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Q: Most unaccountably popular pop song ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   16 Comments )
Subject: Most unaccountably popular pop song
Category: Arts and Entertainment > Music
Asked by: mccook-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 03 Aug 2003 15:27 PDT
Expires: 02 Sep 2003 15:27 PDT
Question ID: 238597
What's the worst pop or rock song to capture and hold the No. 1
position on American Top 40 for the longest period of time? Though I
don't know whether these three songs ever actually reached number
one, my examples would include "Billy, Don't Be a Hero," "Seasons in
the Sun," or "One Tin Soldier." Boil it down, and we're really talking
about bubblegum stuff with the highest insipid/infectious ratio and
the longest, most annoying staying power.

Request for Question Clarification by tutuzdad-ga on 03 Aug 2003 16:19 PDT
You seem to be soliciting opinions rather than an answer. How then
will a researcher be paid for answering this question?


Clarification of Question by mccook-ga on 03 Aug 2003 19:08 PDT
I realize the question is subjective, but the part that I think is
answerable is the number of weeks at No. 1. If you or another
researcher want come up with a Worst Five or Bottom Ten (thanks,
Pinkfreud!) and can tell me which held No. 1 the longest, that'll be
worth it to me. Meantime, thanks to all for leaping in with a list of
delightfully wretched candidates. A friend, hearing of this question
an hour ago, suggested "Run, Joey, Run," which I adjudge a floridly
horrendous song, but doubtless too banal to have reached the summit of
AT40. (Still, in America, who knows?) Keep 'em coming, gang: Just
don't make the mistake of humming a bar of "Sometimes When We Touch,"
as I did a moment ago. I won't sleep for the next three nights. So
thanks again, Pinkfreud!

Clarification of Question by mccook-ga on 17 Aug 2003 17:28 PDT
My gosh, I'm impressed! I had no idea the question would generate this
kind of response. In every case, the arguments have been unassailable,
and I am still ready to cough up five, plus a tip, for a formal answer
to the other half of the question: which of these "songs" held No. 1
the longest? Or is there an as yet unnamed "tune" that beats them all
for hideousness and length of reign?

For example, did Elvis's "In the Ghetto" reach the heights and -- dear
God -- if it did, for how long?

Subject: Re: Most unaccountably popular pop song
Answered By: politicalguru-ga on 18 Aug 2003 05:34 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Dear McCook, 

Difficult choice, isn't it? 

I approached this whole thing scientifically. My findings might be
surprising: they do not include most of the songs discussed here. They
include, however, much more disgusting songs.

My methodology is pretty simple. First, accumulation of data - what
are the longest running "number-one-hits" (I used the search terms
here: ://

That brought me to this lovely site: "Number Ones", from which I took
the top running hits since 1955: (beware - lots of

As a fan of trash music, especially from the 1970s, I was pretty
offended by your suggestions, and was glad to find that statistics
shows another picture. This is the list of the songs that ran the
longest time.

Boyz II Men with Mariah Carey - One Sweet Day (December 2, 1995 - 16

Whitney Houston - I Will Always Love You (November 28, 1992 - 14

Boyz II Men - I'll Make Love To You (August 27, 1994 - 14 weeks)

Los Del Rio - Macarena (August 3, 1996 - 14 weeks)

Elton John - Candle In the Wind 1997 (October 11, 1997 - 14 weeks) 

Brandy and Monica - The Boy Is Mine (June 6, 1998 - 13 weeks) 

Boyz II Men - End Of the Road (August 15, 1992 - 13 weeks) 

Ricky Martin - Livin' La Vida Loca (May 8, 1999 - 12 weeks)

Santana - Smooth (October 16, 1999 - 12 weeks)

Destiny's Child - Independent Woman Part I (November 18, 2000 - 11

All-4-One - I Swear (May 21, 1994 - 11 weeks)

Elvis - Don't Be Cruel / Hound Dog (11 weeks in 1956)

Toni Braxton - Unbreak My Heart (December 7, 1996 - 11 weeks)

Puff Daddy and Faith Evans - I'll Be Missing You (June 14, 1997 - 11

Singing the Blues/ Guy Mitchell - 11 weeks in 1956

Debby Boone - You Light Up My Life (October 15, 1977 - 10 weeks)

Now, what is shoddier, worst? A song danced once by Al & Tipper Gore
(Macarena)? A song dedicated to a dead princess (Candle In the Wind)?
Or one dedicated to a gangsta-rap friend who was shot, and with a
sample of Sting on the top of that (I'll Be Missing You)? A couple of
adolescent girls declaring "This Boy is Mine!"?

Multiplying the cheesiness factor certainly brings these ones (as well
as anything sung by Mariah) to the front.

Add other runner-ups: 1981 was certainly the year where the human
nature lost its musical taste. In this year, besides Bette Davies Eyes
(which is not that bad), there were two other mega-hits:

Diana Ross & Lionel Richie - Endless Love (August 15, 1981 - 9 weeks)

Olivia Newton-John - Physical (November 21, 1981 - 9 weeks)

Now, you tell me. Are there more stupid words than "Let's get
physical! physical!"? Is there a more horrible way to present yourself
in a video-clip than the way ONJ looks in the "physical" video? (If
you need some reminder, here's the cover:, and
here's another wonderful "Physical" picture:

Another runner up could be Kris Kross' Jump (April 25, 1992 - 8
weeks). Horrible indeed, and sung by children, which should be a
category of cheesiness in itself.

Conclusions? My formula of calculating stupid words, bad performance,
the "artist/s" level, and the number of weeks on the charts, put
Mariah and Boyz-II-Men on the first place. However, Olivia, Kris
Kross, Ricky Martin, and the rest of this gang should not worry: their
place in the "most horrible pieces of music" chart is secured.

Nevertheless, you Americans will never match us, at least until you'll
have a Eurovision of your own (or at least Dieter Bohlen), to produce
real trash. I hope this answers your question.
mccook-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $5.00
Superb methodology. I hope it generates comment and debate until the
moment the question expires ("Don't Be Cruel" and "Hound Dog" for
instance?). Your note about the watershed year of 1981 brought to mind
a song that I think made its debut about then -- the egregious "Ebony
and Ivory," which seems to have finished off Stevie Wonder and
reminded us how dangerous an artistically uncircumscribed Paul
McCartney can be. I know it didn't hold the number one position that
long, but the intensity of its presence made it feel like it was
forever. Well done, everyone, and thanks to politicalguru -- wherever
you live -- for what we must all hope is now, and forever will be, the
Most Unaccountably Popular Pop Song of All Time.


Subject: Re: Most unaccountably popular pop song
From: pinkfreud-ga on 03 Aug 2003 17:05 PDT
Ooh! I just HATE "Billy, Don't Be a Hero." But when making the list of
most execrable hit songs, let's not leave out "Yummy Yummy Yummy (I
Got Love in My Tummy)," as performed by Ohio Express. Even today, 35
years after I first heard that song, my gorge rises when I think of
it. And I normally have a very placid and non-rising sort of gorge.
Subject: Re: Most unaccountably popular pop song
From: justaskscott-ga on 03 Aug 2003 17:11 PDT
The difficulty of answering this question is illustrated by One Sweet
Day, which held the Billboard #1 for 16 weeks (the longest run ever),
and which some people may think to be insipid ... while many,
obviously, did not:

"One Sweet Day"
Lyrics Time
Subject: Re: Most unaccountably popular pop song
From: pafalafa-ga on 03 Aug 2003 17:26 PDT
Gotta be Cracklin' Rose by Neil Diamond
Subject: Re: Most unaccountably popular pop song
From: livioflores-ga on 03 Aug 2003 17:46 PDT
OOps!! I did it again!  by Britney Spars.
Subject: Re: Most unaccountably popular pop song
From: knowledge_seeker-ga on 03 Aug 2003 18:07 PDT
Well, I've gotta say, your choices are certainly hard to beat --
especially Billy Don't be a Hero. But, as long as we're ragging on the
1970's let's not forget ---

Captain and Tennille, Muskrat Love
Wildfire by  Michael Martin Murphey 
And the longest running bad song of all times -- Debbie Boone, "You
Light Up My Life", lasting 10 weeks at Billboard's number one, and
over 20 weeks in the Top 40 in 1977.

But, this one gets my vote for the #1 worst song of all time ..

Paul Anka with Odia Coates, (You're) Having My Baby - #1 for 3 weeks
in 1974.

There are just too many things wrong with that song to even think
about. And now that I have thought about it, I'm going to have to find
an antidote song to get that out of my head before I need drastic
surgery like this poor man ...

Surgeons remove Barenaked Ladies song from area man's head

Subject: Re: Most unaccountably popular pop song
From: pinkfreud-ga on 03 Aug 2003 18:10 PDT
I am too lazy to re-post the list of "BOTTOM TEN" songs that I
compiled as part of an answer to a previous question, but I am not too
lazy to link to it:
Subject: Re: Most unaccountably popular pop song
From: knowledge_seeker-ga on 03 Aug 2003 18:17 PDT

I see your #10 of the Bottom 10 is "It's a Small World." It may
interest you to know (and this is a little-known scientific fact) that
"It's a Small World" is the universal antidote song -- guaranteed to
remove any other song from your brain.

However, it should be used with caution as there is no known method
for removing it. Also, mileage may vary.

Subject: Re: Most unaccountably popular pop song
From: pinkfreud-ga on 03 Aug 2003 18:47 PDT

I first heard the abominable "It's a Small World" when I visited
Disneyland in 1971. Although this ditty eroded a permanent rut in the
musical ganglia of my brainium, it failed to measure up as the
universal antidote. I suspect that the only thing that will clear all
the unwanted information from my brain is the long-sought-after
"cerebral vortex," which, when installed, vacuums the mind till it's
as clean as Martha Stewart's kitchen. You'll be able to tell when I
get one. I won't be able to identify obscure songs and movies on
Google Answers anymore, but will just sit around beaming beatifically
at nothing. I will, in fact, resemble Florence Henderson on Quaaludes.

I just thought of another totally awful song that was unaccountably
popular. Remember "Sometimes When We Touch"? I sincerely hope you

"Sometimes when we touch 
 The honesty's too much 
 And I have to close my eyes and hide 
 I want to hold you till I die 
 Till we both break down and cry
 I want to hold you till the fear in me subsides..."

Truly wretched. Morbid and saccharine all at once. Ecccch.

Subject: Re: Most unaccountably popular pop song
From: hammer-ga on 03 Aug 2003 19:11 PDT
It was only number 1 for three weeks, but let's not forget Mmm Bop by
Hansen. Blech!!!

- Hammer
Subject: Re: Most unaccountably popular pop song
From: maestri09-ga on 16 Aug 2003 18:42 PDT
I'm going to say, in the 90's, it was definitely "achy breaky heart"
and "mmmbop" as the absolute worst hit songs, and "Vanilla Ice" as the
worst "hit" artist.
Subject: Re: Most unaccountably popular pop song
From: angy-ga on 16 Aug 2003 22:37 PDT
I don't know if it ever topped the charts, but surely "Tammy" has to
be one of the truly awful songs ever written, with it's deliberate
manipulation of both sentiment in the lyrics and the minor key in the
music to create a stomach churning song that refuses to get out of
your head.
Subject: Re: Most unaccountably popular pop song
From: chromedome-ga on 17 Aug 2003 05:08 PDT
To me, Dan Hill's "Sometimes When We Touch" is the winner, hands down,
as most annoying pop song ever.  Of course, as a Canadian, his song
got played even more on the radio up here...

Subject: Re: Most unaccountably popular pop song
From: omnivorous-ga on 17 Aug 2003 08:51 PDT
I was going through lists of Billboard hits, preparing something for a
college reunion, and the truth is that each YEAR has something truly
abominable.  Here, for example is 1968:

"Crimson and Clover," a bad attempt at being hip and psychedelic by
Tommy James & the Shondells, actually made it to #1?
Subject: Re: Most unaccountably popular pop song
From: mvguy-ga on 17 Aug 2003 09:38 PDT
And then there's Billy Joel's "Just the Way You Are": condescension
masquerading as love.
Subject: Re: Most unaccountably popular pop song
From: emjay-ga on 17 Aug 2003 10:53 PDT
This is cheating a bit, because the version I'm referring to only
reached number 2 on the charts (June 1968) vote is for MacArthur
Park by Richard Harris, a 7-minute epic that I know is objectively
awful on so many levels. On the other hand, the musical cheese is so
perfectly executed that I'm also convinced it's a work of staggering
genius. Brilliantly awful, I guess you could say. Though the lyrics
are quite splendid:
"Spring was never waiting for us, girl 
It ran one step ahead 
As we followed in the dance 
Between the parted pages and were pressed 
In love's hot, fevered iron 
Like a striped pair of pants.
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...
Oh no!"
Now that's poetry! While it came well before my time, my dad had the
song on record and I remember many pleasant afternoons spent enjoying
its K-Tel stylings, from Harris' tragic delivery to the bizarre
harpsichord-influenced rock bridge to the choral and timpani explosion
at the end.
Interestingly, Donna Summer took an abbreiviated version to #1 in the
Subject: Re: Most unaccountably popular pop song
From: chellphill-ga on 17 Aug 2003 19:05 PDT
Right said Fred.... I'm too sexy.... 

The Bangles....Walk like an Egyptian

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