The Ten Worst One-Hit Wonders of Summer
Every summer has those inescapable songs. "Summer In the City," "Hot Fun In the Summertime" or someone, likely Janis Joplin, singing Gershwin's "Summertime." While who doesn't think of sandy beaches and ocean waves when hearing the Beach Boys? Nelly nailed it in 2002 with "Hot In Herre," which no matter how you feel about spelling, turned out to be a dead accurate account of where we all were in our lives that summer -- and every summer.
However, Summertime has a dark side. Radio programmers and record labels apparently conspire with one another to ensure that we suffer each year with some tune that just makes us nuts. But while it's annoying when a great -- or nearly tolerable -- artist missteps once or twice (Phil Collins, come on down!), it's doubly galling when the song that annoys us comes from an artist who we'd never heard of previously. Or famous artists who join together with another famous artist only to make a song worse than anything they'd recorded on their own!
So, I was visited by the ghost of the Yahoo! corporate offices and told, in no uncertain terms, to find the songs that annoyed me the most, to spend hours, days, weeks, months, years listening and re-listening to the worst of the worst and to devise a list of the most terrible songs to have ever been hits in the summertime. You know what to bring to the next party! (And, truth told, I even still kinda like a couple of these, but I'm not going to tell you which ones.)
10) Macarena -- Los del Rio (1996): In order for a song to become among the worst, it has to be heard many, many times. It has to become inescapable. It has to alter the way people live. Fact is, this track might be just fine if you could've found a safe place away from it in the 1990s, but you couldn't and it corrupted dance clubs, weddings, the radio, TV news reports, your grandparents! What about wallflowers who don't want to dance? Don't they have rights? Shouldn't they be left in peace and not hassled by that uncle or aunt who insists you, too, get out on the dance floor?
9) The Dawn of Correction -- The Spokesmen (1965): Barry McGuire had already found a way to manhandle words like "coagulatin'" into his doomsday scenario hit, "Eve of Destruction." But every action causes a reaction and sure enough The Spokesmen had a hit with a not-so-subtle "answer song" that asked "What about the things that deserve condemnation?" and offered up, "Self-government's replacing colonization." Where do these musicians think they are, C-SPAN? If you're going to pull this sort of thing at least get the harmonica in tune and learn to sing! (Note: the album was even worse!)
8) Telephone Man -- Meri Wilson (1977): Making it onto the Dr. Demento Radio Show is fine and dandy. However, having an actual hit with something this cloying and goofy -- I think she's supposed to be cute and seductive -- is just plain wrong for so many reasons. What are we supposed to say to the children? Chances are, the kids are the only ones to like this since it's silly and awkward and they think breathing with pork rind breath while they pin their sister helplessly to the ground to be the funniest thing ever. Wilson even updated the song as "Internet Man" in 1999.