Songs That Should Be Taken Out and Shot
by Jim Esposito
Classic Rock spawned some of the greatest songwriters in musical history. We marveled at their lyrics, reveled in images conjured up by their three dimensional poetry. But that doesn’t mean these freakin’ geniuses didn’t throw in a clinker every now and then. Even some of the worst songs by the best bands had some redeeming artistic value. Deadlines and commitments, as Bob Seger said. Hey, you got a couple weeks off from touring, need to record an album. All you got are some tunes you wrote in the back seat of a station wagon sandwiched between your drummer and bass player driving between Austin and San Antonio. So some of that might be understandable. Maybe you got a few catchy tunes on the LP, one standout track hits the Singles chart, some others not so good. Still, through the storied annals of Classic Rock there are songs which, if we never heard them again, it would be all right with us.
Without further ado:
Songs That Should Be Taken Out and Shot.
Paul McCartney was brilliant and The Beatles changed the world. You can forgive obvious tongue-in-cheek tracks like “Octopus’ Garden” and “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” but listening to “Rocky Raccoon” is 3:33 of your life you will never get back.
Ironically, in the song, Rocky Raccoon gets shot, spends the remainder bleeding out. If only when he died the track would, too.
Many people cite The White Album as one of The Beatles’ best. Frankly, we don’t see it. The only real good songs are “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and “Blackbird.” Hardly seems worth sitting through a double LP just for two tunes, especially when in addition to the aforementioned stinker you must also endure “Birthday” and “Ob-La-Di.”
For the record, our favorite Beatles albums are Help! and Hard Day's Night. Not fashioable choices, since they were soundtracks, but they contain the best songs.
2. Crocodile Rock
We realize this song is a homage to 50s rock ’n roll, but even in the 50s this would’ve sucked. If this song is never played again the world would be a better place.
3. Mr. Bojangles
Jerry Jeff Walker
Rock fans are probably more familiar with the rendition by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and Sammy Davis Jr. loved dancing to it. A drunk, a county jail, and a dead dog. “Mr. Bojangles” (the song AND the character) should be drop-kicked into oblivion.
Blood On The Tracks is Dylan’s best record but “Idiot Wind” is like listening to fingernails scraping on a black board. Every other song on the album is great. At least in this digital age you only have to press a button to skip it. In the old days you had to get up, go over to your phonograph, pick up the needle, try to put it down again in the dark grooves between tracks.
5. Captain Jack
Billy Joel did great, great stuff. “Baby Grand” and “New York State of Mind” are timeless classics, and we are also partial to “You Might Be Crazy.” Joel exploded onto the scene with the title track of his first LP, “Piano Man.” Along with “You’re My Home,” “Somewhere Along The Line,” “Worse Comes to Worst,” “Stop In Nevada” and “If I Only Had The Words” it is maybe his best album. The reason “maybe” is in that sentence is “Captain Jack.” People make fun of Billy for rhyming Davy and Navy in “Piano Man.” Try “your sister’s out, she’s on a date, you just sit at home and masturbate.” One of the most depressing songs in history. Years ago “Captain Jack” came on the FM station, halfway through one friend remarked: “Well, if you weren’t on drugs before this song, you are now.”
My hero, this is the lone blemish on J.J.’s first LP, Naturally. J.J. Cale’s albums put you into a dreamy, bluesy mood. “Clyde” snaps us out of that pretty quick. What’s weird - the image this song conjures up - an Okie redneck sitting on a wooden porch in bare feet playing music… That’s pretty much the way J.J. recorded that first record.
7. Wonderful Tonight
I know he was recovering from heroin addiction, but that’s no excuse for this level of nauseating sincerity. Patty Harrison must’ve rocked Eric’s world in the sack. He should’ve learned from Robert Johnson: go ugly, early.
8. Benny & The Jets
Elton makes this list twice. And deservedly so. Five minutes of slow, torturous tedium. B-B-B-Benny and The Jets. P-P-P-Please shoot me now.
9. My My, Hey Hey
“Hey hey, my my, Rock ’n Roll can never die.” Neil Young is supposed be a great songwriter. He could’ve put a little more thought into this one. For the record, “better to burn out than to fade away” isn’t even his line.
10. The Crunge
One letter off, the “u” should be an “i”. Hard to believe the same guys who gave us “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You,” “Dazed And Confused” and “Whole Lotta Love” would take the (studio) time to record this (for lack of a better word) “song,” put it on an album, think anybody would actually want to hear it. Surf our website you will see we may be some of the biggest Led Zeppelin fans ever. But this track leaves me speechless. Suppose it’s only fitting a band who produced such monumental music would fail so monumentally.
11. Hot Blooded
We hesitate to include Foreigner as a Classic Rock Band, a little too late on the scene, but “Hot Blooded” is one of the most sophomoric songs ever recorded. “Let’s have a secret rendezvous, just get away from you know who.” We grudgingly admit the band did some decent songs, but “Hot Blooded” prejudiced us toward them for years.
12. American Woman
We are big fans of Randy Bachman and BTO. The Guess Who was a Singles Band who cranked out a string of hits including “No Time” and “These Eyes.” We especially like “Undun” because it foreshadowed jazzier tunes like “Blue Collar.” But who are these guys to go capping on American Woman? I always wanted to write a song about Canadian women. “Canadian woman, hair like a man’s. Canadian woman, go get a tan…”
Special Lifetime Achievement Award
An embarrassment, not only as a rock ’n roller, but also as a person, name one Ted Nugent song that SHOULDN’T be taken out and shot. “Journey To The Center of The Mind” doesn’t count, since that was the Amboy Dukes, before Nugent went on to write classics like “Stranglehold,” “Cat Scratch Fever” and the immortal “Wang Dang Poontang,” strut about on stage with an AK-47 screaming about politics. You just keep thinking, Butch.