The worst songs ever: 2. “I’ve never been to me”

I’ll never forget the first time I heard this song: I was driving with my girlfriend to Death Valley along route 395, skirting the spectacular eastern edge of the Sierra Nevada. (That, by the way, is my favorite road in the U.S., at least the stretch from Reno to Lone Pine.) Climbing one of the small hills on that road, we heard this song on the radio. It was so absolutely dreadful, so cloying in its lyrics, that I almost stopped the car in horror. It must have been 1982, for that’s when this musical travesty, by Charlene, was released for the second time.

And for the rest of the trip I’d occasionally burst out singing four of its worst lines:

I’ve been undressed by kings and I’ve seen some things
That a woman ain’t supposed to see;
I’ve been to paradise,
But I’ve never been to me.

The sad thing is that this pathetic excuse for a song rose to #3 on the U.S. charts. But it was worse in Australia, Canada, the UK, and Ireland, where it hit #1. What does that say about those countries?

Charlene, thank God, never had another hit.

Here, read the lyrics in all their ghastly splendor; they rival Glenn Campbell’s “Dreams of the Everyday Housewife” as a paean to a woman’s giving up her dreams in favor of a mediocre marriage and a passel of troublesome kids. I’ve put the funniest lines in bold:

Hey lady, you, lady, cursin’ at your life
You’re a discontented mother and a regimented wife
I’ve no doubt you dream about the things you never do
But I wish someone had a talk to me like I wanna talk to you
Ooh I’ve been to Georgia and California, and, anywhere I could run
Took the hand of a preacherman and we made love in the sun
But I ran out of places and friendly faces because I had to be free

I’ve been to paradise, but I’ve never been to me

Please lady, please, lady, don’t just walk away
‘Cause I have this need to tell you why I’m all alone today
I can see so much of me still living in your eyes
Won’t you share a part of a weary heart that has lived a million lies
Oh I’ve been to Nice and the isle of Greece
Where I sipped champagne on a yacht
I moved like Harlow in Monte Carlo and showed ’em what I’ve got
I’ve been undressed by kings and I’ve seen some things
That a woman ain’t s’posed to see

I’ve been to paradise, but I’ve never been to me

Hey, you know what paradise is? It’s a lie
A fantasy we create about people and places as we’d like them to be
But you know what truth is?
It’s that little baby you’re holding, and it’s that man you fought with this morning
The same one you’re going to make love with tonight. That’s truth, that’s love

Sometimes I’ve been to cryin’ for unborn children
That might have made me complete
But I, I took the sweet life and never knew I’d be bitter from the sweet
I spent my life exploring the subtle whoring that cost too much to be free

Hey lady, I’ve been to paradise, but I’ve never been to me

I’ve been to paradise – never been to me
(I’ve been to Georgia and California, and anywhere I could run)
I’ve been to paradise – never been to me
(I’ve been to Nice and the isle of Greece
While I sipped champagne on a yacht)
I’ve been to paradise – never been to me
(I’ve been to cryin’ for unborn children )
(Fade)

What, by the way, is the “isle of Greece”? It’s a peninsula, for crying out loud!

119 Comments

  1. Stephen Barnard
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    OMG! (If you’ll pardon the expression.) That’s awful. I could only listen to about 30 seconds.

  2. Posted October 18, 2013 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    I think (from hearing it endlessly back in the UK in the ’80s) that it’s actually “the isles of Greece”, and it’s true that there are lots of ’em. However, I could be wrong, and I’m emphatically not going to listen again just to settle such an insignificant point.

    If anyone wants to correct me, feel free…

    • Posted October 18, 2013 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      No, no! Listen to Charlene sing it on the video. “Isle” is clearly singular!
      Oy vey!

      • Posted October 18, 2013 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

        Jerry, you’re SUCH a masochist!!!

        (I was wondering whether you’d go back and check…)

        • Timothy Hughbanks
          Posted October 18, 2013 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

          I’ll say he’s a masochist. It hasn’t been that long since our host put his masochism out there for everyone to see by reading the entire Bible.

          • Stephen Barnard
            Posted October 18, 2013 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

            That was a noble cause, not a masochist fantasy, regardless of how painfull it might have been.

      • Philip.Elliott
        Posted October 18, 2013 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

        Sung, perhaps, by someone who had never been there or looked at a map!

      • ivarhusa
        Posted October 24, 2013 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

        Possibly (humorously, I hope) “Isle of Greece” was a euphemism for Lesbos? “Not that there is anything wrong with that.”, to channel Jerry Seinfeld.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

      It is undoubtedly “Isle of Greece” which is nonsense. I mentally correct it to “Isles of Greece” which would make sense.

      As for the song – I *like* the tune. I agree the lyrics are mostly cringe-making, even more so the voice-over which Charlene put in and which makes me want to hurl. If someone would please to write some totally different lyrics to it, it could be quite a good song.

  3. lulu_footlose
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t just read the lyrics, I actually sang them in my head! This was a popular karaoke song when I was growing up in the Philippines 😛

  4. Grania Spingies
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    This song is best when performed by Australian drag queens.

    “http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suzwaW_SqtU”

    • Alex Shuffell
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

      When is that not true?

    • Posted October 18, 2013 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

      One of my favourite movies of all time. I prefer to think that this song only existed for the purpose of that opening scene.

    • Kieran
      Posted October 19, 2013 at 4:44 am | Permalink

      I think the version by Dustin the Turkey clearly is the best.

  5. Posted October 18, 2013 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Jesus Christ, that was godawful.

    If she’s been to Paradise, why does she sound like a Banshee wailing from the Pits of Hell?

    b&

    • neil
      Posted October 20, 2013 at 11:13 am | Permalink

      maybe she got thrown out for singing?

  6. Ken Elliott
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    Have you listened to anything, ANYTHING, on the radio these days? Or to whatever purports to be the medium of choice for Top 40 music. Pick a song. It’ll be horrible. As bad as “Muskrat Love” and “I’ve Never Been to Me” are, they are matched, and often surpassed by today’s abominations. At the least, the voices in the older music are pleasurable. Not many of today’s ‘stars’ are enjoyable in execution. At least in my opinion.

    • Posted October 18, 2013 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

      Not many of todays stars are enjoyable in execution.

      Oh, I don’t know about that. I can think of at least a few whose executions would be enjoyable….

      b&

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted October 18, 2013 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

        As long as they weren’t offered a last chance to perform, rather than a last meal.

        Then, instead of a blindfold for the condemned, we’d need earplugs for the observers.

      • David Duncan
        Posted October 18, 2013 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

        The Spice Girls?

    • Kevin
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

      I agree. “I’ve Never Been to Me” is horrendous, but most of today’s music is uber-horrendous.

    • Linda Grilli Calhoun
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

      “You know you’ve lost your hipness when you find yourself yelling at your kids: Turn that crap down!!” – Bill Cosby

      L

      • Jesper Both Pedersen
        Posted October 18, 2013 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

        (http://myquoteshome.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/age-quotes-graphics-2.jpg)

      • Posted October 18, 2013 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

        I prefer to think of that phenomenon as growing up and getting a fucking clue.

        I mean, when I was in high school, I liked Vivaldi. Vivaldi!

        • Posted October 19, 2013 at 6:06 am | Permalink

          Hey! Vivaldi wrote a great concerto.

          Granted, he wrote it 500 times, but….

          b&

          • JBlilie
            Posted October 22, 2013 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

            The largo movement of the Concerto in D for Lute. I love it and play it. Apologies … 🙂

          • JBlilie
            Posted October 22, 2013 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

            I play as much J. S. Bach as my limited skills allow as well. Yum, yum!

            • Posted October 22, 2013 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

              Bach wrote some of the hardest music in the orchestral trumpet literature, and what probably remains the hardest concerto with trumpet — the second Brandenburg concerto.

              I’ve performed the Christmas Oratorio once or twice and the Magnificat a few times. I’d love to do Cantata 51 if I could find a soprano able and interested. I wish somebody local would do the B Minor Mass. I keep telling myself that I really should work up the Brandenburg, and find somebody willing to program it (which means having or finding the other soloists as well)…but that’s an almost Herculean effort. Thing is, I might not have that many years left that it’d even be a theoretical possibility….

              b&

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted October 19, 2013 at 2:40 am | Permalink

        when you find yourself yelling at your kids:

        Why yell? It’s your house, or at least you pay the electricity bills, and you know where the fuse box is. If they want to make noise you don’t like, they can pay for their own electricity supply.
        In defence of the UK’s musical taste, they(*) did replace the ‘Charlene Monstrosity’ track with Captain Sensible (who isn’t) pastiching some south Seas musuical movie number called ‘Happy talk’ (which was “happy”, and was very definitely not sensible).
        Oh, and I also see Madness’ paean to the joys of trying to buy condoms was in the charts shortly before, so obviously the record-buying public felt a need for something more … different.
        (*) I’m trying to remember if I’ve brought a single. Ever. I can remember a 12″ double-groove once, but can’t even remember it’s name. Made a big impression, not.

  7. John Burris
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    In my humble opinion the worst song ever recorded has to be “The Time/Dirty Mix” by the execrable Black Eyed Peas. That abomination cannibalizes the already terminally sappy “Time Of Our Lives” from the Dirty Dancing soundtrack. The BEP’s atrocity is only notable for performing the dubious service of providing a baseline for the graph delineating just how horrible pop music can be. I dare not post a video. It’s that appalling. Google it if you dare but be warned; once heard you will never be able to unhear it.

    • Posted October 18, 2013 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

      I did it. My d*g….the horror…. But it did cure me of the damn D.O.A./Bloodrock song that has been in my head since yesterday.

    • Posted October 18, 2013 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

      Ouch. My ears hurt from that.

  8. D RUDD
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    I first heard this song on the soundtrack for drag queen movie Priscilla: Queen of the Desert, which says a lot I think – it’s so deadly earnest and they’re sending it up for its camp value, regressive message and hyper-femininity, contrasting it with a troupe of gay men in frocks and giant wigs (excellent movie, by the way, I’d recommend if you haven’t seen it).

    I agree that the song is pretty awful, in terms of both music and potential meaning (Stay at home, women! Don’t go off and have adventures because nothing beats staying home with your man and baby!), though it does, annoyingly, stay in your head for ages after you’ve heard it. But I can’t help thinking that maybe it was so popular because in some way it did speak to women about their everyday experiences at the time – surely a lot of women were stuck at home daydreaming, and this song, looked at in a certain light, might even be a sort of validation? I’d be interested to hear what some women think about it.

    • D RUDD
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

      Also Jerry, I have a book called ‘I hate myself and want to die: The 52 most depressing songs you’ve ever heard’ by Tom Reynolds, Random House Australia, 2005. It’s a book of quite funny reviews of some shockingly bad and maudlin songs – organised under categories such as ‘I was a teenage car crash’, ‘I’m trying to be profound and touching, but really suck at it’, ‘Horrifying remakes of already depressing songs’ and ‘If I sing about drugs, people will take me seriously’… worth checking out if you can. His #1 most depressing song is… well… ugh.

    • Posted October 18, 2013 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

      The song worked wonderfully in the movie- and was popular in the gay community; So was Marie Claire by Peter Sarstedt. One could probably write a thesis on why they were popular, but I think it’s as simple as people not being able to live the life they wanted to live.
      When I hear either of those songs I think of April Ashley…

  9. Posted October 18, 2013 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Stop! Stop! Stop!
    2 of these songs is more than enough! I can’t take it any more.
    I’ll even stop arguing that free will really does exist … if you just… stop!

    • Posted October 18, 2013 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

      He can’t stop. He doesn’t have a choice. :=)

      • BillyJoe
        Posted October 18, 2013 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

        Actually, if he reads this, he will have aditional imput into his brain and, therefore, his “choice” may change.

        In fact, he will additional input into his brain even if he doesn’t read this, so we can only live and hope.

  10. Jan Suchanek
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    I’ve gone through life with a firm belief that I’ll never hear a more narcissistic song than Whitney Houston Greatest Love of All, but I have to admit this could give it a good run for its money.

    By the way I’m boycotting your blog for 7 days as a show of protest for putting this moronic song in my head for the past hour.

    • Posted October 18, 2013 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      I agree – nobody has ever topped Whitney on the Narcissism index. But this one makes a good runner-up, and may even surpass Whitney on the Sheer Banality and Self-Indulgence indices.

    • Posted October 19, 2013 at 2:02 am | Permalink

      I was also going to nominate that song on the first post. I think it’s that moment when you think it’s about to finally end but instead she changes key and starts singing the whole thing through all over again, only louder and higher.

      But I must admit, when it comes to multifaceted horribleness it’s got nothing on Never Been to Me.

  11. John Mc
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Oh, I’ve been to me many many times. In fact, I can’t stop going back. Is that wrong?

    • Jim Sweeney
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

      Wherever you go, there you are.

      • grasshopper
        Posted October 18, 2013 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

        Seagoon (finding Eccles in a coal cellar): What are you doing here?
        Eccles: Everybody’s gotta be somewhere.

    • Jan Suchanek
      Posted October 19, 2013 at 12:39 am | Permalink

      I LOLed

  12. Pete Moulton
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Fortunately, during the early 80s I was listening largely to free-form rock stations, and pretty much missed this awful thing which would’ve been much better buried in Death Valley. Hearing it once should fulfill my minimum daily requirement of treacly obnoxiousness for at least the next hundred years or so.

  13. Avis James
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    I love it when Jerry says “for crying out loud”- he is always pointing out something hilarious!

  14. Lars
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Canadians admire truly emetic popular music and have for a long time – check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cd_Fdly3rX8 – from the charts here in the early 70s (Canadian performers as well, so our shame is complete).

    • Dave
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      Speak for yourself!

  15. Jolo
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    The year was 1982, the location, Russell, Manitoba, Canada. I was 17 and going into the bar after work to see the strippers and one did her floor routine to this song.

    I don’t think the stripper knew what the song was about, just that it was a hit.

  16. Posted October 18, 2013 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    I will curse you forever for printing all the lyrics. I’d never paid any attention to them — somehow I never notice lyrics but I always remember the tunes — and now I’ll never forget them. And now I’m going to google Charlene since I don’t know who the hell she was and don’t think I ever heard her name before and this is all your fault, Jerry.

  17. Fry
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    Nearly 40 years on, the shame of this Australian is undiminished. My only comfort is that, like Gerry, the first I heard this song I nearly puked – when I played the clip above, I did actually regurgitate into my mouth.

  18. Posted October 18, 2013 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on hitchens67 Atheism WOW!! Campaign.

  19. Carolyn Hines Mikell
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    The worst ever IMO is Billy Don’t Be a Hero. Awful.

    • Sheila B
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

      Agreed

  20. wildhog
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Ok, Im agreeing with Jerry’s picks so far. Its obvious that he’s a lyrics man and Im not, yet we both hate the same songs.

    I enjoyed seeing the other songs listed in the comments for the part 1 post. Paul McCartney’s “Someone’s knocking on the door” is absolutely horrible, as was mentioned. That reminded me of his Christmas song, which is just as bad. At least we dont have to hear the former on the radio every December.

    If there’s a hell, McCartney’s solo work is blaring endlessly from the speakers there.

  21. Posted October 18, 2013 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    Holy internalized oppression! – if that’s paradise, she can point me right on back to hell ;-P

  22. Paul S
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    At first I thought you found a song I’d never heard before, but then I played it and all the badness came rushing back. Might have something to do with my first wife, I dunno. It’s so bad even Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies won’t cover it.

  23. Posted October 18, 2013 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    Oh hell, I’d been trying to forget about that song (and will not click on the video.) I’m a great fan of eighties music, and am ashamed that this counts.

    It brings to mind two others which will compete in terms of sappy sentimentality and pathetic lyrics:

    “Thanks For My Child,” by Cheryl Pepsii Riley – any portion of that may be misspelled but I’m not looking it up to confirm since any websearch stands a tiny chance of stirring the monster from the obscurity whence it’s gone;

    “When I’m With You,” by Sheriff – an apparent twelve-year-old’s attempt to incorporate every hackneyed cliché into a song using no other words at all.

    Both fall lower on my personal vomit list, however, than “Werewolves of London,” by Warren Zevon, probably the best example of ‘phoning it in’ that I’ve ever heard. Ridiculous lyrics, no singing talent, and nothing but chords musically – high school talent show.

    I’m going to draw a lot of ire on this one I suspect, but John Mellencamp’s “Jack & Diane” also hits that list, relying entirely on a simplistic riff and the most overplayed song, without justification, in history.

  24. Sheila B
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    What exactly are the things “a woman ain’t s’posed to see” ? And why is it that men can see them?

    PS: I would like to nominate “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler for inclusion in this category.

    PPS: We’ve just adopted a kitten who showed up in the rain in our garden on Monday. She’s so cute I can’t stand it…..

    • Posted October 18, 2013 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

      Please send kitten pictures to Jerry! Click the “Research Interests” link at the top of the page if you don’t already have his address.

      KTHXBAI!

      b&

      • Sheila B
        Posted October 18, 2013 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

        I will! It will have to wait a few days as she is about to have a little surgery. Learned from the vet that not only is she not spayed, but also pregnant. She’s only about eight months old.

        • Posted October 18, 2013 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

          Awww…poor girl. But thank you for doing the right thing in giving her a forever home and helping keep the feline population at sustainable levels!

          b&

    • Vicki
      Posted May 28, 2014 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      I, too, am puzzled by that line, too? Perhaps it’s men’s dirty shorts?

      What wasn’t pointed out by the author was the “spoken” part of the song, which is beyond cringe-worthy. If you can’t sing it, it should be excised.

      The only thing missing is a choir of small children singing behind. Bleech.

  25. Irwin
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    Great. Now it’s stuck in my head

  26. Jeff Sherry
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    I would also add Roy Orbisons early catalog of songs, especially “Oobie Doobie”. He could play an axe, but didn’t measure up to Eddie Cochran, Carl Perkins, Buddy Holly and others during his early years.

  27. Newish Gnu
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    With that lyric about unborn children (astonishing how the usage here has become anachronistic in less than a generation) and the general horridness of the song, I nominate this song to be the Official Theme Song ™ of the anti-choicers.

    Repurpose detritus!

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

      Apparently, (according to something I read on the Intertoobs somewhere), they’ve already discovered it. BUT, in the context of the lyrics, ‘unborn children’ as likely relates to her remaining childless because her lifestyle wasn’t conducive to it, rather than aborted foetuses as such which is the way the anti-choice gang would interpret it.

      Or something of the sort, anyway.

      • Newish Gnu
        Posted October 19, 2013 at 8:56 am | Permalink

        I agree with your interpretation but …

        Let’s just say I won’t put it past them to impute a different interpretation along the lines of “science is based in religion” or “I knew you in the womb”.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted October 19, 2013 at 2:49 am | Permalink

      I have a faint and depressing memory that there was a degree of controversy along those lines at the time. Plus the feminists of the day got their DMs into it, big style.

  28. Newish Gnu
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    Btw, Professor Ceiling Cat, my family drove that road last year. I was mean and confiscated small electronic devices from the small Gnus in hopes that they might look out the damn window since I flew them across the entire damn country to see the scenery.

    It is a gorgeous drive. Thanks for reminding me of it just now.

  29. Posted October 18, 2013 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    “The Greatest Love of All” was originally by Peabo Bryson, so Whitney is not completely to blame for it. I was shocked to hear it played on contemporary Christian stations back in the 90s, but then they also think “Bridge over Troubled Waters” is about Jesus. Hint: It’s really about shooting up heroin. I guess to American Christians, anything sung with enough conviction and earnesty–self regarding narcissism and arrogance also helps–is somehow about them… But anyway, yes, “Ive Never Been to Me” is a quadrifecta of pop song horror.

    • Newish Gnu
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

      FWIW, the Wiki has an entirely different story for the origin of that song. Because I much prefer yours, I’m hoping you could give a reference.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted October 19, 2013 at 12:02 am | Permalink

      Wow. It never, ever occurred to me that ‘Greatest love of all’ might have a religious interpretation. Or ‘Bridge’. Can’t they keep their sticky religious fingers out of *anything*?

  30. John
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    Isle(s) of Greece would have been OK; I’m not familiar with any Isle of Greece. Off by a letter, a minor infraction in the awful context of that song.

  31. Hempenstein
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    It rose to #3 on US charts but I’ve never heard it. How is that possible? Oh, I know – I was in Sweden at the time. Apparently another aspect of that experience that I can be grateful for.

    But perhaps that was the reason Sveriges Radio felt compelled to play ‘I Just Called to Say I Love You’ (Stevie Wonder) incessantly in that timeframe.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted October 19, 2013 at 12:04 am | Permalink

      Ouch! I’ll nominate that dirge for the Worst Ever Songs list. In fact musically, I’d say it’s worse than ‘I’ve never been…’ (though not, of course, lyrically).

  32. teacupoftheapocalypse
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 7:03 pm | Permalink


    The list of awful songs is very long indeed, and ever growing, but, I guess we have to have the bad stuff, just to show us how excellent the good stuff really is. However, each time I hear a song that I consign to ‘The List’, I have to wonder “Who the f*** buys enough of this crap for it to chart?” After all, if it didn’t chart, it wouldn’t get airplay and we’d all be spared.

    In the UK, we have had a number of such *hits that may not have crossed the pond and I don’t see why we Brits should have to suffer alone, so I like to share a small selection with you. I dare you to click on the links. I double dare you. 🙂

    As the main point of discussion in these two posts has been dreadful lyrics, I’ll start with a number written by someone so lazy that, instead of actually writing some lyrics, they just borrowed a few fast-food menus. It reached #2 in the UK chart in 2003: http://goo.gl/193cP

    Continuing, loosely, on a food theme, this little ditty also charted at #2 in 1984 in the UK: http://goo.gl/R9OSy

    Record buyers in the UK are, for some reason, fixated on buying ‘novelty’ singles around xmas time. The worst of them always seems to reach #1. This one did in 1971: http://goo.gl/yWFp , and this one reached those heights in 1980 (health warning – this number is extra-sugar-coated): http://goo.gl/nE8I6L . As if to make matters worse, these two were re-released as double A-side in 1988.

    I would rather rub two polystyrene blocks together than listen to this, which was the xmas #1 in 1982: http://goo.gl/qisk5S. They released a third and, thankfully final, single the following year ‘Jesus Loves Us All’, but it failed to chart, so I can’t find a copy to inflict upon you. I only ever heard it once, but I believe it trumps any other entry in this post.
    More lazy lyrics, these taken from BA’s flight schedule and the in-flight safety instructions. This number was considered bad enough to be entered in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2007. It crashed and burned at 22nd out of 24 finalists, and charted in the UK at #5: http://goo.gl/RKtNmc

    Another Eurovision entry, this one actually won the competition, keeping the Eurovision tradition of truly banal lyrics, and reached #1 in the UK: http://goo.gl/rR4eH

    And finally, another #1, from 1971, with cheep (sic) lyrics: http://goo.gl/kp5v .

    Having been through this little lot, my brain is still trying to come to terms with what it’s had to endure, and work out which one to install as resident head-worm for the next day or so.

    Enjoy 🙂

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted October 19, 2013 at 12:13 am | Permalink

      “More lazy lyrics, these taken from BA’s flight schedule and the in-flight safety instructions. This number was considered bad enough to be entered in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2007. It crashed and burned at 22nd out of 24 finalists, and charted in the UK at #5: http://goo.gl/RKtNmc

      You, sir, are truly evil. I think I’ve heard the term ‘bubblegum music’ and it would apply. But I have to quote some truly outstanding lyrics from it (made more prominent by the karaoke text in the video clip)-
      Ba-ba-da, ba-ba-da
      Ba-da-da-ba, ba-ba-da
      Ba-ba-da, ba-ba-da
      Yeah yeah yeah yeah
      Ba-ba-da, ba-ba-da
      Ba-da-da-ba, ba-ba-da
      Ba-ba-da, ba-ba-da

      Now isn’t that just awesome?
      (I may have made some errors in transcription there)

  33. Lianne Byram
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    Well I’ve heard worse but I won’t rush to listen to it again. Very early women’s lib I would say. Anyone care to define “subtle whoring” for me?

    • Barbara Knox
      Posted October 18, 2013 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

      I really wish you hadn’t asked that, because it got me thinking more about the song. I didn’t find a good answer, but I did come up with this:

      I’ve done subtle whoring
      On hardwood flooring
      And on top of a TV.

      I’ve been to paradise
      But I’ve never been to me.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted October 19, 2013 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

        At a rough guess, ‘subtle whoring’ means being the girlfriend / hanger-on of some rich guy and being ‘paid’ in gifts, yacht cruises etc. As opposed to a hooker who gets paid in cash (unsubtle whoring), or the girlfriends of non-rich guys who are lucky to get anything at all except, possibly, pregnant.

  34. David Duncan
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    There was a modern classics album by a chap called Miguel Rios featuring a song called A Song of Joy. I quite liked it, but one of my best friends hated it so much he stomped on the LP until it was ruined. This impressed his then girlfriend, but not me!

    I agree that I’ve Never Been To Me is cringeworthy, but I’ve heard worse.

  35. Al Denelsbeck
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    Oh hell, I’d been trying to forget about that song (and will not click on the video.) I’m a great fan of eighties music, and am ashamed that this counts.

    It brings to mind two others which will compete in terms of sappy sentimentality and pathetic lyrics:

    “Thanks For My Child,” by Cheryl Pepsii Riley – any portion of that may be misspelled but I’m not looking it up to confirm since any websearch stands a tiny chance of stirring the monster from the obscurity whence it’s gone;

    “When I’m With You,” by Sheriff – an apparent twelve-year-old’s attempt to incorporate every hackneyed cliché into a song using no other words at all.

    Both fall lower on my personal vomit list, however, than “Werewolves of London,” by Warren Zevon, probably the best example of ‘phoning it in’ that I’ve ever heard. Ridiculous lyrics, no singing talent, and nothing but chords musically – high school talent show.

    I’m going to draw a lot of ire on this one I suspect, but John Mellencamp’s “Jack & Diane” also hits that list, relying entirely on a simplistic riff to become the most overplayed song, without justification, in history.

  36. Geoff Robert
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    The spoken bit was one of the most gag educing moments of my youth but I have to admire the secular nature of it:

    “Hey, you know what paradise is?
    It’s a lie, a fantasy we create about people and places as we’d like them to be
    But you know what truth is?
    It’s that little baby you’re holding, it’s that man you fought with this morning
    The same one you’re going to make love with tonight
    That’s truth, that’s love……”

  37. Posted October 18, 2013 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    We’ve seen The Beatles, as great as they were, make some bad songs.

    Try as I might, I can’t think of one bad song by Simon and Garfunkel.

    • aljones909
      Posted October 19, 2013 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      That may be true but The Beatles did a lot of work that was truly innovative and they altered the direction of popular music. Apart from ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ I struggle to think of any S&G song that was ‘radical’.

      • Posted October 19, 2013 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

        Oh to be sure, I give the Beatles their due, and they paved the way for a lot of other musicians.

        “Bridge.. ” is one of my all-time faves. Off the top of my head, I’ve always thought “Me and Julio down by the Schoolyard” to be provocative, but now I’ve just read from wiki that Paul Simon called it “a bit of inscrutable doggerel”! LOL!

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Me_and_Julio_Down_by_the_Schoolyard

  38. Posted October 18, 2013 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    What rhymes with “isle of greece”?

    Turning Japaneese. “I’ve got your picture. I want a million of you all ’round my cell. I want the doctor to take a picture, so I can look at you from inside as well.” A truly horrible song, unless Gerry Todd does it.

    Also, the Beatles supposed worst (Ob-La-Di) has got nothing on The Police’s “de-do-do-do”. Except, of course, when Gerry Todd does it. (at 6:31 in case the link doesn’t plop you at the right time)

  39. Posted October 18, 2013 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    I just had a Bizarro moment, imagining Sarah Palin singing that song. Yikes!

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted October 19, 2013 at 2:56 am | Permalink

      Thank you for that contribution to the Hall of Horrifying Ideas.
      Not.

    • Martin
      Posted October 19, 2013 at 7:40 am | Permalink

      Sadist! This song, as sung, is truly bad!
      That wasn’t enough for you now was it?
      There are now portions of my brain that will no longer function. As someone said elsewhere on this website, once you see(imagine) it you cannot unsee it.

      • Posted October 19, 2013 at 7:47 am | Permalink

        What can I say? Misery loves company! Mea culpa to you all. 😛

  40. David Lloyd
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

    Good grief. This is the first time I have heard this song. I’ve been around for 58 years and I hope it is the first and last time. Terrible. This is far more dire than your No. 1 Muskrat Love because at least Ms Tenille can sing, Charlene cannot.

    Beam me up Scottie!!

  41. MikeN
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    I spent a good chunk of the early 80s working in the oil patch in north-western Canada, driving company trucks with nothing but AM radios; the only stations you could get were local ones featuring country music, or CHED, a top 40 station from Edmonton.

    This song, Hall and Oates, Air Supply…the only break was the Golden Oldies Hour at noon.

  42. Posted October 18, 2013 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    And for the rest of the trip I’d occasionally burst out singing four of its worst lines.

    And thusly endeth that relationship. 😉

  43. aljones909
    Posted October 19, 2013 at 1:42 am | Permalink

    I see it’s on the ‘Wichita Lineman’ album. Wichita Lineman, written by Jimmy Webb, is one of the best love songs ever written (the Glen Campbell version has a bit too much schmalz). From Wikipedia “Heading westward on a straight road into the setting sun, Webb drove past a seemingly endless line of telephone poles, each looking exactly the same as the last. Then, in the distance, he noticed the silhouette of a solitary lineman atop a pole. He described it as “the picture of loneliness.”

    • Dermot C
      Posted October 19, 2013 at 2:05 am | Permalink

      Give Glen, who comes in for a bit of a kicking in this thread, his due. He did sing what are in my opinion the finest pop lyrics ever, by the erratic John Hartford – Gentle on my Mind.

      The spondees in:

      Though the wheat fields and the clothes lines and the junkyards and the highways come between us…

      are tremendous. A brilliant guitarist, to boot.

      Slaínte.

      • Jeff Sherry
        Posted October 19, 2013 at 9:09 am | Permalink

        John Hartford erratic? I dunno, I’ve enjoyed many of his songs and albums over the years. Steam Powered Aerioplane was probably his best followed by Mark Twang.

        On a side note G. Campbell put out a fairly good album of twelve string guitar songs.

      • aljones909
        Posted October 19, 2013 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

        I’ve no problem with Glen Campbell’s vocal. I like him. He may not have had too much say in the overall sound of this particular song.

        • Dermot C
          Posted October 19, 2013 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

          I suspect he did, though I could be wrong. The rhythm guitar sounds like him and I’ve seen him playing it live: as good as Hendrix but without the weird button, and 11 on the volume.

  44. Posted October 19, 2013 at 2:24 am | Permalink

    It’s all flooding back now…

    Billy Joel — Uptown Girl, We didn’t start the fire, Only Human…

    Aaarrrgh, make it stop, please….

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted October 19, 2013 at 4:30 am | Permalink

      Ah c’mon, Billy Joel never did anything really bad. (IMO!)

      And for a sceptical audience (like I hope we all are), who could fail to appreciate his jaundiced view of the music world in The Entertainer –
      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

  45. Posted October 19, 2013 at 2:30 am | Permalink

    You would definitely hate my lyrics, then, but I have an excuse: I’m French (from Nice, no less!).

  46. Dermot C
    Posted October 19, 2013 at 2:36 am | Permalink

    The Nick Straker Band (I’m an obscure mediocrity – I think I’ll name the pop combo after myself). ‘A Walk in the Park’

    I seek a shady glade in which to unwind.

    How can so many monosyllables add up to so much crap?

  47. michieux
    Posted October 19, 2013 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    I disinfected the radio after this aural vomit soiled it.

  48. Posted October 19, 2013 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    The worst song ever: Paul Anka’s “(You’re) Having My Baby”

    • Lurker111
      Posted October 19, 2013 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, that doesn’t even rise to the level of “execrable.”

  49. Shwell Thanksh
    Posted October 19, 2013 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    All right, since I can’t believe no one else has brought it up, it falls to me to name the worst song lyrics of the ’90s. I literally did a spit take when I first heard it on Top 40 radio ten years ago:

    Lightning crashes
    a new mother cries
    Her placenta falls to the floor

    http://www.songlyrics.com/live/lightning-crashes-lyrics/

    • Shwell Thanksh
      Posted October 19, 2013 at 8:48 am | Permalink

      Oh Bob, make that twenty years! Dammit I
      feel old now.

  50. aljones909
    Posted October 19, 2013 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Worst ever? Surely ‘Seasons In The Sun’ by Terry Jacks.

  51. Kurt Smith
    Posted October 19, 2013 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    You’re correct…395 from Lone Pine north is a great road, especially on a motorcycle. You should also try the Sonora Pass, in the fall. It is so beautiful it can take your breath away.

  52. krzysztof1
    Posted October 19, 2013 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    Actually the title deminds me of something Walter Kaufmann said in Chapter 14 of Faith of a Heretic: “Rabbi Zusya said that on the Day of Judgment God would ask him, not why he had not been Moses, but why he had not been Zusya.”

  53. Mary L
    Posted October 20, 2013 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    DAMN IT! I had forgotten that piece of shit!
    Some of the worst lyrics ever.

    The wife of a couple I used to work for got Jesus in a big way during my tenure. Then this crap showed up. After learning what I thought of it (she asked me), she would turn up the office radio while it played AND sing with it. It was about good xian values and should be celebrated, no matter what I thought. That was the lecture she’d give me.
    I’d just keep at my paper work, nod a bit and murmur, “I see.” Refusing to engage frustrated her no end. (Heh-heh-heh.)

  54. TJR
    Posted October 21, 2013 at 2:17 am | Permalink

    Agreed a thousandfold.


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