Feb 4, 2009

Ten Overplayed Songs I Would Never Miss if They Suddenly Disappeared

Go away. Please.

We all have songs that grate on our sonic sensibilities due to the rate at which they appear on the radio, on television, or in other cultural contexts. Listed below are the 10 tunes whose permanent disappearance would not cause me to shed a tear, and which I might applaud if they were erased from human memory.

Of course, if these songs indeed abruptly evaporated and mysteriously vanished, I wouldn't be able to remember them anyhow, but that is just idle semantics.

The potential status of an overplayed song, of course, is in part a function of the amount of time since it was recorded. There are plenty of songs recorded in the last year or two that get heavy airplay but which will soon fall to obscurity. In this post I am thinking of songs that have annoyed people for at least a decade, and preferably tunes that have tormented listeners for a lifetime.

Feel free to sing the praises of any song I unfairly placed on this list, or add your own least favorite songs that gain much more airplay than they deserve.

1. "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye," Steam. I never much cared for this song when it was only an AM radio staple, but now that it has entered the playlist of every PA system in sporting venues, this song needs to die. Soon.

2. "Build Me Up Buttercup," The Foundations. This is another AM radio special that has been resurrected, only this time for movie soundtracks and American Idol singers. Unfortunately, its popularity seems to live on, and I suspect that I will continue to be aurally assaulted by its unnaturally cheery melody for the foreseeable future.

3. "We Are The Champions / We Will Rock You," Queen. Stadium and arena operators feed us a steady diet of this Queen twofer, and it has also found its way into innumerable films. Too bad, because there are many other Queen songs worthy of immortality than this ho-hum pair.

4. "Mony Mony," Tommy James & The Shondells and Billy Idol. This song was pretty forgettable in its first go-around in 1968, but Billy Idol's annoying 1987 remake kills it for me. That, plus I wager that "Mony Mony" has been played at every wedding I've attended since 1980.

5. "Rock and Roll Part 2," Gary Glitter. Yet another stadium-and-arena musical cliché, but we should also wish a rapid death for the song because Gary Glitter is a flaming pedophile, and every time someone plays the song Glitter makes more royalties. No nickels for pedos, I say.

6. "Who Let The Dogs Out," The Baha Men. I thought that this one was dying, but I still hear it at sporting events, and Mitt Romney breathed new life into it during the 2008 primary by trying to look hip to some puzzled African American voters in Jacksonville.

7. "Bad to the Bone," George Thorogood and the Destroyers. Thorogood went downhill after his first two mildly listenable albums, but this ho-hum song somehow finds its way into more television shows, films, and video games than any other rock song I can recall.

8. "Back in Black," AC/DC. I admit that I never much cared for the musical stylings of Angus Young & Co., but this song is overplayed to the point at which it no longer seems like music. More like painful static or something, or at best like a bad case of vaginal dryness. So I am told, at least, possessing as I do a different set of reproductive organs.

9. "Radar Love," Golden Earring. One small caveat - you will likely only hear this song on a classic rock or oldies station, but the frequency of play in these two formats more than compensates for its infrequent appearance elsewhere. However, if pressed I will admit that I would rather listen to this song than Golden Earring's other idiotic hit, "When the Bullet Hits the Bone."

10. "Old Time Rock and Roll," Bob Seger. I recognized this as a piece of cheap sycophancy back in 1978 when Seger phoned this one in, but its place in musical banality was assured with the infamous underwear scene by Tom Cruise in Risky Business. This is another overplayed source of irritation at weddings, and now we also get to hear it every commercial for Guitar Hero on Tour: Decades and Guitar Hero World Tour. Blecch!


ProfessorSeal said...

"Old Time Rock & Roll" is awesome live - I finally got to see Bob twice during his four night sold-out stint at the Palace of Auburn Hills a couple years ago.

I agree with you on just about all of these. One other song - that stupid song you see/hear at sporting events where "Everybody clap your hands - clapclapclapclap" then you jump a step back, etc. F-in gag me.

I really don't listen to the radio anymore either, for two reasons. First, I was born about 25-30 years too late for my music tastes (classic rock), and whenever the incredibly rare occasion presents itself today when someone comes out with a good song, it is so overplayed in one day I'm tired of it.

Tim Higgins said...


Can we add "Who let the dogs out", so it can finally die a merciful death.

Mad Jack said...

Knock Three Times by Tony Orlando and Dawn which was number one in November of 1970. Whenever I hear this ear worm I get the urge to play along with the band in my own special percussion section: Lead pipe and Orlando's head.

I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor from October of 1978. This piece of drivel was written by Freddie Perren and Dino Fekaris, who should have had their thumbs amputated with a dull set of hedge clippers - right after Gaynor was chained to a pick up truck and dragged over forty miles of bad road.

Last Kiss by J. Frank Wilson & The Cavaliers back in 1964. I may be violently ill.

Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin. There are so many versions and recordings of this crap that I can't stand it.

There's more, but I'm going to have a drink - whiskey, neat.

Tim Higgins said...


Make it good single malt scotch, or better still a good Irish whiskey, and I will join you.

Anonymous said...

Crocodile Rock by Elton John. I hear it constantly.

microdot said...

There were a slew of Phil Collins songss that literally drove me mad in the 80's, there were stations that played Phil Collins all the time...but they've stopped now.
"La Meme Chanson" which is the 4 Tops same old song in French sung by the annoying mosquito lunged cult object named Clo-Clo, but that's a cultural thing.
Then there was Abba...make them go away, PLEASE!
I hadn't thought about Old Time Rock And Roll for a while, then a French Optical Company who has the bordering on senile Johnny Halliday as it's leather lunged figurehead...he sings a song and then tags on his trademark, now it is a running joke, howl "Optique Deux Mille" at the end...
So now he's singing Old Time Rock and Roll...in French of course and it pissed me off so much, I had to go and listen to Bob Segar's first hit from Detroit in 1965...
East Side Story! That was proto-punk and so cool!

Mad Jack said...


Should we invite History Mike?

Tim Higgins said...

Mad Jack,

There's always room at the table for a man who drinks whiskey neat, especially for one who can regale us with stories of the heroic past of those cultures who created this nectar.

Of course, we're assuming that we would deign to keep company with rowdies such as we appear to be.

historymike said...


Perhaps my dislike of the song owes something to seeing my parents dancing to it in 1979. That was an age when it was UNCOOL to like a song your parents liked.

historymike said...

Mad Jack:

"Last Kiss" is a favorite of mine, and I included it on my list of All Time Best Pop Death Songs. I have always been a sucker for tales of tragedy and highway death.

historymike said...


Agreed that "Crocodile Rock" has worn out its welcome, but until a sports team or TV show incorporates it as a theme, it has not yet hit mega-status as an overplayed song.

historymike said...

Tim Higgins and MadJack:

Only tonic water for me (lime twist). I gave up the hooch 6-1/2 years ago. I started liking it too much, and it became an everyday way to achieve instantaneous sleep.

historymike said...


1. Yes, just about the entire Phil Collins solo catalog can go very far away.

2. I actually started re-listening to ABBA before the latest ABBA wave hit. Now I am weary of the band.

3. Agreed that early Seger was phenmenal. I liked everything through the Beautiful Loser LP, but after that point it seemed like Bob lost his edginess. Live Bullet has this rawness and energy, like a guy who has one last chance to make it big. That, plus it was recorded at Cobo.

Tim Higgins said...


I understand your predicament, but could you be tempted by a fine cigar?

mikeb302000 said...

I've been meaning to have a look at your blog, Mike. I loved this post. But you know what I noticed, many times a song that in its day was uncool or actually disliked by me, now has taken on a nostalgic sweetness. I noticed this about the Beatles and wrote something about it recently. I grew up with their music but never liked it. The Who and the Stones were more my style. But about ten years ago I started to notice this new kind of appreciation for the old tunes that made up the soundtrack of my early life. Cool stuff.

microdot said...

check out mikes blog!...

Molly said...

"Free Bird"

Molly said...

Also re: previous Songs of Death post, I didn't see
Back on the Chain Gang by the Pretenders. It has to be included, even belatedly.

The powers that be
That force us to live like we do
Bring me to my knees
When I see what they've done to you
But I'll die as I stand here today
Knowing that deep in my heart
They'll fall to ruin one day
For making us part