Quibbles

Chicago Tribune readers, you all must be troubled. Or deeply, deeply disturbed. Because your nominations for worst songs ever make no sense.

First, Blender made the list of 50; then you ran with the ball.

But right here and right now, I’m gonna stick up for every song you’ve wrongfully insulted so far on the Tribune’s Web message board.

  1. C.W. McCall – Convoy. The greatest song about CB radio ever recorded. Plus major bonus points for mentioning “eleven long-haired Friends of Jesus in a Chartreuse microbus.”
  2. Rolling Stones – Miss You. Possibly the best rock and roll ever did disco. “I’ve been hangin’ on the phone” and the ooo-ooo-oo-ooos are all I need for lyrics.
  3. America – Muskrat Love. America sings a song about muskrats and even gives them names. I mean, what the fuck? Bonus points for being fucked up.
  4. The Police – Roxanne. We get too much of this song on the radio and not enough other Police material, but the song rocks in a vacuum.
  5. Jimmy Castor Bunch – Bertha Butt Boogie. As recently discussed.
  6. Don McLean – American Pie. “Dumb lyrics throughout!” said the poster, saying everything we need to know about the poster.
  7. Bob Seger – Old Time Rock and Roll. It’s not Silver Bullet Bob’s best work, but it makes me want to gross over eight thousand dollars in one night.
  8. Chuck Berry – My Ding-a-Ling. Future Parliament, I love you.
  9. Kool and the Gang – Jungle Boogie. If there’s ever been a song that’s better united the party and the almighty funk, I don’t know it.
  10. Any artist – MacArthur Park. A high school English teacher of mine used this song as an example of something, possibly overwriting. The song is undoubtedly bad, but I’ve had a soft spot for it ever since.
  11. Steppenwolf – Born to be Wild. Overplayed, but great.
  12. Britney Spears – Toxic. As previously discussed.
  13. Zager and Evans – In the Year 2525. Same as Muskrat Love. Too weird to diss.
  14. The Family Ties theme song. I really do believe that there ain’t no nothin’ we can’t love each other through. Sha la la la.
  15. Meatloaf – Paradise by the Dashboard Light. “Ruins every wedding,” the poster writes. That’s just messed up. Who plays this song at their wedding? Seriously, who would like their wedding to include detailed play-by-play of a very large and dramatic man getting laid?
  16. “Anything by John Denver.” You, in the back. You go to hell.
  17. Rolling Stones – Angie. Again, a choice that makes no sense. The hands-in-the-pockets closeness should be required listening for any under-my-thumb-stuck masochist/rocker.
  18. Rupert Holmes – Escape (The Pina Colada Song). I’m wavering here, but I think you’ve gotta appreciate the concept.
  19. Three Dog Night – Joy to the World. Failure to understand the lyrics is your problem — not the song’s problem.
  20. Ben E. King – Spanish Harlem. Soft and sweet and dreamin’.
  • Queen – Fat Bottomed Girls. Rail on We Are the Champions if you want — the song can take it — but to malign an upstanding relative of It Ain’t the Meat (It’s the Motion) and Baby Got Back just seems misguided.
  • The Shangri-Las – Leader of the Pack. As the movie says, the guy beefs it on his motorcycle and dies.
  • Nancy Sinatra – These Boots Are Made for Walking. “You keep thinking that you’ll never get burned / I just found me a brand new box of matches / And what he knows you ain’t got time to learn.”
  • The Knack – My Sharona. Rock rock rock.
  • Billy Joel – We Didn’t Start the Fire. One of the most stunning experiences in my time at Medill was seeing news footage put to this song line by line. Harry Truman, Doris Day, Red China, Johnnie Ray, and the rest.
  • We Didn’t Start the Fire also makes the Blender list, but I don’t mind disagreeing with them too. Other songs where the list and I part ways include: the Beach Boys’ Kokomo (my 4th grade’s musical song at Blessed Sacrament and rememberable to boot), 4 Non Blondes’ What’s Up? (easily defendable if you can don’t hate the vocals), Deep Blue Something’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s (maybe the movie biases me), and Master P’s Make Em Say Uhh! (for the telephone intro alone — “This ain’t no motherfuckin P!”)

    And then there’s Achy Breaky Heart. The song’s bad, I know. Among the worst. But Billy Ray’s work inspired me in 8th grade to write Achy Breaky Dad, a song for a possible Romeo and Juliet scene in which Juliet briefly awakens in the Caputlet tomb with a cowboy hat on her head and a tune in her heart. “Don’t tell my dad, my achy breaky dad, I just don’t think he’d understand….”

    Memories, I tells ya.

    But I can’t be completely contrary. There was one suggested song where I totally agreed with Tribune’s audience: Eddie Murphy’s Boogie in Your Butt.

    The song is easily among the worst ever.

    Say, put some fleas in your butt

    Say, start to sneeze in your butt

    Say, put a tin can in your butt

    Put a little tiny man in your butt

    Please enjoy the full lyrics.

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