“Stairway to Heaven” – Led Zeppelin
Quite possibly the number one offender in this category. Sure, Led Zeppelin were rock gods, but they were also massive dorks and “Stairway to Heaven” might be the dorkiest song (besides any song by Weird Al) to ever achieve mainstream popularity. If getting to heaven required taking a stairway with this song playing, count me out.
“Piano Man” – Billy Joel
I’ve come around a bit to Billy Joel in recent years, but I still find “Piano Man” abysmal. It really might be the worst song that Elton John never wrote. For some reason, this song causes people in bars to go completely nuts and act as if they’ve never heard the song before, even though it was most likely played from the bar they just came from.
“You Shook Me All Night Long” – AC/DC
If you’ve heard one AC/DC song you’ve heard them all. This just happens to be the one that I heard at various dances throughout high school and college. The main riff is unimaginative and Brian Johnston’s vocals sound like squirrel choking on an acorn.
“American Pie” – Don McClean
There’s only one thing worse than “American Pie” and that’s Madonna’s version of “American Pie”. The whole song is corny and goes on forever. It could have been a nice tribute to Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper. Instead, McClean attempts to out-Dylan Bob Dylan by referring to Dylan as “the jester”.
“Free Falling” – Tom Petty
Tom Petty is the Patron Saint of anyone who has ever sang and played guitar on open-mic night. “Free Falling'” just coasts along and never achieves that feeling of letting yourself go. As for the lyrics, it’s the equivalent of those inspirational sticky-notes or internet memes.
“Crash Into Me” – Dave Matthews Band
I probably hate this song because just about everyone I knew in high school and many others in college adored this song. But really, it just meanders and the chord progression is grating. Also any song that ends with “I’m the king of the castle” can’t be taken seriously.
The Dude said it best: “I hate the fucking Eagles, man.”
“Build Me Up Buttercup” – The Foundations
Third-rate Soul by a British band attempting to sound authentic. I’ve had people tell me that they love Motown and Soul music and then tell me this is their favorite song. I can’t forgive There’s Something About Mary for reintroducing this song to my generation.
“In the Mood” – Glenn Miller
You know how Kenny G is categorized as jazz? Miller’s “In the Mood” is like the Kenny G of the 1940s.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” – Queen
Even as a fan of Pete Townshend and his flirtations with the rock opera, I find Queen’s signature song to be over the top and pretentious. Like McClean’s “American Pie” it could be a good song, but its execution grates on me. As for “opera”(made famous in Wayne’s World) part I find to be more clunky than amusing as most other people do.