The Absolute Worst 100 Songs in Rock History

“There have been tens of thousands (easy) more terrible rock songs than there have been good ones,” famed rock critic my grandmother once said, and in support of her theory she pushed the entire opus of REO Speedwagon my way. “‘Ridin’ the Storm Out’ is bong steady,” she said, “but you can flush everything else down the crapper.”

She was right, of course, and that’s what made it so hard to put this list together. Few of us are financially wealthy, but we’re all rich in rock and roll dreck. When the Jefferson Starship sing “We’re knee deep in the hoopla” in perpetual contender for worst song ever “We Built This City,” we know it’s not hoopla they’re singing about, is it?

But I’ve tried, Lord knows, to devise my own list of the Awful One Hundred. I’ve had to stomach the unstomachable, bear the unbearable, listen to the unlistenable, and in general audition more musical mortal sins than a talent scout in Hell, and these were the best I could come up with. I personally believe my efforts warrant the Congressional Medal of Horror.

Some of my selections you’ll agree with, others you’ll disagree with, and still others will make you wonder what dim creature from what low-IQ planet in what slow-witted galaxy spit me out like a watermelon seed with such force that I ended up here, solely to get the whole damn thing wrong. Some of my selections have let it be known just how unhappy they are. I’ve received hate mail. Threatening midnight phone calls. One song even took to standing outside my window at night screaming “Thank God I’m a country boy!”

A brief note on how I chose the songs on my list. There are gazillions of songs we can all agree are dog turds in burning paper bags, but to my way of thinking a truly appalling song is one I turn off the very second it comes on. If this means a sprained wrist, so be it. If, while behind the wheel of an automobile, this entails running head on into an 18-wheeler full of highly flammable nuclear waste, them’s the breaks.

Then again, there are countless Lovecraftian abominations out there I won’t turn off simply because they make me laugh. And even on some good days a hearty laugh can be as hard to find as D.B. Cooper. Who, if I understand correctly, leaped from a passenger jet at 10,000 feet into sub-zero temperatures on a stormy night in the environs of some of the most rugged wilderness in the country not to make off with $200,000 in ransom money, but to escape the Original Caste’s “One Tin Soldier.”

100. “Bang the Drum All Day” • Todd Rundgren
This isn’t a song. It’s a bad hangover.

99. “Rock the Casbah” • The Clash
How fitting that this band of wannabe Sandinistas will best be remembered by the proletariat for a money-making novelty song. To quote our capitalist oppressors, “Rock the Cashbox!”

98. “Somebody Told Me” • The Killers
Somebody told me you had a boyfriend who looked like the girlfriend who wasn’t my boyfriend who dated you last year and I kissed a girl and he liked it. Or something like that.

97. “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da” • The Police
Is this a simple string of nonsense syllables? Or Morse code for “God help us all”?

96. “We Are the Champions” • Queen
Official theme song of the Fourth Reich.

95. “Back in the U.S.A.” • MC5
On this vapid cover of the Chuck Berry classic these Motor City agitators switch allegiance from Che to Chachi and from the White Panther Party to Happy Days. Kick out the jams, Mrs. Cunningham!

94. “The One You Love” • Glenn Frey
Finally, the answer to the question “Is the head dead yet?”

93. “Midnight Rambler” • The Rolling Stones
Mick Jagger, stalking the midnight streets of London in search of female victims? Right. You’ll most likely find him at home gazing over his shoulder at the mirror, admiring his cute little bum.

92. “L’Héautontimorouménos (The Self-Tormentor)” • Diamanda Galás
Music makes the world go round. This one does the same for Linda Blair’s head.

91. “I Was Made for Lovin’ You” • Kiss
What’s there to say about Kiss’ crass disco move? Other than it’s as shudder-inducing as a mail sack filled with Gene Simmons’ used condoms?

90. “Head Like a Hole” • Nine Inch Nails
The song’s subject is S&M (oh dear), but you won’t catch me saying, “Thank you mistress, may I have another listen?”

89. “Song Sung Blue” • Neil Diamond
Song sung blows.

88. “Scarborough Fair/Canticle” • Simon & Garfunkel
No, I won’t be going to Scarborough Fair. Too much parsley, rage, rosemary, and crime.

87. “Out of Step” • Minor Threat.
“Don’t drink/Don’t smoke/Don’t fuck/At least I can fucking think,” scolds latter-day Cotton Mather Ian MacKaye. Christ, Ian, I used to do all those things, and I could still think. Mostly about drinking, smoking and fucking, but hey—a guy’s got to think about something.

86. “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” • Smashing Pumpkins
Yeah, yeah, yeah, despite all your rage. Yeah, yeah, yeah, just a rat in a cage. You know what you need, Billy? A couple of days at Disney World.

85. “At Seventeen” • Janis Ian
The National Anthem of acne-pocked high school ugly ducklings so unpopular gym mates decline to call their names when it comes time to pick sides for basketball. Makes “The Song of the Volga Boatmen” sound like “Dancing on the Ceiling.”

84. “Tell All the People” • The Doors
On which rock’s leading Poet/Shaman/Bullshit Artist sings, “Follow me across the sea/Where milky babies seem to be/Molded, flowing revelry/With the one that set them free.” I’m amazed ole’ Jimbo didn’t find a way to slip “poetry” in there. It rhymes. As does “malarkey.”

83. “Let No Man Steal Your Thyme” • Pentangle
Brit folkie Jacqui McShee cautions the fair maidens of England’s green and pleasant land to protect their “thyme” from sweet-talking hymen thieves, and she does so in an eerie monotone guaranteed to render the randier males of the species instantly impotent. Problem solved.

82. “Shout to the Top” • The Style Council
This Paul Weller disco fiasco from the 1985 film Vision Quest is nothing more than a change of menu—the Jam has been replaced by Jello.

81. “Money for Nothing” • Dire Straits
Elitist rock putz and homophobe Mark Knopfler mocks guys who move refrigerators for a living for thinking rock stars have it made. Made? Let Joe Sixpack try lifting an eight-pound electric guitar.

80. “In the Summertime” • Mungo Jerry
Unlike most summer songs this one makes you long for a permanent ice age, and it’s as almost as friendly a welcome to the sunny season as a riled-up swarm of killer hornets.

79. “This Is Not a Love Song” • Public Image Ltd.
This is not a love song. It’s a maddeningly annoying song. Then again, the two often come down to the same thing.

78. “Sometimes When We Touch” • Dan Hill
Dan Hill’s so sensitive he breaks down and cries when you so much as touch him. He’s not human—he’s a children’s doll your kid doesn’t want for Christmas because he’s such a goddamn bummer.

77. “The Final Countdown” • Europe
The royal fanfare running through “The Final Countdown” probably has Queen Silvia busting out her alpenhorn, but the rest of us are left to flee to Liechtenstein. Sweden provides 11,298 tons of the world’s pulp. ”The Final Countdown” makes up 9,053 tons of it.

76. “Abracadabra” • Steve Miller
I’ve intoned the word abracadabra hundreds of times, but “Abracadabra” has yet to disappear.

75. “Lawns of Dawn” • Nico
The cognoscenti adore this Teutonic chanteuse and her dirges, but I find it impossible to warm up to an iceberg with its emotions hidden well beneath the waterline. That and I hold her personally responsible for the sinking of the Titanic.

74. “Magnet and Steel” • Walter Egan
No way is Walter Egan steel. Another ferrous alloy like Glucydur maybe. Or Sanicro 28. But I’m guessing he’s actually faucet water, because magnets find the stuff repellant.

73. “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” • Meatloaf
This torturously extended baseball = sex metaphor harkens back to the days when four bases led straight to the altar. Meatloaf is as hesitant as he is horny, an overheated Ellen Foley urges him to swing for the bleacher seats, and after Meatloaf crosses home plate the two promptly do the expected and get hitched. Just as you’d expect, their marriage ends up in last place.

72. “You Light Up My Life” • Debby Boone
Two words: Molotov cocktail.

71. “Lazaretto” • Jack White
Is it so wrong to loathe a guy because he’s pasty-faced and probably looks like an albino death slug under his clothes? Probably. So how about this? Is it so wrong to dislike a guy because his hapless attempts at “rapping” on “Lazaretto” rival those of Anthony Kiedis? No. My God, no.

70. “When I Need You” • Leo Sayer
I hide behind the sofa.

69. “Taxman” • The Beatles
It’s hard to sympathize with a fantastically rich rock star whinging about his taxes. So I tracked Beatle George down and confronted him about it. “I know it makes me sound like an ingrate,” he said, kindly welcoming me into his unheated hovel and offering me a bowl of cold thin gruel.

68. “England’s Rose” • Elton John
Conservationists owe Captain Fantastic praise for this victory of musical recycling. The rest of us, not so much. John’s tribute to Princess Diana is mawkish at best, and mawkish is no way to treat a Lady.

67. “MTV-Get Off the Air” • Dead Kennedys
Just what the world needs—a Frank Zappa impersonator.

66. “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (In Perfect Harmony)” • The New Seekers
Yeah, wouldn’t we all. But Moldavia is always out of key, Uruguay never fails to hack up a lung on the second verse, and it’s rare you won’t find Finland passed out on the couch, dead drunk. So good luck with that.

65. “Hummingbird” • Seals & Crofts
The duo whose jasmine in their minds is in need of some serious pruning originally entitled this song “Don’t Fly Away, Hummingbird, the Way Our Garden Gnome Did the Year Before.”

64. “Joy to the World” • Three Dog Night
The biggest hit of my 8th grade year was about a bullfrog with a well-stocked wine cellar. And people wonder why I’m so fucked up.

63. “Mr. Roboto” • Styx
I liked this song until I learned Mr. Roboto was diddling Mr. Mister’s Mrs. with the old titanium sausage. That’s the problem with robots. They can’t keep their dicks in their pants.

62). “Che” • Suicide
This murky drone is Suicide’s homage to the 20th Century’s most charismatic revolutionary? Why not just give him an exploding cigar?

61. “Cleanup Time” • John Lennon and Yoko Ono
This below-average example of songcraft is further gist for the propaganda mill perpetuating the self-serving myth of John Lennon as happy homemaker. (“The king is in the kitchen/Making bread and honey”). All I want is the truth, John. Just gimme some truth.

60. “We Didn’t Start the Fire” • Billy Joel
Come on Billy, ‘fess up. I don’t want to resort to the third degree, but if you try to pin the blame on Mrs. O’Leary’s cow just one more time I’m going to have to break out the car battery.

59. “Your Mama Don’t Dance” • Loggins and Messina
Listen up, you punks. You can spout all the bullshit about parents being hopeless fogies you want, but leave my mama out of it. Where I come from disrespecting your elders will get you shot, generally while you’re hung up in the razor wire.

58. “Hot Blooded” • Foreigner
Hot blooded, check it and see, my penis thermometer’s at 103.

57. “Trees” • Rush
“There is trouble in the forest,” sings Geddy Lee in this ludicrous libertarian parable about the equality of man being an impingement on the rights of the Supermen of this world. Seems the small trees are sick of the tall trees hogging all the sunlight, so the latter up and cut the tall trees down. Libertarians view the enemy as communism. I blame the logging industry.

56. “Taste of My Love” • Emerson, Lake & Palmer
“Go down gently/With your face to the east,” sings the gentlemanly Keith Emerson to his lady love, “The sun may be rising/But we haven’t finished the beast.” Which beast are you talking about, Keith? The one with two backs? The one the guests at the Hotel California can’t slay with their steely knives? Or this goatish specimen of sexist drivel?

55. “We Will Fall” • The Stooges
This ten-minute ethnomusicologist’s dream and yogic glimpse of the infinite exists solely as filler for side one of The Stooges. Since then it’s become the Elephant Man locked in the Stooges’ attic, and God forbid it should escape and prove them all to be hippies.

54. “Alice’s Restaurant” • Arlo Guthrie
My pal Patrick swears that on a trip back from New York City once I reached out in a dead sleep to turn this 9,000-minute folk atrocity off on the radio. Fortunately you generally only hear it played on Thanksgiving. Kinda makes you wonder what we have to be thankful for.

53. “I Want You to Want Me” • Cheap Trick
You may want me to want you but I don’t want you to want me, band who wrote the brilliant “Surrender” then followed it with this zero IQ power ballad. Talk about your cheap tricks.

52. “Steamroller” • James Taylor
When James Taylor calls himself a “churning urn of burning funk” you can write him off as a shitty poet. When he refers to himself as a “hefty hunk of steaming junk” you can ask yourself if this is his way of calling himself a stud. When he calls himself a “cement mixer,” you can be sure he’s all mixed up.

51. “Dinner and a Movie” • Phish
Making fun of these guys is as easy as shooting Phish in a barrel. This representative example of stench-ass jazz-fusion blows even by Grateful Dead-lite jam band standards, and if that doesn’t give you pause you probably spend most of your time in a ratty van following the String Cheese Incident.

50. “Animal Language” • Lou Reed
Most will argue Metal Machine Music is Lou’s nadir as an artiste, but I’ve always leaned towards this one, in which a horny dog and a cat in heat mainline a guy’s sweat for reasons known only to the genius himself. Welcome to the methed-out mind of Lou Reed, folks. Be careful not to step on the syringes.

49. “The Times They Are Changin’” • Bob Dylan
1978’s Dylan at Budokan is more than just Bob’s supper club album—it’s Pearl Harbor in reverse. This easy-listening version of “The Times They Are Changin’” proves what Dylan’s been trying to tell us since 1970’s Self Portrait. He’s not the guy who wrote all those immortal songs. He’s “The Wedding Singer.”

48. “The National Anthem” • Jimi Hendrix
I’ve always hated America’s National Anthem (got pelted with beer cups and hot dogs once for refusing to stand for it before a Philadelphia Phillies game), and what does Hendrix’s version have to offer that the standard version doesn’t? More goddamn notes. If Hendrix wanted to set his guitar on fire, why not to this one? And better yet, before playing it?

47. “Machine” • Black Flag
“I’m not a machine,” bellows a tuneless Henry Rollins over and over again, like a machine.

46. “Lawyers in Love” • Jackson Browne
Lawyers are the strawmen in this representative example of the Yuppie King’s musical meditations on the not-so-quiet desperation of America’s professional hollow men. He hears their screams, strangled cries, and mating calls and while he doesn’t say as much, I’m betting it’s not compassion he feels—it’s smug condescension.

45. “Yesterday” • Bad Religion
Gandhi once said, “There are no bad religions.” He also once said, “Play this song again and I will say fuck it to nonviolence and bash you over the head with my handloom.”

44. “Iron Man” • Black Sabbath
Which is the better song, Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” or the Edgar Winter Group’s “Frankenstein”? The latter of course, because it’s surprisingly nimble of foot and doesn’t clunk around in 54-pound diving boots at the bottom of the Marianas Trench. That and in 1998 the International Metallographic Society voted iron “the stupidest metal ever” by a wide margin.

43. “Time for Me to Fly” • REO Speedwagon
The band’s greatest hits CD I used to own listed this one as clocking in at three minutes and sixty-one seconds, meaning these Illinois MOR standard bearers reinvented our measure of time! Unfortunately Albert Einstein could write a better power ballad.

42. “I’m Not Lisa” • Jessi Colter
Poor Julie. Her guy keeps mistaking her for Lisa, who split years ago. You’d think she’d split too, having to say “I’m not Lisa, my name is Julie” every two minutes. That or change her name to Lisa.

41. “Beds Are Burning” • Midnight Oil
How do you sleep while your bed is burning? Try the couch.

40. “Simply Irresistible” • Robert Palmer
From the guy who brought us synchronized human sex robots on the video of “Addicted to Love.” They worked so well Palmer brought them back for an encore, but the thrill was gone—to paraphrase Cyndi Lauper, “Girls just want to be human.”

39. “Your Body Is a Wonderland” • John Mayer
When it comes to exploring the wonderland of your body John Mayer says “I’ll use my hands. I could use one of those claws on arcade machines kids play to scoop up furry toy animals, but mine is in the shop.”

38. “Closing Time” • Supersonic
I know who I want to take me home, but it’s obvious Bob would sooner go home with Andy, Andy would sooner go home with Brandi, and Brandi would sooner go home with Cue Ball. What’s Cue Ball got that I don’t? Hey, are you sure I can’t sleep on the pool table?

37. “Low Budget” • Kinks
In 1979 the once brilliant English pop miniaturist Ray Davies pumped his songs full of human growth hormone, presumably to make a killing on the American arena circuit. The song is crass, Davies is slumming, the title is appropriate, and the sun has set permanently over Waterloo.

36. “The Boy in the Bubble” • Patti Smith
The covers album is the last refuge of a scoundrel with nothing left to say, and Smith’s 2012 LP Twelve is proof. Here rock’s all-time worst poetess attempts, but fails, to lend an aura of shamanistic mysticism to a Paul Simon favorite. It’s enough to make a person say you can call me Al.

35. “Owner of a Lonely Heart” • Yes
Your heart really need not be lonely, boys. You could adopt another heart to chase it around the house. Or take it to the local heart park, where it will be free to bound about sniffing other hearts’ butts.

34. “The Space Between” • The Dave Matthews Band
The Dave Matthews Band is a beige SUV with three baby seats in the back, driven by perhaps the dullest human being to ever pick up the electric guitar. And you needn’t worry about said SUV getting in an accident. That isn’t easy when you’re driving 15 in a 30 miles per hour zone.

33. “Hip to Be Square” • Huey Lewis and the News
If Huey’s right, dropping dead while mowing your lawn in a Connecticut suburb makes you the King of Cool.

32. “Spinning Wheel” • Blood, Sweat & Tears
On “Spinning Wheel” the terminally unhip make clear that what comes up must come down, making them, and not Sir Isaac Newton, the guys who discovered gravity! The Woody Woodpecker stuff at the end could be the most rib-busting thing I’ve ever heard. Don’t let the rest fall on your head.

31. “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” • Iron Butterfly
The full-length version of this psychedelic in-a-gadda-da-plodda clocks in at seventeen-plus minutes, or eighteen minutes longer than it should. Is the title stoner mumble for “In the graden of Eden”? I’m in-a-gadda-da-vida if I know. And I’m in-a-gadda-da-vida if I give a shit.

30. “Old Time Rock & Roll” • Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band
Bob Seger says today’s music ain’t got the same soul. Billy Joel says it’s all rock & roll to him. Death match!

29. “Why Not” • Yoko Ono
Amazing the way Yoko manages to chitter away like a chipmunk on speed. I once asked a chipmunk friend of mine what she was saying and he replied, “How would I know? She’s chittering in Japanese.”

28. “Creamer (Radio Is Dead)” • Limp Bizkit
If radio is dead, why am I always hearing these nü-metal lunkheads on the radio? Because radio is dead.

27. “Old Man” • Neil Young
I’ve heard this Neil Young folk-rot chestnut more times than I’ve heard “Heart of Gold.” Or is it the other way around? Wouldn’t it be cool to find out I’ve heard them the exact same number of times? Or better yet, never heard them at all?

26. “Muskrat Love” • Captain & Tennille So there are these two muskrats named Suzie and Sam, see, and they like to go out dancing, capiche, and then Suzie gets knocked up because Sam refuses to use a condom, the asshole, and they end up with a litter large enough to field a baseball team at which point Sam goes out for cigarettes and never comes back. It’s one of the saddest goddamn songs I’ve ever heard.

25. “Epic” • Faith No More
Flunk metal band dying to be the Red Hot Chili Peppers are shocked to discover there are laws preventing them from undergoing facial plastic surgery to become the Red Hot Chili Peppers. So they suck like the Red Hot Chili Peppers instead.

24. “A Groovy Kind of Love” • Phil Collins
Here’s a fun fact—Phil is a serious collector of Alamo memorabilia. And encircled as he is by haters, it makes perfect sense. It doesn’t help that on this one he’s the first person since 1968 to use the world “groovy” with a straight face. Better load that flintlock rifle of yours Phil—the enemy’s coming over the walls.

23. “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” • John Denver
In the words of the great Warren Zevon, “There ain’t much to country living/Sweat, piss, jazz and blood.” He neglects to mention intercourse with farm animals. Could be John sounds happier than Warren for a reason.

22. “I’d Love to Change the World” • Ten Years After
Alvin Lee is an equal opportunity bigot. Channeling dear old Nixon-loving dad he sings, “Everywhere is freaks and hairies, dykes and fairies,” but as he readily admits he doesn’t know how to change things. So in the great buck-passing tradition he sings, “I’ll leave it up to you.” Up to me? Well here’s a suggestion, Alvin. Enlist for a tour in ‘nam.

21. “Dreams” • Van Halen
Van Halen released this generic power ballad a mere year after their masterpiece 1984, marking one of the greatest downfalls in rock history. Would the great David Lee Roth have allowed this to happen? No way. He’d have flushed an M80 down this toilet and sauntered out of the men’s room, whistling.

20. “Love Is a Battlefield” • Pat Benatar
I’m cowering in a crater in No Man’s Land with this bomb exploding all around me.

19. “Total Eclipse of the Heart” • Bonnie Tyler
A team of cardiologists told reporters “Ms. Tyler’s total myocardial eclipse was a relatively benign event compared to Queen’s “Sheer Heart Attack,” which might have been fatal.” That said, otolaryngologist Phil Burke warns “Listening directly to ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ can cause permanent ear blindness.” So be careful to don your tinted ear plugs, people.

18. “American Pie” • Madonna
I love Madonna, always have. The same goes for “American Pie.” But had rock and roll managed to crawl, barely alive, from the wreckage of that plane outside Clear Lake, Iowa, this baby would have been there to stick a pitchfork in its back.

17. “Hello” • Lionel Richie
Fact: Lionel Richie destroyed the unspeakably ugly bust of himself featured in the video for this song. Unfortunately, he failed to destroy the song.

16. “Almost Cut My Hair” • Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
The death of the counterculture is narrowly averted when David Crosby turns on his heels and walks away from the barber shop. He has to let his freak flag fly, see, just below the one with the corporate dollar sign on it.

15. “House on Pooh Corner” • Kenny Loggins
Pooh = Bear = Have you seen Grizzly Man, Kenny? It may not be honey Pooh’s hankering for.

14. “Only Time Will Tell” • Asia
Asia is a fully accredited retirement community for aging progressive rockers with no place left to go. There retirees are encouraged to produce dumbed-down versions of their old songs to give to visiting grandchildren, who upon leaving hurl them into the man-made lake near the putt-putt course.

13. “We Are the World” • USA for Africa
Symbolic humanitarian gesture + shitty song = Will you turn if off if I make a donation?

12. “Let’s Dance” • David Bowie
No, I will not put on my red shoes and dance the blues. Bowie went full whore on this one and it worked wonders because everyone loves a whore in red shoes. He originally intended to entitle it “Let’s Prance,” but a certain member of Santa’s team of reindeer sued.

11. “Valley Girl” • Frank Zappa
Always the one to take on the hard targets, on “Valley Girl” everybody’s favorite trapped-in-adolescence satirist lets loose on a suburban cliché. Gutsy, Frank. Real gutsy.

10. “Every Breath You Take” • The Police
I wouldn’t advise you to listen to this Stalker’s Delight in the shower. Sting could be standing on the other side of the curtain, wielding a knife and wearing Bono’s face.

9. “Dancing in the Street” • The Grateful Dead
Just how awful is the Grateful Dead’s cover of the Martha and the Vandellas’ classic? Mick Jagger and David Bowie kick its butt. And they weigh a combined seventy-eight pounds.

8. “Let ‘Em In” • Paul McCartney and Wings
Come on, Paul, everybody knows if you invite a vampire into your home you’ll end up among the undead. Just like this song, which is in dire need of a stake through its heart.

7. “Tears in Heaven” • Eric Clapton
I’m inclined to cut the chinless one some slack, having suffered as he did the greatest tragedy a parent can endure, but that doesn’t make “Tears in Heaven” any more palatable than follow-up “My Father’s Tears.” Add up all of those tears and what you’re left with is a musician who’s managed to turn personal grief into a cottage industry.

6. “I Just Called to Say I Love You” • Stevie Wonder
Maybe it sounds better in braille.

5. “Under the Bridge” • The Red Hot Chili Peppers
You know what would have made this infamous example of frat-boy stench great? If it had been about a troll who lives under a bridge, can’t sing a lick, and wears a sock on his dick. What’s that? It is?

4. “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” • Rod Stewart
The minute I became an 86-year-old woman with cataracts and sixteen great-grandchildren, for sure.

3. “Ebony and Ivory” • Paul McCartney featuring Stevie Wonder
By the way, which one’s pink?

2. “We Built This City” • Jefferson Starship
Most give this one the nod for worst rock song of all time. But I don’t, because as terrible as it is the Jefferson Starship are right; sans their rock and roll music, pluck, bricks, mortar, peace symbols, steel girders, day-glo face paint and 4,754,766 tabs of Owsley LSD San Francisco wouldn’t exist. Leaving us where to go with flowers in our hair, exactly? Or to leave our cake out in the rain? Or our hearts, for that matter? Nowhere, that’s where. And don’t even get me started on Rice-A-Roni.

1. “Imagine” • John Lennon
Friends have never understood my animus towards this beloved idealist anthem, but to quote the World War I-era writer and radical Randolph Bourne, “If you are not an idealist by the time you are twenty you have no heart, but if you are still an idealist by the time you are thirty, you don’t have a head.” John Lennon had no head, and this vapid collection of brainless cliches is the proof. Lennon isn’t asking us to dream, he’s asking us to ignore the human condition, and to add insult to injury he insists it’s a cinch. Can we imagine no possession? No self-respecting two-year-old could (or would want to), and neither could John—ask him to give his iconic white baby grand piano to the bum on the next block and he’d have squawked like a seagull denied a french fry. Cynics have hearts (they’re what make them so cynical) but also have heads. And they use them.

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  • dan_oz

    I can attest that this list is factually correct in every respect

    • MH Little

      I thank you Dan, although I have a lurking suspicion that the above sentence falls under the category of sarcasm.

      • dan_oz

        Wit may be the highest form of sarcasm but I don’t do either.
        I hope facebook is on fire with this tonight, keep putting the rags in the bottles, a tour de force.

        • MH Little

          Thanks so much Dan. That’s very kind of you. Unfortunately it’s drawn as little response as my list of the 100 greatest songs of all times. What are you going to do? Molotov cocktails? Make that Milk Duds!

  • Owlsley

    I thought Imagine was too high on the list. Awful song. As for Tears in Heaven, up there with Wonderful Tonight. Worse than awful

    • MH Little

      That “too high on the list” made me laugh out loud. And we’re obviously on the same page when it comes to Clapton–I didn’t even remember the unspeakable “Wonderful Tonight.” We’re obviously soul mates!

      • Owlsley

        When they are bad, they are bad. You’ve definitely with what I now know as guilty pleasures

        • MH Little

          I plead guilty to having guilty pleasures. But if Clapton was one of my guilty pleasures, I would seek psychiatric help.

          • Owlsley

            Clapton up to 1970 is palatable. Hence you excluding that period from your list. I take it that you leaving Peter Green out means he can do no wrong

          • MH Little

            I love Derek and the Dominos. But that’s just me. As for leaving Peter Green out, who would include him? And I can say the same for dozens upon dozens etc. of other bands.

  • Ted Raikin

    Um, “We Built This City” was by Starship, not Jefferson Starship. Paul Kantner had left, taking the “Jefferson” with him. Jefferson Starship and Jefferson Airplane had their virtues. Starship had none.

    And, er, where is “Lying Eyes” by Eagles???

  • Richard Larson

    RE Zevon, the word is NOT jazz

  • jimmynixon



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