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Many of you who are currently reading my article were likely teenagers in the past century, if the not the first decade of the twenty-first century. A common complaint that I hear from baby boomers, Gen Xers (also known as baby busters), and even older millennials is that the music you now hear on your car radio has gone downhill since the turn of the millennium. Gen Zers (also known as zoomers or even sometimes baby zoomers) are even now posting in the comments section of YouTube videos containing oldies and are often stating that they must be from the wrong generation. Other Gen Zers get really offended from what they believe to be betrayal within their own generation against the music of today's youth whenever they read those same comments.
Nevertheless, people are not imagining this downward spiral of music. Someone from the music entertainment industry made an appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher not too long ago and informed that the drastic loss of profits from copyright violations throughout the Internet has led to the decline in the quality of today's music since the late 1990s. A Gen Zer on YouTube who goes by the username of AidenProjects even criticized a singer from his own generation named MattyB in two different videos. Those same two videos are below.
YouTuber AidenProjects Provides His Brutally Honest Viewpoint Regarding MattyB
Through the years, teenagers have gotten on the defensive against older generations regarding their music. However, nowadays we're actually witnessing teenagers agreeing even with their own parents that the music entertainment industry is in serious trouble and the songs heard on the radio are getting more and more excruciating to listen to as years roll by.
Nevertheless, herein I'm going to take you for a walk down memory lane in the hallways of music entertainment history to show you that even the 20th century had its fair share of truly awful songs with embarrassing lyrics. For the sake of fairness, I'm only going to focus on music from the 20th century, because I don't rightfully feel that anything that was released in the 21st century constitutes an oldie, even if it was released as far back as 2000. Because I am not familiar with music from any further than the 1950s, even though that decade was before my time, I am not going back any further in time than the late 1950s.
2. Cheesy Songs From The 1950s To The 1990s
Now, don't get me wrong. I was always a fan of the late Debbie Reynolds. May she rest in peace. She was an excellent actress, and she held herself to higher standards than most actresses her age. I even liked her singing. However, somehow her musical talent suffered a major misfire when she released the song titled "Tammy" in 1957. How this song ever made it to Number 1 on the Billboard charts is beyond my comprehension. Anyhow, here is the song below.
Debbie Reynold's Song Titled "Tammy"
If you didn't listen to the entire song, I won't hold it against you. It's that torturous to hear. Okay, I get it. The 1950s were innocent times, and radio stations were bound to play songs that were that sticky sweet; but the late Debbie Reynolds was a talented woman and she could have avoided getting involved with this song at all costs.
This same song brings to mind this one episode of The Wonder Years wherein Kevin Arnold somehow got suckered into taking his best friend's homely 11-year-old sister out to a middle-school dance. The young girl's parents even pressured him to do so, and he couldn't think of an excuse to get out of it. Meanwhile, the young girl was smiling at him and this utterly nerve-wrecking song was playing at the same time. I believe that that point in time was when I really stared to hate hearing this song over and over again, and somehow it has always found its way into the realms of an oldies radio station or a Music Choice channel on cable television.
Also, I don't want any girl or woman named Tammy who may be reading my article here to think that I am making a negative statement against her. I have known many girls and women named Tammy throughout my life whom I really liked, and I don't want any of them becoming offended from my criticism of the song above. However, I also have to stress that I don't believe that this song provides beneficial optics to anyone whose name is Tammy either. I cannot imagine any female named Tammy wanting to have anything to do with this same song, but that's just me.
The 1950s brought us a wealth of musical talent in the form of Buddy Holly, J. P. Richardson (also known as the Big Bopper), Ritchie Valens, Ricky Nelson, and let's not forget Elvis Presley, just to name a few big stars in the world of records and jukeboxes. Unfortunately, the 1950s brought us some really horrible singers as well. The Playmates tortured the American people with their song titled "Beep Beep" in 1958. Here is that song in a video below.
The Song Titled "Beep Beep" By The Playmates
After the 1960s came around, most Americans probably thought that the music entertainment industry was going to improve insofar as these truly awful songs with embarrassing lyrics would go away. After all, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and all these other psychedelic rock-and-roll bands materialized and kids started taking music more seriously than in the past. However, our nation was not quite out of the woods and would never be. Also, even The Beatles found themselves crossing over into that same deplorable trend at one point or another.
The Allan Sherman Show tortured the American people with his song titled "Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh! (A Letter From Camp)" in 1963. Please, oh, please, will the Starship Enterprise beam me up away from this horrible song? Scotty must either be on break or out to lunch, because I asked him to beam me up for the umpteenth time. Here it is in the video below.
A Song Titled "Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh! (A Letter from Camp)" By The Allan Sherman Show
I cannot understand why this song gets used in a multitude of television commercials. It is such a terrible song that it should have been scrapped a month after it was released. What is this infatuation with the word "Granada" in the lyrics of songs, especially stupid songs like this one? Where exactly is Granada?
I remember this one television advertisement that showed a Labrador puppy singing this same idiotic song. It wasn't funny. In fact, I couldn't wait until they took that television commercial off the air. Why does the singer call his mother "muddah" and his father "fadduh"? Does he have a speech impediment?
It's not only these great unknowns in the music entertainment industry that have released these annoying songs. I'm a loyal fan of the Beach Boys, and I could not believe that they ever would have released a song as nerve-piercing as "Sloop John B." The release year for that song was 1966. Brace yourself as you listen to this same song in the video below.
The Song Titled "Sloop John B" By The Beach Boys
Even the melody of this song is aggravating. The lyrics are simply not entertaining, and they do not make me laugh despite that the writer of this song meant them to be humorous. The Beach Boys should have run in the other direction when they were asked to record this song. When I was in the sixth grade, our music teacher put us through the indignities of singing this same song. I hadn't known that this was a Beach Boys song so many years earlier, and I detested this song even back then.
Many of you are likely fans of The Beatles. I am a fan of The Beatles. Their music is for all generations. However, even a legendary rock-and-roll band like The Beatles was bound to have at least one or two flops. One song that really wears thin on my nerves and likely the nerves of many is their 1968 song titled "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da." Here it is in the video down below.
The Song Titled "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" By The Beatles
This same song got overly exposed on the television series Life Goes On that ran from 1989 to 1993. When I first saw that television series, I thought that it was a friendly television show about a young man with special needs. Kellie Martin played this same young man's teenage sister. However, by the early 1990s, it was as though this television show was everywhere on the television airwaves, and watching it got tiresome and the song "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" began to sound like a bunch of racket rather than an actual song.
You can still be a loyal fan of The Beatles and not like "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da," because I've watched other loyal fans of The Beatles badmouth that same song in YouTube videos. There is one other song by The Beatles that really drives me crazy; but I will not name it, because I realize that it is still popular among many loyal fans of The Beatles.
The next truly awful oldie with embarrassing lyrics cited herein actually made it to Number One on the Billboard charts. I am not normally one to argue with success. However, I don't know what Americans were thinking back in 1971 when they were cheering on the song titled "Me and You and a Dog Named Boo." Lobo was the culprit who gave us this song. You can hear the song in the video below.
Lobo's Song Titled "Me and You and a Dog Named Boo"
Lobo is a very talented man, and he has released a myriad of successful songs. However, a song about a dog named Boo simply does not meet up to my entertainment expectations. I don't know about you, but I would never name a dog Boo; and I cannot imagine someone turning such a scenario into a song. Then again, Henry Gross released a song so many years later titled "Shannon" that was about a dog that had drowned in the ocean. Of course, that song was about the Beach Boys' dog, and it had an actual true story to it. Therefore, it was well worth the praise it received from the music-loving public.
The next truly awful oldie with embarrassing lyrics is unbelievably long and boring, and its lyrics are anything but funny. It's titled "Clap for the Wolfman" by the Canadian rock-and-roll band, The Guess Who, and it was released in 1974. Now, I have liked just about every song that The Guess Who has ever released. However, "Clap for the Wolfman" is one of those songs that don't even get played on oldies radio stations and for very good reasons. The song is over four minutes long, and it's not at all amusing. Here is the song below.
The Song Titled "Clap for the Wolfman" By The Guess Who
I always thought that Wolfman Jack was cool, and I've listened to radio programs he has hosted. I liked seeing him in the movie titled American Graffiti. However, somehow this one song about him by The Guess Who simply doesn't have much appeal to it. The lyrics of the song even get a little racy at different points throughout it. Not that I believe that every song has to be rated G to make for valuable listening entertainment, but I find all the risqué contents of this one song to be superfluous.
The next truly awful oldie with embarrassing lyrics here is really going to insult everyone's intelligence. The singer's name is Austin Roberts. I vaguely remember hearing a rerun on the radio of an episode of Casey Kasem's American Top 40 wherein Mr. Kasem claimed that Mr. Roberts had been studying to become a lawyer when he released this same song, but don't hold me to it. Anyhow, the title of the song is "Rocky," and it was released in 1975. By the way, it has nothing to do with Sylvester Stallone. After hearing this same song, you're probably going to question why Mr. Roberts didn't stick to his law books instead of performing songs. You can listen to it in the video below.
The Song Titled "Rocky" By Austin Roberts
The lyrics of this same song get to be far-fetched insofar as they are embarrassing. It offers this impossible romantic dream of a couple barely getting any sleep and sipping wine at night after working hard at building a house while taking classes in the daytime. Oh, yeah, they sleep on the floor too at the outset of their relationship, and they're barely of age. Some young couples may be tenacious, but they are not that tenacious. Then again, Mr. Roberts admits somewhere in the song that he and his sweetheart have a multitude of problems.
The girl that Mr. Roberts sings about in this song whines about everything from falling in love to having a baby to even dying. What?! Uh huh. That's right. Mr. Roberts sings in the song that the girl whines that she never "had to die before" and that she didn't think she could do it. Okay. Unless she believed in reincarnation, I don't think she would have gone through the experience of dying in the past. Whether or not she could do it, it was going to happen anyhow. These lyrics make absolutely no sense at all, and you have to question what was going through the songwriter's mind when he was composing them. For that matter, someone could have added lib to the song and had Mr. Roberts sing, "Rocky? I've never had to travel back to 1946 before. Don't think I can do it." This song is that ridiculous.
As we move further on into the 1970s, it only gets worse than before. The next truly awful oldie with embarrassing lyrics is about teenage pregnancy and a mad dad lashing out against the unborn baby's father. The singer is David Geddes, and his song is titled "Run Joey Run." He released it in 1975. You can listen to the song in the video below.
The Song Titled "Run Joey Run" By David Geddes
The name of the pregnant teenage girl described in the song is Julie, and her boyfriend's name is, of course, Joey. Her voice sounds like that of a 13-year-old girl. Therefore, I guess the father would have a good reason to be angry, and he expresses his anger by threatening to go after Joey with a shotgun.
This song is hilariously bad by every given standard. Toward the end of the song, the father accidentally shoots his daughter, Julie, dead, and, of course, the unborn baby dies. You get an image of Joey running away from the mad dad, because his daughter is now dead and he is blaming Joey for it. Do not confuse this song with the Saturday television morning show titled "Run, Joe, Run" about a fugitive German Shepherd that has been falsely accused of being vicious and deadly.
As our nation moved into 1976, disco music received more and more airtime on radio stations everywhere. Along with those disco songs came a really off-the-wall song titled "Disco Duck" by Rick Dees. Some of you who have lived in Los Angeles, California like me may remember Rick Dees as a disc jockey on 102.7 KIIS FM and Hot 92.3 so many years ago.
Anyhow, Mr. Dees's song titled "Disco Duck" appeared to be strictly for laughs upon its release, except that it went a little too far. The singers of it appear on the record's credits as "Rick Dees & His Cast of Idiots." Hmmm. I wonder why. You can listen to it in the video down below.
The Song Titled "Disco Duck" By Rick Dees And His Cast Of Idiots
Would you believe that this song actually made it to Number One on the Billboard charts? Americans were crazy back in those days even to dance to this silly song. What was up with Americans back then? One would think that after this one song made it to Number One on the Billboard charts, such an aberration could never reoccur. I mean, it's like the saying that lightning never strikes twice in the same place. Well, actually in the music entertainment industry, that school of thought is wrong.
In 1976, a whiny-voiced singer named Mary MacGregor haunted Americans with her nuisance of a song titled "Torn Between Two Lovers." You can listen to the song in the video below.
The Song Titled "Torn Between Two Lovers" By Mary MacGregor
If American Idol had existed back in the 1970s, Simon Cowell would have eaten this woman alive. She may have confronted a similar fate on The Gong Show. First of all, her voice is very bouncy. Second of all, it's as though she's eliciting a pity party for her infidelity in the lyrics of this song. She doesn't make a positive impression on me at all, and her singing doesn't do very much to alleviate the infuriating effect that this song likely has on most men and probably even women.
Even though Ms. MacGregor's discography page on the Wikipedia website indicates that she released other songs after this one, it appears that none of her subsequent songs ever rose to the same popularity that this one did. How this one song made it to Number One on the Billboard charts escapes me. It's the kind of song that you would make your pet hound dog cover his ears with his paws to avoid listening to it so that he doesn't lose his mind.
I did notice that Ms. MacGregor released a remake of the song titled "I've Never Been To Me" in 1978. Well, the original version of that same song by Charlene wasn't that great. In fact, it's the next truly awful oldie with embarrassing lyrics, herein, and it was released in 1976. You can hear it in the video below.
The Song Titled "I've Never Been To Me" By Charlene
Now, I'm not going to bash this same song to the extent that I have done so to the other ones I've cited herein. However, anyone who knows about the American way of life is well aware that feminism was becoming a regular part of our culture by the mid-1970s, and the lyrics of this song would continue to become more and more outdated because of it. Charlene makes the assumption in this song that a woman's role is to please a man, whereas reality has it that a woman in the real world may have kicked the man described in the song to the curb.
Charlene was unwise to rerelease this same song in 1982. By then, women were becoming more independent than they were in the 1970s. This song was also released to be played on country music radio stations. Did Charlene actually believe that feminism was not going to find its way to the Bible Belt eventually? Very few women can probably relate to this same song nowadays. It has embarrassing lyrics.
The next truly awful oldie with embarrassing lyrics herein is from 1977; and even though it has a catchy beat, the lyrics of it will irritate you so much that you'll need a good, nice drink of wine to recover from it. The singer is Andrew Gold, and his song is titled "Lonely Boy." You can listen to the song in the video below.
The Song Titled "Lonely Boy" By Andrew Gold
At the beginning of the song, Andrew Gold has you to believe that he is going to provide a rendition about sensitive topics such as severe child neglect, domestic violence, and other forms of abuse. However, he lets you down obnoxiously once you find out that the song is about a whiny little boy who doesn't want to share his parents with his younger sister. The song makes you want to scream from the top of your lungs and throw up on the floor. It's that bad.
The song approaches the end wherein Mr. Gold sings about how the young boy decides to leave home at the age of 18 to find all the love he had missed out on in "that early of time." I left home when I was 21 years old to move to New York City, and I can tell you that I had to start out from scratch in my efforts to form friendships and relationships with others upon my arrival to The Big Apple. I didn't realize how good I had it in my hometown until I had to leave it behind for a mandatory job transfer. In other words, Mr. Gold's song lyrics are embarrassingly bad, and he could have used the tune in that same song with different lyrics to create a much more convincing and entertaining song than he did.
After you listen to this same song, you find yourself asking the question, "What is the point of it all?" That is, unless Mr. Gold was warning married couples that it was easier to raise a girl than a boy. Then again, a female artist could have remade this song and titled it "Lonely Girl," and she likely would have used similar song lyrics.
The next truly awful oldie with embarrassing lyrics is a country music song that brings us to the year 1980. It is titled "Thirty-Nine and Holding," and Jerry Lee Lewis takes the honor or rather the dishonor of having recorded it and released it. You can listen to this same song in the video below.
The Song Titled "Thirty-Nine And Holding" By Jerry Lee Lewis
First of all, a man is not yet over the hill while he is still in his thirties. However, Jerry Lee Lewis makes it sound as though that is the case. He fails to make his obvious point in this song, and he does so in a very detrimental way.
Second of all, anyone who has followed country music knows that Jerry Lee Lewis is not exactly a poster child for age-traditional relationships. I'm not accusing him of being a dirty old man. However, from the time that he first married his 13-year-old distant cousin back in the 1950s, he has done nothing to hide the fact that he likes to flirt with taboos whenever he can. Therefore, he really shouldn't be singing a song with the kind of preachy lyrics that this particular one has.
When a 39-year-old man goes out to meet ladies, of course, he's going to make himself look as young and appealing as he can. It's not easy to find love nowadays. Now, I realize that Jerry Lee Lewis released this song back in 1980, and the American way of life was a little more sheltered back in those days than it is now; but you probably know what I mean. Naturally, the man he describes in the song is going to act "twenty-three," because he knows he can attract more young women that way than if he acts seventy-three.
Shame on Jerry Lee Lewis for making a song like this. He makes the man described in this song seem like some raunchy sex fiend looking to graze in the wrong pasture, so to speak, to play with young girls' hearts so that he can take a prolonged ego trip. Jerry Lee Lewis needs to get off his moral high horse and take this song off the market, because he has crossed his fair share of forbidden lines in the past.
Now, I'm not looking to bash Jerry Lee Lewis, because I realize that he has made valuable contributions to the music entertainment industry. His rockabilly music paved the pathway for successful southern rock-and-roll groups like Lynyrd Skynyrd and ZZ Top. However, it is not his place to misuse his song lyrics to purify every man beyond the age of 35.
As we move further into the 1980s, another icon of country music fame that comes to mind is the late Phil Everly of the Everly Brothers. It had been a long time since anyone had heard a song hit the Billboard charts that either of the Everly Brothers had recorded by the time that the late Phil Everly attempted to make his comeback onto the music entertainment scene. In 1983, the late Phil Everly released a song titled "Who's Gonna Keep Me Warm." In making a comeback, you would think that this country music artist would have taken pride in delivering this song to his audience, but instead he sounds like a koala bear trying to organize a choir of pollywogs. You can listen to the song in the video below.
The Song Titled "Who's Gonna Keep Me Warm" By The Late Phil Everly
Need I say anymore? This song had a very short life on the radio airwaves after its release and for very good reasons. I don't like to speak ill of the dead, but the late Phil Everly had to have wondered on up to his very last breath what he could have been thinking when he actually recorded this song. I once watched a rerun of The Ed Sullivan Show from 1966; and when the Everly Brothers appeared on that show, their performance as singers was exceptional. Where was the late Phil Everly's talent in this song?
As we approach the mid-1980s, there is no way to avoid the fact that Cyndi Lauper injected her eccentricities into her songs. New Wave and Punk Rock opened the doorway to some truly awful songs with embarrassing lyrics. In 1984, Ms. Lauper released a song titled "She Bop," and you will not believe what this same song was about. You can listen to it in the video below. In figurative words, this woman belongs in an institution for the criminally insane.
The Song Titled "She Bop" By Cyndi Lauper
It wasn't until later on that I found out that this same song of hers was about masturbation. After I did find out, I was not the least surprised inasmuch as this woman has gone off the deep end with most of her songs.
To this very day, there has been a debate over how old Ms. Lauper really is. As far as I am concerned, she'll probably still have pink-dyed hair when she attends her 65th high-school reunion and all her subsequent class reunions; and old ladies will be staring at her at these events and whispering to one another about what a weirdo this woman has always been since the time they either first met her or learned about her.
Now, I'm not going to put down Elton John, because I realize that he has a dedicated fan base that follows his music. However, herein I had to cite this one song of his from 1988 that was really bottom-of-the-barrel quality. The song is titled "A Word in Spanish." You can listen to it in the video below.
The Song Titled "A Word In Spanish" By Elton John
I completely get it. Elton John has made so many songs that he was bound to release one that was truly awful and unbearable to hear. Everyone I know who has listened to the above song has told me that the lyrics of it are dumb. My response to it is if Mr. John wanted to know what the word was in Spanish he was looking for, he should have bought himself an English-Spanish/Spanish-English dictionary, or better yet, taken a course in Spanish.
Mr. John had some exceptionally good songs back in the day. His song titled "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" from 1973 was a priceless gem. This man has always made a success out of most everything he has done. However, his song titled "A Word in Spanish" simply doesn't meet up to his usual singing standards. In fact, you don't even hear this same song on any oldies radio station.
I realize that the next truly awful oldie with embarrassing lyrics is an Irish song. However, because I have included British songs as examples of truly awful oldies with embarrassing lyrics, herein, I find nothing wrong with my including an Irish song in this same set of songs. One singer whose music really gets under my skin is Enya. Her songs all sound the same, and they really do nothing to make me want to go to one of her concerts.
Enya's song titled "Orinoco Flow" from 1988 is a major example of how boring this woman can be whenever she sings into a microphone. You can listen to this same song in the video below.
The Song Titled "Orinoco Flow" By Enya
The first time that I ever heard this song on the radio, I thought that it was titled "Sail Away." Whenever I have the misfortune of having to hear it, I wish that Enya would sail away. In fact, I wish that she would sail far, far away so that I would never have to hear her again.
I'm not mindless that Enya has a loyal following. I don't know why anyone would like her music, but then again everyone has their own taste in musical entertainment. I have nothing against Irish music. In fact, some of my most favorite singers and musicians are Irish. I like to listen to songs by Gilbert O'Sullivan. U2 has a number of catchy songs. However, Enya simply doesn't awaken my musical interests. She's too strange for me.
Enya would have been better off if she had merely released instrumentals instead of actual songs with her dorky voice. At least her instrumentals have some substance to them that actually don't cause you to change the Music Choice channel on your television set or the radio station on your car radio.
Herein the next truly awful oldie with embarrassing lyrics is a song that doesn't have a bad tune or bad lyrics to it. It merely needs to be sung by the right artist. Brenda K. Starr is not that right artist, if you can even call her an artist at all; and she should not have pursued a career in singing. She takes this song and its lyrics and pounds it all to death with her shouting voice. The song is titled "I Still Believe," and Ms. Starr released it in 1988. You can listen to her sing this song in the video below.
The Song Titled "I Still Believe" By Brenda K. Starr
Please avoid this song at all costs while you are getting over a migraine headache. This song will even give you a headache. The lyrics in this song are not really embarrassing, but the way that Ms. Starr vocalizes them makes them seem that way.
Mariah Carey remade this same song so many years later; but when she sang it, it was a beautiful and enchanting type of song to hear coming from her mouth. It's just one of those songs that the right artist has to sing or it doesn't sound good at all. Brenda K. Starr was not the right person to sing this song and release it as she did back in 1988.
Now we come to the 20th truly awful song with embarrassing lyrics herein, which brings us into the 1990s. The title of the song is "You Gotta Be," and the person who sings it is the British singer Des'ree. She released this song in 1995. You can listen to this same song in the video below.
The Song Titled "You Gotta Be" By Des'ree
I don't learn any life lessons from this song despite that Des'ree presents it in that same fashion. Throughout the song, it is though she repeats the same lyrics over and over again. This woman had no other really memorable songs on the Billboard charts that I know of. She obviously chased her American audience away with this one song. Perhaps there is something that other people see in this song that I don't; but as far as I am concerned, she is no Diana Ross or Karen Carpenter.
Every time I hear this song on the intercom system at a restaurant, I always look forward to it ending. It doesn't make very agreeable dining music or music for any purpose. I found it unbelievable that this song was actually used in a television show for a choir of children to sing. You would think that the producer of that television show could be charged with child abuse for allowing such an aberration to take place on camera.
3. Final Thoughts
There you have it. That is, the 20 truly awful oldies with embarrassing lyrics or rather the 20 ones that stick out in my mind the most. There may be some songs that I named herein that some of you may really like. Therefore, I must stress that it was never my intention to offend any music fans.
I admit that I can be very picky about my music. However, I carefully selected these 20 above-described oldies, knowing that many of you will likely agree with me on how really terrible these songs are. If you know 20 songs that fit that description in accordance with your likes and dislikes and you decide to put it in writing here on this platform, I'd be interested in reading such an article. Anyhow, now you know which 20 songs I try to avoid on the radio or anywhere at all costs.
I am not disagreeing with anyone that the music you hear on the car radio nowadays is not as good as what you heard on the car radio back in the twentieth century. However, Gen Zers have the right to know that older generations encountered their fair share of really bad songs back when they were their age in spite of all the quality songs that were heard on the radio back in the 20th century.
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