The year of Watergate, 1972 has become one of my favorite years in pop music. I wouldn’t call it the best year out of the decade or of all time, but it contained some of my favorite songs. It was another round of rock, soul, funk, pop, country, etc., from the previous year. And like every year, it has its bad, so let’s count them down right now.
Ah, the memories this song generated for me. Flying a plane through the San Andreas desert while listening to K-DST. Most of the songs on that station were perfect driving/flying music. But A Horse With No Name by America has a significant problem that lands it on this list: the lyrics. I don’t know what Dewey Bunnell was thinking while writing this song, but it’s clear that he didn’t give a shit about putting in effort. Half the time, the writing is super-vague or just plain nonsensical.
There were plants and birds and rocks and things
There was sand and hills and rings
Like I said before, how descriptive. There are things in the desert.
The heat was hot and the ground was dry
But the air was full of sound
Are you on acid?
In the desert you can remember your name
‘Cause there ain’t no one for to give you no pain
Seriously, what does that last line mean? Is it one of those Zen questions that have no answer like if a tree falls in the woods and no one’s there to hear it, did it technically happen? Whatever. In spite of how stupid this song is, I put it low on the list because it at least sounds nice and it’s perfect desert music. By that, I mean that it perfectly captures what it feels like to be stranded in the desert, all dehydrated and delirious to the point where you’re hallucinating.
Well, here’s some lame shit. Melanie is a folk singer whose biggest hit is called Brand New Key. This is a song about a girl who got a brand new pair of roller skates and is trying to attract the attention of a boy she likes with little to no luck. And it may or may not be a euphemism for sex. Whatever the song is about, it won’t save it from the cheap, breathy folk instrumentation that wouldn’t sound out of place on a really old crappy kids’ show and Melanie’s bad singing. It’s bad enough the writing is shit, but this girl is also struggling in the vocal department. People must have been really desperate to make this number one on the charts.
Rick Nelson was a teen idol who would have 53 charting singles on the Hot 100 from 1957 to 1973. To say he has one hell of a work ethic would be an understatement. One of those charting single is Garden Party. This song is about a concert at Madison Square Garden where Rick got booed off stage, something that actually happened (though there were different accounts of what actually happened) and he felt some type of way about. Honestly, if he was performing songs like this, I can understand why the crowd booed because this is kinda boring. The instrumentation is the kind of sound that initially turned me off to country music, lagging and sluggish. Also, he comes off a bit pissy, which makes it hard for me to sympathize with him. This would be Rick Nelson’s last Top 40 hit, which is honestly for the best.
I’m going to admit: I don’t know much about Wayne Newton. I know he does a lot of Vegas tunes and he has a weird face due to too much plastic surgery. Well, here’s is most successful song to date in Daddy Don’t You Walk So Fast. That sounds promising. In this song, a guy is about to leave after breaking up with his wife, but then his daughter shows up and doesn’t want him to leave. Seeing that he doesn’t want to break her heart, he lies to her. Now, parents lying to their kids is nothing new and we’ve all experienced it at one point of our lives and there’s nothing inherently wrong with the message of the song. My issues come from the sound, whether it be the boring, hokey instrumentation or Wayne Newton’s bad singing. Others have pointed out that he sounds like a woman and I can hear it. Yeah, not a fan of Wayne Newton overall.
Mac Davis started off as a songwriter, working on songs for artists like Elvis Presley. Then, he started a singing career and thus, we have his number one single Baby Don’t Get Hooked On Me. On a musical level, it seems like a schmaltzy country ballad that’s very vanilla and easy to overlook. But then you get into the writing and it reveals something much worse. In Baby Don’t Get Hooked On Me, Mac Davis is warning a girl not to get too attached to him because… well, the chorus explains it.
Baby, baby, don’t get hooked on me
Baby, baby, don’t get hooked on me, oooh
Cause I’ll just use you
Then I’ll set you free
Baby, baby, don’t get hooked on me
He doesn’t want to get tied to down to such silly things as a relationship or a marriage. All he wants is to hit it and quit it. That’s kind of a dick move right there. Goes to show that being a douchebag is universal. Honestly, with the way he acts, this dude will probably be one of those old coots who’ll hit on the younger nurses while they empty his adult diapers. That’s not true, though. In reality, Mac Davis is on his third wife. Song blows regardless of the situation.
Remember that Pepsi commercial from a year ago starring one of the Jenner sisters that caused controversy because of its idiotically tone-deaf use of protest to bring peace?
Me, neither. I bring this up because this isn’t the first time a company used a social message to sell carbonated sugar water. Back in 1971, Coca-Cola aired a commercial featuring a bunch of people from different backgrounds singing I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing (In Perfect Harmony). Then, The New Seekers did their own version of the jingle and here we are. The song is overly-whimsical hippy crap with some very idiotic lyrics. Also, this was a song that was written for a commercial. I don’t care if they did change the lyrics so it can get airplay, I will never listen to this song and not associate it with Coca-Cola. It has a fine enough message that can be a reality to a perfect world, but sadly, we don’t live in a perfect world.
Hello again, Donny Osmond. I was expecting to see your shrill voice-having self again on this list. And how appropriate that he has a song called Puppy Love. I know it’s a song made for prepubescent girls, but it’s a bit on-the-nose, don’t you think? Anyways, this is a cover to a Paul Anka original, which already sucks and Donny Osmond makes it worse by turning the song into a bubblegum teenybopper with instrumentation straight out of the late 50s and early 60s. There’s enough sap in this song to kill a man, that’s how sugarcoated it is. Again, this kid would grow up to sing one of the best Disney songs of all time. Reality is a lot stranger than fiction.
Dude. I am speechless right now. I can’t even come up with the right words to describe what I just listened to. Ladies and gentlemen, Jungle Fever by The Chakachas. Now, this would have been a fine enough instrumental track, but what puts it high on the list is one thing: the moaning. The goddamn moaning sounds coming from what sounds like a middle-aged Hispanic woman who’s either masturbating or having sex. I’m going with sex. I’ve said this time and time again: I don’t want to hear porn audio while listening to music. At all. How does anyone listen to this whole song in public without turning redder than a ripe tomato? This shit is background music for people who pop quaaludes, sniff cocaine, and get involved in public orgies. Keep this far, far away from me, please.
Once again, ladies and gentlemen. Chuck Berry’s first and only number one hit. One of the pioneers of rock ‘n roll music and his highest charting single is called My Ding-A-Ling. A song about his dick. At first, it seems like Chuck Berry is talking about a toy he got as a present from his grandmother and he plays with it everywhere. But as the song progresses and you pay more attention to the lyrics, it becomes clear that he’s not just talking about a toy. I mean, come on. Silver bells hanging on a string? And it’s made worse every time Chuck says “ding-a-ling-a-ling.” We get the joke. You don’t need to hammer it in. I don’t want to know about what you do with your ding-a-ling. And the fact that Chuck was apparently a real-life creep (a “cameras in women’s restroom type) doesn’t make this song any better. This is the type of sophomoric joke that fifth graders would laugh at and would fit in to an Adam Sandler movie. What were you thinking, Chuck?
And now, here are some dishonorable mentions
- Nilsson-Without You
- Climax-Precious And Few
- Bread-Everything I Own
- Donna Fargo-The Happiest Girl In The Whole U.S.A.
- Dr. Hook-Sylvia’s Mother
- Carpenters-Hurting Each Other
- Harry Nilsson-Coconut
- Bobby Vinton-Sealed With A Kiss
- Sailcat-Motorcycle Mama
- Rick Springfield-Speak To The Sky
And finally, the worst song of 1972 IS…….
………………………………. Jesus fucking titties. I thought I had no words when it came to Jungle Fever, but this? This might be one of the most disturbing songs I have ever listened to. I felt like I just witnessed someone being brutally murdered in slow motion. So what is this terror I’m talking about? It’s called Troglodyte (Cave Man) by The Jimmy Castor Bunch. The intro of the song, “What we’re gonna do right here is go back, way back, back into time,” has been sampled a LOT in hip-hop and R&B. But every song that sampled Troglodyte is a hell of a lot better because this shit right here? Let’s talk about it. So Jimmy Castor, in spoken word, tells us about the time of cavemen (or troglodytes) and how they acted, using Flintstones logic, of course. Here are some highlights.
When he got tired of dancing alone, he’d look in the mirror,
“Gotta find a woman, gotta find a woman, gotta find a woman, gotta find a woman”.
He’d go down to the lake where all the women would be swimming or washing clothes or something.
He’d look around and just reach in and grab one.
“Come here…come here”.
He’d grab her by the hair.
You can’t do that today, fellas, ’cause it might come off.
You’d have a piece of hair in your hand and she’d be swimming away from you (Ha, ha)
This one woman just lay there, wet and frightened.
He said: “Move… Move”.
She got up, she was a big woman, big woman.
Her name was Bertha, Bertha Butt, she was one of the Butt sisters.
He didn’t care. He looked up at her and said,
“Sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me
Sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me!”.
What did I just listen to? We got a caveman looking for a woman out at a lake and he grabs one of them by their hair and he wants her to sock it to him. First off, this music sounds like the pits of Hell and this dude sounds like he’s possessed by the devil. Somebody should call an exorcist or something. Second, why is this man talking about this Neanderthal behavior like it was cool? Maybe this was acceptable in the MRA world, but in the sane, rational world? No way. Fortunately for us modern humans, we’ve evolved in a way so that we don’t treat women like a piece of meat, right? Right? Right? Congratulations to Troglodyte (Cave Man) for being the worst song of 1972.
So those were the worst songs of 1972. In two weeks, BACK TO THE 70s continues with the Worst Songs of 1973.
SONG OF THE WEEK
Fast Lane-Bad Meets Evil