The local CBC radio afternoon show (On the Coast, 690 AM, weekdays 3-6 pm) is running a competition for the Worst Song Ever. Each afternoon, nominations are announced, the firestorm of Twitter comments is discussed, and a featured song is played in its awesome entirety. Recently as I emerge from the underground parking after work, for the commute home, my car radio has been crackling into reception with
wonderful memorable songs from long ago.
Yesterday, the feature was “MacArthur Park,” sung by Richard Harris. I entirely agree with the nomination on an intellectual level. It has very weird lyrics sung by a terrible singer. Here is a great sampling and analysis of MacArthur Park, in only 3 minutes, although the actual recording was over 7 minutes. It is no surprise that this song has been a frequent target of parody and ridicule. Nevertheless, hearing it transported me back to a time – 1968 to be exact – when weird lyrics were expected (Yellow Submarine) and tunelessness was not a problem (Leonard Cohen). Come to think of it, Leonard had them both wrapped up in “Suzanne.”
Today, “Honey (I miss you)” by Bobby Goldsboro was featured. (Watch the video, if only to admire the hair and the shirt collar.) What a ridiculous tearjerker! However, again it took me back, again to 1968, when my father actually went out and bought that record (maybe the only 45 rpm he ever bought) because it touched him.
Another day, “Muskrat Love” by Captain and Tennille (1976) was played. As Wikipedia explains, it depicts a “romantic liaison between two anthropomorphic muskrats named Susie and Sam. That one never lodged in my memory at all, for some reason.
The song that leapt into my mind when I heard about the contest was “You’re Having My Baby” by Paul Anka. What an awful song! I have ALWAYS hated it. It was released in 1974 and apparently has regularly topped Worst Song lists every since.
The oldest song that I remember, that would be a worthy entry in this contest was “Teen Angel,” released in late 1959. It was banned initially in the U.S. as it was thought to be unsuitable for young ears. I seem to remember that my sister was fascinated by it. If you like that genre, Wikipedia even has a listing of car crash songs (for handy reference by bloggers). Teen Angel managed to combine a car crash with a train wreck.
You Tube and Wikipedia are wonderful.