Monday, August 16, 2004
Examples of instant channel changers for me include (in no particular order):
- "In The Ghetto" - Elvis Presley
Elvis always pretty much left me cold. Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Carl Perkins, Eddie Cochran, now there was great music. I can tolerate some Elvis including "Hound Dog", "Jailhouse Rock" and of all things "The Wonder Of You" (the song is sappy but since I'm a huge James Burton fan I like it). But "In The Ghetto"? Pseudo-socially relevant crap from someone whose career was starting the final tailspin.
- "Short Shorts" - The Royal Teens
A staple of New York oldies radio, its only historical merit is that the group was a precursor of the Four Seasons. The lyrics are inane and the Fran Drescher background singers are painful.
- "Mr. Lee" - The Bobettes
Another New York oldies radio standard, it's an extremely annoying song by a bunch of junior high school girls about their principal. The hiccupping vocal style drives me up the wall (it ain't Buddy Holly)
- "Why Do Fools Fall In Love" - Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers
Overplayed to death. Lots of other good Frankie Lymon material out there, like "I'm Not A Juvenile Delinquent" but truth be told it all sounds the same.
- "Sherry" and "Big Girls Don't Cry" - The Four Seasons
The Four Seasons did some absolutely incredible records from 1964 to 1966 or '67 when they were on Philips, but their Vee-Jay stuff has aged very badly. The line about a "twist party" in Sherry is painfully dated, and frankly the arrangements of this era are last-gasp doo-wop.
- "Sugar Shack" - Jimmy Gilmer and The Fireballs
Someone once mentioned that the Fireballs were supposedly a very hot band from West Texas, even better than the Crickets in their prime. This horrid little piece of wimp music sure puts the lie to it. Perhaps the lamest top ten hit ever - a line like "Espresso coffee tastes mighty good" makes my teeth hurt.
- "Venus" - Frankie Avalon
- "Blue Velvet" - Bobby Vinton
Anything by a Frankie or Bobby or other Dick Clark creation makes me retch.
- "Love Me Do" - The Beatles
I know, I know. Everyone reading this is going, he's a huge Beatles fan, yet he changes the radio station the instant "Love Me Do" comes on? Not that unusual. There are a couple of songs that consistently annoy most Beatles fans (for some reason "Mr. Moonlight" seems to top the list, but tell the truth I actually like that one), and "Love Me Do" is up there. Its simple song structure is incomprehensible especially in light of hindsight knowing that "Please Please Me" was coming next. And I do change the channel when I hear "Yesterday" only for reasons of massive overplay fatigue.
- "Riders On The Storm" - The Doors
Paul Rothchild nailed when it he called this one cocktail music. I'll never understand how Ray Manzarek got such a crummy lounge tone on his keys on this one.
- "Spirit In The Sky" - Norman Greenbaum
Overplayed in the same sense that Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth" is. Song has a certain cheesiness that grates.
- "D'Yer Mak'er" and "Trampled Underfoot" - Led Zeppelin
Not my favorite Zep songs by a long shot, but somehow beloved by program directors. For what it's worth, I do listen to "Stairway To Heaven" when it comes on the radio.
Not a comprehensive list to be sure, there are others (any disco will result in an instant channel change, just for an example). This is just a list of the most egregious tracks.
It's back to work today, so tomorrow's posting might be a bit light depending on how much manure accumulated over vacation.