Worst Songs List

Top 10 List: Worst Songs of 1976

So we’re finally here, huh? 1976. Not gonna mince words here, I’m gonna go ahead and say it: 1976 was FUCKING AWESOME!! This might be one of my favorite years of pop music so far, up there with 1983 and 1995. All the great disco, soul, funk, R&B, rock, pop, country, etc., made for an entertaining year. I can safely say that I like at least half of the songs on this Year-End list. Doing the best list was difficult. I expanded the Best list and I still had to make painful cuts. That’s how great 1976 was. But now, let’s get into the worst of the year.

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10.

The 70s were not too kind to the Beach Boys. Brian Wilson went through a publicized meltdown and the music suffered. Their big hit in 1976 is a cover to Chuck Berry’s Rock And Roll Music and it is not a good cover. The music don’t match the same energy as the original, sounding slow and tired. This isn’t the music you dance to, this is the music you play in the background in commercials. Vocally, these dudes are not at their best and they’re just phoning it in. If it wasn’t clear before that the Beach Boys’ hot streak was at an end, it sure is with the release of this song. Even with this, they’ve contributed to a lot worse that’s on this list.

9.

As the decade proceeds, we’re slowly starting to see Chicago churning out crap. Here’s If You Leave Me Now. This is one of the many slow ballads that the band would make a lot of in the next decade. The instrumentation is boring thanks to those acoustic guitars and strings. Way to go. Your love song sounds like a lullaby. A really desperate, sad lullaby. As for Peter Cetera? His voice couldn’t be anymore annoying if he tried. The higher his pitch goes, the worse it becomes. What a waste of potential Chicago was.

8.

Here’s one of the atrocities the Beach Boys were somewhat responsible for, Captain & Tenille. They’re on this list for their cover to Smokey Robinson & The Miracles’ Shop Around. Boy, they butchered this song like it was pork. The original song is a guy taking advice from his mother about making sure he finds the right woman to settle down with. Captain & Tenille comes along and whitewashes the song into drunk karaoke night on Mother’s Day with cheap instrumentation. There was no way Toni Tanille was going to match the soulfulness of Smokey Robinson. And this isn’t even the worst song that Captain & Tenille have ever made.

7.

John Travolta was a huge star back in the 70s. He was in a hit TV show Welcome Back, Kotter (whose theme song was a number one hit in 1976) and would star in two huge musical movies, Grease and Saturday Night Fever. And he also had a music career with songs like Let Her In. It’s a schmaltzy love song with lifeless music that would give Donny Osmond a run for his money. But that’s not even the worst part of the song. No, it’s this: John Travolta cannot sing. No passion, can’t hit any notes, he sounds horrible. He always sounds horrible, even in Grease where he’s given better music and paired with a better singer in Olivia Newton-John. Wouldn’t be the last time Travolta would be in shit.

6.

I have nothing against Barry Manilow. His music isn’t exactly my cup of tea, but he’s much better than his easy-listening contemporaries. He’s goofy and corny, but charming. Well, none of that is present in I Write The Songs. Just… why? The song is based on a really stupid premise: he wrote all the songs that have ever existed. He wrote the very first song and the last. He inspired all music. He is music himself. Get. The fuck. Out of here. Barry Manilow isn’t good at pulling off ego and arrogance, songs like Mandy are more his lane. I know that the “I” in the song is referring to music, but it’s still an arrogant thing to claim to be the personification of music. To be fair, Manilow didn’t write this song, Bruce Johnston of the Beach Boys did. And it was originally recorded by Captain & Tenille. It seems like a black cloud followed the Beach Boys in the 70s. There’s also this quote from Wikipedia.

Johnston has stated that, for him, the “I” in the song is God, and that songs come from the spirit of creativity in all of us.

Mmm-hmm. Next.

5.

Here’s the first of three novelty songs on this list. Larry Groce scores his only hit with Junk Food Junkie. This is a song about a guy who boasts about living and eating healthy, but secretly stuffs his mouth with junk food at night when no one’s looking. It’s stupid and unfunny. You have hokey country instrumentation along with a studio audience in order to make the jokes appear funnier than they actually are. And there’s also some obvious product placement in the song, mentioning Twinkies, Moon Pies, Dr. Pepper, Pringles, etc. I hope those food companies got paid good money for that advertising. This is Foodfight, The Song and it should remain forgotten as the embarrassment it is. Speaking of embarrassements…

4.

Disco Duck.

Disco Duck!!

DISCO DUCK!!

I… I don’t think I need to say anything else. I could just say Disco Duck and you’ll know what’s wrong with this song. But that’s not good enough. Let’s talk about the song itself. To say disco blew up in the late 70s would be an understatement and it was so big that they started making novelty songs and radio DJ Rick Dees made… this. I was expecting to hear a joke from this song and got nothing but a bootleg disco beat and a low-rate Donald Duck voice that gets annoying as the song goes on. I wonder what the real Donald Duck feels about this.

Image result for donald duck gif
“THAT DAMN FOWL!! I OUGTA SUE!! MICKEY, WHERE’S OUR LAWYERS?!”

This is one of the more infamous bad songs to come out of the decade as every worst songs list pertaining to the 70s mentions it. It is bad, but there’s other songs that are worse.

3.

Why does this exist? I’ll answer that question even though it was rhetorical. Because people were obsessed with truckers at the time, using CB radios and CB slang. The 70s were weird. Anywho, Convoy is a song written by William Fries Jr., who started off writing for bread advertisements. Seriously. C.W. McCall is a character created for those ads and then, for some reason, Fries used that character to make country songs.  Convoy is a mess of silly country instrumentation and use of CB slang that will sound like complete gibberish if you’re not familiar with CB slang. From what little I understood, the song is about a bunch of truckers going on a road trip across the U.S. to escape the cops. Why are they on the run from the law, we don’t know. Whatever the case, this song is a lame mess.

2.

And here’s the worst thing associated with the Beach Boys, which goes to prove that they were responsible for some of the worst that ’76 had to offer. Henry Gross, of Sha Na Na fame, was friends with Carl Wilson. His biggest (and only) hit was written as a tribute to Carl’s deceased Irish setter named Shannon. Look, I love dogs as much as the next person and would get teary-eyed at the thought of a dead dog, but this is some emotional manipulation right here. The most obvious flaw of the song is Henry Gross’ singing. Dear Christ, that falsetto on the chorus. Hearing that note would make any dog wish they would die. Add in some acoustic guitar instrumentation and you have one of the sappiest songs ever made. One good thing came from this song: we got one of the most glorious rants from Casey Kasem.

And now, here are some dishonorable mentions.

DISHONORABLE MENTIONS

  • Nazareth-Love Hurts
  • Silver Convention-Get Up And Boogie/Fly Robin Fly
  • Dr. Hook-Only Sixteen
  • Gary Wright-Dream Weaver
  • Captain & Tenille-Lonely Night (Angel Face)
  • Donna Summer-Love To Love You Baby
  • Donny & Marie Osmond-Deep Purple
  • Paul Anka-Times of Your Life
  • Bee Gees-Fanny (Be Tender With My Love)
  • Neil Sedaka-Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

And finally, the worst song of 1976 IS…………

drum roll

1.

Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve reached a big one. A song that a lot of music heads have agreed was terrible back then and terrible now. This is the Marvin Gaye of the 70s (the song, not the singer). Starland Vocal Band’s Afternoon Delight. Not only was this a number one hit, but it won them Grammys and they had their own TV show. What was in the water during that time? Where to even start? First things first, this is a song about boning in the afternoon. Seriously. You’d have to be the most dense motherfucker in the world to not catch that. But listening to this without paying attention to the lyrics, would you honestly tell that this was a song about sex? No. This shit is so sanitized that I bet the people who wrote this song have no comprehension of the idea of sex itself. The fact that they went out their way to make the instrumentation and vocals sound mind-numbingly innocent shows how tone-deaf they were at making a sex song. Atmosphere is key to making these songs work. To show you what I mean, here’s Barry White.

You hear the difference? THAT is perfect for sex. Afternoon Delight? Unless badly-made folky soft rock turns you on, chances are you’re going in dry. This was obviously made for prudes who come from a strictly-religious background and are afraid of looking at their own or other people’s genitals. “Congratulations” to Afternoon Delight for being the worst song of 1976.

So those were the worst songs of 1976. In two weeks, BACK TO THE 70s continues with the Worst Songs of 1977.

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Peace!!

SONG OF THE WEEK

Getaway-Earth, Wind & Fire

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16 thoughts on “Top 10 List: Worst Songs of 1976

  1. For your future lists especially for the 60s, can you include songs on both the worst and best lists that peaked in the Top Ten and at number one but didn’t make the Year-End List those years aside from the usual Year-End songs?

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  2. 1976 was without a doubt the best year of the 70’s in terms of music. A lot of classics were hits that year and there was a lot of variety. In fact, I enjoyed nearly every song on the chart except for 14 songs, which also include every song that was on Todd In The Shadows’ worst list for that year. In terms of the dishonorable mentions, I disagree with Dream Weaver, Love To Love You (the song that was later sampled for Beyonce’s Naughty Girl) though I get why you wouldn’t like it (it’s mostly just moaning sounds, but I can tolerate it a lot more than in Jungle Fever), Fanny (Be Tender With My Love) and I never had an issue with Neil Sedaka although his music was never really much to write home about. Agree with everything else. By the 70’s The Beach Boys’ respectability as artists went out the window, and by this point their music had become crap. Rock ‘N Roll music is anything but. I’ll stick with the Chuck Berry original, thank you very much. I’m more surprised that they even had hits in the 70’s. I’ll take Kokomo over 70’s Beach Boys any day. I think If You Leave Me Now was the point when Chicago went in full sell out mode and began to released the music they would become infamous for in the 80’s. It sucked ass and it got worse every time Cetera would emphasize that dog whistle of a falsetto. His voice was not suited for these types of songs, it was more suited for the stuff that they were making in their earlier days. You know, one of my main complaints was the lack of artists over 30 getting radio play and how ageist the industry has become with the bias against older artists (although the Country and Latin markets are more open to older acts). But the more I think about it, if keeps artists like Captain and Tenille from blowing up, maybe it’s not such a bad thing. It feels like I’m listening to my mom or aunt trying too hard to be cool with the kids and failing hard at it. When their “best” song is an easy listening shlockfest like Do That To Me One More Time, you know these artists were never any good to begin with. Shop Around is more of that cheesy crap that I want to stay away from and change the station if it ever played. So yeah, I don’t want to hear the audio equivalent of my parents trying to make embarrassing music for the general public. The fact that the radio won’t touch anything by a near-60 and still trying too hard Madonna who won’t age gracefully is a blessing in disguise. John Travolta is a great actor (although he’s had his share of duds), but he should never sing. His singing in Grease still sucked, but it was slightly passable because he had good music to back it up and a good singer Olivia Newton-John. He doesn’t have that luxury here. The song is as dull as a rock. Just a generic lovey dovey song by an actor capitalizing off his fame. The only reason he got a recording deal is most likely due to cashing in on his fame from Welcome Back, Kotter. Thankfully after this, he never made another album again (not counting the Grease soundtrack), but some people should stick to what they’re good at. John Travolta can dance on a disco floor like he did in Saturday Night Fever all he wants to, but stay away from the mike. Stick to acting. Barry Manilow’s alright. He’s cool. Out of all the artists making adult contemporary music at that time, he was one of the very few making something resembling quality. Dude could sing and had charisma. And Copacabana was a jam, I don’t care what anyone says. But he was also hit-and-miss and this was definitely a miss. You can’t proclaim that you wrote every song ever made (that’d be even more laughable nowadays with all the songs around that are centered on sex) even if it was in the point of view of music. But in all fairness to him, he ironically didn’t write the song and has publicly disowned it. So even he thought the song was crap. That just shows how bad the song was. Junkfood Junkie is just another stupid novelty song that I forgot all about. It goes in one ear and comes out the other. Ah yes, the infamous Disco Duck. By ’76 disco had began to take over the public consciousness, so much that we got a song about a duck singing a disco song and it went to #1. Splendid! Yeah, anytime someone come up with that bullshit about music from the past being better, I always try to make sure to bring up this song because this is embarrassing. And this song didn’t even come out when disco became overexposed in 1978/79. I think this was the song (alongside a baffling Ethel Merman song and Sesame Street disco album) that signified how disco was no longer being taken seriously and how watered down it became once it became popular, sort of like EDM except that was a musically inferior genre qualitywise. I think this almost makes me sympathize with the rock purists that were frustrated with disco’s overexposure. Almost! Yeah, that Donald Duck voice shtick gets tiring after a while and the song gets even more annoying as the song goes on. Also, “Don’t be a cluck?” C’mon, son! That shit’s whack. Easily one of the worst #1 hits of all-time. Can’t believe that actually got radio play. Convoy is almost just as bad a novelty song, and wouldn’t you know it, that was also a #1 hit. Seriously, for every classic song we got this year, we also got a bunch of stupid novelty songs. That song was just a bunch of rambling nonsense capitalizing on a dumb trend. Shannon would have been a good song if it had better songwriting and a better performer. As is, the song is boring and badly sung. That Casey Kasem rant was a riot and I don’t blame him for hating the song. Afternoon Delight alongside the song Marvin Gaye, is the most unsexiest song ever made. This is as vanilla and pandering as it can be. This is a 70’s variety show theme song shit (which is fitting considering this band had their own show) without any substance at all. The people that recorded the song don’t even look like they ever had sex. I’d buy Charlie Puth and Meghan Trainor more than these average looking people that look like they’re getting ready to do a kids’ show. How did this song win Grammys? I can understand You Light Up My Life, even Who Let The Dogs Out, but this? Wtf academy? Not surprised they became one-hit wonders. How are you gonna make a song about sex in the afternoon and have this happy, sing-a-long nonsense of a production? Despite all of that, this song is more inoffensive than anything, which is why I wouldn’t exactly consider it one of the worst #1 hits ever. Of the 70’s? yeah, probably. But of all-time? Nah. I’ve heard worse, including this list. Overall, great list. And that best list is spot on. All of those songs are classics. Bohemian Rhapsody is one of the best songs ever made, no surprise you put it at #1. Looking foward to the next list.

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    1. There seems to a bit of difference. Mr Maestro seems to have a bit of less patience for certain sappy song given the dog tribute Hit was in the bottom 5 compared to Todd ranking it in the bottom 5 as the first pick for starters.

      Also thanks for including the title artwork for the disco duck song mr Bhop. I thought for the longest time that idiots being in the credited title after rick’s Name was a joke todd typed up for the list. Did rick not take himself seriously either?

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  3. Afternoon Delight: the least sexiest song about sex ever. For me, the best songs about having sex are Sexual Healing, Rock The Boat and Red Light Special, because they just have a good atmosphere compared to this POS. Plus, they all sound great as well.

    Disco Duck was my pick for the worst song, but everything you said about it was right on the money. I especially liked the Donald Duck part. And as for Shannon, dedicating a song to a dead pet is a nice idea, but when the execution is way off, it becomes a huge mess.

    1976 was a really good year for music, and it’s no wonder why the Best List is expanded with lots of good hits (some of which I haven’t heard yet, but will soon). Of course, Bohemian Rhapsody is at Number 1, and I think it will be Number 1 on the eventual Best Songs of the 70s list. It’s still one of my favourite songs ever, not just Queen.

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  4. America sure knew how to celebrate its bicentennial cause looking at the 76 Year-End List, I was amazed at the amount of good to great songs there were cause you don’t get this on many of the recent years. This is easily my favorite year for 70s music and one of my favorite years for music period. There’s so much variety with every genre getting a chance to shine and shining in a good way. So many iconic songs from this year that have aged very well.
    Rock and Roll Music-really lame and dull. Even The Beatles did justice to this song in their cover so I’ll stick with that and the Chuck Berry original.
    If You Leave Me Now- I can see why my family only play the early Chicago songs (25 or 6 to 4, Does Anybody Really Know the Time?, Saturday in the Park, Feelin Stronger Every Day, Beginnings, I’m a Man) and not this and their later material cause this is just a snooze fest. I feel like taking a nap every time I listen to this which isn’t a good thing for a love ballad and Cetera’s voice is annoying. I can imagine this being the point where the older fans of Chicago started abandoning them kinda like what Moves Like Jagger was for Maroon 5.
    Shop Around-sounds lame and like someone decided to cover this on karaoke night and used a whiter version of the song taking all the soul out of the original. Say what you want about music today but at least we don’t have boring middle-age husband and wife duos topping the charts.
    Let Her In-It’s funny to think now how John Travolta had a singing career outside of Grease and Hairspray and that people (mostly teen girls) took him seriously in giving him hits like this. He reminds me of Hailee Steinfeld today in that he should of just stuck to acting and not have made any attempts at a singing career cause he just can’t pull it off. Let Her In is dull music wise but singing wise Travolta is very weak. I’d much rather listen to him in Grease than this cause at least he’s a bit more stronger with his vocals. I really get annoyed when people think all type of entertainment are the same and how people who act can sing and vice verse cause they’re not. Singing and acting require different sets of skills.
    I Write The Songs-some of my older relatives are fans of Barry Manilow and he’s okay. I’m not at the age yet to really get into him and his type of music but I do enjoy Copacabana. I Write The Songs is one of the most egotistical songs I’ve heard and it makes me laugh to hear how he proclaims himself to be the creator of all music.
    Junk Food Junkie- another stupid novelty song of the 70s with another stupid premise and gimmicks to make it more interesting with the live audience.
    Disco Duck-one of those songs I’d play to anyone who thinks that music was better back in the day. This is just weird and stupid. The DJ and the duck’s voice are very annoying and I can see people at the time hating disco just on the basis of this song.
    Convoy- given that M.A.S.H and other military stuff were popular at the time, I’m not surprised that it made a blip on the charts. Like a lot of these novelty songs, it’s weird and stupid.
    Shannon-on a lyrical level I can relate to it since my family used to have a dog when I was little and still clearly remember that day nine years ago when she was put down. Even with that, the music is sap and Henry Gross’s falsetto is super annoying. Oh and that Casey Kasem rant was funny.
    Afternoon Delight-this song has become so infamous that it’s better when people make fun of it like in Anchorman. This along with Marvin Gaye are examples of how not to make a sex song. Just like the later song, Afternoon Delight isn’t the type of music I’d want to play during sex. They play around the notion of sex as cute and innocent which it isn’t. Sex songs should be dirty, smooth, and/or sensual and the people who are singing should sound like they’ve experienced sex at least once before which none of the people here sound like. Like with Marvin Gaye, this is the type of sex song that gets popular with middle school dances and parents cause they don’t want the kids to get offended by the dirty stuff.

    Great best list with many great classics! Who doesn’t love Bohemian Rhapsody or has tried to sing along with it. I even tried learning it on guitar and piano.
    Now we’re heading into the best part of 70s music with disco becoming more prominent and the arena rock scene peaking. Can’t wait for your future 70s lists!

    My Best Songs List of 1976
    1)Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen
    2)Dream On by Aerosmith
    3)The Boys Are Back In Town by Thin Lizzy
    4)Play That Funky Music by Wild Cherry
    5)December, 1963 (Oh, What A Night) by Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons
    6)Golden Years by David Bowie
    7)Love Rollercoaster by the Ohio Players
    8)You Should Be Dancing by the Bee Gees
    9)Sara Smile by Hall and Oates
    10)Rhiannon/Say You Love Me by Fleetwood Mac
    11)Show Me The Way (Live)/Baby I Love Your Way (Live) by Peter Frampton
    12)Evil Woman by Electric Light Orchestra
    13)Don’t Go Breaking My Heart by Elton John and Kiki Dee
    14)Take it To the Limit by The Eagles
    15)You’re My Best Friend by Queen
    Honorable Mentions
    Take the Money And Run by Steve Miller Band
    Welcome Back (Theme from Welcome Back, Kotter) by John Sebastian
    Got to Get You Into My Life by The Beatles
    Rock and Roll All Nite by KISS
    That’s The Way (I Like It)/(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty by KC and the Sunshine Band
    Slow Ride by Foghat
    A Fifth of Beethoven by Walter Murphy and The Big Apple Band
    Sing a Song/Getaway by Earth, Wind & Fire
    I Love Music by The O’Jays
    Lowdown by Boz Scaggs
    Fox on the Run by Sweet
    Love Machine by The Miracles
    Love is Alive by Gary Wright
    You Sexy Thing by Hot Chocolate
    All By Myself by Eric Carmen

    What are our opinions on the following songs?
    Silly Love Songs by Wings
    December, 1963 (Oh! What A Night) by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons
    A Fifth or Beethoven by Walter Murphy
    Sara Smile by Hall and Oates
    Fly Robin Fly by The Silver Convention
    More, More, More by Andrea True Connection
    You Sexy Thing by Hot Chocolate
    All By Myself by Eric Carmen
    Lowdown by Boz Scaggs
    Show Me The Way by Peter Frampton
    Say You Love Me by Fleetwood Mac
    Welcome Back by John Sebastian
    Island Girl by Elton John
    Let Em In by Wings
    Got to Get You Into My Life by The Beatles

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    1. Okay, good, okay, okay, okay, good (it was the song Len sampled for Steal My Sunshine, a song that I love), good, okay, good, good, good, okay, meh, okay, good.

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  5. Yet again, not a single disagreement to be found as each and every one of these songs is terrible. It especially thrills me to see Love Hurts in the dishonorable mentions. Thank the lord I’m not the only one who can’t stand that obnoxious ass song.

    Anomalies:

    Worst:

    Elton John – Island Girl

    Best:

    Bay City Rollers – Saturday Night
    Rhythm Heritage – Theme From S.W.A.T.
    England Dan & John Ford Coley – I’d Really Love To See You Tonight
    The Four Seasons – December, 1963 (Oh, What A Night)
    Cliff Richard – Devil Woman
    Elvin Bishop – Fooled Around And Fell In Love

    I’m also curious to know your thoughts on the two Wings songs that were hits this year, Let ‘Em In (not to be confused with Let Her In, the John Travolta song you put on the worst list) and Silly Love Songs, the latter of which wound up being the number one song of ’76.

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    1. I knew Casey Kasem’s rant had to come into play when it came to “Shannon” When I first heard that song I thought he was copying Carly Simon. That song should forever be Notorious for the “Dead Dog” incident on September 14th, 1985. That same show had “Take on Me” the song you rated the best of 1985 on its way up to number one.

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