Monday, March 05, 2007

Who Wrote That?

At work today, I had to turn my radio down. That’s nothing unusual as I am frequently asked by a coworker to turn it down. This time, however, I turned it down on my own as I was overcome with embarrassment at the music coming out of the oldies radio station I was listening to. I know that working up ‘worst song ever’ lists is nothing new, but it got me thinking about some of my least favorite oldies tunes. So, without further delay, here are the oldies I hate. Keep in mind this is my list so if you take exception to any of the songs I’ve listed (although I doubt you will), I apologize, if I have to, I guess…whatever. They are:

Puff the Magic Dragon (Peter, Paul and Mary) - I used to confuse this dragon with Elliot, who was Pete’s Dragon. Then I remembered the easy way to tell them apart: Elliot wasn’t stoned!

Hang On Sloopy (The McCoys) – This was actually a number one hit – in our country! Wikipedia says it’s the official rock song of Ohio (All I can find for California is “I Love You California,” go figure). If you’re nickname is Sloopy, then you deserve to live on the very bad part of town with everybody trying to bring you down.

Down in the Boondocks (Billy Joe Royal) – The chorus is catchy, but not catchy enough. It’s just a fancy way of saying the sticks and didn’t John Denver take care of that with “Thank God I’m A Country Boy?”

Incense and Peppermint (The Strawberry Alarm Clock) – Have you ever seen a strawberry alarm clock? I mean when awake and sober? That should have been our first hint. Tell me again why this song isn’t a Christmas tune…

Alone Again Naturally (Gilbert O’Sullivan) – Ahh, the anthem of suicidal manic-depressives the world over. WARNING: If you are not in a good place mentally, skip this ditty. Actual lyrics: ‘I promise myself to treat myself and visit a nearby towerand climbing to the top will throw myself off…’ I’m guessing that if you consider jumping off a tall structure a treat (like maybe the rest of us consider ice cream to be a treat), you will naturally find yourself alone, again. I’m not sure who wrote this song but chances are after it was released they were put on an extended psychiatric watch.

I Started a Joke (The Bee Gees) – I remember starting a joke a few years back. It revolved around the lyrics to ‘Stayin’ Alive’ and the death of one of the Gibb twins. Oh but I didn’t see that the joke was on me.

Quinn the Eskimo (Manfred Mann) – Really all I can say is that I don’t think the world was (or ever will be) ready for a Pop Eskimo ballad. This one is better buried out back behind the igloo to rest in peace. That reminds me, I’m craving some Baked Alaska…

In the Summertime (Mungo Jerry) – Mungo, seriously? This may have been the debut of that making sounds in your fists Beat Box thing. No matter what, it’s possibly the worst summertime song ever, unless you consider that Itsy Bitsy Bikini song a summertime tune. On the other hand, it does feature a nice motor boat engine revving in the background and way too few pop tunes have that element.

If I Had a Hammer (Triny Lopez) – Yes, it’s quite catchy, so catchy that I find myself singing it at times. Is the updated version “If I Had a Semi-Automatic?” I’d shoot it in the morning…Did I mention how catchy it is? Really, I’m singing it now. It sounds like this one should be in my ‘like’ category, but I do turn it down when it gets radio airplay. I mean when there are others around me.

Space Oddity (David Bowie) – Hey, ground control and Major Tom, I still haven’t figured this one out! To quote David Spade, I liked this one better when it was called…Rocket Man. You can only assume that Bing Crosby had never heard this before he sang Drummer Boy with Bowie.

Of all of these ‘songs’ though, without a shadow of a doubt, the one that fills me with the most vile hatred is…

In the Year 2525 (Zager and Evans) - Folks, this too was a number one hit! I don’t even know where to begin. As a child, this song scared the Playdough out of me. Well, that year isn’t too far off now and it looks like man will still be alive and woman can indeed survive.

There are a couple of songs that I used to make fun of, but fortunately I matured just enough to fully appreciate them for the classic gems that they are. Those songs are:

Midnight Train to Georgia (Gladys Knight) – I dare you to listen to that song and not pretend to pull the horn during the chorus’ “woo hoos.” I guess you would call that playing the air train whistle.

You’re So Vain (Carly Simon) – Perhaps one of the best songs ever recorded. To this day, I cannot watch someone sneak a peak in the mirror as they pass by one without singing the chorus to them. Mick Jagger sings backup and the longtime rumor is that it’s about either him or Warren Beatty. Which is it Carly? Some of us need to know!

Brandy (The Looking Glass) – As a young stupid kid, I could never understand why they were singing about a glass of Brandy and referring to it as a girl, much less a fine one. Then I got older and realized I had been mistaken. After The Looking Glasses’ description, what a good wife she would be!

I am sure there will be more songs that occur to me or that you may point out. Because of their supreme status, I left out Octopuses Garden by The Beatles, several songs by The Doors and “Love Child” by The Supremes (how many other rock and roll songs can you think of that feature the phrase “tenement slum?”). Perhaps I’ll update this list again some day. Does anyone remember Chuck Berry’s “My Ding-A-Ling?” Boy did we think we were being naughty in school while singing that one!


mist1 said...

Thanks for reminding me to put Carly Simon on my iPod.

Awesome Mom said...

Thank you for not linking to the songs to that people are tempted to actually listen to them. Bless you!

The Drive-by Blogger said...

That Mungo Jerry song is also very strangely class conscious, as can be seen in the lines:
If her daddy's rich take her out for a meal
If her daddy's poor just do what you feel

Elitist bastards!

Michael C said...

Mist1: You are very welcome!

Awesome Mom: Thanks, I wouldn't want anyone to be as bothered by those songs as I am.

Drive-by Blogger: You know, you are absolutely right. And just what does 'do what you feel' translate to, anyway?

Josie said...

Michael, your list is almost identical to mine. I would add one though: Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog. I mean, what he he** is that about? And it has no tune.

And anything sung by Celine Dion gives me immediate stomach cramps. Or Michael Bolton. I once broke my toe running across the room to turn off a Michael Bolton song on the radio. Ha!


Abigail S said...

A note to Josie- I actually like that Jeremiah was a bullfrog spong. I have a student named Jeremiah, and I sing it to him all the time!

Sorry, Michael. I can't really comment on your list, cuz I'm a youngin' and really have no clue what most of those are. I do know the Georgia song, but that's only cuz I went to college in GA.

The Moon Topples said...

I feel compelled to point out two things:

1. Space Oddity came out before Rocket Man. And no, that doesn't make it a good song. I'd still pick Bowie over Elton overall, though.

2. My Ding-a-ling was Chuck Berry's only #1 hit. How sad is that?

Sorry for the intrusion. Carry on.

Lizza said...

Your post makes me glad I don't know most of those songs. :-) Of the ones I do know, I don't like I Started a Joke.

But I do like Octopuses Garden. :-D

Odat said...

Ok..I'm going to admist that I like Puff the Magic Dragon, and Jerimiah was A Bullfrog and Ocotupuses Gargen and even If I had a Hammer,(altho I've changed the lyrics..hehe). The rest I can live without.

captain corky said...

If I Had a Hammer I would take it to my head if were forced to listen to that annoying song. I agree with most of your list except for Brandy and Midnight Train to Georgia. Please remove these two songs from your list so I can give you the Captain Corky seal of approval.

you'dneverguess said...

Oh boy, that got my morning off to a great start. This is a great list and I take exception to none of these songs.
Is one of the lines in Quinn the Eskimo, "When Quinn the Eskimo gets there, everybody's gonna wanna dose?" As in take acid? I've always been baffled by that song.
I would have also added Wooly Booly or is it Bully? And A Horse With No Name by America.
I'm glad you liked that list. Funny huh? Hope your people at work enjoy it.

Michael C said...

Lizza: It's the Beatles, so they get a free pass ;-)

Odat: Jermiah was actually a good friend of mine. I never understood a word he said though...

Captain Corky: Does that you mean you don't like them? I guess if it gets your seal of approval then it's worth it.

You'dneverguess: I think that is the lyric although when I was younger, I thought it was dosy doh (like the square dance), but then no on ever accused me of being smart.

Michael C said...

Josie, Abigail and Moon Topples - sorry, i didn't mean to skip you. Please forgive me!!

josie: breaking a toe to turn of Bolton would be sooooo worth it!!

abigail: I always listened to music that was much older than me. Maybe that's why so many of these songs make no sense to me.

moon topples: Thanks for the help. Johnny B. Goode not a #1, My-Ding-a-ling is a #1 hit? What is wrong with our society???

Jay said...

I actually have an affinity for Major Tom. Love him.

Natalie said...

I have serious love for Puff The magic dragon (In my defense I heard it at age 4) and Incense and Peppermints (I teeter on the verge of hippie at all times). I really like Love Child too and listened to My ding-a-ling just the other day.

Meloncutter said...

Probably the one song that makes me cringe the most is that song...
"YUMMY YUMMY YUMMY". Not sure but I think Cream did it.



What did I do to you to put me through this....?????

Whatever I did I am sorry.

Later Y'all.

Pickled Olives said...

David Bowie can do no wrong in my book! You can add Neil Young to that list for me though!

CSL said...

I can't believe you don't have MscArthur Park on there. Someone left the cake out in the rain?? I don't think that I can take it. Quinn the Eskimo is just plain absurd. Come on without, come on within? And oh my God, I'm with you on 2525. HATE IT.

But, I've always liked Major Tom sitting in his tin can. And even that wallowing-in-despair song Alone Again, Naturally. I mean, you gotta give the guy points for working in getting stood up at the altar and the deaths of both his parents. That's rich.

Violet said...

I'd be really embarrassed if an unexpected visitor heard that my radio was tuned to an easy listening channel. But my little daughter doesn't like all the rap, jazz and thrash that the student radio station plays, so I'm going to have to live with the uncoolness of it all.

Anonymous said...

Somehow I seem to remember that Down in the Boondocks was a personal favorite of yours in high school. Guess your taste is evolving : )