1968. The year Martin Luther King was assassinated (and Robert F. Kennedy). I heard that this was another great year for pop music and, yeah, it was. Psychedelic music was still popping, as was folk, rock, soul, jazz, and early funk. Not great as 1967, but still pretty damn good. But even the good years have their bad and we’re here to talk about them here and count down the worst of the worst. So let’s start.
You know? I get wanting to make a joke song and I can get behind it if it was funny. But that’s not the case here. Here’s Shorty Long (which sounds like a rap name) with his big hit Here Comes The Judge. In this song, we have a trial where Shorty Long portrays a judge and I have no idea what the hell is going on. There’s a case where a guy can’t dance and he’s given a 90-day sentence to learn how to dance. And then there’s nonsense like this.
Stop eatin’ that fudge
Cause here comes the judge
Take what you will from the writing of this song because I am completely lost. It’s lower on the list because it all comes down to me not finding it funny and humor is subjective. Sadly, a year after this song’s release, Shorty Long passed away when he drowned in a boat accident. It’s a shame, really. Doesn’t make this song any better.
Let’s face it, America has a history of glamorizing criminals: gangbangers, the mafia, serial killers, Charles Manson, outlaws of the Wild West, and especially Bonnie & Clyde, a couple who gained notoriety in the early 30s for their crime sprees who were killed in a police ambush. Their story was brought to the big screen in 1967’s Bonnie And Clyde and a year later, in song thanks to Georgie Fame’s The Ballad Of Bonnie And Clyde. This is some hokey shit right here, from the instrumentation all the way down to how Georgie sings. It sounds like an amateur doing karaoke night at a Western bar. Also, it tells a simplified version of the famed couple. Hell, it got one detail wrong about where these two met. We also get the sounds of police sirens and gunfire just to sell the point more. I’d rather listen to Jay Z and Beyonce’s Bonnie And Clyde ’03 and I don’t even like that song. Let this remain forgotten through history.
And now for something stupid, courtesy of the Irish Rovers (who are literally Irish). This is The Unicorn, a song about… well, unicorns. Unicorns and how lovely they are and how they really existed, but you don’t see them because they’re dumb enough to miss the Ark when the big wizard in the sky decided to flood the world. Yep. Not only is this a song about unicorns, but they also decided to work in the story of Noah’s Arc, where one man built a giant boat that can house 2 of every species of animal out there in preparation of God flooding the world and killing everyone and everything (even the animals that live in water, apparently). See what I mean? Add in some goofy, saccharine instrumentation and you got a song that’s ten levels of lame. Let it drown amongst the Great Flood.
And on the topic of dumb shit, check out the title to this Ohio Express hit: Yummy Yummy Yummy. Going by that title alone, you’d think this was made for a goofy kids’ show. Musically, it sounds like a kids’ version of a lot of bubblegum pop songs of the time and the singing is very annoying, especially when the lead singer keeps saying “yummy, yummy, yummy.” Then, you look at the lyrics and it’s a love song that just so happens to involve eating. Either this dude is into some freaky foreplay involving food or he’s a literal cannibal. Either way, it’s childish and stupid. Next.
1910 Fruitgum Company. Who the hell came up with a name like that? This sounds like something made up by a record label and the music reflects that attitude. This band is on the list with a tie between two songs named after children’s games. Simon Says is pretty much a dance song where the listener is given dance instructions in the style of the game while 1, 2, 3 Red Light is a love song that got its title from the game Red Light/Green Light. Both songs sound like some elementary school crap that’s been crafted by a label Frankenstein-style. And this band would have another hit a year later called Indian Giver. Seriously.
And now we move on to Turn Around, Look At Me, a Glen Campbell song covered by the Vogues. Honestly, this was one of Glen’s weaker songs and the Vogues don’t make it any better. Why? Well, setting aside the 50s-sounding music and vocals, the lyrics to this song are creepy as fuck. We have a guy trailing behind a girl, trying to get her attention and telling her that he’s the one for her.
There is someone walking behind you
Turn around, look at me
There is someone watching your footsteps
Turn around, look at me
There is someone who really needs you
Here’s my heart in my hand
Turn around, look at me
This is some Pepé Le Pew shit right here. I mean, this might have been somewhat acceptable back in the 60s, but now? Fucking yikes. From the way the writing is framed, it seems like this girl is trying to get away from this creepy ass dude stalking her. Personal boundaries, they exist for a reason.
And we’re not done with the creepy shit yet thanks to Gary Puckett & The Union Gap and a theme that seems to rear its ugly head every now and then when I do these lists: pedophilia. This time, we have Young Girl, which is about a guy who finds out that the girl he’s dating was actually underage and wants her to go. Now, that sounds reasonable…
Get out of here
Before I have the time
To change my mind
‘Cause I’m afraid we’ll go too far
… and I take that back. I get you don’t want to cross that line, but the fact that you presented the possibility that you’ll still date this girl despite the fact that she’s underage says a lot. Really? Get out of here before I have time to change my mind? Are you that much of a creep?
When even the artwork gives you the creeps, that’s not a good sign. Just… look at it. A guy wearing sunglasses looking at some ass. Red flags everywhere. So this… thing comes from the O’Kaysions and it’s their only hit, Girl Watcher. If there’s a textbook example of “white guys attempting to sing soul music and failing,” this is it because these dudes are utilizing a sound and style of soul that would’ve been dated even back then. This would’ve been passable in the 50s or even 1961 at the latest, but not 1968. And the writing is about what the title implies, a dude just watching girls in public. Seriously. There’s looking for someone who could be a potential partner and then there’s being a predator only out for pussy.
Hello there, female
My, my, but you do look swell
Seriously, who goes up to a woman and calls her female? I’ll tell you who: either a shut-in who doesn’t know how to interact with other people or an alien from another planet trying to figure out humans. There is nothing natural or okay about what’s going on in this song.
Next, we have a song that’s considered to be one of the worst of all time. Anytime someone talks about the worst that the 60s has to offer, chances are MacArthur Park is mentioned. This is a song written by Jimmy Webb and has seen many covers from Waylon Jennings to the Four Tops to Donna Summer. But it was first recorded by Richard Harris, which is what we’ll talk about on this list. One main issue with this song is that it’s needlessly too long at over 7 minutes. Originally, the song was supposed to be longer, but they trimmed it down. Honestly, it didn’t deserve its ridiculous length because this music is not that interesting, even when it switches up. Also, there’s the writing. It’s about a relationship coming to an end, but for some strange reason, the chorus makes a lot of references to cake.
MacArthur’s Park is melting in the dark
All the sweet green icing flowing down
Someone left the cake out in the rain
I don’t think that I can take it
‘Cause it took so long to bake it
And I’ll never have that recipe again
You know? I get that it’s a metaphor, but it’s still dumb regardless. And Richard Harris sells this with a lot of undeserved melodrama. Now I see why this is considered to be one of the worst. But it’s not worse than the next song.
And now, here are some dishonorable mentions
- Herb Alpert-This Guy’s In Love With You
- O.C. Smith-Little Green Apples
- The Box Tops-Cry Like A Baby
- Mary Hopkin-Those Were The Days
- Gary Puckett & The Union Gap-Lady Willpower
- Gene & Debbe-Playboy
- Donovan-Hurdy Gurdy Man
- The Fireballs-Bottle Of Wine
- The Lettermen-Goin’ Out Of My Head/Can’t Take My Eyes Off You
- Gary Lewis & The Playboys-Sealed With A Kiss
And finally, the worst song of 1968 IS………..
Boy, do we have something here. This is a song that seems to find itself on the chopping block of the worst songs of all time. Honey by Bobby Goldsboro is a song about a guy mourning his girlfriend after she died, which in itself isn’t bad, but then you get to the execution, which is all levels of botched. First off, it’s extremely boring, going for the sappiest instrumentation that the 60s could ever drum up, delivered by a charisma-free Bobby Goldsboro. And just as sappy is the writing, which is depressing (which is intended considering the topic) and kinda douchey, mainly thanks to this line:
She was always young at heart
Kinda dumb and kinda smart and I loved her so
Kinda dumb and kinda smart. Wow. Insensitive douchehole much? And making things worse is that the song implies that the girl killed herself. Geez, it’s almost like saying she’s kinda dumb wasn’t exactly a smart idea. You’d be the worst therapist in the world. Congratulations to Honey for being the worst song of 1968.
And those were the worst songs of 1968. In two weeks, BACK TO THE 60s continues with the Worst Songs of 1969.
SONG OF THE WEEK
What A Wonderful World-Louis Armstrong
8 thoughts on “Top 10 List: Worst Songs of 1968”
Out of curiosity what is your opinion on Love is Blue by Paul Mauriat? In my opinion it’s an underrated beautiful instrumental piece but otherwise great list.
Ah yes the infamous 1968 where historical leaders were being killed, the country was tearing itself apart over Vietnam, the presidential election, and other social upheavals. My dad told me he remembers hearing about MLK’s death over the radio at 8 years old. I actually went to the motel where MLK was killed, which is now the National Civil Rights Museum, while on vacation last year in Memphis. You go through the museum learning about the history of racism and civil rights in America before going into the exact room that MLK stayed in which is left exactly the way it was in 1968. It was a good experience seeing a lot of the history I learned about in school. Definitely worth a visit if you ever go to Memphis.
Here Comes The Judge- stupid
Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde- pretty cheesy but I don’t think it’s that bad aside from the gunfire at the end
The Unicorn- cheesy
Yummy, Yummy, Yummy- people seem to think that the whole bubblegum pop thing started in the 90s but no it really blossomed first in the late 60s. Agree that it’s childish and stupid. I dig the instrumentation a little but this song isn’t the type of music I listen to.
Simon Says/1, 2, 3 Red Light- they’re catchy but again not the type of music made for me
Turn Around, Look At Me- boring
Young Girl- I was just listening to this song for the first time the other day and the lyrics immediately creeped me out
Girl Watcher- Funny single cover aside, it is a very creepy song and the production sounds dated even by 1968 standards
MacArthur Park- Super long and melodramatic
Honey- super boring and lame and Bobby Goldsboro has absolutely no presence as a singer. Really this was the number three song of 1968
Disagree with Hurdy Gurdy Man cause I think it sounds cool
Can’t argue with your best list. There’s a lot of great songs I love on the list. On a personal note, my uncle died this week after a two year battle with brain cancer and he was a big Eric Clapton fan so I’m happy to see the Cream songs on your list as they’re both great songs. For Fathers Day this year, I recorded a short video of myself playing guitar to Born To Be Wild to send to my uncle because my dad said he probably won’t be alive for Fathers Day next year and he was right. Can’t wait for your 1969 list as this journey through the 60s comes to an end!
Here are my best and worst lists for 1993
Best Hit Songs of 1993
1)I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston
2)Nuthin But A G Thang by Dr. Dre ft. Snoop Dogg
3)Heart-Shaped Box by Nirvana
4)It Was A Good Day by Ice Cube
5)I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That) by Meat Loaf
6)Plush by Stone Temple Pilots
7)I Get Around by 2Pac
8)That’s The Way Love Goes/If/Again by Janet Jackson
9)I Have Nothing by Whitney Houston
10)Are You Gonna Go My Way? by Lenny Kravitz
Dreamlover by Mariah Carey
Show Me Love by Robin S
Runaway Train by Soul Asylum
The River of Dreams by Billy Joel
I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) by The Proclaimers
Two Princes by Spin Doctors
Mr. Wendal by Arrested Development
Ordinary World/Come Undone by Duran Duran
Slam by Onyx
I Don’t Wanna Fight by Tina Turner
Hip Hop Hooray by Naughty By Nature
Will You Be There (Theme From Free Willy) by Michael Jackson
All That She Wants by Ace of Base
7 by Prince
Bed of Roses by Bon Jovi
Cryin/Livin on the Edge by Aerosmith
Cats In The Cradle by Ugly Little Joe
What About Your Friends by TLC
Hey Mr. DJ by Zhane
Insane in the Brain by Cypress Hill
Deeper and Deeper/Rain by Madonna
What Is Love by Haddaway
Check Yo Self by Ice Cube ft. Das EFX
Fields of Gold by Sting
Hey Jealousy/Found Out About You by Gin Blossoms
Worst Hit Songs of 1993
1)Three Little Pigs by Green Jelly
2)Whoot, There It Is by 95 South
3)Dazzey Duks by Duice
4)Informer by Snow
5)I Got A Man by Positive K
6)What’s Up by 4 Non Blondes
7)(I Can’t Help) Falling In Love With You by UB40
8)Boom Shake The Room by Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
9)Forever in Love by Kenny G
10)A Whole New World (Aladdin’s Theme) by Peabo Bryson & Regina Belle
Whoomp! (There It Is) by Tag Team
Rump Shaker by Wreckx-N-Effect
I’ll Never Get Over You Getting Over Me by Exposé
Have I Told You Lately by Rod Stewart
The Right Kind Of Love by Jeremy Jordan
When She Cries by Restless Heart
To Love Somebody by Michael Bolton
O-o-h Child by Dino
Nothing My Love Can’t Fix by Joey Lawrence
What are your opinions on the following songs?
People Got To Be Free by The Rascals
Tighten Up by Archie Bell & The Drells
Harper Valley PTA by Jeannie C. Riley
Mony Mony by Tommy James & The Shondells (Do you prefer this version or the Billy Idol cover? I like both version but the Billy Idol version I feel goes more hard)
Judy In Disguise (With Glasses) by John Fred & His Playboy Band
Spooky by Classics IV
Angel of the Morning by Merrilee Rush & The Turnabouts (song sampled in Angel by Shaggy)
I Got the Feelin by James Brown
Lady Madonna by The Beatles
Do You Know The Way To San Jose? by Dionne Warwick
I Say A Little Prayer by Aretha Franklin
All Along The Watchtower by The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Susie Q by Creedence Clearwater Revival
What version of Light My Fire do you like better? I think the original is awesome but I like the Jose Feliciano version for how he makes the song his own in his Latin folk style.
What version of You Keep Me Hangin On do you prefer? The Supremes or Vanilla Fudge? I enjoy them both
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Sorry about your uncle. To keep going that long with brain cancer, he’s a soldier.
Great lists, BTW. As for the other songs: okay, okay, meh, good (I agree; Billy Idol’s cover brought it to another level), okay, good, okay (I like the Juice Newton cover more), good, okay, okay, good, great, good.
Both versions of Light My Fire are great, but I still prefer the Doors version and I think I like the Vanilla Fudge version of You Keep Me Hangin On more.
Thank you. He truly was a soldier. Even after being diagnosed, my uncle never stopped living. He loved being around his family and going out to concerts. In his life, my uncle was a big cook and was a chef at many restaurants around New York. He will be greatly missed especially with Thanksgiving tomorrow and Christmas. But at least he’s in a better place and is not suffering anymore. And I’ll always have all the memories of my uncle to remember him by.
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whoomp there it is and whoot there it is other than some differences in the production, I cannot tell the two songs apart. Another suggestion for a double target practice,
I only need to comment on one song here: MacArthur Park. This song is one of the most unintentionally funniest songs I’ve ever heard, because it’s very melodramatic in the way that is uses cake as a metaphor for love. I didn’t even know about the metaphor before I looked it up so the fact that the artist is lamenting over not being able to make another cake like the one that was out in the rain is very funny. The big ‘Oh, nooooo’ at the end of the chorus is just the icing on the cake (pun intended).
As always, the Best List is very agreeable because of the songs that are on it, like (Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay (again, eff Michael Bolton), Hey Jude (that ending is memorable, despite it dragging on), Sunshine Of Your Love, Think, and even Mrs. Robinson in the HMs.
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