Worst Songs List

Top 10 List: Worst Songs of 1974

Well, we’ve reached the worst year for 70s pop music. Aside from the same trends from the previous years, there was a lot more country music on this year end list. Also, we’re starting to see the introduction to disco, something that will inject some life into the charts as we go through the latter half of the decade. I know this is a short preamble, but I want to get this list over and done with, so let’s look at the worst that 1974 has to offer.

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10.

Honestly speaking, Grease was the best thing Olivia Newton-John ever did in terms of music because outside of that? Not a fan. Her first number one single in the US is I Honestly Love You. Olivia’s not a bad singer, but good singing isn’t enough to make a good song, especially when you have nothing to work on. It’s a schmaltzy love song with writing as deep as a puddle. The instrumentation is boring 70s piano and string-driven ballad. You’ve heard this type of song a million times before and this doesn’t add anything new besides make Olivia Newton-John a bigger star.

9.

Wanna see how corny country music can be? Well, here’s Tom T. Hall with I Love. In this song, Tom T. lists off all the things he loves, from baby ducks to pick-up trucks to Sunday school to everything associated with rural America. And all three verses ends with a “and I love you, too.” *gags* Like I said, corny as hell. And it’s set to the most boring country instrumentation that they could produce and then there’s Tom T. Hall also sounding bored as he talks about the things he loves. It sounds less like he’s passionate about what he loves and more like “meh, I guess I love those things” in the most nonchalant way possible.

8.

Yep. Even in the 70s, when they were still good, Chicago can still make a song that sucks. This brings us to (I’ve Been) Searchin’ So Long. This is starting to sound like the Chicago we all know and hate. The instrumentation is the same Chicago sound they’ve used since the beginning, but it’s a lot more watered-down and flaccid. Those keys take away whatever punch the instrumentation had. It’s almost like a transition track between their earlier material and what they would release in the next decade. Before this, Peter Cetera was tolerable, but with this song, we’re dipping our toes into cringe territory. Writing-wise, he’s searching for purpose. If you changed a few things, this could’ve been a contemporary Christian song. Not the worst Chicago ever, especially compared to their 80s output, but it’s not good either.

7.

Oh, boy. I don’t know how hot of a hot take this is, but something tells me that I might get into some hot water with this pick. Look, Eric Clapton is great and he’s made some classics by himself and with other bands, but to me, his cover to Bob Marley & The Wailers’ I Shot The Sheriff is kinda wack. The original song is great, this is literally a cheap, white-washed imitation that’s another addition to the long list of instances of white artists doing covers of songs by black artists and seeing more mainstream success because of it AND a lot of faux-reggae coming from the U.K. Plus, it lacks authenticity. See, a song about shooting a sheriff and claiming self-defense is much more believable coming from Bob Marley, who grew up in Jamaica, which has a history of violence in the streets. I don’t buy that Eric Clapton could be put in a situation where he had to shoot at a police officer to save his life. In other words, skip this cover and listen to the original instead.

6.

Seems like I find myself potentially walking into some controversy with this list. I am a bit more cynical towards religion as an atheist who comes from a religious family, but I don’t have a problem with the idea of religion in of itself or the many good people who are religious. I could talk about my issues with fundamentalists and (white) evangelicals and organized religion, but this isn’t that kind of website and I don’t want to bore anyone. So let’s talk about shitty contemporary Christian music instead. The Lord’s Prayer by Sister Janet Mead, a Catholic nun from Australia. They try to make this song cool by adding rock instrumentation when all it does is make it more lame. This is parent rock at best and at worst, it’s a bunch of music executives trying their damnest to appeal to a younger audience. And seeing that it reached number 4 on the Hot 100, there’s an audience for this. If I had to guess, the main demographic for a song like this would obviously be Christian, over the age of 60, and is a frequent watcher of The 700 Club.

5.

After that last entry, let’s go into something less controversial: Terry Jacks’ Seasons In The Sun. This has been considered by many music critics to be one of the worst songs of all time and they’re not exactly wrong. I was originally going to do a Target Practice on this song, but I couldn’t come up with any good material and this was the perfect time to talk about it. This is a cover to a 1961 song from Belgian singer Jacques Brel called Le Moribond (which translates to “a dying person”). So, yeah. This is a song about someone dying. More specifically, a song about a dying person saying goodbye to their loved ones. And Terry Jacks took this song and made it sound WAY too happy. It’s one thing to be at peace with yourself at the end, but with the way Terry talks about death, you’d think he was going to Disneyland. The instrumentation sounds like a Beach Boys reject that they thought was too sunshine-y. You need music that matches the tone or is at least interesting, which this is neither of.

4.

Because one Osmond wasn’t enough trouble, how about we add another Osmond and make it a double? That’s what we got with Donny and Marie Osmond with I’m Leaving It (All) Up To You. Like most of Donny’s hits, this is also a cover. Specifically, it’s a cover to a song from Dale & Grace in 1963. To be honest, I’m not a fan of the original, especially with how vaguely written it is, but that doesn’t mean that Donny and Marie made the better version. This shit sounds like something stuck in the 60s. The doo-wop instrumentation is very trudging even for a song that isn’t even 3 minutes long. Neither Donny or Marie sound that good vocally. And this is ignoring that this is a brother-sister duo singing a love song. Yikes. Expect to see these two again in future lists because they have more hits.

3.

Remember our ol’ good friend Ray Stevens, who made one of the sappiest songs ever in Everything Is Beautiful? Well, he’s back on a Worst Songs list with The Streak, which shows Ray Stevens going back to what made him famous in the first place: being unfunny. In The Streak, a news reel is portrayed where a streaker is wreaking havoc on local residents and a news reporter interviews a guy who warned his wife not to look, but it was too late. By the third verse, the same guy runs into the streaker and to his shock, he’s joined by his wife. Apparently, streaking was a big craze in 1974 and this song was capitalizing off of that. The instrumentation sounds like the hokiest country music ever and isn’t made better by the slide whistle. This is almost like a parody of country music. It’s one thing to make a joke song, but if you’re gonna do that, it has to be funny and this song isn’t funny, just stupid. And this was a number one hit. Before we move on, something to think about: Ray Stevens was 35 years old when this song was released. Imagine seeing this 35 year old dude buck-ass nude while out in public. Something that’ll burn in your brain for a while.

2.

Ladies and gentlemen, the worst thing to come from the Beatles that became a hit, You’re Sixteen by Ringo Starr. Out of all the Beatles who went solo, Ringo was considered the worst and this song is part of the reason why. This cover to the 1960 Johnny Burnette single has hokey instrumentation and mediocre singing from Ringo Starr, but it’s this high on the list for one reason: pedophilia.

You’re sixteen, you’re beautiful and you’re mine

A man in his 30s preying on a teenage girl. Do I even need to explain more? This is taking a page out of the Roy Moore book. All he needs to do is be banned from the mall and his transition would be complete. Then again, Moore would probably love this song because of how much he can relate to it. Ugh. This shit disgusts me. And this was written by the Sherman Brothers. You know, the guys who wrote songs for old Disney movies like Mary Poppins and The Jungle Book? What. The. Hell.

And now, here are some dishonorable mentions.

DISHONORABLE MENTIONS

  • Mac Davis-One Hell Of A Woman
  • Jim Stafford-Spiders & Snakes
  • Bo Donaldson & The Heywood-Billy Don’t Be A Hero
  • Carpenters-Top Of The World
  • The Hollies-The Air That I Breathe
  • Carly Simon & James Taylor-Mockingbird
  • Helen Ready-You And Me Against The World/Leave Me Alone (Ruby Red Dress)
  • Dave Loggins-Please Come To Boston
  • The First Class-Beach Baby
  • Fancy-Wild Thing

And finally, the worst song of 1974…

Screw this build-up. You all know it’s (You’re) Having My Baby.

1.

Yeah, this wasn’t even a contest. Every other song was competing for number 2 while this solidified itself for the number one spot on its existence alone. Not to sound hyperbolic, but Paul Anka’s (You’re) Having My Baby might be the worst song to have ever hit number one in the 70s. The instrumentation makes me want to throw up. It’s that sappy acoustic guitar/electric key/string arrangement sound that’s permeated through the 70s. Paul Anka’s singing is really bad here. This makes the whole song sound like a karaoke. But what’s even worse is the writing. Here, we have a guy celebrating because he’s going to be a father. That in itself doesn’t sound bad, but then there’s the fact that he thinks childbearing is her way of showing her love to him and he claims ownership of the child instead of, you know, sharing it with the potential mother because it’s THEIR baby, not his. Just saying, it takes two to tango. This condescending attitude implies that women are nothing more than machines whose only purpose is love and to make babies. It’s like she has no say in the matter. The woman singing along with Paul, Odia Coates, comes off very submissive to the situation. Not making things better is this.

Didn’t have to keep it
Wouldn’t put ya through it
You could have swept it from you life
But you wouldn’t do it
No, you wouldn’t do it

I refuse to open this can of worms. Why would you put something like that into the song?My goodness, the writing choices for this song are so garbage. This would have been somewhat salvageable if you replaced the “My” with “Our” in the song title. Paul defended his choice by saying that “my” sounded better than ours.

bullshit
*presses*

Congratulations to (You’re) Having My Baby for being the worst song of 1974.

And those were the ten worst songs of 1974. In two weeks, BACK TO THE 70s returns with the Worst Songs of 1975.

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Peace!!

SONG OF THE WEEK

Johnny B. Goode-Chuck Berry

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13 thoughts on “Top 10 List: Worst Songs of 1974

  1. (You’re) Having My Baby being Number 1 on this list is VERY satisfying, because it is one of the most egotistical songs every written, thinking the baby is just his and not his significant other’s. Hey, Paul Anka, here’s a scientific fact for you: the baby is technically the mother’s, since it comes from her womb, but it is shared between you, so sit your delusional ass back down. God, this song is awful.

    As for some of the other songs: You’re Sixteen and Into The Night have one thing in common: Both are creepy songs that are about loving 16 year-olds. Maybe Ringo and Benny Mardones could become good friends with these songs alone. Speaking of Roy Moore, I’m glad he wasn’t chosen to represent Alabama.

    I’m not sure how I’m supposed to take a song like The Streak seriously, especially when a guy in his mid-30s is doing the streaking. Also, Eric Clapton’s cover of I Shot The Sheriff would pave the way for what the likes of UB40 would do later on. Give me Bob Marley’s version any day.

    On the Best List, I like that Waterloo is in the HMs, despite you saying in the 1983 list that you’re ambivalent towards ABBA. Come And Get Your Love is a very catchy and fun song, and beats the hell out of the Real McCoy version.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. While I agree that 1974 was the worst year for 70s music, I wouldn’t call it as bad of a year as many have said especially whe you listen to a lot of the recent years. The bad songs this year are bad mainly cause they’re bland and don’t really provoke much of a reaction from me. But even with all the easy listening and novelty garbage, there’s still a great number of classics I enjoy that saves the year from being outright awful along with disco beginning to show up this year helping to bring more energy into the charts. Overall, I would put 74 as a meh year. It reminds me of 2016 with how both years were marked by national turmoil with Nixon’s resignation in 74 and Trump’s election in 16 and how much of the pop music those years was defined as boring and static with a few gems.
    I Honestly Love You- it’s no wonder why many people don’t look at Olivia Newton-John’s music outside Grease and Physical cause everything else is forgettable or not good. This song just exists to me. There’s nothing really bad for me to say about it other than it fits in with the rest of the easy listening polluting the 70s. Along with Carly Simon, I think Newton-John is another good comparison to Taylor Swift in that they both started out as pretty blondes making pop leaning country music before going full pop and embarrassing themselves.
    I Love- goes in one ear and out the other. Nothing really special
    (I’ve Been) Searchin So Long- Yeah you’re right about this being the transition period from good Chicago to bad Chicago but I don’t really mind it especially with what they’ll do later on.
    I Shot The Sheriff- I don’t mind the Clapton version mostly since I’m a rock fan but agree that the Bob Marley version is much better and more believable with his situation of living in Jamaica. The fact that this was Clapton’s only number one hit of his entire career including the bands he was in is very misrepresentative of his great career. And the fact that this was the only Bob Marley song to get big in the U.S. and that it wasn’t his version is a disgrace to Marley’s legacy. The Clapton version is another example of watered down reggae made for mainstream success since that’s the only reggae that’s gets big in America.
    The Lord’s Prayer- I actually kinda like this song since I come from a Catholic family and I’m taking a theology class at my university where we look at Catholicism through music and other cultures. It’s not great but the novelty of setting Our Father to a pop song feels cool to me and would make church prayers more fun.
    Seasons in the Sun- From listening to the song, I would of never known that the singer was singing about a person dying but more of being happy in a relationship. And the instrumentation feels fake to me like something you would of heard in 70s family shows.
    I’m Leaving It All Up To You- another dull ballad
    The Streak- you know 1974 was a bad year when people allow the musical equivalent of a comedy sketch to hit number one. What really kills the song for me is that slide whistle during the chorus. It’s really annoying along with those news interview dialogues. I can’t imagine how a song like this could get big today.
    You’re Sixteen- Even big die-hard Beatles fans like myself can agree that Ringo was the weakest of them all. Outside of his drumming, he didn’t contribute much else with songwriting and vocals and was the least relevant of them all because of it. I don’t know how it was at the time but hearing a man in his 30s singing about his love for a sixteen year old girl is just creepy now in 2018 especially in the wake of Roy Moore. Also, that kazoo solo makes this song more cheesy like something you’d hear in a kids show.
    (You’re) Having My Baby- I can easily see why people put this as the worst song of 74. I get being happy about having children but the way Anka describes it with talking about his woman’s body is way too cringeworthy along with that what if scenario about not having the baby which destroys any joyous vibe it’s trying to go for.
    Agree with the dishonorable mentions as well as much of your best list. The best list are full of great classics that have held up well and I enjoy listening to. After this year is where I feel 70s music getting more exciting as disco and funk starts to make its impact known.
    What are your opinions on the following songs?
    Smokin in the Boys Room by Brownsville Station (doesn’t that spoken word intro remind you of the interlude in Shake it Off where Taylor ends with “this sick beat?”)
    Hello It’s Me by Todd Rundgren
    Jet by Paul McCartney and Wings
    Helen Wheels by Paul McCartney and Wings
    The Locomotion by Grand Funk Railroad
    Hooked on a Feeling by Blue Swede
    Non hits:
    You Haven’t Done Nothin by Stevie Wonder (I know it didn’t make the year end list but still hit #1 and I think it’s a good song thY perfectly describes how we feel about Trump today)
    Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo by Rick Derringer

    Liked by 1 person

  3. yeah, this year is considered by many to be one of the worst of all-time, but I don’t know, I didn’t think it was that bad. All the songs on the list did in fact suck. Yup, apparently streaking was a big thing in the 70’s, especially in 1974 apparently because it was featured in a 1974 episode of I Love The 70’s. The fact that they made a song about it was really stupid, and of course it had to be from Ray Stevens. I’m gonna tell you this as a Christian, I NEVER like it when people modernize Christian music and try to implant a current trend into Christian music. It’s never any good, and honestly it makes the secular stuff sound a whole lot better. The only time it’s acceptable is in Christian hip hop, because it’s a genre where you express yourself. And even that has its’ misses. The Lord’s Prayer isn’t any different, it almost feels like a joke. Outside of hip hop, the only acceptable modernizations of Christian music are more tradional sounding Christian songs. Putting popular secular sounds into Christian music almost never works. Half of the songs that are played at my church are Christian EDM songs and none of them are good. It makes the secular EDM sound like masterpiece theatre in comparison and I can’t connect with it if I’m trying to praise the Lord due to its’ generic and repetitive nature even if it is supposed to be a more festive way of praising the man upstairs. In other words, it doesn’t translate well at all to Christian music. I prefer more tradional sounds including Gospel. Only hip hop I can accept. I think people will only ever remember Olivia Newton-John for being in Grease and for Physical. Honestly, I will always think of her as Sandy from Grease, not a pop-country star. Mostly because her songs prior to that movie were pretty forgettable and middle-of-the-road. Yeah, she’s a good singer, but being a good singer doesn’t automatically guarantee you a good song. I Honestly Love You is just dull. Looks like even in the 70’s, Chicago were making bad music, sigh. I think I’ll stick to the Bob Marley version of I Shot The Sheriff. I never really though Donny nor Marie were bad singers, but the stuff they sang was super lame. I also find it pretty creepy to see a brother and sister sing a love song together, it makes for bad imagery. I’ve also seen father and daughter pairings where they do that as well and it gives out very creepy vibes. Even if they’re not singing about each other, it’s still weird. You’re Sixteen has pedophelic tones written all over it. Maybe if both Ringo and the guy that originally sang the song had at least put the image that they were teens themselves in the song, it wouldn’t have been an issue, but instead it comes out like a grown man openly admitting he has a crush on a teenage girl which is disgusting. Can’t believe how these artists got away with that. And (You’re) Having My Baby was the obvious choice for #1. I don’t like the sense of entitlement this song gives out at all. Also, I wasn’t impressed by either of the artists’ performances. This is no doubt not only one of the worst #1 hits of the 70’s, but one of the worst hits of the decade period. All in all, I can’t fully hate on this year, mostly because disco was finally beginning to make its’ presence felt and there were still a few classics, but I agree it wasn’t a great year.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yep, I’ve been searching so long was where Chicago started to fall. I can predict If you leave me now to be a contender for worst of 1976 plus one from Donny Osmond & Disco duck and you dishonorably mentioned another song from 1976 in another worst song post.

    Like

  5. Only disagreements from me are I Shot The Sherriff (I do fully understand why it’s here, and I do agree that the Bob Marley version is superior, but I dunno, I like the sound of this one too), Top Of The World, You & Me Against The World, and Beach Baby (it’s Beach Baby, not Beach Boy).

    Anomalies:

    Worst:

    Ringo Starr- Oh My My
    William DeVaughn – Be Thankful For What You Got

    Best:

    Barbra Streisand – The Way We Were
    Andy Kim – Rock Me Gently
    Bachman-Turner Overdrive – Takin’ Care Of Business
    Chicago – Call On Me
    Paper Lace – The Night Chicago Died

    Like

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