna hurl.

      I think you win the contest. :(

    • Pete Taylor
      Posted May 28, 2014 at 3:33 am | Permalink

      That’s what immediately sprang to my mind as well.

      About the only good thing about it was that it inspired the parody “The Cricket Bag” by David Frost:
      http://www.monologues.co.uk/Celebrity/The%20_Cricket_Bag.htm

      although this may not mean a lot to non-commonwealth readers.

  13. Martin
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    Sugar Shack, by Jimmy Gilmer and the fireballs, I cannot forgive them for that pile of deleterious natural fertilizer.

    • estraven
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      You’re right, but it brings on nostalgia for me. I remember at lunchtime we’d sit in the high school gym and people would dance in their white socks . . . and some would romance in the bleachers, as the administrators put it when warning people, over the sound system, not to do that . . .

      • merilee
        Posted May 27, 2014 at 10:52 am | Permalink

        Though must NEVER romance in the bleachers – LOL!

        • merilee
          Posted May 27, 2014 at 11:02 am | Permalink

          Thou, not though

      • Martin
        Posted May 27, 2014 at 10:53 am | Permalink

        I think I have heard it one too many times, and because you site nostalgia, I retract my attack on Sugar Shack and insert a far more deserving tune. Daddy Don’t You Walk So Fast; I think Wayne Newton did the tune, though I am sure he is not alone foisting that one on the world.

        • merilee
          Posted May 27, 2014 at 10:56 am | Permalink

          Anything which Wayne Newton has foisted on the world is an emetic…Roses are reeeeddddd, my love, violets are bluuuuuuueee

          • Taz
            Posted May 27, 2014 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

            Wasn’t that Bobby Vinton?

      • Martin
        Posted May 27, 2014 at 10:56 am | Permalink

        Perhaps I’m being too hard on this tune. I can think of a more deserving tune. Daddy Don’t You Walk So Fast. I think Wayne Newton sang that tear jerker.

        • Martin
          Posted May 27, 2014 at 10:57 am | Permalink

          Sorry I didn’t think my first post made it.

  14. Posted May 27, 2014 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Dave Barry’s “Book of Bad Songs{ is the ne plus ultra of this genre and HILARIOUS.

    “Mac Arthur Park,” anyone?

    • estraven
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      I’ve got a fondness for MacArthur Park. My sister knew a couple of radio DJ’s who loved its long playing time, ’cause they could get a coffee and go to the john . . .

      • Nick
        Posted May 27, 2014 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

        Ditto on ‘fondness’. First time I heard it I was driving home from a first date with a beautiful girl I had been pursuing for some at my side. Context is everything.

        • Filippo
          Posted May 28, 2014 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

          Forgive my being(“square”)^3, but I recommend the version by The Lettermen, likely available on Youtube.

    • irritable
      Posted May 28, 2014 at 1:17 am | Permalink

      MacArthur Park is a very strange song [ie. considered as melody, chords, lyrics and musical structure] written by a undeniably gifted songwriter, Jimmy Webb. It broke most of the 1960s conventions for popular songwriting.

      The best known recording of the song [considered as song + arrangement, performance and production] by the actor Richard Harris, is bizarrely overblown and bombastic. Harris’s declamatory vocal highlights the catastrophically miscalculated lyrics.

      From a technical point of view, the music is sophisticated and highly original. Webb’s own version, recorded in 1998, tends to bring out the great musical elements.

      But the lyrics – which apparently weren’t intended to be ironic or surreal – are sincere, heartfelt and sentimental in the worst possible way. I can’t stand them.

      As the Wikipedia article on the song demonstrates, Webb is still very defensive about his youthful ode to lost love – which he intended as a serious experiment in advanced songwriting.

      • Filippo
        Posted May 28, 2014 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

        Re: the lyrical flights-of-fancy of “MacAuhur Park”:

        “Excess of sorrow laughs,
        Excess of joy weeps.”

        – William Blake

  15. darrelle
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Mickey by Toni Basil. That song is so horrible. It causes a reaction of strong disgust in me.

    Float On by The Floaters. I think this song would meet anyones definition of “schlockey,” even mine, but for some reason I like it! I am sure it is just because of the associated memories. I was young and the soul R&B dance scene was a big part of my world, and I still remember the girls face and name. What I remember most was her ripping the necklace I gave her off of her neck and throwing it at me from a third story balcony while I was down on the ground. She had a hot temper.

    • estraven
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      Oh great FSM, “Mickey” is truly horrible!!

  16. merilee
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    Not to bug Jerry while he’s poarly, but can a single person/critter be thin on the ground?

    • Diane G.
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

      He contains multitudes.

      • Merilee
        Posted May 27, 2014 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

        And these multitudes are spread out thinly on the ground? LOL

  17. Bric
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    Blue balloon (theme from Jeremy, 1973) by Robbie Benson. A gem.

  18. Posted May 27, 2014 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    The Melanie song was called Brand New Key, and was my first purchase at a record shop – though I bought Elvis’ I Just can’t Help Believing at the same time, which makes up for it.

    • Pete Taylor
      Posted May 28, 2014 at 3:45 am | Permalink

      Talking about Elvis, surely “In the Ghetto” has to be a contender. His worst song IMO.

      It was towards the end of the 60s and always seemed to me to be an attempt to jump on to the “social conscience” bandwagon.

      • merilee
        Posted May 28, 2014 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

        sub

  19. Philip.Elliott
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Billy, Don’t be a Hero. Thank Ceiling Cat I don’t remember who sang it.

    • paablo
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      Bo Donaldson and the Haywoods

    • Posted May 27, 2014 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      Paper Lace?

      /@

      • darrelle
        Posted May 27, 2014 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

        Yep. I can still picture the album cover. Does that make me a bad person?

        On no, I just remembered. Paper Lace did “The Night Chicago Died.”

        Twas The Heywoods,” or something like that, who did “Billy Don’t Be A Hero.”

        And I remember both album covers. Man, on The Heywoods(?) cover the entire band was wearing the most . . . schlocky, hugely flared white bell-bottoms with wood looking inset panels. Hideous.

      • darrelle
        Posted May 27, 2014 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

        Hmmm. After actually looking it turns out that “Paper Lace” and “The Heywoods” both did Billy Don’t Be A Hero. Paper Lace did it first, and then the Heywoods made it popular in the US.

  20. Posted May 27, 2014 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Beth, by KISS. Or any hair band ballad.

    • eric
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

      If you’re looking for the nadir of “hair band” and “schlock” in combination, then I have to say Steel Panther is the way to go.
      The lyrics are highly, extraordinarily offensive and misogynistic (trigger warnings for, well, everyone), and they get schlock points deducted because its satirical rather than sincere schlock, but even so… it makes Beth look like Beethoven.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, KISS should stick with Lick It Up

  21. paablo
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    I’m not here to defend C&T’s “Muskrat Love,” but the original, “Muskrat Candlelight,” by Willis Alan Ramsey, is pretty good (and the album is fantastic).

    • banglin
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

      I was going to post something similar. Willis Alan Ramsey’s original is almost mystical. The C&T version did indeed reduce the charm of the original to schlock.

  22. ladyatheist
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    I agree with some of them though I’d choose a different performer for MacArthur Park. You can’t “top” Maynard Ferguson’s version!

    I have a list that may be cheesy rather than schlocky, or perhaps both.

    Perez Prado Mambo #5
    and Lou Bega’s homage to it
    (and really, anything by Perez Prado goes on my list)

    Patsy Montana: Cowboy’s sweetheart

    Johnny Paycheck: Take this job and shove it

    My Girl, Bill by Jim Stafford

    Chuck Berry, My Dingaling (also schlongy)

    Achy Breaky Heart by Miley Cyrus’s dad (he used to have his own name at one time)

    Rick Astley Never gonna give you up

    Anything by The Partridge Family or the Brady Bunch

    Easy Come, Easy Go by Bobby Sherman

    James Brown’s Christmas Album yields “Santa go straight to the ghetto”

    Dean Martin’s In Napoli proved that there was a limit to the number of Italian-themed songs Dino could crank out. Bella Bimba is stupid but cute.

    Barbra Streisand + Donna Summer was not a good idea. “Enough is Enough” was true about 30 seconds into the song.

    • Merilee
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      I would say ANY pop/rock/country Xmas album.
      The only Xmas carols I like ( and even love) are the standards done straight, or maybe slightly operafied ( as in Pavarotti’s or Battle’s versions). Battle also does a calypso song: A Long Time ago in Bethlehem which I surprisingly really like. But eeek, let’s not even mention Xmas, what with the snow finally gone in N. america.

      • mental reservation
        Posted May 27, 2014 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

        You should give El Vez’s “Merry Mexmas” a try.

        • mental reservation
          Posted May 27, 2014 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

          More correctly, I like it, which does not imply that anyone should give it a try…

        • Merilee
          Posted May 27, 2014 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

          Whoa! Feliz Navidad in Vienna, shirtless and in sexy tight red leather pants….beats Jose Feliciano.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted May 28, 2014 at 2:04 am | Permalink

            Yes! I was just going to list Felice Navidad.

            Also Achy Breaky Heart which has an irritating metre and prejudiced me horribly against Miley Cyrus (guilt by association) until she redeemed herself by twerking… ;)

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted May 28, 2014 at 2:07 am | Permalink

              And while on the subject of irritating jerky rhythms, ‘Knock Three Times’.

              • Filippo
                Posted May 28, 2014 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

                How about Steppenwolf’s “The Pusher”?

                Or Bloodrock’s “D.O.A.”?

      • Gregory Kusnick
        Posted May 27, 2014 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

        I’m partial to Leon Redbone’s Christmas Island.

      • Adam The Penguin
        Posted May 28, 2014 at 5:18 am | Permalink

        This time last year I’d have agreed with you. Then Bad Religion released Christmas Songs.

    • Susan
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

      Nitnoid: The Brady Bunch didn’t sing (at least not on the show). Dear FSM, I hope they never made an album!

      • Doug
        Posted May 27, 2014 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

        They did a Christmas album, which I bought at a tag sale but never got around to listening to.

        • Doug
          Posted May 27, 2014 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

          And they DID sing on the show! You mean you’ve forgotten “Sunshine Day” and “When It’s Time to Change?” God, the hours I wasted watching that crap over and over . . .

    • Hempenstein
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

      Hey waittaminnit! I Wanna be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart was the first million-selling record by a female artist. It evokes/epitomizes the love affair the country was having with the West at the time, when roads as well as cars had started getting good enough to be able to travel to such places.

      In my mind, anyway, the song dovetails with the iconic ‘Somewhere West of Laramie’ ad for the Jordan Playboy, even tho this appeared over a decade before the song. (See Jordan Marketing, here.)

  23. Brian
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    Up, Up And Away by the 5th Dimension. I was 5 when it was released, and its saccharin cheerfulness made me cringe even then.

  24. Ken
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    “Honey’ by Bobby Goldsboro.

    • Merilee
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      I LOVE Grapevine!!!

    • Merilee
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      Sub

    • estraven
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

      Aw, you beat me to it! Thought of this on the way back from buying groceries.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted May 27, 2014 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

        Did you buy honey?

  25. Kurt Helf
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    “Rubberband Girl” by Kate Bush or “New York New York” by Nina Hagen; just try to listen to either song all the way through! It’s torture! Which, by the way, is a lyric from another terrible song: “Torture” by the Jacksons.

  26. Susan
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    The worst is Heard it through the Grapevine. It could be prejudice – the first time I heard it was in an aerobics class where the instructor played it over and over. I despise that song.

    Aside from that, anything and everything by Donnie and Marie. Ughh.

    • Bo Gardiner
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      Noooo! LOVE “Heard it through the Grapevine.”

      Marvin Gaye, the Temptations and Creedence Clearwater Revival didn’t have a shlock bone in their bodies.

      None of these deserve to be in the same post with Donnie and Marie!

      • Merilee
        Posted May 27, 2014 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

        Sub (Donnie and Marie ~ 50% too many teeth)

    • estraven
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      I LOVE “heard it through the grapevine.” Love love love it.

    • irritable
      Posted May 28, 2014 at 1:35 am | Permalink

      Marvin Gaye’s original version of “Heard it through the Grapevine” is rated No. 1 rock record of all time by the rock critic Dave Marsh in his well-regarded book “The Heart of Rock & Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made”. I’d certainly put it near the top of my list of great 1960s rock records.
      Of course, you might have heard one of the scores of crappy covers of the song.

      As for Donnie and Marie, their most unforgivable and brazen crime against music occurred when they schmaltzified Steely Dan’s bitter and hilarious diatribe against a narcissistic ex-lover – “Reeling in the Years”.

      For the full astonishing horror, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDeVAF58jPg

      • merilee
        Posted May 28, 2014 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

        aaarrrghhh, almost lost my coookies…And Donnie be really stylin’ with that red scarfy thing

  27. Rob Hock
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    I’d have to add a couple more Schlock masterpieces:

    -Build Me Up Buttercup by The Foundations
    -Laid by James

    Also, in the Vulture writer’s defense, the #2 song is ‘Purple Rain’ (Prince), not ‘Purple Haze’. Appropriate since Hendrix is the best ever.

    • Jo5ef
      Posted May 31, 2014 at 3:53 am | Permalink

      I love buttercup but yes
      Also:
      Anything by Air supply
      where do you go to my lovely?
      loving next door to alice
      convoy
      Ben by MJ

  28. worried secularist
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    You’re Having My Baby, by Paul Anka, almost defines schlock.

    Itsy Bitsy teeny-Weeny yellow Polka Dot Bikini was used a form of psychological torture in Billy Wilder’s One, two, Three.

    • Merilee
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      Sub on Having My Baby – and anything by Donnie and Marie ( barf).

    • estraven
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      Oh great FSM, you are so RIGHT. especially about “You’re Having My Baby.” Shudder.

    • Posted May 27, 2014 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

      You’re having my baby

      With a b side of

      Only women bleed – A. Cooper

      • Merilee
        Posted May 27, 2014 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

        I had, thankfully, been spared that Alice Cooper song, though did see him open for Creedence at Filmore West. Didn’t even see him bite off any chicken heads.

        • ladyatheist
          Posted May 27, 2014 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

          Alice Cooper is a surprisingly good ballad singer.

  29. Posted May 27, 2014 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    “No Charge” – easily one of the low points in Western civilisation.

  30. Neil Faulkner
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    “Teddy Bear” by Red Sovine. “Shaddap You Face” by Joe Dolce. “Loving You” by Minnie Rippington. And anything by Brotherhod of Man.

    • Posted May 27, 2014 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      *What’s’a matter, you, heh?*

      Often derided for keeping Ultravox’s “Vienna” from the number one spot in the UK. But that means nothing to me…

      /@

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted May 27, 2014 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

        Shaddap You Face is awesome. It reminds me of my childhood, growing up in an Italian neighbourhood with old Italians saying stuff like this in addition to “get offa my prop” and giving us pennies instead of Halloween candy.

    • Martin
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

      Teddy Bear, this song is so bad. Once you reach this level you are at the point of diminishing returns. Sure it hypothetically possible to write a worse song but the effort to do so negates any possible gain. And lets say that you were able to write, sing and produce a worse song, who could listen to it? How would you test it?

    • ladyatheist
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

      Minnie Ripperton’s voice was one of the few pop voices that could sing in the flautando register. I give that song credit for going up there.

      • Filippo
        Posted May 28, 2014 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

        Yes, how dare she wax so heart-on-ones-sleeve rhapsodic before a candid, cynical world.

    • Posted May 28, 2014 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      Teddy Bear!
      I was going to say that myself!
      If I remember a particularly bad line right:
      ‘Ma finds it hard to make ends meet, and I ain’t much help with my two crippled feet’
      The whole idea of a line of truckers waiting to take a disabled boy out on a ride on their truck shows you how much times have changed.

  31. Linda Grilli Calhoun
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Anything by Gilbert O’Sullivan. L

    • Susan
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      Ahhhhh. I love G&S. Of course, it helps that I am a complete and total geek.

      Now landsmen all, whoever you may be,
      If you want to rise to the top of the tree,
      If your soul isn’t fettered to an office stool,
      Be careful to be guided by this golden rule–
      Stick close to your desks and never go to sea,
      And you all may be rulers of the Queen’s Navee!

      However, I grant you that Titwillow from the Mikado is horrid

      • Bric
        Posted May 27, 2014 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

        Ummmmm

      • Diane G.
        Posted May 27, 2014 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

        Note that there’s Gilbert O’, quite different from Gilbert &.

        • Susan
          Posted May 27, 2014 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

          I didn’t know that. I expect this only further solidifies my geekness.

          • Diane G.
            Posted May 27, 2014 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

            That, or your good taste.
            :)

    • estraven
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

      OMG why didn’t I think of this sooner? “Alone Again, Naturally.” Poison!

      • Posted May 27, 2014 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

        Even worse: “Clair” … 😯

        /@

        • John Scanlon, FCD
          Posted May 28, 2014 at 3:20 am | Permalink

          I quite liked those songs for a week or two when I was eight. Then I got better.

  32. eric
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Any song “sung” by William Shatner. And yes, the scare quotes are deserved.

    • Posted May 27, 2014 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

      LSD is classically awful

      • Filippo
        Posted May 28, 2014 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

        Are you saying that William Shatner is actually, genuinely “singing,” as opposed to giving a dramatic reading?

        If so, pray tell, what would it sound like were he giving a dramatic reading?

  33. Taz
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    The second song on the list is “Purple Rain” by Prince, not “Purple Haze” by Hendrix.

    • Gregory Kusnick
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      Prince gets bonus schlock points for the whole “Artist Formerly Known As” stunt.

    • Posted May 27, 2014 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      That makes a little more sense. Prince is an amazing guitarist though. How about Afternoon Delight?

      • darrelle
        Posted May 27, 2014 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

        Hey! That song is awesome!

        Well. . ., I remember it that way. I’d hate to listen to it now and risk being forced to accept just how poor my taste could be back then.

  34. Posted May 27, 2014 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    “I should have known better” by Jim Diamond.

    Or to lighten the mood, there’s this from Hugh Laurie — (hope I’ll be forgiven for the embed, but it may save someone’s sanity.)

    • Merilee
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      Laurie nails it!

  35. Posted May 27, 2014 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    I recall 1973 thru 1977 as being Schlock high water marks and I assume it’s because pop music was kind of in a post-Beatle nowhere land. Lots of truly wonderful hard rock was made at that time but your Bowies, your Zappas, your Zeppelins and Stones, your Neil Youngs did not make it to my local L.A. station (93 KHJ) so if I hadn’t had older brothers in college and high school I might have missed he good stuff entirely. The real energy at that time was in soul music I think – lots of it plenty schlocky! – and luckily my older sister was into that scene. When the second British Invasion came I was happy to finally have some decent music “of my own” to listen to. Maybe James Taylor and Paul Simon made some Schlock too – I can’t judge clearly. Is Progressive Rock schlock? Either the term is meaningless or I have lousy taste in music … probably both!

    • ladyatheist
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

      The early 1950s were a low, low, low point. Half the Elvis craze was due to teenagers getting excited over ANYTHING that doesn’t have a cheesy violin background and crooning frontman/woman

      • Filippo
        Posted May 28, 2014 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

        ” . . . a cheesy violin background and crooning frontman/woman.”

        Do you include Nat King Cole on “Stardust”? Johnny Mathis on “Misty” (yes, later, in 1959)?

        What is your definition of “cheesy”? I never hear anyone define it.

  36. Bo Gardiner
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    One Tin Soldier – The Legend of Billy Jack

    Jonathan Livingston Seagull (Neil Diamond)

  37. Diana MacPherson
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    I hat the Marvin Gay song, Sexual Healing. As a kid, we had to write in journals and I wrote about how much I hated this song and got in trouble for swearing in my journal.

    • Diane G.
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      That cracked me up. :D So you!

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted May 27, 2014 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

        Ha ha! And the thing is as a kid I was scared of authority figures but I hated this song so much I didn’t care that I got in trouble for swearing. I had to express myself.

        • Diane G.
          Posted May 27, 2014 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

          So even more you!

          Good for you for having your priorities straight.

    • darrelle
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      Laughing. I love that song.

  38. H.H.
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    God Bless America.

  39. Doug
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    “Silly Love Songs” and “Listen to What the Man Said” by Paul McCartney. Has any talent fallen so far as Paul did after the leaving the Beatles?

    • estraven
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

      Seriously.

    • MikeN
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

      I’d put “Abracadabra” by Steve Miller over “Take the Money”- either way they’re both comedowns for a once great band- who laughed all the way to the bank.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted May 27, 2014 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

        It sounds threatening too “I wanna reach out an’ grab ya!”

    • Bo Gardiner
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

      Heartbreaking.

    • irritable
      Posted May 28, 2014 at 2:14 am | Permalink

      It’s a terrible shame that the guy who wrote such brilliant songs at 24 gradually sank into an abyss of schlock, whimsy and dross for 35 years. He made a vast fortune writing, performing and recording crap for decades. Sadly, when he began to write seriously again in his 60s, he’d lost the knack.

      • Filippo
        Posted May 28, 2014 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

        Well, who among the best of songwriters hasn’t written drivel? I trust that the bolus of his quality work will indefinitely stand on its own merits.

        “Critics can’t even make music rubbing their legs together.”

        – Mel Brooks

        And, too, the “suits” who run music companies.

  40. Stephen Barnard
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    I would nominate anything by William Shatner, but his stuff is intentionally schlocky so they may not qualify.

  41. MP
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Gonna write a classic, gonna write it in an attic
    ‘Classic’ – Adrian Gurvitz.
    Easily the worst opening lines to any song, ever

    • Doug
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

      I vote for “I’m so young and you’re so old/This my darling, I’ve been told,” from “Diana” by Paul Anka. What woman wouldn’t want to be told that?

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted May 27, 2014 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

        I hate that song because my parents thought I would like and sang it and played it, looking at me for a reaction, which they assumed would be glee (and I refused to give it to them by remaining stone faced).

        Then I dated someone who was 8 yrs older than me when I was in my 20s and he kept saying that line to me. And he ALWAYS brought up our age difference in a condescending way. And yes, women hate being told that line, I’m sure, even if their name isn’t Diana. For god sakes Paul Anka!

        • Filippo
          Posted May 28, 2014 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

          “For god sakes Paul Anka!”

          Havin’ Mah Bay-bay.”

          On the other hand, I think at least his following songs (and perhaps others) have some not insignificant merit:

          My Way
          The Times of Your Life
          Put Your Head on My Shoulder (i.e., The Lettermen version)

          • Merilee
            Posted May 28, 2014 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

            Put Your Head on My Shoulder was one of our premier make- out songs in early HS.

  42. Stephen Barnard
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    This video/song is demented — Fish Heads. I first heard it on Dr. Demento’s radio program. I slipped it into my iTunes album under the title one of Bach’s violin sonatas and partitas played by Itzhak Perlman, just mess with people.

    • Stephen Barnard
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      Forgot the link:

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      OMG that is where I heard that song too and it is on all my iPods and I occasionally hear it and get annoyed.

      I had a friend who sang that song on her answering machine and someone called her from work (she was a social worker of sorts) and told her it was an unprofessional message. Well, you did call her house, which is by definition, unprofessional.

    • Posted May 27, 2014 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

      Did you know that one of those guys is Bill Mumy from Lost in Space? I kid you not.

  43. estraven
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    How about “our D-I-V-O-R-C-E becomes final today./ And me and little J-O-E will be goin’ away.”

  44. Filippo
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    “Oh Lord, Won’t You Buy Me a Mercedes-Benz”

    • Posted May 27, 2014 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

      Someone has to make amends for that…

      /@

      • estraven
        Posted May 27, 2014 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

        I love that song!

    • Bo Gardiner
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

      Blasphemy!

      • merilee
        Posted May 27, 2014 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

        Not my favorite on the album, but do love the album.

      • Filippo
        Posted May 28, 2014 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

        “My friends all have Porsches,
        Ah must make A-men(d)s.”

        • Merilee
          Posted May 28, 2014 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

          Love the way she says Porschees

  45. estraven
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    How about “I Was Born a Woman” by Sandy Posey?

  46. Paul S
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    The song by Melanie is Brand New Key, and it’s on my iPad along with Terry Jacks Seasons in the Sun and the Hues Corporation Rock the Boat. I only play them when I’m alone. :)

  47. Gregory Kusnick
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    No one’s mentioned Michael Martin Murphy’s “Wildfire” yet.

    Also, perhaps not exactly in the shlock category, but I would definitely vote for a ten-year moratorium on Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”.

    • Merilee
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

      Wildfire’s most def schlock!!

      • Filippo
        Posted May 28, 2014 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

        Do the flutesque intro and piano ending have merit?

        (Perhaps it would sound better if Jay-Zee or Kanye West rapped – er, uh, Ah mean – “sang” it? ;) )

    • estraven
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      No waY! “Hallelujah” is one of the greats. Not schlocky at all. I think Leonard is one of the best lyricists/poets ever.

      • Merilee
        Posted May 27, 2014 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

        Agreed! Leonard’s one of the best. Saw him at Massey Hall, Toronto, about 2 yrs ago. Incredible, generous performance. We women of all ages were about to throw ourselves at his feet, and the guys liked the songs, too:-)

      • Filippo
        Posted May 28, 2014 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

        His “Hey, That’s No Way to Sat Goodbye” is a high quality song. Recommend the version by The Vogues (1970), except for their instrumental arrangement bludgeoning the listener with brass in the last third of the song.

        • Merilee
          Posted May 28, 2014 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

          Wonderful song: both Leonard’s version and Judy Collins’. Leonard has probably sung that to many many women through the years:-)
          A real heart-breaker.

  48. Merilee
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    Hallelujah by Cohen, and several others, is a great song, but I agree that too many schlock artists have covered it recently.

    • Kevin Long
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

      Yes. It’s become a cliche. But it’s still a damn good song. Not his best, but even average Cohen is damn good.

  49. Posted May 27, 2014 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    I love the guitar introduction to Octopus’s Garden far too much to even consider the song for a schlock list as defined by Mr. Coyne yet I’d have listed several of the very same songs on his list in mine too.

    I’ve Never Been to Me by Charlene is probably the epitome of schlock.

  50. aljones909
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    “McCarthur Park is flawed. Some of the lyrics jar (and the middle section is unnecessary) but it it’s a brilliant song by a brilliant composer. A line like:- “I recall the yellow cotton dress foaming like a wave on the ground around your knees.” is rarely equalled in popular music. It doesn’t have the perfection of Jimmy Webb’s masterpiece, “Wichita Lineman”, but it is a great song.

    I don’t like the disco version but there is a prog rock cover http://tinyurl.com/mzyurb5 by Beggar’s Opera (they get the lyrics wrong – it’s not Mccarthur’s Park’s)

    and the classic Glen Campbell live performance. http://tinyurl.com/ogwwexs

  51. MikeN
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    “Watching Scotty Grow”

    • Filippo
      Posted May 28, 2014 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      “Watching Scotty Grow”

      Nowadays it would be “Watching Scotty Become an Ennui-Ridden Slacker.”

  52. Merilee
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    Jimmy Webb wrote some beautiful lyrics. Is he still around?

    • irritable
      Posted May 28, 2014 at 1:56 am | Permalink

      Not only beautiful lyrics, some outstanding music as well. One of the few successful songwriters who writes both music and lyrics, arranges the music and sings.
      He still occasionally records albums, but no longer writes hits.
      In 1996 he finally recorded his own versions of the songs which had been major hits for other artists – the album is called “Ten Easy Pieces” and it’s excellent.

  53. Susan
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    Let us not forget “Monday Monday” and “I’ve Got You Babe.” Oh, the memories.

  54. Diana MacPherson
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Bad, Bad Leroy Brown – I actually like this song. We used to play the 45 when we were kids and sing along loudly. I think we liked saying “damn”.

  55. Posted May 27, 2014 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    Glad to see that Melanie’s “I’ve Never Been To Me” on your list as it was the first song that jumped into my mind when I saw your post title.
    Also, Blacke Lace’s “Agadoo”.
    Lots to choose from but have to have a think about it.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted May 28, 2014 at 2:25 am | Permalink

      I don’t think Melanie ever sang that, you’re thinking of Charlene.

      Incidentally, speaking of Melanie I really like her version of ‘Dust in the Wind’, excellent backing and her slightly breathless voice suits the track perfectly.

  56. Bob
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    Can’t believe no one has mentioned
    – We Built This City, and
    – The Final Countdown

    The worst songs ever produced.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

      We built this city did occur to me. It is in the television show Revolution and identified by the characters as the worst music.

      I also think We Didn’t Start the Fire is kinda bad. Not totally annoying but kind of stupid especially if it is listing big achievements. I can think of way better ones to pick.

  57. Merilee
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    And Eve of Destruction!

    • irritable
      Posted May 28, 2014 at 2:03 am | Permalink

      Awesome!

      Those lyrics still crack me up.

      Yeah, my blood’s so mad feels like coagulatin’ [WTF?]
      I’m sitting here just contemplatin’
      I can’t twist the truth, it knows no regulation.
      Handful of senators don’t pass legislation
      And marches alone can’t bring integration
      When human respect is disintegratin’
      This whole crazy world is just too frustratin’

      And you tell me
      Over and over and over again, my friend
      Ah, you don’t believe
      We’re on the eve
      of destruction.

      Think of all the hate there is in Red China
      Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama
      You may leave here for 4 days in space
      But when you return, it’s the same old place
      The poundin’ of the drums, the pride and disgrace
      You can bury your dead, but don’t leave a trace
      Hate your next-door neighbor, but don’t forget to say grace

      And, tell me over and over and over and over again, my friend – blah, blah, blah

      I mean, I don’t disagree with the sentiments, but the hectoring, bellowing delivery is beyond preposterous.

      • Merilee
        Posted May 28, 2014 at 7:21 am | Permalink

        Sub, and sub squared to Tie a Yellow Ribbon

  58. Posted May 27, 2014 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    “Watching Scotty Grow” by Mac Davis. Pretty cheesy.

    • Filippo
      Posted May 28, 2014 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      I’ve always wondered – what exactly does “cheesy” mean?

      • Merilee
        Posted May 28, 2014 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

        Cheesy=corny

  59. Posted May 27, 2014 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    Oops, I see someone already mentioned Watching Scotty Grow, so here’s another one, Last Game of the Season (Blind Man In The Bleachers) by David Geddes.

  60. mfdempsey1946
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    Every song in “The Sound Of Music” (aka “The Sound of Muzak”) except “Edelweiss” and “How Can Love Survive,” which possess delicate lyricism (the first) and agreeable wit (the second).

    • merilee
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

      Hate doe- a deer….but, since I spent the last two years of High School in Vienna and spent parts of two summers at St. Gilgen, right near Salzburg, the songs did make me homesick when I went back to the States for college. Now I think going to one of those sing-along Sounds of Music might be a hoot (with people dressed as brown paper pks, etc.)

      • Filippo
        Posted May 28, 2014 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

        “Hate doe- a deer….”

        OK, but what better and fun way to (have to) learn the concept of do-re-mi “solfege” (sp.?)? Learning seven “nonsense” words beats having to memorize the letter named-octave sequence (one or more sharped or flatted) of 12 major and 12 minor keys, eh?

        • Merilee
          Posted May 28, 2014 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

          Maybeeee…but do re mi fa sol la ti do ain’t really that hard to learn.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted May 28, 2014 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

          I can’t stand The Sound of Music. I realize this puts me in the category of “soulless” with all the gingers but I just can’t stand that musical. My mother just thinks this is abhorrent though my father completely agrees. None of my friends understand.

          • merilee
            Posted May 28, 2014 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

            gingers?

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted May 29, 2014 at 4:41 am | Permalink

              This, I believe, started it all.

              • Merilee
                Posted May 29, 2014 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

                Not surprising that you’re a ginger w that great Scots name:-)

                A few years ago I was riding a bus through one of the less savory parts of Vancouver and a sort of bedraggled woman got on and told the bus driver that she qualified for a free ride due to her chronic gingevitis. The driver just kind of muttered “whatever”…

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted May 29, 2014 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

                I’m an almost ginger. My hair is more auburn. Peoples think I dye it and I like to point out that with a last name like mine, they should know I’m too cheap to dye my hair.

              • Filippo
                Posted May 29, 2014 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

                What? Vancouver has less savory parts?!?

              • Merilee
                Posted May 29, 2014 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

                Vancouver, BC, does have a kind of druggy and wino tenderloin. I don’t know the city terribly well but once took the train from the airport and then a bus through said scuzzy part to a nicer par where my son was living for a while.

          • Posted May 28, 2014 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

            Not one of your favourite things, eh?

            /@

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted May 29, 2014 at 4:43 am | Permalink

              I wish it would go so long, farewell
              auf wiedersehen, adieu.

    • irritable
      Posted May 28, 2014 at 1:47 am | Permalink

      No love for Richard Rodgers, one of the greatest songwriters of the 20th century?

      Have to admit that Oscar Hammerstein II was guilty of some painfully earnest and sentimental lyrics in Sound of Music. He wasn’t in the same league as Rodger’s former collaborator, the brilliant and tragic Lorenz Hart.

      But “My Favorite Things” from Sound of Music is an excellent piece of theatre music. John Coltrane recorded an astonishing and greatly admired jazz version in 1961.

      • Posted May 28, 2014 at 2:03 am | Permalink

        Astonishing? Well, it’s long — nearly 15 mins.

        /@

        • irritable
          Posted May 28, 2014 at 2:23 am | Permalink

          Yep. It’s long, crazy, disturbing and brilliant. I occasionally drag out the cd and listen in amazement.
          I suspect Richard Rodgers didn’t enjoy it much.

      • Filippo
        Posted May 28, 2014 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

        “Have to admit that Oscar Hammerstein II was guilty of some painfully earnest and sentimental lyrics in Sound of Music.”

        Some 21-st century cool, slacker author (perhaps a N.Y. Times arts critic?) needs to write, “The Importance of Being Painfully Earnest and Sentimental,” eh? ;)

        • irritable
          Posted May 28, 2014 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

          Some clever person said: ‘Earnestness is stupidity that graduated from college.’

    • Filippo
      Posted May 28, 2014 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

      Well, as I’ve reflected before in this post, I’m (“square”)^3, so please forgive me if I must kindly, sweetly, nicely, respectfully beg to differ.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted May 29, 2014 at 1:50 am | Permalink

        Well, leaving out “Doh” which is just so contrivedly cutesy it makes me want to barf, I have to admit the the rest of the songs are generally quite musical and so, while I disapprove of their niceness in a sort of intellectual way, I can listen to them without undue suffering. A bit like Abba, come to that.

        (Boy did that sound pretentious. Ah well, too bad.)

        • merilee
          Posted May 29, 2014 at 3:43 am | Permalink

          I find Abba hard to take – too ubiquitous.

  61. Bob
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    Turn Around, Bonnie Tyler. Really bad.

    • John Scanlon, FCD
      Posted May 28, 2014 at 3:28 am | Permalink

      You mean Total Eclipse of the Heart?

      It’s brilliant, for the metaphor of the title alone.

  62. Posted May 27, 2014 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    “The Little Drummer Boy”. It is like the identical smiles on Disney characters that become creepier the more you stare at them.

    • ladyatheist
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

      I’d love to hear the lyrics sung to Bolero in the background

      • Filippo
        Posted May 28, 2014 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

        I like listening to Ravel’s “Bolero,” in anticipation of the chord-changing ending, which otherwise seems more repetitive than anything by Vivaldi, who has been critiqued elsewhere in this post.

        • Merilee
          Posted May 28, 2014 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

          I ODed on Bolero in college, when the girls upstairs played it over and over again ad nauseum.

    • Filippo
      Posted May 28, 2014 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

      I reasonably gather that you feel the same way about “Do You Hear What I Hear?”?

  63. ladyatheist
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    In the same vein as Watching Scotty Grow, Wayne Newton’s Daddy Don’t you Walk So Fast.

    In the same vein as the Balloon song, the coke song, I’d like to teach the world to sing

    And why hasn’t Tony Orlando been mentioned yet? Knock Three Times on the ceiling…

    And a whole other category that are bad bad bad because they’re creepy creepy creepy:

    Go Away, Little Girl
    Thank Heaven for Little Girls
    Young Girl
    Little Red Riding Hood
    Girl, You’ll be a Woman Soon
    You’re Sixteen

    • Posted May 27, 2014 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

      Would you put the Police’s “Don’t stand so close to me” in that last list?

      /@

      • Diane G.
        Posted May 27, 2014 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

        I would.

        • ladyatheist
          Posted May 28, 2014 at 4:13 am | Permalink

          Yep, forgot about that one

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted May 28, 2014 at 2:28 am | Permalink

      Yes, Knock Three Times is really, really irritating.

    • Filippo
      Posted May 28, 2014 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

      “In the same vein as the Balloon song . . . .”

      Forgive my lack of “With-It-ness,” but, do you mean “Up, Up and Away”? (Jimmy Webb)

    • irritable
      Posted May 28, 2014 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

      Creepy in a different way: “He hit me (and it felt like a kiss)” by the Crystals.

      • Filippo
        Posted May 28, 2014 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

        “He hit me (and it felt like a kiss)” by the Crystals.”

        Or, “Forgive me for hitting you in the fist with my nose.”

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted May 28, 2014 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

          That was darkly funny.

  64. Mike Leegaard
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    I’ll nominate Hands by Jewel. Here are some of the lyrics. Foolish Games is also terrible.

    My hands are small I know
    But they’re not yours, they are my own
    But they’re not yours, they are my own
    And I am never broken
    We are never broken
    We are God’s eyes
    God’s hands
    God’s mind
    We are God’s eyes
    God’s hands
    God’s heart

    • bobsgutarshop
      Posted June 4, 2014 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

      Good call. I dated a girl who was a big Jewel fan back when I was in college (she was popular then and I spent most of the nineties majoring in deplorable taste in women.) In 1997 or 1998 Jewel published a book of poetry that was just execrable on every imaginable level. She thought the word casualty meant to be casual. “If I could tell the World just one thing, it’s that we’re all okay.” If I could tell Jewel just one thing, it’s go listen to some Dead Kennedys or Bad Religion . . . or better yet Slayer. Yeah, Slayer. Those guys are definitely NOT okay.

  65. Stephen Barnard
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

    Away in a Manger

    • merilee
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

      It does have a lovely melody…

      • Stephen Barnard
        Posted May 27, 2014 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

        OK, here are the lyrics. You asked for it. This was the first song I learned in Lutheran school. (The melody is sweet but simple — perfectly suited to indoctrinating post toddlers.)

        Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
        The little Prophet Jesus lay down His sweet head,
        The stars in the bright sky looked down where
        He lay,
        The little boy Jesus asleep on the bed

        The hafsa is eating grass and are lowing, the baby awakes
        But little Prophet Jesus, no crying He makes
        I love Thee, Lord Jesus, look down from the sky.
        And stay by my cradle till morning is nigh

        sweet bells they ring, they ring out the news today,
        that Christ was born, was born on Christmas day,

        Be near me, Prophet Jesus, I ask Thee to stay
        Close by me for ever and love me, I pray
        Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care
        And take us to Heaven to live with Thee there

        sweet bells they ring, they ring out the news
        that Christ was born, was born on Christmas Day,
        that Christ was born, was born on Christmas day.

        • Merilee
          Posted May 28, 2014 at 7:09 am | Permalink

          TMI – LOL! Did you really learn it as the little Prophet Jesus???

          • Stephen Barnard
            Posted May 28, 2014 at 9:25 am | Permalink

            The verion I learned was “little Lord Jesus”, which scans better. This is possibly a doctrinal dispute. People have been burned at the stake for less.

            • Merilee
              Posted May 28, 2014 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

              I learned Little lord Jesus, too, and agree that it scans better.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted May 28, 2014 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

                Which reminds me of Jesus Loves Me. I hated being forced to sing that song in school.

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted May 29, 2014 at 1:41 am | Permalink

                Jesus loves me, this I know
                ‘cos the Bible tells me so
                ?

                Even as a non-cynical kid (pre my atheism) I thought that sounded a bit weak. I thought that, if Big J really loved me, there should be some more convincing evidence for same than just a statement in a musty old book.

                (Did I say non-cynical? Well, compared with how I was later… such things are relative ;)

      • Filippo
        Posted May 28, 2014 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

        There are at least two different, nice melody lines.

    • merilee
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

      Maybe El Vez could spice it up a bit, though.

  66. Posted May 28, 2014 at 1:05 am | Permalink

    better late than never… how about some Jimmy Osmond?

  67. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted May 28, 2014 at 2:32 am | Permalink

    My nomination, which is mine and nobody seems to have mentioned it so far: Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree.

    Used to be a favourite with DJ’s and it drove me insaaaaaane…

    • ladyatheist
      Posted May 28, 2014 at 4:21 am | Permalink

      And especially annoying since it inspired the insipid ribbon movement. The song is about a guy getting out of prison, and the yellow ribbon now signifies people in the military. What’s the aural equivalent of reading comprehension? People don’t have it.

    • DaveP
      Posted May 28, 2014 at 5:26 am | Permalink

      I was going to mention Tie a Yellow Ribbon. Funny how a song about a guy getting out of prison made yellow ribbons the symbol for returning soldiers.

      Does anybody else remember Delta Dawn?

      • Merilee
        Posted May 28, 2014 at 7:19 am | Permalink

        I have that wonderful CD!! Thanks for reminding me of it.

  68. Jody Rosen
    Posted May 28, 2014 at 5:24 am | Permalink

    Jody Rosen, here.

    “The problem is that the compiler, Jody Rosen, doesn’t define ‘schlock,’ so the list winds up being simply weird…”

    Evidently you didn’t read my 4500-word essay that accompanied the list. I do define “schlock,” exhaustively. (Some might say exhaustingly!)

    http://www.vulture.com/2014/05/jody-rosen-in-defense-of-schlock-music.html

    Cheers, Jody

    • Posted May 28, 2014 at 5:26 am | Permalink

      I plead guilty and apologize; didn’t see the link. However, I still think you used “schlock” wrong!

  69. steve harvith
    Posted May 28, 2014 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    Feelings: “Feeeelings, wo, wo, wo feelings, wo, wo, wo feelings…..feelings of love. Feeeeeelings, nothing more than feeeelings, nothing more than feeeeeelings….feelings of loooove.”

  70. steve harvith
    Posted May 28, 2014 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    Feelings: “Lovers, not ordinary lovers….” Excuse me….Where is the vomitorium?

  71. irritable
    Posted May 28, 2014 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    “Okie from Muskogee”.

    A peaen to stupidity.

    …”we don’t read them books down in Muskogee …”

    I rest my case.

    • irritable
      Posted May 28, 2014 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

      Curse you, fingers: “paean”

  72. Norm Douglas
    Posted May 28, 2014 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    God Bless the USA, Lee Greenwood.

    • Filippo
      Posted May 28, 2014 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      Yep, as compared to the seldom-if-ever sung verse of Katherine Lee Bates’s “America the Beautiful”:

      “America! America!

      God mend thine every flaw,

      Confirm thy soul in self-control,

      Thy liberty in law.”

      A verse Mitt Romney managed to avoid singing at campaign rallies.

  73. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted May 28, 2014 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    Good grief! 247 comments! Scary.
    I mis-read this one :

    Drops of Jupter; Train

    As being by a band called “Titan” and thought “that might be interesting”.
    Then I remembered that Titan is in orbit around Saturn.
    It’s almost worth following up to find out how irredeemably bad it is.

  74. JamesF
    Posted May 28, 2014 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Patches, I’m depending on you son…

  75. Merilee
    Posted May 28, 2014 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Just noticing terrible song Take the Money and Run on the list. The Woody Allen movie by the same name was, however, hilarious!! Woody playing the cello in the marching band, complete w chair; parallel parking the guy on the cross…

  76. Merilee
    Posted May 28, 2014 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    NO NO NO – no WAY are Nat doing Stardust or Johnny doing Misty cheesy or corny.

    • Filippo
      Posted May 28, 2014 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

      Mathis had such a monster hit with “Misty.” One would be challenged to respectfully cover it. I think Andy Williams succeeded, easily found on Youtube.

      • merilee
        Posted May 28, 2014 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

        And then there’s the Clint Eastwood movie Play MIsty for Me: a classic.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted May 28, 2014 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

          Yes, that had possibly the most scary sequence ever put on film. And it worked by NOT showing the danger. We knew this unbalanced woman who had already killed a detective (IIRC) was waiting in his house with a knife – somewhere. Eastwood came home and walked into his house completely unawares, and the camera just followed him as he wandered casually from one room to another – the tension was unbearable.

          (I can actually say this without spoilers, since – if you watch the movie – you’ll know as much at that point as I’ve just told you. And Eastwood’s character doesn’t, no matter how much you yell at the screen “watch out!”)

          • merilee
            Posted May 29, 2014 at 3:50 am | Permalink

            Kinda like Cape Fear (especially the original one).

  77. merilee
    Posted May 28, 2014 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    Expertise

    This is OT, but why not…It has recently been bugging me how talking heads on TV pronounce the word expertise(especially Charles Schwab in his relentless ads before the NewsHour). I think it should be expertease, but Schwab et al seem to be saying experteeessss, with a hiss at the end. So I googled it and both the first US and British pronunciations agreed with me, but then I went to one more US one, and they seem to have hired a guy with a lisp who said experteeth;-) Now I would never make fun of someone with a lisp, but that guy shouldn’t be the first choice to do the pronunciation audios. I find this somewhat wisible…

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted May 28, 2014 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

      Welease Wodger!

      Decades ago I was sent on a course for a computer application (Statistical Analysis System, IIRC) which consisted of a series of videotapes. And the speaker was some fat boy from Boston (I think) who talked as if he had a mouthful of marbles. “In ths mojjle wrr gnna lrrn how ta cncahnay vrrrbls”. (module, concatenate, variables as we eventually figured out). We figured he must be the son of the CEO of the company because if they’d hired some down-and-out actor or even just some random bum off the street, they would likely have been easier to understand.

      • merilee
        Posted May 29, 2014 at 3:49 am | Permalink

        Love the cncahnaying of vrrrbls;-)

        A non-mathy friend had a Greek stats teacher who, he thought, kept talking about gyros. He didn’t quite see what this tasty food had to do with everything/anything, but fortunately right before the exam he realized that the guy was saying zeroes.

  78. John Weiss
    Posted May 28, 2014 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    I’m not sure whether Bobby Bare was serious or ironic. If the former, I think it belongs on your list. If the latter, then sorry for burning up all those electrons.

    http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/bobbybare/dropkickmejesus.html

    • merilee
      Posted May 29, 2014 at 3:41 am | Permalink

      great lyrics either way

  79. Posted May 28, 2014 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

    The Name Game; Shirley Ellis has great value — to younger sisters to annou their big brothers. You hear that Debbie?

    • bobsgutarshop
      Posted June 4, 2014 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      Funniest older brother post EVER!!! A fine barrel of mead for delta3d!

  80. Merilee
    Posted June 4, 2014 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    Running Bear:-( and

    Ballad of Billy Joe

    “billy joe mcallister jumped off the talahachie brudge.”


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