List of music considered the worst
The list of music considered the worst consists of albums or songs that have been considered the worst music ever made by various combinations of music critics, television broadcasters (such as MTV), radio stations and public polls. A piece of music needs to have been notable, popular, or memorable to be deemed the "worst ever", or it would be unlikely to top all-time public polls a few years after it was released. As such, a piece usually needs to have had a high profile at the time of its release, such as an unexpected hit that was highly disliked outside of its fanbase. Scholarly accounts of the "worst music ever" are rare. Most polls or critical lists are light-hearted in nature, especially in pop music. Magazines reflect the preferences of their readers, and if polls are influenced by too small a group of readers or critics, they provide unreliable results. Most "worst ever" lists do not aim to take into account all music ever created, but are limited to certain time periods, styles of music, and geographical areas. Furthermore, individual tastes can vary widely, to the point where very little consensus on a worst song can be achieved; the winning song in a CNN e-mail poll received less than 5 percent of the total votes cast. There are a handful of scholars who have done more in-depth analysis of music perceived to be bad, including Irwin Chusid, Barry Hansen (better known by the stage name Dr. Demento) and Darryl W Bullock, author of the 2013 book The World's Worst Records.
Due to their longer playing time than songs, albums contain material that most people, apart from fans and professional critics, will not have heard. Therefore, "worst-ever" lists usually contain albums that many readers or viewers have not heard in their entirety, or the "worst" or most disappointing albums by well-regarded artists. An artist's actions or reputation might also influence the results. Such lists are harder to compile in the form of a public poll, unlike singles or music videos, which will usually have been heard or seen even by non-fans of the artist.
- Philosophy of the World, The Shaggs (1969)
- The Shaggs, who had previously had minimal exposure to music, recorded this album at the behest of the band members' father, Austin Wiggin; the album achieved wide release in 1980, long after the band had disbanded and Wiggin had died. Chris Connelly wrote for Rolling Stone: "Without exaggeration, [Philosophy of the World] may stand as the worst album ever recorded." Debra Rae Cohen, also writing for Rolling Stone, was so impressed by the album's poor quality that she referred to it as "the sickest, most stunningly awful wonderful record I've heard in ages".
- Lord Sutch and Heavy Friends, Screaming Lord Sutch (1970)
- This supergroup led by Sutch, a man with dubious musical talent but a pioneer in the horror rock genre, included a list of some of Britain's best known rock musicians, many of whom disowned the record when it was released. It was mentioned as the worst record ever released in a 1998 BBC poll. A negative review published in Rolling Stone called Sutch "absolutely terrible" and lamented that under the restrictions of the project, the collection of talented musicians on hand were made to sound "like a fouled parody of themselves".
- Having Fun with Elvis on Stage, Elvis Presley (1974)
- The album was a recording of an Elvis Presley concert that contained almost no actual music, consisting only of banter and jokes from between numbers, compiled in a seemingly incomprehensible manner. It ranked No. 1 in Jimmy Guterman and Owen O'Donnell's list of the worst rock and roll albums in the 1991 book The Worst Rock and Roll Records of All Time, duly noting the lack of rock and roll on the album.
- Metal Machine Music, Lou Reed (1975)
- A deliberately "unlistenable" album, consisting entirely of guitar feedback loops, ranked No. 2 in the 1991 book The Worst Rock 'n' Roll Records of All Time by Jimmy Guterman and Owen O'Donnell. In 2005, Q magazine included the album in a list of "Ten Terrible Records by Great Artists", and it ranked #4 in Q's 50 worst albums of all time list.
- Two the Hard Way, Allman and Woman (1977)
- This was the only significant collaboration between the husband-and-wife team of Cher (who had recently divorced from Sonny Bono) and Gregg Allman, the surviving namesake of the recently broken-up Allman Brothers Band. Reviews of the album, the genre of which is difficult to define, were resoundingly negative, with a review in the Rolling Stone Record Guide labeling the album "worthless", "bottom of the barrel" and the most "inappropriate combination (imaginable)". The unsuccessful Two the Hard Way Tour, marred by financial losses and the return of Allman's alcoholism, led to the couple's breakup. Cher, who acquired the rights to the album, has refused to allow it to be rereleased in any form.
- Soundtrack to Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Bee Gees with Peter Frampton and others (1978)
- A glam rock and disco Beatles cover album, the release was named "worst ever" by Maxim in April 2000— in a top 30 list which mostly contained pop albums from the '70s to '90s. The soundtrack proved a disaster in the career of the Bee Gees. It was the first album in history to "return platinum" as stores took over four million copies of it off of their shelves to ship back to their distributors. The RSO Records organization destroyed hundreds of thousands of copies, providing the company with a huge financial hole from the soundtrack's failure.
- Elvis' Greatest Shit, Elvis Presley (1982)
- A posthumous bootleg compilation album, consisting largely of outtakes and a selection of Elvis' movie soundtrack songs of the 1960s, was deliberately made to highlight the worst of his career. Critics largely agreed that the pseudonymous compiler of the record succeeded in picking Presley's worst work.
- Thank You, Duran Duran (1995)
- A cover album, named the worst ever album by Q magazine in March 2006.
- White on Blonde, Texas (1997)
- Voted the worst Scottish album ever made in a 2007 online poll of music fans.
- Playing with Fire, Kevin Federline (2006)
- The only album recorded by the ex-husband of Britney Spears: Kevin Federline. This album also holds the distinction of being the lowest-scoring album on Metacritic, with a score of just 15. It was also a commercial failure, with second-week sales of only 1,500.
- Eoghan Quigg, Eoghan Quigg (2009)
- Quigg's début album has been "widely described as the worst album ever" according to the Belfast Telegraph. Peter Robinson in The Guardian called it "the worst album in the history of recorded sound."
- Streets in the Sky, The Enemy (2012)
- Awarding the album an unprecedented 0/10, John Calvert of Drowned in Sound labelled Streets in the Sky as "a low point in British guitar music", as well as a "reoccurring nightmare" which marks "some of the worst songwriting in major label history".
The following songs have appeared in media polls and critical lists as the "worst ever". Examples of such sources include VH1's "50 Most Awesomely Bad Songs Ever" and Blender Magazine's "Run for Your Life! It’s the 50 Worst Songs Ever!".
Because of the nature of the pop single that developed in the 20th century, most of these entries are five minutes long or less.
- "I Want My Baby Back", Jimmy Cross (1965)
- In 1977, British DJ Kenny Everett named the novelty song as the absolute worst of a bottom thirty song listing done after a public vote. The single was a moderate commercial success but killed the singing career of its vocalist, Jimmy Cross, who failed to achieve any kind of traction with serious work afterward. A parody of the teenage tragedy song trend, the lyrics of the song feature a male protagonist lamenting the death of his girlfriend before, finally, joining her in her coffin. In the book The World's Worst Records: Volume One, music critic Darryl W. Bullock wrote that the track is "[r]outinely considered the worst record of all time".
- "(You're) Having My Baby", Paul Anka (1974)
- No. 1 worst song as voted on by CNN.com users in 2006.
- "Dance with Me", Reginald Bosanquet (1980)
- A disco song with lyrics narrated in the style of a British newscast (Bosanquet was a news anchor for Independent Television News at the time), was voted number one 1 in the Bottom 30 by listeners of British DJ Kenny Everett in 1980.
- "Agadoo", Black Lace (1984)
- Many newspaper and internet music critics agree that this song is one of the worst ever. When it was re-released in 2009, many newspapers began with the headline 'worst song ever'. It was ranked the worst song in pop history in a The Guardian newspaper article in 2009. It was banned from being played on BBC Radio 1 for a period because 'it was not credible'. It was also rated the worst song ever in a Q Magazine poll in 2003.
- "We Built This City", Starship (1985)
- Despite this single off the group's album Knee Deep in the Hoopla being a #1 hit, it ranked #1 in "Run for Your Life! It's the 50 Worst Songs Ever!" list in Blender Magazine, and "The 10 Worst Songs of the 1980s", Rolling Stone
- "Mr Blobby" (1993)
- This was a novelty single, released as an ultimately successful Christmas number-one single campaign, that featured Mr Blobby, a gag character featured on the TV series Noel's House Party. Reviews were extremely negative. It is generally considered the worst Christmas song ever among UK critics and, among a more general group, ranked third among songs that have charted in the top 10 in a poll by the Scottish Daily Record and second among songs that had hit number-one in a compilation by VH1.
- "Life", Des'ree (1998)
- Although "Life" was Des'ree's biggest hit, the song was widely mocked for its lyrics. The song, and in particular the verse "I don't want to see a ghost/It's the sight that I fear most/I'd rather have a piece of toast/Watch the evening news", has been voted as having the worst lyrics ever in polls by the BBC, The Independent, and the Herald Sun.
- "The Millennium Prayer", Cliff Richard (1999)
- VH1 labeled this the worst number one record of all time after a poll.
- "The Christmas Shoes", NewSong (2000)
- The song has appeared on various "worst Christmas song" lists. In 2011, the song was named "The Worst Christmas Song Ever" by Gawker.com, following a weeks-long survey of commenter votes.
- "Who Let the Dogs Out?", Baha Men (2000)
- Number one on Spinner's "Top 20 Worst Songs Ever".
- "The Cheeky Song (Touch My Bum)", The Cheeky Girls (2002)
- Voted the no. 1 "worst pop record" by Channel 4 viewers in a poll broadcast in January 2004.
- "Rockstar", Nickelback (2006)
- Some critics have given it the distinction of the worst song of all time. The song was listed at number 2 in Buzzfeed's list of the 30 worst songs ever written. They said: "If aliens came to earth and asked why everyone hates Nickelback so much, this song would be a perfect explanation. A 2008 Popjustice poll, voted "Rockstar" as the worst single of the year.
- "Miracles", Insane Clown Posse (2010)
- CraveOnline deemed it the worst rap song of all time, and the most embarrassing rap moment of all time. The Phoenix deemed it the worst song ever recorded. The lyrics, most notably "Fucking magnets, how do they work? And I don't wanna talk to a scientist / Y'all motherfuckers lying, and getting me pissed" have been noted as the worst lyrics of all time.
- "Friday", Rebecca Black (2011)
- BBC Newsbeat and E! Online state that "Friday" is among the worst songs ever created. It became an internet sensation, making it the subject of multiple parodies and ridicule.
- "Surrounded by Silence", Design the Skyline (2011)
- Released on March 13, 2011 onto YouTube by the band and critically panned after the group was signed to Victory Records. Many social sources and magazines credited the band as "the worst band ever" and the song as "the worst song ever", pointing out the song has no musical structure, is badly out of sync, has a lack of any sensible rhythm within their playing, has near-unintelligible vocals consisting of screaming, and the members' physical appearances. It was also voted the second worst song of 2011 behind Rebecca Black's "Friday" on AbsolutePunk's "Worst Song of 2011 (so far)" poll.
- "Hot Problems", Double Take (2012)
- Uploaded to YouTube by Drew Garrett and Lauren Willey who make up the group known as Double Take, the song and accompanying music video received highly negative reviews. Many have called it "the worst song ever," with some YouTubers proclaiming it to be worse than Rebecca Black's "Friday".
- "Chinese Food", Alison Gold (2013)
- An independent song produced by Patrice Wilson, who also produced for Rebecca Black's "Friday". "Chinese Food" has been criticized as the worst song ever created and the worst song of the year by Time magazine. The song has also been criticised for being racist and offensive.
In 1997, artists Komar and Melamid and composer Dave Soldier released "The Most Unwanted Song", designed after surveying 500 people to determine the lyrical and musical elements that were the most annoying. These elements included bagpipes, cowboy music, an opera singer rapping, and a children's choir that urged listeners to go shopping at Wal-Mart. As described by the online service UbuWeb, "The most unwanted music is over 25 minutes long, veers wildly between loud and quiet sections, between fast and slow tempos... with each dichotomy presented in abrupt transition." The conceptual artists also had project known as "The Most Wanted Song", organized similarly. Both tracks include, as an in-joke, references to famous philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein.
Classical music media have run fewer "worst-ever" lists than pop, either for composers or individual pieces. There have been articles on the worst recorded versions and the worst classical album covers.
In film music in the United States, the worst song of the year is given the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Original Song. This "award" was given from the ceremony's inception in 1980 until 1999 and resurfaced in 2002. It parodies the Academy Award for Best Original Song.
- List of songs considered the best
- List of controversial album art
- List of films considered the worst
- List of television series notable for negative reception
- List of video games notable for negative reception
- The Rhino Brothers Present the World's Worst Records
- Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Original Song
- Todd Leopold (April 27, 2006). "The worst song of all time, part II: CNN.com users pick their (least) favorites". CNN.com.
- Bullock, Darryl W . "The World's Worst Records". ISBN 148262446X.
- Connelly, Chris (December 11, 1980). "Is Rock Ready for the Shaggs?". Rolling Stone (Straight Arrow Publishers, Inc.) (332): 19.
- Cohen, Debra Rae (October 30, 1980). "Philosophy of the World". Rolling Stone (Straight Arrow Publishers, Inc.) (329): 56.
- The Top 1000 Albums of All Time, Colin Larkin
- Young, J.R. (April 2, 1970). "Lord Sutch and his Heavy Friends". Rolling Stone (Straight Arrow Publishers, Inc.) (54): 66.
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- Compare Cover photo at discogs.com
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His [Quigg] eponymous debut album, released a couple of weeks ago, has been met with universal hoots of derision...Indeed, it is widely described as the worst album ever.
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