Worst Songs List

Top 10 List: Worst Songs of 1966

I’m gonna go ahead and say it: 1966 is the best year for 60s pop music, better than 1965. All of the trends of the previous years still went on strong: the British Invasion, Motown, soul, folk, surf rock, etc. This was also a great time for rock music thanks to the rise of garage rock and we even saw some early psychedelia which would be the soundtrack to America’s growing counterculture. If there’s any doubt we were in the 60s at this time, those doubts are long gone. Let’s now dig into the worst that the year had to offer.

1966

10.

Oh, boy. I’m getting into some hot water with this choice. Look, I’m a Beatles fan, but I’m not a fanatic who thinks everything they released was greatness. They had a couple of stinkers in their discography like Yellow Submarine. This was when the Fab Four decided…

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… and they did that in making what’s basically a shitty children’s song. Basically, it’s a world where everyone lives in a yellow submarine. Either the population is really small or that’s a big ass submarine. Musically, it’s far from the Beatles’ best work as the acoustic guitars and drums are overshadowed by sound effects you would hear at sea. The song is complete nonsense despite the fact that it’s been the subject of many different interpretations. Even the legends have their misfires and Yellow Submarine is one for the Beatles.

9.

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Here’s a song that I would consider to be a complete waste of time, Slim Harpo’s Baby Scratch My Back. Most of the song is a harmonica-driven blues instrumental with a tremolo guitar and instead of singing, Slim Harpo is mostly monologuing about getting his back scratched by his girl. And that’s about it. There’s no conclusion to this story, it just ends half-way. If you wanted me to enjoy the music, you could’ve presented this song just as an instrumental, then I wouldn’t have mind. But the monologue brings it down and I can’t bring myself to enjoy it. Next.

8.

Next up is The Lovin’ Spoonful. This New York band has a couple of cool songs that I like, but Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind isn’t one of them. It’s musically weak, thanks to those keys and guitars not having much punch to them. It damn near sounds like background music that you wouldn’t pay much attention to. The writing is based on a guy who’s having a hard time choosing between two girls. I have an idea: date one of them and see how it goes. If it doesn’t work out, then go for the other one. Or you could move to a place where polygamy is legal and try to date both of them. As for Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind, it’s still an underwhelming song.

7.

Oh, great. We’re talking about Lou Christie again after Two Faces Have I. Well, here he is with his number one hit Lightnin’ Strikes. For the most part, it seems like another generic by-the-numbers love song, but then you get to the chorus and Lou Christie is using that screeching falsetto again. And it sounds awful. Seriously, that shit should be a crime. On a less serious note, that chorus does sound like Lou Christie was getting struck by lightning, like God was listening to this dude sing and went, “SHUT THAT NOISE DOWN!!”  This is not a good song overall and you won’t get anything out of it besides pure annoyance.

6.

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Hey. Did you ever want to hear a fusion of Down In The Boondocks and Treat You Better? No? Well, too bad because that’s what we got with this number one hit from Johnny Rivers. This is Poor Side Of Town. In this song, Rivers is trying to convince a girl to date his poor ass when she broke up with her rich boyfriend. I’ll give it this: it has better singing than Treat You Better, so there’s no “BED OR DANNY CAN” moments. Still, it has the same obnoxious entitlement and reeks of an opportunist dickhole taking advantage of someone who’s at their lowest point emotionally. Get this bullshit out of here.

5.

Really, general public of 1966? Y’all let a song with this title hit number one? Hanky Panky. That sounds like the name of a weird sexual act and considering the song itself, I wouldn’t be surprised. Originally a song by the Raindrops, Hanky Panky is best known for by the cover from Tommy James And The Shondells, which is on this list. The music is cheap garage rock instrumentation and most of the song is the chorus repeating the phrase “my baby does the hanky panky,” making it another song that sparks a dance craze. Because we don’t have enough of those through history and they’re not the easiest way to make a quick buck. Next.

4.

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Time to talk about Herman’s Hermits again. This time, the band did a cover to the Kinks’ Dandy, which isn’t one of my favorite Kinks songs, but it’s fine enough. Well, leave it up to Herman’s Hermits to fuck that up and make it worse. Their cover sounds like a cheap Kids Bop version with inferior music and an even inferior vocal performance. Peter Noone’s nasal singing is a pain to listen to and he sounds like a dork jealous of Dandy’s escapades. Skip this crap and listen to the original Kinks’ version instead.

3.

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Oh, boy. So this is Sam The Sham & The Pharaohs, who had the number one song of 1965 with Wooly Bully, one of three songs in history to achieve this while never hitting number one on the Hot 100 (the other two are Faith Hill’s Breathe in 2000 and Lifehouse’s Hanging By A Moment in 2001). A year later, they scored another big hit with Li’l Red Riding Hood, which is based on the famous fairy tale of the same name, but they do something different with it. Instead of wanting to eat Little Red Riding Hood, the Big Bad Wolf falls in love with her. I swear I’m not making this up. This sounds like some teenage girl’s fanfiction, equipped with bestiality. I was going to pull a “still a better love story than Twilight,” but that joke has been beaten to the ground for years. Even if you look at it metaphorically, it’s still awful. A predator following a girl walking in the woods alone. Might as well bring a rape whistle because you’re gonna need it. Seriously, what the hell?

2.

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Another one of those songs that generated one question from me: why? Fucking why? This is Sandy Posey, a pop country singer who was popular in the 60s. She has three singles that peaked at number 12 on the Hot 100, one of them is Born A Woman. Aside from it being a boring pop country song, the writing of it is wrong on so many levels. It’s an anti-women empowerment song in the way that Sandy presents a lot of the negative shit that women go through and in the end, is proud of it and wouldn’t change a thing. Yeah, women’s liberation, giving them the choice to pursue whatever life and career they want without restricting them, being seen as more than just second-class citizens? Meaningless to Sandy Posey, as long as she can satisfy her hubby. Gag me with a wooden spoon. Even for the times, this is ass-backwards thinking. This writing is Target Practice-worthy, like it’s begging me to tear it apart.

And now, here are some dishonorable mentions.

DISHONORABLE MENTIONS

  • Tommy Roe-Hooray For Hazel
  • B.J. Thomas-I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry
  • Peter And Gordon-Lady Godiva
  • Bob Lind-Elusive Butterfly
  • Robert Parker-Barefootin’
  • Crispian St. Peters-The Pied Piper
  • Paul Revere & The Raiders-Just Like Me
  • The Ray Conniff Singers-Somewhere, My Love
  • David Houston-Almost Persuaded
  • Gary Lewis & The Playboys-She’s Just My Style

Let’s just get to it. The number one worst song of 1966 is Ballad Of The Green Berets.

1.

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This really shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. There was no way anything else was going to top this list. Ladies and gentlemen, the number one song of 1966. Ballad Of The Green Berets is a song written and performed by SSgt. Barry Sadler and it’s all about the Green Berets, a military task force that Sadler was a part of. This song is incredibly weak all around. There’s some weak ass folk music along with military drums to stroke the patriotic wang. Barry Sadler is a weak ass singer delivering his monotoned performance with the same enthusiasm as watching paint dry. Hell, even the backing vocals don’t sound interested in what they’re singing about. And… okay, I’m going into a potential hot-button topic for this one, so bear with me. This isn’t just a low-rate campfire song, this is war propaganda. And the timing of its release couldn’t be worse. It was the middle of the Vietnam War, which was a very unpopular conflict among Americans and further divided the country culturally. The fact that this song not only became a number one hit, but became the biggest song of the year during that time when the counterculture was growing and that same counterculture are against war did not help matters. It portrays a romanticized view of the military in contrast to reality where the media showed what was really going on and soldiers are coming back home either maimed or dead and many massive protests broke out throughout the country. We got into a pointless war with no clear strategy or end game besides destroy communism where we got our asses handed to us by a militia of farmers who knew the land better than us. Vietnam will forever be one of the U.S.’s many low points through history and our current occupation in the Middle East is also there. And that’s why this song is at the top of this list because aside from being boring, it’s a blatant advertisement for the military-industrial complex, intentional or not. Pardon the long rant, but it had to be said. Congratulations to Ballad Of The Green Berets for being the worst song of 1966.

So those were the worst songs of 1966. In two weeks, BACK TO THE 60s continues with the Worst Songs of 1967.

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Peace!!

SONG OF THE WEEK

Live And Learn-Joe Public

12 thoughts on “Top 10 List: Worst Songs of 1966

  1. 1966 is the year where a lot of the real 60s trends that people associate the decade with begin to set in. The trends of the last couple years remained with the British Invasion, folk, and Motown. But newer trends like psychedelia and garage rock were starting to show as well thanks to the growing hippie culture. And many of the greatest albums of all time like Pet Sounds and Revolver were released helping to advance music forward.

    Yellow Submarine- disagree cause while it’s not The Beatles greatest work, I still think it’s fun and it brings back childhood memories for me so I can’t hate on it too much.

    Baby Scratch My Back- the instrumentation is cool but agree that the lyrics are stupid and pointless

    Did You Ever Make Up Your Mind- meh

    Lightning Strikes- Lou Christie sounds like two different people in the verses and chorus and I find his falsetto on the chorus pretty funny

    Poor Side of Town- the Treat You Better comparison is right though at least this song is better sung and performed

    Hanky Panky- stupid

    Dandy- really lame cover and agree the Kinks versions better though it’s not one of their best songs

    Lil Red Riding Hood- really creepy and disturbing

    Born A Woman- really insulting to women and boring

    Ballad of the Green Berets- this is probably one of the most forgotten number one hits of all time cause I had no idea this song existed until looking at the 1966 year end list. And I was amazed to see that this was the number one song of the entire year bigger than the more remembered songs of that year. Reading about the context made me understand the song more and why it was so successful. By 1966, most Americans supported the Vietnam War while some weren’t really aware of it yet and this song was made as a way to raise awareness of the war and support the troops serving in Vietnam. The backlash towards the Vietnam War didn’t really set in until about 67 and 68. While I’m not a fan of it either, I find it interesting for a number one song since we haven’t seen a song like this get big since. And good thing cause this is boring and even though it’s only 2 and a half minutes it feels longer. Plus, this is music made for patriotic blind Americans who think everything we do is good without realizing the long term consequences of our actions like with the Vietnam and Iraq Wars. I’m surprised this song hasn’t come up in Vietnam school lessons.

    Agree with your best list! Sound of Silence and Good Vibrations are some of the best songs ever to hit number one. All the songs on your list are more great classics that are still remembered today. I am surprised you put Wild Thing on your best list proper. Just like Do Wah Diddy Diddy, I think Wild Thing is fun and catchy and I have memories of when me and my first grade class performed it but I would put it more as an honorable mention. Agree with what you said about A Groovy Kind of Love from your 1988 list. The Mindbenders version is way better than Phil Collins’ version which is anything but groovy. Can’t listen to B-A-B-Y without thinking of Baby Driver. I also noticed that the opening vocal riff on Monday Monday sounds a lot like the opening synth riff on Prince’s 1999.

    Here are my lists for 1991
    Best Hit Songs of 1991
    1)Losing My Religion by R.E.M.
    2)Freedom! ’90 by George Michael
    3)Summertime by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
    4)Groove Is In The Heart by Deee-Lite
    5)Unbelievable by EMF
    6)O.P.P. by Naughty by Nature
    7)Motownphilly by Boyz II Men
    8)Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now) by C+C Music Factory ft. Freedom Williams
    9)Someday/Emotions/I Don’t Wanna Cry by Mariah Carey
    10)Something To Talk About by Bonnie Raitt
    Honorable Mentions
    More Than Words by Extreme
    All The Man That I Need by Whitney Houston
    Good Vibrations by Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch ft. Loleatta Holloway
    It Ain’t Over Til It’s Over by Lenny Kravitz
    P.A.S.S.I.O.N. by Rythm Syndicate
    Power Of Love/Love Power by Luther Vandross
    I Touch Myself by The Divinyls
    Tom’s Diner by DNA ft. Suzanne Vega
    Around The Way Girl by LL Cool J
    Cream by Prince & The New Power Generation
    Crazy by Seal
    Queensryche by Silent Lucidity
    All This Time by Sting

    Worst Hit Songs of 1991
    1)(Everything I Do) I Do It For You by Bryan Adams
    2)Play That Funky Music by Vanilla Ice
    3)Justify My Love by Madonna
    4)Iesha by Another Bad Creation
    5)Rico Suave by Gerardo
    6)One More Try by Timmy T
    7)The Way You Do The Things You Do by UB40
    8)Because I Love You (The Postman Song) by Stevie B
    9)From A Distance by Bette Midler
    10)The First Time by Surface
    Dishonorable Mentions
    I Wanna Sex You Up by Color Me Badd
    Rush, Rush by Paula Abdul
    I’m Your Baby Tonight by Whitney Houston
    Time, Love and Tenderness by Michael Bolton
    Show Me The Way by Styx
    Place in This World by Michael W. Smith
    I’m Not In Love by Will to Power

    What are your opinions on the following songs?
    Sloop John B by The Beach Boys
    Barbara Ann by The Beach Boys
    God Only Knows by The Beach Boys
    Wouldn’t It Be Nice by The Beach Boys
    Eleanor Rigby by The Beatles
    Day Tripper by The Beatles
    Rain by The Beatles
    You Keep Me Hangin On by The Supremes
    I Fought The Law by The Bobby Fuller Four (Do you prefer the original version of The Clash version?, I think they’re both good but The Clash’s cover really hits hard)
    These Boots Are Made For Walkin by Nancy Sinatra
    Strangers in the Night by Frank Sinatra
    My Love by Petula Clark
    You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me by Dusty Springfield
    19th Nervous Breakdown by The Rolling Stones
    Rainy Day Woman #12 & 35 by Bob Dylan
    Bus Stop by The Hollies
    What do you think of Stevie Wonder’s cover of We Can Work It Out? (I actually like it more than the original even as a big Beatles fan)

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    1. Good, okay, good, great, great, good, good, good, good (I also prefer the Clash version), okay, okay, okay, okay, good, good, good.

      “What do you think of Stevie Wonder’s cover of We Can Work It Out?”

      It’s a good cover.

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  2. This list has some interesting picks, one of them being Yellow Submarine. This song sounds more like a nursery rhyme compared to the Beatles’ other hits, and I have to imagine that all the world living in the yellow submarine would be a million times worse than a tin of sardines. Easily one of the Beatles’ weaker songs, which is disappointing considering their usually stellar work.

    I always like to see alternate takes on fairy tales, but Li’l Red Riding Hood is too disturbing for my taste. If the Wolf really fell love with her like in the fairy tale, I can only imagine how different the story could have been: bestiality, stalking and the Wolf not wanting to eat her or her grandma. This would have been too adult for the kids!

    Ignoring the propaganda and the issues about the Vietnam War, Ballad Of The Green Berets is one of the most boring songs I’ve ever heard. If you or your backup singers sound like you don’t want to be in this song, then why should we care? How this was the number one song of that year, I’ll never know.

    The Best List features lots of good hits, notable ones being Sound Of Silence, Good Vibrations, When A Man Loves A Woman, Reach Out I’ll Be There and Wild Thing. By the way, Michael Bolton’s cover of When A Man Loves A Woman can die in a fire, along with a lot of horrible covers he did of classic R&B/soul songs.

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  3. It is probably the only time where the worst song is the number one song of the year. You almost want to say “Why Billboard?” There are these great songs and this is rated number one for the whole year. Herman’s Hermit’s is another example that even the British Invasion, Rise and fall of Disco, New wave and all the other genres of music that have come, there are good songs as well as despicable songs.

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    1. Ray Conniff Some where my love…it should get the schmaltzy award or the “ZZZZZZZZ” award for 1966, very stale and depressing. A lot of these songs I did not know existed. Yet I guess the four seasons have stopped having any hits or they did not have any songs that were as cringeworthy as their early sixties shtick.

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  4. Unfortunately, during the 60s, pro-war propaganda songs were just as rampant as anti-war songs. See Victor Lundberg’s An Open Letter to My Teenage son which became a top 10 hit or An Oakie from Muskogee.

    Also, I heard a lot of people mentioned ’67 and ’68 were also pretty good.

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