Over the past week, WYEP solicited listeners to vote for the Worst Song Ever and listeners chose the 1974 hit “(You’re) Having My Baby” by Paul Anka and Odia Coates. Despite having been a #1 hit on the pop charts, the song’s creepy lyrics (“Having my baby/What a lovely way of saying how much you love me”) and overblown grandiosity were, apparently, too much to bear for many music fans.

Song suggestions were solicited over the air and via social media; listeners responded and voted using the hashtag #WorstSongEver. The top 20 were announced throughout the day Friday on WYEP.

“All music is subjective, of course, and just about any song of note will attract a mix of admirers and haters,” says Mike Sauter, WYEP Director of Content and Programming, noting that there were some surprises among the nominees, including widely-acclaimed songs such as John Lennon’s “Imagine,” “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison, Joni Mitchell’s “Coyote,”  and “Sledgehammer” by Peter Gabriel.

“After living neck-deep in nominees for Worst Song Ever for more than a week, I’ve given some thought as to what ingredients make a contender for the title,” says Sauter. “The song has to have something that makes people annoyed or angry – maybe it’s trite and obvious lyrics, or perhaps it’s overly sentimental or maudlin. But the final ingredient is it has to be infectiously catchy enough to get stuck in your brain and force you to experience those disagreeable elements, almost against your will. That is what takes the song to the next level to really be that pebble in your shoe.”

How the Finalists Ranked:

#20 – Chicago, “You’re the Inspiration” (1984)

#19 – Paul McCartney & Wings, “Silly Love Songs” (1976)

#19 – REO Speedwagon, “Keep On Loving You” (1980)

#17 – Richard Harris, “MacArthur Park” (1968)

#16 – Cher, “Believe” (1998)

#16 – Styx, “Mr. Roboto” (1983)

#15 – 4 Non Blondes, “What’s Up?” (1992)

#13 – Chumbawamba, “Tubthumping” (1997)

#12 – Starland Vocal Band, “Afternoon Delight” (1976)

#11 – Jimmy Buffett, “Cheeseburger in Paradise” (1978)

#10 – Phil Collins, “Sussudio” (1985)

#9 – The Beach Boys, “Kokomo” (1988)

#8 – Lou Bega, “Mambo No. 5 (A Little Bit of…)” (1999)

#7 – Debby Boone, “You Light Up My Life” (1977)

#6 – Starship, “We Built This City” (1985)

#5 – Billy Ray Cyrus, “Achy Break Heart” (1992)

#4 – Rick Dees, “Disco Duck” (1976)

#3 – Rebecca Black, “Friday” (2011)

#2 – Nickelback, “Photograph” (2005)

#1 – Paul Anka and Odia Coates, “(You’re) Having My Baby” (1974)

PBRTV’s observation of the list is that a majority of them received too much airplay over the years and people were probably worn out from them. See #5, 7, 8, 9, 11, 16 (Cher) and 20. #3 shouldn’t even be considered a song. In the case of #8, “Mambo #5”, while annoying, it did unearth the original Perez Prado edition, as well as its cousin “Mambo #8” which was featured in the movie Office Space. #16 “Mr. Roboto” has only been played once on WKVE when a certain pair of employees had to reboot the on-air computer. Shortly after, to prevent that from happening again, a backup studio computer was installed. Lastly, how disappointing to see “Silly Love Songs” and “MacArthur Park” on this list.

2 thoughts on “20 Worst songs ranked by WYEP listeners

  1. What, no Honey by Bobby Goldsboro? No Alone Again, Naturally by Gilbert O’Sullivan? No Hundred Pounds of Clay by Gene McDaniel? No Give It Away by the Red Hot Chili Peppers?

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