It was the height of the Watergate scandal, which caused Nixon to resign as President of the United States (seriously, fuck Dick Nixon), the Vietnam War ended, there was an energy crisis. 1973 was a crazy year for world events. In terms of the world of music, it was okay. Most of the same trends from the previous years remained with little change. Honestly, I’m just waiting on disco to arrive and make things interesting. We’ll get that in the next list, but now, let’s look at the worst that 1973 has to offer.
Look, I don’t hate Paul McCartney. If anything, he’s the second best Beatle. If I had to rank the solo members of The Beatles, it would go John (if you overlook the whole domestic abuse thing), Paul, George, and Ringo. Paul and Wings have a song on my Best of ’73 list, but it ain’t My Love. This is another one of Paul’s more cheesy love songs. The instrumentation is a slow slog of 70s easy listening. The writing is really paper-thin and filled with sap. The “wo wo wos” don’t even bother me that much because the song overall is kinda boring. Skip it.
The Carpenters make another appearance on a Worst Songs list with Sing, a song that originally came from Sesame Street. Seriously. Look, nothing against Sesame Street, but it should not be on the charts. Well, Karen and Richard took this song and made it utterly boring. The writing isn’t that strong, but that’s because it was originally written for a kids’ show and it’s all about singing, that’s it. The instrumentation for the first half sounds like a lullaby before the choir of kids kick in. Were people in the 70s that crazy over Sesame Street music?
No, this is not the Lobo from DC Comics. If it were, you would probably get some heavy metal music. But no. This Lobo is a soft rock singer who isn’t as interesting as the Main Man. He’s on this list with Don’t Expect Me To Be Your Friend, a break-up song where a guy doesn’t want anything to do with his girl who still want to be friends. All of this is delivered with the emotional weight as a freezer. As for the instrumentation? *yawn* Could care less. That sums up my feelings for this song: could care less.
Hurricane Smith was an engineer for the Beatles and has one of the coolest names ever. Seriously. Hurricane Smith sounds like the name of a wrestler. Sadly, his only hit isn’t as cool. Oh Babe, What Would You Say. Sounds promising. The instrumentation is this weird jazz/movie soundtrack sound and I don’t think it works. Hurricane Smith isn’t exactly a good singer. His voice sounds too hoarse for this type of music. Dude should’ve stuck to engineering because this doesn’t look good for him.
Well, this was inevitable. We’ve now reached Carly Simon’s big hit You’re So Vain. Ever since its release, this song has been the subject of debates, mainly on the individual that it’s targeting. We know it’s about a guy, but the question is which guy? Some say it was Mick Jagger, others say it was Warren Beatty (who Carly confirmed the second verse was about), some say it was somebody else. Whoever it’s about, this song reminds me of why I turn away from a lot of Taylor Swift’s music and why I’ve avoided TMZ and the likes. It’s the same speculative tabloid drama that I give zero shits about. Next.
Seriously, this is the second song I came across that reminds me of Sesame Street. What is this? Well, it’s called Playground In My Mind and it comes from Clint Holmes. This music sounds like the opening theme to a little kids’ show. A bad one. Close your eyes and try not to imagine a bunch of little kids running around and playing while they’re greeted by some guy in a weird colorful costume. Just like Sing by The Carpenters, it also features singing children because everything else wasn’t sugary enough. In case you couldn’t tell, this song is cheesy as fuck.
Sometimes, just reading the name of a song will let you know that you’re going to be in some deep shit. Rockin’ Pnemonia & The Boogie Woogie Flu. This was a minor hit for Huey “Piano” Smith in 1957 and it was a typical rock ‘n roll song of the time. Johnny Rivers took that song and updated it for the 70s and ended up making a whitewashed, even more dated cover with messy instrumentation. On another note, if you have two diseases at the same time, you’re gonna die. Just saying.
Well, this exists and I wish it didn’t. This is Clair by Gilbert O’Sullivan. The music sounds really hokey and not helping it is the whistling. I can’t take how it sounds seriously because it sounds like the background music to a commercial. Also, there’s the writing and content and… well, I’m going to quote the song’s Wikipedia page.
The song is the love song of a close family friend who babysits a young girl (actually the artist’s manager’s daughter), though for the first part of the song, the ambiguous text leads one to think that it is from one adult to another. The brief instrumental introduction is the sound of O’Sullivan whistling, before he comes in. The real Clair was the three-year-old daughter of O’Sullivan’s producer-manager, Gordon Mills, and his wife, the model Jo Waring. The little girl’s giggling is heard at the end of this song. The “Uncle Ray” mentioned in the song is O’Sullivan himself, a reference to his real name of Raymond O’Sullivan.
Think about that when you look at the lyrics.
But try as hard as I might do, I don’t know why
You get to me in a way I can’t describe
Words mean so little when you look up and smile
I don’t care what people say
To me you’re more than a child
Clair, if ever a moment so rare
Was captured for all to compare
That moment is you in all that you do
But why in spite of our age difference do I cry
Each time I leave you I feel I could die
Nothing means more to me than hearing you say
“I’m going to marry you
Will you marry me, Uncle Ray”
…………………………….. Anyone else feel the need to take a shower after hearing this song? Because I do. What the hell?
Another list, another Donny Osmond song. What can I say about this kid that I haven’t already said? Here’s The Twelfth Of Never, which is another cover. More specifically, a cover to a Johnny Mathis song. By this point, puberty has started to kick in for Donny, so he doesn’t sound as shrill as he used to. Doesn’t make his singing good, either and the music he’s given is still generic teenybopper shit whose strings try to be elegant, but end up being a drag. Plus, lyrics like this….
I’ll love you ’til the bluebirds
Forget to sing
I’ll love you ’til the clover
Has lost its perfume
I’ll love you ’til the poets
Run out of rhyme
… make it clear that he’s gonna milk these teenage love songs for a good while.
And now, here are some dishonorable mentions.
- Kris Kristofferson-Why Me
- Maureen McGovern-The Morning After
- Bloodstone-Natural High
- Edward Bear-Last Song
- Carpenters-Yesterday Once More
- Helen Ready-Peaceful
- Donna Fargo-Funny Face
- Jud Struck-Daisy A Day
- Albert Hammond-It Never Rains In Southern California
And finally, the worst song of 1973 IS………
Yep. This is real. Your eyes are not deceiving you. Jermaine Jackson of the Jackson 5 is sitting at the top of this list. While little brother Michael could (almost) do no wrong, Jermaine didn’t exactly have the best start. His first big hit was Daddy’s Home, which is an atrocious song. On a surface level, it seems like a typical R&B ballad and Jermaine doesn’t sound that bad. But then you look at the title of the song and some of the lyrics and you realize something doesn’t add up.
Daddy’s home, your Daddy’s home, to stay
Let me remind you that this is a love song aimed at a woman he loves. I don’t know about you, but I cringe every time a dude calls himself Daddy in context to his lover because it brings up some very disturbing, borderline incestuous implications. Like there’s some women out there who call their significant other “daddy.” Anyone else creeped out by that or is it just me? That one line makes this song even worse than it is and top every other song on this list. Congratulations to Daddy’s Home for being the worst song of 1973.
So those were the worst songs of 1973. In three weeks, BACK TO THE 70s continues with the Worst Songs of 1974.
SONG OF THE WEEK
Pray For Me-The Weeknd & Kendrick Lamar