Remember when you were a kid, and you’d done something wrong, and your parents would say: ‘I’m not angry … I’m just disappointed’? How about the music that makes you feel that way? Everyone has a moment in the catalogue of their favorite band or artist which they find indefensible – maybe a stupid quote in an interview, maybe an embarrassing TV appearance, maybe a sell-out starring role in a product commercial (we’re looking at you, Iggy Pop. And you, John Lydon).
Or – more likely – just a plain old bad song.
We’re looking at the top five worst songs by great artists … those records which sully the reputation of cultural legends and which even the hardcore fanbase find hard to stomach. Ready? Let’s go.
5. The Smiths – ‘Golden Lights’
Morrissey may have aged into a flabby, reactionary embarrassment, but it’s widely held that his four-year-stint with The Smiths was a non-stop procession of pop perfection. Right? Right? Well … kind of. There’s always one who has to spoilt it for everyone else – and that came in the form of ‘Ask’ B-Side ‘Golden Lights’, a cover of a 1965 song by Twinkle. The rest of the band hated it. It’s easy to see why:
4. David Bowie and Mick Jagger – ‘Dancing In The Street’
Two of rock’s premier 20th century icons teamed up in 1985 to make … this. It might be easier to pretend that they were kidnapped by an armed militia and made to dance like monkeys than face up to the horrible truth: that they thought this was a good idea.
3. Lou Reed – anything from ‘Metal Machine Music’
There is a perverse sort of fun to be had with arguing about ‘Metal Machine Music’ – mainly because it’s had a bizarre reappraisal of late, with several cooler-than-thou types insisting that it’s a forgotten masterpiece. It isn’t. In 1975 Lou Reed released an album of impenetrable noise which many people believed to be a grudging contractual obligation. There are people who say they like Metal Machine Music more than Walk On The Wild Side. These same people are the ones who waffle on endlessly about Maya Deren’s ‘Meshes Of The Afternoon’, when they should just admit that they prefer ‘Gremlins 2′.
2. The Beatles – ‘Octopus’ Garden’
The genius quartet behind some of the greatest music in the history of mankind? Check. A song that sounds like the introduction to a Saturday morning cartoon, produced entirely to ensure cereal-box tie-ins? Erm … check. Proof that not even the Fab Four were perfect.
1. The Beach Boys – ‘Summer Of Love’
Some people say that to burn cultural artefacts – a record, a book – is a mark of an irresponsible and twisted society. These people have never heard ‘Summer Of Love’ by the Beach Boys. Remember as you watch this: these are the guys who made Pet Sounds.
So: what do you guys think? What are your most memorable bad songs by great artists? Drop your thoughts in the comments box below.
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