Gun-totin', Chronic-smokin' Hearse Initiator (ludickid) wrote,
Gun-totin', Chronic-smokin' Hearse Initiator
ludickid

I am not responsible for the terrible songs that will get stuck in your head after reading this

A recent comment on my LJ reminded me that there are still those who dispute my claim that Billy Joel is far and away the worst popular musician in the history of the world. I therefore intend to settle the matter once and for all, using mathematics, because as we all know, numbers do not lie.

It seems evident to me that, in terms of durability, longevity, and sheer crappiness, there are five candidates in the English-speaking world for the crown of worst popular musician in the history of the world: Phil Collins, Billy Joel, Elton John, Rod Stewart, and Sting. I thus compared their careers, using several important criteria:

- What traits most characterize their music?
- What abysmal performers have followed in their wake?
- Was there ever a time in which they seemed acceptable?
- How many of their hits could stand as candidates for the worst song in the history of the world?


PERFORMER: Sting
NOTEWORTHY CHARACTERISTICS: pretentiousness; arrogance
RESPONSIBLE FOR SUBSEQUENT WRETCHEDNESS OF: Rob Thomas
NUMBER OF YEARS DURING WHICH HE SEEMED TO BE A GENUINELY TALENTED ROCK PERFORMER: 6 (1978-1983)
NUMBER OF SONGS OF HIS THAT COULD LEGITIMATELY BE CONSIDERED ONE OF THE WORST SONGS IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD: 7 (“(If You Love Someone) Set Them Free”, “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da”, “Fields of Gold”, “Fortress Around Your Heart”, “If I Ever Lose My Faith in You”, “Love is the Seventh Wave”, “Russians”)

PERFORMER: Rod Stewart
NOTEWORTHY CHARACTERISTICS: excess; persistence
RESPONSIBLE FOR SUBSEQUENT WRETCHEDNESS OF: Michael Bolton
NUMBER OF YEARS DURING WHICH HE SEEMED TO BE A GENUINELY TALENTED ROCK PERFORMER: 5 (1969-1974)
NUMBER OF SONGS OF HIS THAT COULD LEGITIMATELY BE CONSIDERED ONE OF THE WORST SONGS IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD: 7* (“Every Picture Tells a Story”, “Italian Girls”, “Tonight I’m Yours”, “Tonight’s the Night (Gonna Be Alright), “True Blue”. “You Wear It Well”, “You’re in My Heart (The Final Acclaim)”)

PERFORMER: Elton John
NOTEWORTHY CHARACTERISTICS: mawkishness; pandering
RESPONSIBLE FOR SUBSEQUENT WRETCHEDNESS OF: George Michael
NUMBER OF YEARS DURING WHICH HE SEEMED TO BE A GENUINELY TALENTED ROCK PERFORMER: 6 (1970-1975)
NUMBER OF SONGS OF HIS THAT COULD LEGITIMATELY BE CONSIDERED ONE OF THE WORST SONGS IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD: 11 (“Can You Feel the Love Tonight?”, “Candle in the Wind”, “Daniel”, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”, “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues”, “Sad Songs (Say So Much)”, “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting”, “Someone Saved My Life Tonight”, “Something About the Way You Look Tonight”, “The Bitch is Back”, “Your Song”)

PERFORMER: Phil Collins
NOTEWORTHY CHARACTERISTICS: affability; ingratiation
RESPONSIBLE FOR SUBSEQUENT WRETCHEDNESS OF: John Tesh
NUMBER OF YEARS DURING WHICH HE SEEMED TO BE A GENUINELY TALENTED ROCK PERFORMER: 5 (1970-1974)
NUMBER OF SONGS OF HIS THAT COULD LEGITIMATELY BE CONSIDERED ONE OF THE WORST SONGS IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD: 12** (“Against All Odds”, “Another Day in Paradise”, “Don’t Lose My Number”, “Easy Lover”, “I Missed Again”, “Invisible Touch”, “No More Lonely Nights”, “One More Night”, “Separate Lives”, “Sussudio”, “Take Me Home”, “That’s All”)

PERFORMER: Billy Joel
NOTEWORTHY CHARACTERISTICS: self-congratulation; pomposity
RESPONSIBLE FOR SUBSEQUENT WRETCHEDNESS OF: Harry Connick Jr.
NUMBER OF YEARS DURING WHICH HE SEEMED TO BE A GENUINELY TALENTED ROCK PERFORMER:: n/a
NUMBER OF SONGS OF HIS THAT COULD LEGITIMATELY BE CONSIDERED ONE OF THE WORST SONGS IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD: 22 (“A Matter of Trust”, “An Innocent Man”, “Captain Jack”, “Goodnight Saigon”, “Honesty”, “It’s Still Rock & Roll to Me”, “Just the Way You Are”, “Keeping the Faith”, “Leave a Tender Moment Alone”, “Leningrad”, “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)”, “New York State of Mind”, “Only the Good Die Young”, “Piano Man”, “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant”, “She’s Always a Woman”, “Tell Her About It”, “The Longest Time”, “Travelin’ Prayer”, “Uptown Girl”, “We Didn’t Start the Fire”, “You May Be Right”)

*: Note that Rod Stewart, thanks to his ceaseless trade in covers and standards, has recorded the definitively worst versions of dozens, if not hundreds, of songs. However, the songs are not themselves necessarily bad, and this tally reflects only terrible songs that are primarily identified with Stewart himself.

**: This is not counting the many, many awful songs Phil Collins did with Genesis.


So, as you can see, even leaving aside his butchery of great songs by Sly Stone, the Pretenders and Bob Dylan; even forgiving his utterly horrendous "classical" phase; even ignoring such non-singles horseshit as "Sleeping with the Television On" and "The Downeaster Alexa" -- even doing all that, Billy Joel is still almost twice as bad as Phil Collins, and is more than three times as bad as Rod Stewart, whose career is far longer. And unlike everyone else on the list, he never had even a glimmer of rock music legitimacy at which you could look back with regret. The numbers don't lie, folks: Mr. William Joel is your grand champeen of audiosuckery, now and forever.
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  • INTRIGUING FINDINGS FROM RECENT POLLS

    1. A large number of people selected New York as the rock capital of the world. Many so doing are themselves from New York. 2. No one selected…

  • This post is rocking your socks off!

    It’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Filter Friday! Of course, I do not have a Rock ‘n’ Roll Filter, because I am perfectly at home with the idea of forcing my…

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    It’s Violence Filter Friday! Of course, I do not have a Violence Filter, because I am a rickety old man whose closest brush with conflict is when he…