Worst Songs List

Top 10 List: Worst Songs of 1970

1970. What a year it was. Vietnam, Apollo 13, the first jumbo jet, etc. And that’s just outside of the world of music. The Beatles broke up, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin passed away, and the 60s never truly ended yet. Like the 60s and a good chunk of the 70s, easy listening music was inescapable, the kind of songs your parents would listen to. At the same time, Motown and R&B/soul were pretty much the best parts of the year along with a lot of rock. It was actually a mostly decent year for pop music, but this list is focused on the worst of that year. So let’s get started.

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10.

Okay, let me say this first: I don’t hate Elvis Presley. Even though I’m not exactly a fan, I recognize the talent that he has and he is an important figure in pop music history. He was the reason rock n’ roll blew up in the first place and he was one of the high points of the 50s. Seriously, go listen to some of the big hits of that time and then compare them to Elvis. There are debates about whether or not he’s guilty of appropriating music from black artists, but that’s a topic for another day. Anywho, Elvis lands on this list for a live version cover of a 1958 Baker Knight song called The Wonder Of You and it’s clear that he’s past his prime. The instrumentation is so lifeless and plastic. This feels like something made for a movie and it sounded dated even back then. And then you have Elvis phoning it in throughout. It’s one of his weakest hits to date and it’s far from his last. He would continue having hits until his death in 1977. Looking back at his discography, Elvis has some good songs and this ain’t one of them.

9.

White Plains is such an appropriate name for this band. They’re white and they’re plain, which also applies to the music. Just look at the title of their big US hit, My Baby Loves Lovin’. Fucking genius. And it’s as creative as the title suggests a.k.a it’s one of the most generic, cookie-cutter love songs the 70s have pooped out.

My baby loves love
My baby loves lovin’
She’s got what it takes
And she know how to use it

My baby loves love
My baby loves lovin’
She’s got what it takes
And she know how to use it

That was the chorus, BTW.”My girl loves the act of loving.” How riveting. The instrumentation is just as cookie-cutter, utilizing the safest, nonthreatening sounds from the decade. People who complain about today’s music sounding the same should go back and listen to shit like this and realize that the pop charts have always pushed mediocrity.

8.

The 70s didn’t just have boring shit, it also had a LOT of weird shit, too. The kind of weird shit that made you question what the hell people were thinking at the time until you think about the copious amount of drugs they consumed. Exhibit A: Look What They’ve Done To My Song, Ma, a cover to a Melanie Safka’s What Have They Done To My Song, Ma. It starts off as a typical acoustic guitar ballad before being accompanied by an accordion. I don’t know about you, but I can’t take any song with an accordion in it seriously. It’s always going to sound like a joke, even when it’s supposed to be serious. Every time I hear this song, I hear nothing but background music for a French film. And that’s one of several musical elements that are in the song that don’t mesh with one another. I don’t even know what they did to this song, ma.

7.

Wow. Here’s a song that could’ve only existed in the 70s, Bobby Sherman’s Julie, Do Ya Love Me. Just listen to that messy instrumentation and try to picture it being made outside of the 70s. With that, being dated isn’t the reason why this song is on the list. No, it’s on the list because of the writing and content. Mr. Sherman here is feeling down because he had to leave his girl, who’s name is Julie. What should sound romantic ends up being lame and schmaltzy. And this dude was apparently a heartthrob back in the days. If there’s anything that pop music history has taught us, it’s that women would throw themselves at any pretty boy, no matter the quality of their music.

6.

The Carpenters are a brother-sister duo whose clean-cut polished style led them to become one of the most successful acts of the 70s. And truth be told, I’m not a fan. They do have talent and some of their songs aren’t that bad, but they didn’t appeal to me in general. Way too vanilla for my taste. They had the number 2 song of 1970 with (They Long To Be) Close To You, which is one of their weaker songs. It’s a boring 70s ballad with dull piano, dull strings, dull everything. This song sounds like a lullaby. I almost didn’t make it through the song because I kept falling asleep. As for the writing?

Why do birds suddenly appear
Every time you are near?
Just like me, they long to be
Close to you

Why do stars fall down from the sky
Every time you walk by?
Just like me, they long to be
Close to you

I know it’s metaphors, but when I look at these lines, I picture either a guy getting attacked by birds or he’s about to be struck by a meteor.

On the day that you were born the angels got together
And decided to create a dream come true
So they sprinkled moon dust in your hair of gold and starlight in your eyes of blue

What white bread Disney magic shit is this? Shit is beyond corny, it’s a whole field of corn. But I get it. Middle class white moms need their music, too. Seems like they have too much control over what became popular at the time.

5.

You ever looked at a song title/artist name and expected one thing, but got something completely different? Well, that’s the feeling I had when I came across a song called United We Stand by The Brotherhood Of Man. I was expecting a protest song from a multi-racial group, but instead, we got a schmaltzy, pseudo-gospel declaration of love from a bunch of white folks. Look, there’s nothing wrong with the message. I can get behind it because the world does need more love. But I find this to be some cornball, sanitized shit. This is Sunday school music with all references to God and Jesus removed. Look, I appreciate the message and the fact that it resonates with some people, but I’m gonna have to pass on this one.

4.

I’ve said in the past that R&B was one of the best parts of 70s music (which I still stand by), BUT that doesn’t mean all of it was good. Just look at Hey There Lonely Girl by Eddie Holman. The instrumentation is alright, but then there’s Eddie Holman’s voice. Dear Lord Beerus, this dude’s voice. He has one of those ear-piercing falsettos that sounds like a chain-smoking Mickey Mouse. Every high note he hits is so shrill that I can’t listen to the song on headphones. In the writing, the dude has his eyes on a girl whose boyfriend broke her heart and he offers to be her new boyfriend. Yeah, that’s not generating Treat You Better vibes at all. If I ever hear this song on an R&B station, I’m pressing skip immediately.

3.

Gimme Dat Ding by The Pipkins. What the flying hell did I just listen to? Was this a rejected song from an old 30s cartoon? This is what people at the time bumped in the whip? Two dudes going back and forth, one of them sounding like Popeye the Sailor Man while the other one keeps saying Gimme Dat Ding over and over on top of a honky-tonk piano. What is the ding, anyways? Is that another way of saying “pass the blunt?” Is it a brand of beer? “What you want?” “Gimme dat ding, please.” Is it sex? Considering that both performers are men, that’s kinda progressive for the 70s. Who knows? All I know is that I don’t want to hear it again. Gimme Dat Ding, another novelty hit that left me puzzled.

2.

Never has there been a song that raised so many questions before I started listening to it. The full title to Ronnie Dyson’s big hit is (If You Let Me Make Love To You, Then) Why Can’t I Touch You?. Wouldn’t making love to someone involve physical contact? Are they having Amish sex where they fuck with sheets between them? Are they having phone sex? Ghost sex? Are they fucking using telepathy or telekinesis? Do they use one of those devices from Demolition Man?

I could talk about the instrumentation or the vocals, but I’m just stuck on how contradictory this song title is. Are you fucking or are you not? Unless make love had a different definition back then, I’m pretty sure touching someone is gonna happen. Maybe the writing will help explain things, but *spoilers* they don’t. Did no one notice that this song didn’t make sense overall when you think about it?

And now, here are some dishonorable mentions.

DISHONORABLE MENTIONS

  • Bread-Make It With You
  • The Poppy Family-Which Way You Goin’, Billy
  • The Jaggerz-The Rapper
  • Bobby Sherman-Easy Come, Easy Go
  • Frijid Pink-House Of The Rising Sun
  • B.J. Thomas-I Just Can’t Help Believing
  • Tee Set-Ma Belle Amie
  • Ides Of March-Vehicle
  • Robin McNamara-Lay A Little Lovin’ On Me
  • The Sandpipers-Come Saturday Morning

And finally, the worst song of 1970 IS………

drum roll

1.

If there’s any song from the past that epitomizes shooting for the stars and failing miserably, it’s this one. Ray Stevens, a guy known for unfunny comedy songs, decided to get serious and made Everything Is Beautiful, which became his first number one single. Let’s just call this song for what it is: it’s religious propaganda. It has the presentation of Sunday school and it’s barf-inducingly sappy and disingenuous at heart. This is the music that would get played at some Republican convention somewhere in the country. Now, there’s nothing wrong with the message. Be more tolerant to others who look different from you? Fine. But there’s an issue with the messenger. Like I said, Ray Stevens made a career out of comedy songs. If he wants to be serious, fine, but be consistent, dude. Let me remind you that this guy made a song called Ahab The Arab. I won’t put up a link, you go listen to it yourself. And in the 21st century, he made some hack political songs, including one in 2010 called God Bless Arizona where he defended the state when they proposed a law that would allow more racial profiling against Latinos. What I’m trying to say here is that Ray Stevens is a flaming hypocrite. And this won’t be the last time we’ll hear from him on this series. Congratulations to Everything Is Beautiful for being the worst song of 1970.

And those were the ten worst songs of 1970. In two weeks, BACK TO THE 70s will continue with the Worst Songs of 1971.

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Peace!!

SONGS OF THE WEEK

Shutdown-Skepta

I Dare You-The xx

All On My Mind-Anderson East

Nowhere Now-Steven Wilson

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8 thoughts on “Top 10 List: Worst Songs of 1970

  1. OK, now the 70s were a bit before my time, but I can always go and check some songs on the future Best Lists out. I just recently found out that Keep Ya Head Up’s hook samples O-o-h Child, which is what makes that song even more awesome. I may not have seen both GOTG films, but that doesn’t mean I’ll enjoy these songs.

    Anyway, about this Worst List: I thought Fall Out Boy had the longest song titles, but Ronnie Dyson might have just taken the title. Also, I’ve never heard it, but make up your mind, Ronnie Dyson: are you having sex with her or not? And the “Why do birds suddenly appear?” line has me thinking about the Hitchcock film The Birds, which is what makes this line either funnier or scarier. At Number 4, any song that reminds me of Treat You Better fully deserves my hate.

    Here are some of my predictions for these lists: (You’re) Having My Baby for Worst Song of 1974, and Disco Duck for Worst Song of 1976.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Only real disagreements are (They Long To Be) Close To You, which I honestly just find really relaxing, and United We Stand, which I found to be pretty powerful sounding, though I do see why you don’t like them. As for the lyrics of Gimme Dat Ding, it’s dumber than you thought. From the Wikipedia article on the song:
    “When Hammond and Hazlewood wrote and composed ‘Gimme Dat Ding,’ it was one selection from their musical sequence ‘Oliver in the Overworld,’ which formed part of the British children’s show Little Big Time, hosted by Freddie and the Dreamers; this narrated a surreal story of a little boy seeking the parts to mend his grandfather clock. The lyrics of the song relate to this story, the song being sung by a metronome who has been expelled by the Clockwork King; the ‘ding’ has been stolen from the metronome by the ‘Undercog.’ The original version of the song, as performed by Freddie Garrity, was released on the album Oliver in the Overworld in 1970.”
    So it’s literally about a clock……*bashes head against wall*.

    And now for your thoughts on the anomalies between our lists:

    Worst:

    Edison Lighthouse – Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Grows)
    Glen Campbell (may he rest in peace) – It’s Only Make Believe

    Best:

    Creedence Clearwater Revival – Up Around The Bend
    Anne Murray – Snowbird
    Mungo Jerry – In The Summertime
    Three Dog Night – Mama Told Me (Not To Come)
    Neil Diamond – Cracklin’ Rosie

    Like

    1. Also, another fun fact in regards to “Gimme Dat Ding”. The vocalist for that song, Tony Burrows, is the lead vocalist for other songs on this very worst list in the form of “My Baby Loves Lovin'” by White Plains, “United We Stand” by Brotherhood of Man, and Halston’s recommended pick for worst of 1970, “Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)” by Edison Lighthouse. Keep that in mind for 1974, as he also provided the lead vocals for “Beach Baby” by The First Class.

      Liked by 1 person

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