Saturday 20 February 2010

News, Views and Music Issue 54 (Top Five): The World's Worst Recording Artists

We’ve spent so long discussing classic classy clever music on this website over the past 101 reviews/53 newsletters that we thought it was about time we reminded ourselves just how amazing and consistent our AAA groups are and how truly terrible some of the others can be. So just for once there are no AAA groups on this top five, just five truly terrible and total turkeys for you to avoid...

5) Cliff Richard. Short hand for: missed the point. To be fair, we ought to be thankful to Cliff – it was his success combined with his sheer awfulness and weak-kneed rock music that caused half of the 60s bands on this list to take up arms and show the world how music should be done. The real problem many people have with Cliff is that he stayed popular, boring us with his weak vocals at tennis matches when we’re already sick of it raining yet again in Wimbledon week (thank goodness for the roof – no more Cliff!) and lending his mansion to prime ministers at a time when the country is in crisis. And as crimes against humanities go, ‘Mistletoe and Wine’ is right up there with the worst of all time. Our favourite Cliff moment: what’s his shortest song again?

4) Donovan. Short hand for: pretentious. He invented the 60s apparently, or a good deal of it at least and anybody who ever played anything even vaguely sounding like acoustic guitar-work owes a huge overwhelming debt to him. Oh and every successful song is ripped off ‘Mellow Yellow’ or ‘Jennifer Juniper’, apparently, awful songs both that might sound to the unacquainted ear as if they have something to say, but truly don’t when you even vaguely start scratching the surface. Pure gibberish played in the same two boring chords is hardly a prototype for the best music on this list or otherwise and its his trite insipid warbling that have encouraged many people to think that 60s music is all as bad as this. It isn’t. Music has soul not a lot of free associating words on a hiding to nothing. And no wonder he dropped his true surname (‘Leitch’, pronounced ‘Leech’) – that’s just too big a gift to reviewers. Our favourite Donovan moment: ‘I remember teaching Paul McCartney a new guitar tuning during his stay with me and some guy named the Maharishi in India and the next day he’d come up with ‘Blackbird’, obviously deeply inspired by my wonderful gift to him and the amazing vibes he felt wafting from me. Perhaps I should ask for a writing credit’ (for tuning a guitar?!) 

3) Michael Jackson. Short hand for: scary/over-rated. Oh yes, everybody loves him now he’s dead don’t they? We seem to be the only sane site out there on the net who doesn’t think he’s a moon-walking God these days so let’s remind ourselves: Michael Jackson peaked at the age of 9. Ever since then his music was hyped to a ridiculous degree, repeating the same two hackneyed ideas and he became a puppet for everybody else’s strange ideas. And I’m not even going to mention the cheap shots about his changing skin colour and the child molestation allegations, the music’s enough to be criticising for now, we’ll leave that up to others (see below). Admittedly his weird family and weirder childhood had a lot to do with his transformation from cute kid to adult brat but with all that hype and adoration just think how much good he could have done for music – and how he just wasted it all recycling the same two dull as ditchwater chords. There is nothing inventive in any Michael Jackson songs.  Our favourite Michael Jackson moment #1: the moment when, just before a live séance with his ghost, Michael’s hotel manager fondly remembers the time his client asked for a window overlooking the children’s playground. Our favourite Michael Jackson moment #2: ‘I thought about naming our child Prince Michael II but thought that might be a bit weird, so we called him Blanket’. Our favourite Michael Jackson moment #3: that Earth Song promo in which Michael saves the world singlehandedly, accompanied by one of the worst songs of all time. Good on you for wrecking it Jarvis Cocker! Our favourite Michael Jackson moment that, sadly never was: a special recording of the Tweenies theme which would have at least been honest! (Hey! Hey! Are you ready to play? Come along and play with Michael Jackson!)

2) The Beautiful South. Short hand for: smug big headed twonks. I love you from the bottom of my pencil case. For some reason the world loved that line – to me it just sounded like 10cc on a really really bad day. And that was in the days before Rotterdam to Anywhere (which is itself the biggest rip off re-write to make it into the top 10 the Spice Girls didn’t sing) and Don’t Marry Her (which is quite possibly the cruellest, vilest and needlessly filthy song not to be banned from the radio because everybody had cloth ears that month for some reason). I wouldn’t mind were it not for the fact that so many people got taken in by all this awful recycled moronic rubbish (their greatest hits – and no sadly it’s not a blank album but it should be – stayed in the charts for eons, god knows why) and the big-headed band members who kept telling us how great they were and how they’re the only comedy band worth listening to (nope, lost me there – see 10cc if its comedy you’re really after). Our favourite Beautiful South moment: That infamous ‘boat’ interview that killed off their career (but only, alas, among serious collectors) after being filled with so many big headed claims about being the best band in the world (OK, so oasis do it too but at least its tongue in cheek some of the time) and insincerities about being so talented and original that even the interviewer only just managed to stop himself pushing the whole band in the water.  

1) The Spice Girls. Short hand for: the five horse girls of the apocalypse who signal how the world is cruising towards destruction. You didn’t think we’d miss out our favourites now did you? From the opening shots of their first promo video (in which scary spice kung fu kicks a tramp and the others all laugh) to their pointless solo releases (which for some reason all sound like Madonna on helium, even the ones by the butch members of the band) to the sheer unprecedented exploitation of it all, few other bands come close. The most annoying thing about this band, though, is that there was the teeniest of talent in there (mainly down to Mel C) and that it all got washed away by middle aged business managers and writers trying to cash in on the latest craze, not to mention the sickening way so many seized on the band for their ‘girl power’ even though the females were simply puppets being used by male record executives to win over young impressionable kids. Just listen to how good they are when they’ve stopped selling and nobody cares what they do (I have to admit a slight respect for their single ‘Goodbye’) – and how bad they are when they’re just going I wanna huh I wanna huh I wanna huh I wanna huh I wanna huh for about half an hour. Our favourite Spice Girls moment: that kung fu kick says so much about this band – how the misguided rich are making idiots of the misguided puppets in their care, even though the spice girls themselves mainly came from the poverty line. Could they really switch their sympathies this quick? Sickening!

Well, now we’ve got that off our chests it’s time to end another issue. We’ll see you back here next week (if the Spice Girls fan club don’t get us!)

A NOW COMPLETE List Of Top Five/Top Ten/TOP TWENTY  Entries 2008-2019
1) Chronic Fatigue songs

2) Songs For The Face Of Bo

3) Credit Crunch Songs

4) Songs For The Autumn

5) National Wombat Week

6) AAA Box Sets

7) Virus Songs

8) Worst AAA-Related DVDs

9) Self-Punctuating Superstar Classics

10) Ways To Know You Have Turned Into A Collector

11) Political Songs

12) Totally Bonkers Concept Albums

13) Celebrating 40 Years Of The Beatles' White Album

14) Still Celebrating 40 Years Of The Beatles' White Album

15) AAA Existential Questions

16) Releases Of The Year 2008

17) Top AAA Xmas Songs

18) Notable AAA Gigs

19) All things '20' related for our 20th issue

20) Romantic odes for Valentine's Day

21) Hollies B sides

22) 'Other' BBC Session Albums

23) Beach Boys Rarities Still Not Available On CD

24) Songs John, Paul and George wrote for Ringo's solo albums

25) 5 of the Best Rock 'n' Roll Tracks From The Pre-Beatles Era

26) AAA Autobiographies

27) Rolling Stones B-sides

28) Beatles B-Sides

29) The lllloooonnngggeesssttt AAA songs of all time

30) Kinks B-Sides

31) Abandoned CSNY projects 'wasted on the way'

32) Best AAA Rarities and Outtakes Sets

33) News We've Missed While We've Been Away

34) Birthday Songs for our 1st Anniversary

35) Brightest Album Covers

36) Biggest Recorded Arguments

37) Songs About Superheroes

38) AAA TV Networks That Should Exist

39) AAA Woodtsock Moments

40) Top Moments Of The Past Year As Voted For By Readers

41) Music Segues

42) AAA Foreign Language Songs

43) 'Other' Groups In Need Of Re-Mastering

44) The Kinks Preservation Rock Opera - Was It Really About The Forthcoming UK General Election?

45) Mono and Stereo Mixes - Biggest Differences

46) Weirdest Things To Do When A Band Member Leaves

47) Video Clips Exclusive To Youtube (#1)

48) Top AAA Releases Of 2009

49) Songs About Trains

50) Songs about Winter

51) Songs about astrology plus horoscopes for selected AAA members

52) The Worst Five Groups Ever!

53) The Most Over-Rated AAA Albums

54) Top AAA Rarities Exclusive To EPs

55) Random Recent Purchases (#1)

56) AAA Party Political Slogans

57) Songs To Celebrate 'Rock Sunday'

58) Strange But True (?) AAA Ghost Stories

59) AAA Artists In Song

60) Songs About Dogs

61) Sunshiney Songs

62) The AAA Staff Play Their Own Version Of Monoploy/Mornington Crescent!

63) What 'Other' British Invasion DVDs We'd Like To See

64) What We Want To Place In Our AAA Time Capsule

65) AAA Conspiracy Theroies

66) Weirdest Things To Do Before - And After - Becoming A Star

67) Songs To Tweet To

68) Greatest Ever AAA Solos

69) John Lennon Musical Tributes

70) Songs For Halloween

71) Earliest Examples Of Psychedelia

72) Purely Instrumental Albums

73) AAA Utopias

74) AAA Imaginary Bands

75) Unexpected AAA Cover Versions

76) Top Releases of 2010

77) Songs About Snow

78) Predictions For 2011

79) AAA Fugitives

80) AAA Home Towns

81) The Biggest Non-Musical Influences On The 1960s

82) AAA Groups Covering Other AAA Groups

83) Strange Censorship Decisions

84) AAA Albums Still Unreleased on CD

85) Random Recent Purchases (#2)

86) Top AAA Music Videos

87) 30 Day Facebook Music Challenge

88) AAA Documentaries

89) Unfinished and 'Lost' AAA Albums

90) Strangest AAA Album Covers

91) AAA Performers Live From Mars (!)

92) Songs Including The Number '100' for our 100th Issue

93) Most Songs Recorded In A Single Day

94) Most Revealing AAA Interviews

95) Top 10 Pre-Fame Recordings

96) The Shortest And Longest AAA Albums

97) The AAA Allstars Ultimate Band Line-Up

98) Top Songs About Sports

99) AAA Conversations With God

100) AAA Managers: The Good, The Bad and the Financially Ugly

101) Unexpected AAA Cameos

102) AAA Words You can Type Into A Caluclator

103) AAA Court Cases

104) Postmodern Songs About Songwriting

105) Biggest Stylistic Leaps Between Albums

106) 20 Reasons Why Cameron Should Go!

107) The AAA Pun-Filled Cookbook

108) Classic Debut Releases

109) Five Uses Of Bird Sound Effects

110) AAA Classic Youtube Clips Part #1

111) Part #2

112) Part #3

113) AAA Facts You Might Not Know

114) The 20 Rarest AAA Records

115) AAA Instrumental Songs

116) Musical Tarot

117) Christmas Carols

118) Top AAA Releases Of 2011

119) AAA Bands In The Beano/The Dandy

120) Top 20 Guitarists #1

121) #2

122) 'Shorty' Nomination Award Questionairre

123) Top Best-Selling AAA Albums

124) AAA Songs Featuring Bagpipes

125) A (Hopefully) Complete List Of AAA Musicians On Twitter

126) Beatles Albums That Might Have Been 1970-74 and 1980

127) DVD/Computer Games We've Just Invented

128) The AAA Albums With The Most Weeks At #1 in the UK

129) The AAA Singles With The Most Weeks At #1 in the UK

130) Lyric Competition (Questions)

131) Top Crooning Classics

132) Funeral Songs

133) AAA Songs For When Your Phone Is On Hold

134) Random Recent Purchases (#3)

135) Lyric Competition (Answers)

136) Bee Gees Songs/AAA Goes Disco!

137) The Best AAA Sleevenotes (And Worst)

138) A Short Precise Of The Years 1962-70

139) More Wacky AAA-Related Films And Their Soundtracks

140) AAA Appearances On Desert Island Discs

141) Songs Exclusive To Live Albums

142) More AAA Songs About Armageddon

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159) A (Not That) Short Guide To The 15 Best Non-AAA Bands

160) The Greatest AAA Drum Solos (Or Near Solos!)

161) AAA Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame Acceptance Speeches

162) AAA Re-Recordings Of Past Songs

163) A Coalition Christmas (A Fairy Tale)

164) AAA Songs About Islands

165) The AAA Review Of The Year 2012

166) The Best AAA Concerts I Attended

167) Tributes To The 10 AAA Stars Who Died The Youngest

168) The First 10 AAA Songs Listed Alphabetically

171) The 10 Best Songs From The Psychedelia Box-Sets ‘Nuggets’ and ‘Nuggets Two’

172) The 20 Most Common Girl’s Names In AAA Song Titles (With Definitions) 

180) First Recordings By Future AAA Stars

185) A Tribute To Storm Thorgerson Via The Five AAA Bands He Worked With

188) Surprise! Celebrating 300 Album Reviews With The Biggest 'Surprises' Of The Past Five Years Of Alan's Album Archives!

190) Comparatively Obscure First Compositions By AAA Stars

193) Evolution Of A Band: Comparing First Lyric With Last Lyric:

200) The Monkees In Relation To Postmodernism (University Dissertation)

202) Carly Simon's 'You're So Vain': Was It About One Of The AAA Crew?

217) AAA 'Christmas Presents' we'd most like to have next year

221) Dr Who and the AAA (Five Musical Links)

222) Five Random Recent Purchases

223) AAA Grammy Nominees

224) Ten AAA songs that are better heard unedited and in full

225) The shortest gaps between AAA albums

226) The longest gaps between AAA albums

227) Top ten AAA drummers

228) Top Ten AAA Singles (In Terms of 'A' and 'B' Sides)

229) The Stories Behind Six AAA Logos

230) AAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!! The Best Ten AAA Screams

231) An AAA Pack Of Horses

232) AAA Granamas - Sorry, Anagrams!

233) AAA Surnames and Their Meanings

234) 20 Erroneous AAA Album Titles

235) The Best AAA Orchestral Arrangements

236) Top 30 Hilariously Misheard Album Titles/Lyrics

237) Ten controversial AAA sackings - and whether they were right

238) A Critique On Critiquing - In Response To Brian Wilson

239) The Ten MusicianS Who've Played On The Most AAA Albums

240) Thoughts on #CameronMustGo

241) Random Recent Purchases (Kinks/Grateful Dead/Nils Lofgren/Rolling Stones/Hollies) 

242) AAA Christmas Number Ones 

243) AAA Review Of The Year 2014 (Top Releases/Re-issues/Documentaries/DVDs/Books/Songs/ Articles  plus worst releases of the year)

244) Me/CFS Awareness Week 2015

245) Why The Tory 2015 Victory Seems A Little...Suspicious

246) A Plea For Peace and Tolerance After The Attacks on Paris - and Syria

247) AAA Review Of The Year 2015

248) The Fifty Most Read AAA Articles (as of December 31st 2015)

249) The Revised AAA Crossword!

251) Half-A-Dozen Berries Plus One (An AAA Tribute To Chuck Berry)

252) Guest Post: ‘The Skids – Joy’ (1981) by Kenny Brown

254) Guest Post: ‘Supertramp – Some Things Never Change’ by Kenny Brown

255) AAA Review Of The Year 2018

256) AAA Review Of The Year 2019 plus Review Of The Decade 2010-2019

257) Tiermaker

258) #Coronastock

259) #Coronadocstock