Paul Anka with Odia Coates, (You're) Having My Baby
United Artists 454, 1974, #1 (3 weeks)
If the antiabortion movement ever adopts this as a theme song,
Planned Parenthood will rule the world. Anka sings this as
though sperm reception were a woman's highest goal.
Frankie Avalon, Why
Chancellor 1045, 1959, #1 (1 week)
Frankie couldn't really sing, but usually they gave him material
that wouldn't emphasize his vocal weaknesses. Not this time.
The Bee Gees, Stayin' Alive
RSO 885, 1977, #1 (4 weeks)
Disco, despite its relentless emphasis on monotonous beat, did
produce many good songs, some of which emanated from the Brothers
Gibb, and almost all of which were better than this falsetto
Captain and Tennille, Muskrat Love
A&M 1870, 1976, #4
Neither the Captain's knack for arrangements nor Toni's seductive
voice can salvage this piece of tripe, and the electronic rodents
are the last straw.
MCA 40102, 1973, #1 (2 weeks)
A really bad song given a really bad reading by a generally
pretty good singer.
Eric Clapton, Wonderful Tonight
RSO 895, 1978, #16
Even if it's true that Clapton meant this not as terms of
endearment but as a flip dismissal, it's still way beneath him.
Firefall, Just Remember I Love You
Atlantic 3420, 1977, #11
Sung as though actual emotion might break the tape, this is the
most insipid recording by one of the most insipid Seventies
Art Garfunkel with James Taylor and Paul Simon, Wonderful World
Columbia 3-10676, 1978, #17
Surely this was never intended to be a lugubrious drone;
certainly neither Sam Cooke nor, heaven help us, Peter "Herman"
Noone, ever sang it that way.
Lee Greenwood, God Bless the USA
Curb/MCA 52386, 1985, did not chart pop
Embarrassingly jingoistic, even by Eighties standards, and here's why.
Human League, (Keep Feeling) Fascination
A&M 2547, 1983, #8
You'd be hard-pressed to prove that any humans participated in
this recording, though perhaps you could argue that no computer
program could produce such discordant screeches for vocals.
Kenny Loggins with Stevie Nicks, Whenever I Call You "Friend"
Columbia 3-10794, 1978, #5
The title is actually the least awkward aspect of the song,
which takes prefab sentiments and drains all semblance of
sincerity out of them.
Olivia Newton-John, Please Mr. Please
MCA 40418, 1975, #3
Yet another case of a good singer saddled with bad material, and
just to make things worse, overdubbed background vocals that make
Livvy sound like the Chipmunks on Prozac.
Donny Osmond, Puppy Love
MGM 14367, 1972, #10
Most of Donny's early solo work was pretty dire, but this one
gets the nod for being a recycled Paul Anka tune, which is pretty
dire stuff to begin with. Interestingly, his duets with sister
Marie, from a couple years later, aren't bad at all.
Helen Reddy, I Am Woman
Capitol 3350, 1972, #1 (1 week)
Generally, I defend Reddy's song choices, even as perverse as
"Leave Me Alone (Ruby Red Dress)", but this grating would-be
anthem has only grown more annoying with time.
Diana Ross, Ain't No Mountain High Enough
Motown 1169, 1970, #1 (3 weeks)
Demonstrating an utter lack of understanding of the material,
Ross turns a simple love song into a grandiose monument to
herself. What was Berry Gordy thinking?
Diana Ross and Lionel Richie, Endless Love
Motown 1519, 1981, #1 (9 weeks)
Blah theme from a blah movie, pitched wrongly for both Ross and
Richie, and grating from beginning to end.
Boz Scaggs, Lido Shuffle
Columbia 3-10491, 1977, #11
Too bland to be hip, too counterculture to be MOR, this song just
kind of lies there in its own pretensions, as overly-busy
arrangements clutter up the background.
Barbra Streisand and Barry Gibb, Guilty
Columbia 3-10840, 1980, #3
All by itself, this song killed off my decade-long Streisand
fixation; it was like finding A. J. Foyt driving a clapped-out
Escort in the parking lot at Wal-Mart.
Think featuring Lou Stallman, Once You Understand
Laurie 3583, 1972, #23
Brought to you by the Partnership for a Brain-Free America.
Three Dog Night, Joy to the World
Dunhill 4272, 1971, #1 (6 weeks)
An enormous hit by some very good vocalists, written by a first-class wordsmith, that nonetheless signifies nothing.