10 Worst Song Lyrics of All Time

Unless you’re Leonard Cohen or Gil-Scott Heron, lyrics in popular music are a secondary concern. Normally I’m happy to bop along to the music and don’t mind if the lyrics aren’t profound. But sometimes the words are too jarring to ignore.

Here’s my list of the ten worst lyrics in rock and pop music, presented in chronological order.

10 Worst Lyrics of All Time

War Pigs – Black Sabbath

The generals gathered in their masses
Just like witches at black masses

Unlike most of the tracks to come on this list, Black Sabbath’s ‘War Pigs’ is a great song. But the opening couplet, rhyming “masses” with “masses”, could have used some more work.

Riders on the Storm – The Doors

There’s a killer on the road
His brain is squirming like a toad

‘Riders On The Storm’ was the last Doors’ single to feature front-man Jim Morrison – it entered the US charts the same week that Morrison died. That doesn’t excuse this lazy rhyme. Craig Finn of The Hold Steady later told The Guardian that “that’s surely the worst line in rock’n’roll history. He gave the green light to generations of pseuds.”

A Horse With No Name – America

There were plants and birds and rocks and things
There was sand and hills and rings

‘A Horse With No Name’ was the first single from folk-rock trio America. The song was intended to literally depict the desert, inspired by artworks and by writer Dewey Bunnell’s travels through the desert as a child. But the vague lyrics were often misconstrued as drug references; Randy Newman dismissed ‘A Horse With No Name’ as sounding like it’s “about a kid who thinks he’s taken acid.” The line “there were plants and birds and rocks and things” is particularly egregious, and later provided an album title for Scott Miller’s The Loud Family.

Sometimes When We Touch – Dan Hill

And 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

This entire record by Canadian songwriter Dan Hill is soft-rock hell, but the chorus lyrics are particularly awful. There’s honesty when we touch? There’s too much honesty when we touch?

Why Can’t This Be Love? – Van Halen

Only time will tell if we stand the test of time 

Well, obviously…

We Didn’t Start The Fire – Billy Joel

Hypodermics on the shores, China’s under martial law
Rock and roller cola wars, I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE

Billy Joel is an expert tune-smith but has written many awkward lyrics. I could have chosen his labelling of his wife as an “instant pleasuredome” in early album track ‘You’re My Home’ or numerous forced lines in his Vietnam saga ‘Goodnight Saigon’.

From 1989’s Storm Front, ‘We Didn’t Start The Fire’ is a clever concept – starting in Joel’s birth year of 1949, it chronologically lists the major events impacting the US baby boomer generation. But the final line of the final verse is delivered in Joel’s heartiest bellow, and it cheapens Joel’s succinct summation of American history.

Rhythm is a Dancer – SNAP!

I’m serious as cancer when I say rhythm is a dancer!

This unexpectedly dark simile is jarring in an otherwise light-hearted dance number.

Back for Good – Take That

Whatever I said, whatever I did
I didn’t mean it

Before he went solo, Robbie Williams was a member of the British vocal pop band Take That. They scored numerous UK number ones, but ‘Back For Good’ was their biggest hit. It reached number one in 31 countries, with lovely harmonies wallpapering over questionable lyrics.

Irish comedian Ed Byrne sums ‘Back For Good’ up perfectly with “It’s the biggest cop-out song ever, and it was voted the greatest love song of the ’90s… What’ll their next single be? ‘Of course I love you, I’m f***ing you aren’t I?'”

My Humps – The Black Eyed Peas

Whatcha gonna do with all that junk
All that junk inside your trunk

I’ma get get get get you drunk
Get you love drunk off my hump
My hump my hump my hump my hump my hump
My hump my hump my hump my lovely little lumps

The addition of vocalist Fergie to L.A. hip-hop group The Black Eyed Peas turbo-charged their sales, but it also stupefied their lyrics. Popular music plumbed new depths of lyrical inanity with their 2005 single ‘My Humps’, with its references to Fergie’s “lovely lady lumps”.

Friday – Rebecca Black

Yesterday was Thursday, Thursday
Today it is Friday, Friday (partyin’)
We-we-we so excited
We so excited
We gonna have a ball today
Tomorrow is Saturday
And Sunday comes afterwards

Criticising this viral hit is like shooting fish in a barrel. I was surprised to learn that 13-year-old Rebecca Black didn’t write the lyrics for ‘Friday’ – the perpetrators were record producers Clarence Jey and Patrice Wilson. The combination of Black’s dazzling smile and the song’s staggering inanity made it into the most-viewed Youtube video of 2011.

Did I leave out your favourite bad lyric? Write in and let me know!

Read More


  1. First of all, great idea for a post. in the past, I’ve done my favorite lyrics but it never occurred to me to do the worst. Too many. Secondly, impressed you know Gil Scott-Heron, one of the greats in any genre. As to your choices, can’t argue with ’em, at least the ones I know. We have spent a fair amount of time bashing Dan Hill over on ME. That entire song is one big turd. I made such a comment on the YouTube site where it had been posted and some guy accused me of having “no soul.” Perhaps not but I like to think I have a modicum of taste.
    That “only time will tell if we stand the test of time” lyric drives me crazy whenever I hear it. “War Pigs” is target-rich with crappy lyrics. “Politicians hide themselves away, They only started the war,” Really? As to Billy Joel, this song notwithstanding I’ve come to appreciate his lyrics more over time. A really lousy lyricist is John Mayall. Anyway, I’ll come up with my own list. Let me think about it.

      • Dan Hill? Are you kidding? Once I had this piece of schmaltz he could have written ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and I wouldn’t have listened to it. That said, I don’t believe he’s a wet blanket. I believe he firmly thinks he’s written a beautiful love song. Check out the comments on YouTube sometime. “They don’t make them like this anymore” or “What a beautiful love song,” etc. So, beauty I guess is in the eye of the beholder.

      • He doesn’t impress me. I will say, however, that his 1980s duet hit is almost as bad. It’s called Can’t We Try. It’s sugary, weepy, moaning and begging and pleading. It’s enough to give the listener cavities. I forget who the female singer is on that song with him. I listened to it on Youtube a couple of times and now I wish they’d just delete it from the Internet. Ok, I found the lyrics. The female singer is Vonda Shepard. Here are some of the lyrics. Barf Bag not included:

        Can’t we try just a little bit harder
        Can’t we give just a little bit more
        Can’t we try to understand
        That it’s love we’re fighting for
        Can’t we try just a little more passion
        Can’t we try just a little less pride

        I love you so much baby
        That it tears me up inside
        Don’t let our love fade away
        No matter what people say
        I need you more and more each day

        Can’t we try just a little bit harder
        Can’t we give just a little bit more
        Can’t we try just a little bit harder
        Can’t we give just a little bit more
        Can’t we try just a little more passion
        Can’t we try just a little less pride
        Love you so much baby
        Tears me up inside

        Yuck, lol!

    • your line about the ‘war pigs’ couplet needing a little more work made me laugh out loud. very nice. problem is, it’s kind of perfect, really paints an eerie battlefield tableau – GOTesque. I’m workin’ on replacing one of the ‘masses’ will let ya know if i come up with anything
      billy joel’s best lyrical moment was ‘captain jack’ – i agree w you there
      some of these i can’t agree with. I think Fergie’s terrific, and the lyrics to ‘my humps’ are genius – they are self consciously inane. when she says ‘you can look but you can’t touch, or I’ll start some drama, you don’t want no drama’ is really funny. lyrics to ‘shut up’ and latin girls’ are amazing – both in the fergie era
      re: birds and trees and rocks and things -so good, so perfect. you got names for the first few nouns then you run out and go with the generic ‘things’ – perfectly captures the state of being extremely high. Because actually, one’s highness helps one return to a more preverbal absorption of the surroundings, which is pretty on point. Think Jeff Spicoli hitting his head with a shoe and saying into the phone ‘that’s how wasted i am’
      it’s not about partying, it’s about a blunt wisdom marbled into the incoherence of intoxication
      totally agree about sammy haggar’s ‘only time will tell if we stand the test of time’ – has always maddened me, and made me long for his predecessor’s poetry: ‘i don’t feel tardy’

  2. Ok. I did all the wallowing in this that I could stand:
    1. Lights will guide you home, and ignite your bones
    And I will try to fix you
    -(Coldplay). I’m sorry, try to fix this person in what way? Who the hell are you, God? Fix yourself, pal
    2. Slowly walking down the hall, faster than a cannonball
    -(Oasis) Pick one, slow or fast, can’t be both
    3. Take nothing less than the second best.
    (Curtis Mayfield) A song about black empowerment advises you to take second best?
    4. I love your pants around your feet… You’re like my favorite damn disease
    Nickelback must die
    5. When Black Friday comes I’ll be on that hill. You know I will
    (Steely Dan). They stretch ‘will’ out to three syllables. How about ‘I think I will.’
    6. In the desert you can remember your name, for there ain’t no-one for to give you no pain
    7. If there’s a bustle in your hedgerow, don’t be alarmed now, It’s just a spring queen for the may queen
    I’m sorry, what?
    8. Don’t put off another day, What you could do today!
    (John Mayall) great bluesman, lousy lyricist
    9 I don’t think that I can take it ‘Coz it took so long to make it, And I’ll never have that recipe
    (MacArthur Park, Jimmy Webb) .I know what he was referring to. But still.
    10. You ask me if I love you, And I choke on my reply, I’d rather hurt you honestly, Than mislead you with a lie
    Dan Hill again, the grand winner. Like John Mayer’s “Your Body is a Wonderland,” written for no other reason than to get sentimental googly-eyed girls to sleep with them.

    • Very generous of you – maybe you should be saving it for your own blog! Some of these – the Plant and the Webb in particular – I don’t mind – but that Nickelback line is awful. I don’t really know them, so didn’t know about it.

      • Well I was responding to your call for least favorite lyrics so there it is. I don’t plan on this particular post idea. Unless I think of some more. I don’t hate the Plant line but it makes no sense.

    • Ahem: Spring clean = tidying out the old, making space for the new each year. Meanwhile the May Queen was a maiden chosen by a village to represent the hopes and potential for the coming year. She was a symbol of beauty, spring and new beginnings. She’d ride on the front at parades for May Day – the first day of spring.

          • Sure. You’ll just be making stuff up. And by the end of the ciders we won’t care. I stay away from ciders. A long time ago I got shitfaced on that stuff in London. I got in a fistfight with one of your countrymen (from Weston-Super-Mare) over nothing and wound up with a fat lip and chipped tooth (which I’ve kept as kind of a souvenir.)

          • They literally called it hard cider. It went down easy but had a kick. On the plus side I learned songs like “My Old Man Said Follow the Van,” and our pal Jeff Beck’s “Tallyman.”

          • I need to get you into the good stuff, sir. Looks like there’s an increasing opportunity of celebrations soon – catching up with the events of yesterday afternoon (your time) over coffee and can almost here the ticking clock over that clown and his lawyer

          • When I heard that Pelosi (a most formidable woman and my hero) had officially called for an impeachment inquiry, I was over the moon with joy. I am still quite happy watching old dildo-head suffer. However, several days later reality has set in. I know it is absolutely the right thing to do to impeach him. But if you don’t know our system, Part B is the trial which happens in the Senate. The Republican Senate. Where he will likely be judged guilty by all the Democrats. But he will need 20 sycophantic, apologist, Republicans to vote guilty. If they do not, he stays in office and could use this as a cudgel against the Dems. This is what happened in the Bill Clinton situation. This is why we are cautiously optimistic and so, our only enjoyment is waiting for Her Majesty the Queen to slap the beejezus out of Boris for lying to her

          • aaaaaand now your Justice Department confirms he tried to pressure Australia for his own gains…. there’s some momentum here at last and I see a few Republicans are getting shaky too. Is this the end??

          • BTW, we drank massive quantities back then. I was 21. I still drink but I have long since learned my lessons. It turns out that if you get really drunk you are NOT more attractive to the ladies and they do NOT like you pawing at them.

  3. My top 3, worst lyrics of all time, (each inclusive of the entire song, not just a line or couplet or particular rhyme.)
    3. Shooting Star by Bad Company – Impossible to fathom how the great many people involved in the soup to nuts process of producing major label records can let such sub-adolescent tripe make it all the way to the record store. Precludes me from having any respect for Paul Rogers no matter what else he may have done in his career, (but honestly, ALL his lyrics are embarrassing.)
    2. Eve of Destruction by Barry McGuire – The worst thing about Bob Dylan was his influence on crappy songwriters and record label execs that don’t know the difference. This calculus still applies today. But in the hippy dippy heyday it was out of control, and Eve, while the epitome of the sin, represents all such high crimes against Dylan’s influence.
    1. I Am I Said by Neil Diamond – This award could be bestowed on so many of his biggest hits really. But I Am I Said is such an egregious crystallization of Diamond’s cloying self importance expressed in idiotic-bad-poetry form, that its impossible for me to avoid listening to it over & over just to marvel at it’s awfulness. Thus making me the fool.

    • I probably should have included the couplet from ‘I Am I Said’ – “No one heard at all/not even the chair.” I do like the first verse of that song, about being pulled between LA and New York.
      I’ve actually seen Barry McGuire live.

  4. Wow, the worst lyrics – what a cheerful topic for a post!😀
    I think the reality is most of the words in rock and pop aren’t exactly Shakespeare! So I don’t know about writing about it…it’s a death trap, it’s a suicide rap…wait, that’s Bruce who turned 70 today and is on my mind – to be clear, I love that song and don’t mind the lyrics!😀
    I have to admit in most cases, I don’t really pay attention to the lyrics, unless it’s singer-songwriter sit-down-and-listen type of music.
    But since we are on the topic, let me suggest one of the most nonsensical German lyrics. It’s a song by a former German band called Trio with the deep title Da Da Da. There’s also an English version, which I believe became popular in various other countries.
    Ich lieb Dich nicht, Du liebst mich nicht, aha
    Ich lieb Dich nicht, Du liebst mich nicht
    Da da da
    Da da da
    Da da da
    Da da da
    Translation: I don’t love you, you don’t love me, aha – ouch!
    Now I’m doing something that amounts to treason:
    You say “yes,” I say “no”
    You say “stop,” but I say “go, go, go”
    Oh no…
    Indeed, oh no. The harmony vocals in this tune aren’t bad, but the words are really silly. And I’m obviously saying this as a huge Beatles fan!

    • Police song:
      De do do do, de da da da
      Is all I want to say to you
      De do do do, de da da da
      Their innocence will pull me through
      De do do do, de da da da
      Is all I want to say to you
      De do do do, de da da da
      They’re meaningless and all that’s true

      • Agree, it’s not a bad song musically speaking. And, yes, I dig McCartney’s melodic bass playing. I just feel the lyrics aren’t particularly compelling.
        But as I said before, I think the same can be said for the vast majority of other pop and rock lyrics!😀
        Out of curiosity, had you ever heard of Trio and Da Da Da? Apparently, it was a hit in like 30 countries – certainly not the proudest moment of German exports!😆

  5. Some songs can mask bad lyrics with the melody but…
    As much as I admire Paul McCartney…My Love
    It’s in the hands of my love
    And my love does it good
    Whoa-whoa-whoa-whoa, whoa-whoa-whoa-whoa
    My love does it good
    Mr. Roboto…the entire song
    Come Sail Away
    I thought that they were Angels, but to my surprise
    We climbed aboard their starship, we headed for the skies
    Great post idea

    • McCartney is 90% about the music – the lyrics often seem like an afterthought. It’s often a positive trait, but leads to some tossed off lyrics, especially when he didn’t have Lennon to rein him in.

    • Paul McCartney has a veritable wealth (almost as large as his true net worth!) of horrific lyricism when it comes to his solo career/Wings. Some of my favourite examples, of which there are many:
      – The endless repetition of: “Someone’s knockin’ at the door
      Somebody’s ringin’ the bell
      Someone’s knockin’ at the door
      Somebody’s ringin’ the bell
      Do me a favor
      Open the door and let ’em in…”, and, “Sister Suzie, brother John
      Martin Luther, Phil and Don
      Uncle Ernie, auntie Gin
      Open the door and let ’em in, yeah,” in ‘Let ‘Em In’…
      – The entirety of the song ‘Bip Bop’, featuring gems such as, “Bip bop, bip bip bop / Bip bop, bip bip band,” and, “Take me hair and curlers / But treat me like a man.” (Huh?)
      – From ‘Temporary Secretary’: “She can be a belly dancer
      I don’t need a need romancer
      She can be a diplomat
      But I don’t need a girl like that
      She can be a neurosurgeon
      If she’s doin’ nothing’ urgent
      What I need’s a temporary, temporary secretary”
      – From ‘Driving Rain’: “1, 2, 3, 4, 5,
      Let’s go for a drive
      6, 7, 8, 9, 10,
      Let’s go there and back again”
      – And I think his recent attempt at evasion of a ‘Parental Advisory’ sticker, last year, takes the gold medal: “I just wanna fuh you, I just wanna fuh you!”
      Brought to you by the man who once wrote ‘Let It Be’, ‘Here, There, and Everywhere’, and ‘For No One’!

      • I forgot this one, from ‘Waterfalls’! “Don’t go chasing polar bears
        In the great unknown
        Some big friendly polar bear
        Might want to take you home”
        (What if I want to be taken home by a grizzly bear?!)

        • It’s easy to pick on Dan Hill and nickel back. I’m from Canada, and that’s only the thin edge of the bad lyric wedge we have here. You can get into Loverboy, Corey Heart, Bryan Adams, Triumph, Saga, men without talent, etc, if you want to see really terrible.

          But the fair game here are the big global acts like the Doors and Sting and mcartney who got lazy (as pointed out by folks above)

          I would include almost all lyrics by the following:

          Rod Stewart (Do you think I’m sexy)
          Eric Clapton (and I’ve got an aching head)
          Jimmy Buffet (hey where did we go?)
          Queen (radio gaga – not actually lyrics)

          But the best of all … “and in this ever changing world in which we’re living…”


      • I think Lennon kept him respectable, right? I remember reading that Lennon made him change a lyric in Í Saw Her Standing There’ from “she was no beauty queen” to “You know what I mean”.

        • Apologies for my very, very late reply! I completely agree — they struck a perfect balance between each other, and whilst they both most deserving of solo success, they were most certainly better as a team! (I love that anecdote you mention, as well!)

  6. I think lyrics are easier to object to than music. Maybe something to do with the fact that words require a semblance of English standards, while sound quality is more subjective? I don’t know. Most of the examples above (incl. in the comments) I agree with. Jim the ME and I have already ripped apart Dan Hill. I love “War Pigs” and “Riders on the Storm,” but agree with you on the words.
    I’ve noticed that food references in song bother me a lot. Burt Bacharach’s arrangement for “One Less Bell to Answer” is sublime, but Hal David’s lyric really wounds that song. “…One less egg to fry.” I always envision a plate of scrambled eggs, and the song goes downhill from there. Another one is Jimmy Webb’s “MacArthur Park”, with his cake in the rain, and searching for his damn recipe. Even the music bothers me on that song. But a great songwriter nonetheless (“Wichita Lineman” is one of my faves).

    • It’s easier to pick on lyrics for sure. Simple song structures can work fine with an interesting arrangement, but banal lyrics are out there in the open for everyone to see.
      Can you think of any songs with good food references?

      • Sure. Bryan MacLean of Love has two gems. “Softly to Me” with “Orange, sugar, chocolate, hot cinnamon and lovely things and you.” And his “Orange Skies,” one of my favorite songs of all time, mentions “Carnivals and cotton candy.” But these songs are intentionally innocent, they have a precocious romanticism, and the music is similarly “sweet,” so the sugary food references work (in my opinion).

        • I have Da Capo but haven’t spent much time with it – I’ll listen out for that one.
          From the same era, Syd Barrett in early Pink Floyd has ‘Apples and Oranges’ and ‘Candy and a Currant Bun’.
          I also enjoy Paul Kelly’s ‘How To Make Gravy’, which literally includes a recipe for gravy.

  7. You’re saying you never touched someone honestly?
    This made me laugh a lot. There’s just so much crap out there….
    I think ‘serious as a heart attack’ is just as bad. I think the one I take issue with is Bed of Roses. It’s not so much the god awful cliches of it but the whole ‘my love is true’ ‘you’re all that I need’ bollocks AFTER ‘some blonde… I think that she’s still in my bed’.

  8. Good collection of some pretty bad lyrics! I remember when I purchased Paranoia — it was the first Black Sabbath album I bought — I hadn’t heard a note previously, and put on the first side with headphones and that first couplet with the same word for the rhyme certainly made an impression — I had never heard this in a rock song that I could remember — I didn’t think it was a bad thing — I was more focused on the music — but thought, yes, perhaps they could have had a better start to the song, lyrically.

  9. Ugh. I’ve noticed that the worse the lyrics the more popular the song. For me, the worst song EVER recorded is that Natalie Imbruglia nonsense, “Torn.”
    I thought I saw a man brought to life
    He was warm, he came around like he was dignified
    He showed me what it was to cry
    Well, you couldn’t be that man I adored
    You don’t seem to know, or seem to care what your heart is for
    But I don’t know him anymore
    There’s nothin’ where he used to lie
    The conversation has run dry
    That’s what’s goin’ on
    Nothing’s fine, I’m torn
    I’m all out of faith
    This is how I feel
    I’m cold and I am shamed
    Lying naked on the floor
    Illusion never changed
    Into something real
    I’m wide awake and I can see
    The perfect sky is torn
    You’re a little late
    I’m already torn
    This song is otherwise entitled, “Hey mom, look at me. I’ve got a rhyming dictionary!” And the damn radio stations played it CONSTANTLY. Couple the stupid lyrics with Imbruglia’s inability to carry a tune, and you’ve got a #1 top 40 hit on your hands.

  10. I think lyrics are only bad when they’re a cliché, unoriginal, discordant with the music of the song etc. I think when writers strive to be original, they might over-reach or choose a ‘figure’ that doesn’t hit the mark. That doesn’t make them bad lyrics in my view. Also, sometimes the lyrics are just playful or ironic. I do find it annoying when someone praises a song’s lyrics because the artist is a big name or has a reputation that they are a great lyricist when probably they’re not. I mean: they’re just well marketed. So, I find fault with Taylor Swift on this account. I dislike her music and lyrics. I find them both riddled with clichés and excruciatingly uninteresting attempts at emotional affect. The problem, I suppose, is me. I kept trying because people kept saying how great she was. I even saw her on NPR Tiny Desk. But no. Not for me. EG
    Drew talks to me
    I laugh ’cause it’s just so funny
    That I can’t even see
    Anyone when he’s with me

  11. From “Dust In The Wind” – “And all your money won’t another minute buy”
    Should have been – “Not another minute will all your money buy”

  12. i’ve read through a handful of worst lyrics articles today & to my great surprise, none of them have mentioned what has to be one of the greatest atrocities in human history… i’m so overwhelmed with how much i want to say about it, that i’m at a loss for words…
    Jagged Edge – Let’s Get Married
    brace yourselves for these lyrics…
    “We ain’t gettin’ no younger, so we might as well do it, let’s get married…”
    HOLY F*** ME! so romantic (cough)

  13. What a fun list! I have to say that “Friday” by Rebecca Black falls into the “so bad, it’s good” category for me. When it went viral, I watched it a couple times a day and laughed until I cried. My favorite line is “Gotta have my bowl, gotta have my cereal.” I can barely type it because I’m shaking with laughter! I don’t know why, but the fact that someone thought to rhyme bowl with cereal strikes my funny bone. I think because it kind of works, but it’s a terrible lyric. I wish people hadn’t been so mean to her. She might have recorded more songs!

  14. this is my first time responding to a blog. I suppose nostalgia inspired me. I bring up nostalgia because I think its interesting to think about songs that I grew up on and liked that are listed are justified as suggestions. Sad to realize that many songs that we like are only liked because they just grew on you.

  15. Two of my “favorites” by writers already mentioned in the comments.
    Jim Morrison – “The killer awoke before dawn,
    He put his boots on.” Better than “he put his bunny slippers on” I suppose.
    Paul McCartney – “In this ever changing world in which we live in.” I can hear the voice of John Lennon in which he is mocking Paul.
    I’ve only recently found your blog, love it!

  16. Just about anything by Meat Loaf would make the grade, but my absolute favourite is “I would do anything for love but I won’t do that”. You sit through the song watching the video and admiring the woman who sings “sooner or later you’ll be screwing around ” and in the end you still don’t know what “that” is that old Meat wouldn’t do!

    • Jim Steinman, who wrote Meatloaf’s songs, passed away a few weeks ago. He’s very over the top – that line about “I won’t do that” drove me crazy as a teenager.

  17. Oh, and Katie Melua:

    “You don’t need no food to eat
    All you need is two bare feet.”

    Apart from ye olde mangelde grammare, that sounds like something out of a joke where a beggar tells a fat woman that he hasn’t eaten for two days and she says “I admire your willpower!”

    • I was only thinking in English really – it’s good to get outside of English-speaking songs generally though, I need to do it more.

  18. Hey Graham, just stumbled on this post scrolling thru your site (which looks great and navigates well btw). Very pleased you included the Van Halen one – I remember the first time I heard it and thought that has to be the most inane lyric I have ever heard!

  19. I am always learning about music and music history. Mainly online through streaming, Youtube and music websites like this awesome, 1, thanks so much to the owner here. I find myself wanting to touch up lyrics that seem wrong, off or just awkward. So here are a few of my gentle “corrections” for some song lyrics:

    We Built This City – Starship

    Marconi plays the mambo, listen to the radio
    Don’t you remember?
    We built this city
    We built this city on rock and roll

    My version:

    My lonely days are numbered
    Listening to the radio
    Don’t you remember
    We built this city
    We built this city on rock and roll

    Boys of Autumn – David Robers
    Boys will be boys
    But whatever happens to the boys of autumn
    Boys will be boys
    And you won’t forget those boys of autumn

    My version:

    Boys will be boys
    But whatever happens to the boy’s father’s
    Boys will be boys
    And you won’t forget those boys of autumn

    I Am, I Said – Neil Diamond

    I am, i said
    to no one there
    and no one heard at all
    not even the chair

    My version:

    I am, I said
    To no one there
    And no one heard at all
    Just leaving me scared

    That’s all for now! 😃

  20. Queen had some real stinkers (I’m In Love With My Car):

    “When I’m holding your wheel
    Аll I hear is your gear
    With my hand on your grease gun
    Oooh, it’s like a disease, son”

    “Told my girl I had to forget her
    Rather buy me a new carburetor”

    • Queen aren’t great lyricists for most of the time – I’ve never minded that one too much, since it’s clearly not taking itself too seriously.

      • I hear you. I was on a website and the longtime manager for KISS was asked what the secret to KISS’s success was. He simply said it was “4 chords and bad lyrics,” lol.

  21. Was messing around on Google and came across this page, this is a pretty interesting topic for sure, and a great idea! By far some of the worst lyricists of the past 20 years or so have to be the band Train. Practically all of their songs are absolutely terribly written, forced rhyme pop-culture-referencing trash. Here are some of the worst offenders…this is gonna get lengthy, so hang on to your seat:

    Hey Soul Sister:
    “Your lipstick stains on the front lobe of my left side brains.” Uh, what?

    “My heart is bound to beat right out my untrimmed chest.” So apparently, the dude has a hairy chest. K.

    Meet Virginia:
    “Well she wants to live her life. Then she thinks about her life. Pulls her hair back, as she screams
    I don’t really wanna live this life.” Trying to rhyme life with life, three times. Brilliance.

    If It’s Love:
    “While everybody else is getting out of bed, I’m usually getting in it
    I’m not in it to win it, and there’s a thousand different ways you can spin it
    My feet have been flat on the floor like an idle singer
    Remember Winger but I digress, nonetheless, you are the best thing in my life.” There are no words. Just look at that. WTF is with the random Winger reference?

    Calling All Angels:
    “When children have to play inside so they don’t disappear
    And private eyes solve marriage lies cause we don’t talk for years
    And football teams are kissing queens
    And losing sight of having dreams
    In a world that what we want is only what we want until it’s ours.” Sure. Makes sense to me.

    Save Me, San Francisco:
    “I used to love the tenderloin, until I made some tender coin.” …huh?

    Drive By:
    “This is not a drive by
    Just a shy guy looking for a two ply
    Hefty bag to hold my love
    When you move me everything is groovy
    They don’t like it sue me
    mmm the way you do me
    Oh I swear to you
    I’ll be there for you.”

    50 Ways to Say Goodbye:
    “She’ll think I’m Superman
    Not super minivan. How could you leave on Yom Kippur?” This band is the king of non sequitur lyrics.

    “She went down in an airplane. Fried getting suntanned. Fell in a cement mixer full of quicksand. Help me, help me, I’m no good at goodbyes! She met a shark under water. Fell and no one caught her. I returned everything I ever bought her. Help me, help me, I’m all out of lies. And ways to say you died,”

    “She was caught in a mudslide. Eaten by a lion. Got run over by a crappy purple Scion. Help me, help me, I’m no good at goodbyes! She dried up in the desert. Drowned in a hot tub. Danced to death at an east side night club. Help me, help me, I’m all out of lies. And ways to say you died,” Crappy purple Scion. Really? Not only are these absolutely horrid lyrics, they also stole the idea from a much better song in the Vandals’ ‘My Girlfriend’s Dead’.

    Anyways, sorry for the long post, but these guys are constant repeat offenders. Cheers!

  22. Steve Miller has some real stinkers, too, namely this one from Take the Money and Run:

    Hoo-hoo-hoo, billy Mack is a detective down in Texas
    You know he knows just exactly what the facts is
    He ain’t gonna let those two escape justice
    He makes his livin’ off of the people’s taxes

    • I like several of his songs. His Jet Airline, Swingtown and Fly Like An Eagle are awesomeness. But this song also confuses me lyrically. I don’t know why he sings “Oh, Lord” in the song. Does he really think God is up in Heaven giving the robbers and killers the thumbs up and saying to them, “You’re doing great! Keep going!”? The lyrics make no sense. And the 1 you highlighted is off, I agree.

        • Yes, that 1 is kind of creepy, I agree. Having said that, Steve Miller has defended women not being inducted enough into the rock and roll hall of fame. He ranted at his induction ceremony for all women to be acknowledged and appreciated. He’s STILL ranting about it! So I give him a pass.😃

          • I am not a fan of his music, but yes I do agree, that was one good thing that he did, for sure. He is right about the HoF being extremely stupid about those they choose to induct, and it being like a Boys Club of Whoever We Feel Like inducting.

          • IMO the big female omission from the 1960s and 1970s is Kate Bush, and that’s more of a reflection of the US-centric nature of the hall. Roberta Flack should be in there too. There are a lot of deserving female artists from the 1990s too, but there aren’t many 1990s acts in the hall yet – but would be great to see PJ Harvey, Tori Amos, Lucinda Williams, Sheryl Crow, Bjork, Lauryn Hill, and Missy Elliott in there.

            I’m not trying to be sexist, I just think women got way more opportunities in the music industry from the 1990s onwards.

          • I don’t feel like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is too at fault for not having many women – I think it’s more of a reflection on women having less opportunities in music in the 1960s and 1970s.

      • I know there are more male legends then women out there in music. I do wonder why they don’t induct artists like Suzie Quatro. She didn’t have a whole lot of hits in the US, but overall is influential. She has sold about 50 million records worldwide, and was a real pioneer female artist and rocker before anyone almost. If Joan Jett is in then then Suzie should be, too. I agree with Joan being in largely because of her early work in the Runaways. Based on her solo career alone, I don’t know if she deserves to be in the hall. And I wonder why it took them so long to induct Heart. I think they were up for nomination 12 times?

        • I’ve never heard much Suzi Quatro – only ‘Stumblin’ In’, which I understand is softer than her usual. I do think the hall is very US-centric – pretty tough for an artist who isn’t from the US to get in. I would have been thrilled if Fela Kuti had made it last year, but it’s tough for him to get in from Nigeria.

  23. Basically, any and every song by Train. They’ve got some of the worst godawful lyrics, random out of context pop culture references and forced rhymes in history. I can share some examples, or you can also Google their songs and find out for yourself. XD 50 Ways to Say Goodbye is the #1 worst offender…plus they stole the song idea from the song My Girlfriend’s Dead by the Vandals, an infinitely better song.

    • Train should have just kept it simple and done a parody of Paul Simon’s 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover called 50 Films By Danny Glover! I love Hey, Soul Sister and Calling All Angels by them, other than that I never listen to them. The lead singer gives off a weird kind of vibe, and honestly, he kind of creeps me out a bit. I have no idea why. It’s just my feeling about him. 😢

      • Nope, you are absolutely correct about the creepy vibe, for sure. XD
        Here are the lyrics to the song I mentioned so you can see how absolutely terrible it is. The line about the ‘crappy purple Scion’ is the most head-scratching.

        My heart is paralyzed
        My head was oversized
        I’ll take the high road like I should
        You said it’s meant to be
        That it’s not you, it’s me
        You’re leaving now for my own good

        That’s cool, but if my friends ask where you are I’m gonna say

        [Hook 1]
        She went down in an airplane
        Fried getting suntanned
        Fell in a cement mixer full of quicksand
        Help me, help me, I’m no good at goodbyes!
        She met a shark under water
        Fell and no one caught her
        I returned everything I ever bought her
        Help me, help me, I’m all out of lies
        And ways to say you died

        [Verse 2]
        My pride still feels the sting
        You were my everything
        Some day I’ll find a love like yours (a love like yours)
        She’ll think I’m Superman
        Not super minivan
        How could you leave on Yom Kippur?

        That’s cool, but if my friends ask where you are I’m gonna say

        [Hook 2]
        She was caught in a mudslide
        Eaten by a lion
        Got run over by a crappy purple Scion
        Help me, help me, I’m no good at goodbyes!
        She dried up in the desert
        Drowned in a hot tub
        Danced to death at an east side night club
        Help me, help me, I’m all out of lies
        And ways to say you died

        I wanna live a thousand lives with you
        I wanna be the one you’re dying to love…
        But you don’t want to

        That’s cool, but if my friends ask where you are I’m gonna say
        That’s cool, but if my friends ask where you are I’m gonna say

        [Hook 1]
        She went down in an airplane
        Fried getting suntanned
        Fell in a cement mixer full of quicksand
        Help me, help me, I’m no good at goodbyes!
        She met a shark under water
        Fell and no one caught her
        I returned everything I ever bought her
        Help me, help me, I’m all out of lies

        She was caught in a mudslide
        Eaten by a lion
        Got run over by a crappy purple Scion
        Help me, help me, I’m no good at goodbyes!
        She dried up in the desert
        Drowned in a hot tub
        Danced to death at an east side night club
        Help me, help me, I’m all out of lies
        And ways to say you died

        • I hate to say this and I don’t like to accuse people falsely, but these lyrics confirm what I’ve suspected in my gut about him, despite not really hearing a lot of Train’s songs. He comes across as self serving, sanctimonious and a narcissist. The lyrics are terrible, but even worse kind of scary. Is this guy an Incel, seriously? 😢

  24. I came across a song by Shaun Cassidy. A singer from the 1970s. These lyrics from his song are the worst! Not because the lyrics are bad themselves, but because I’ve heard the song and the lyrics LIE!

    Come on everybody get down and get with it!
    Come on everybody get down and get with it!
    Come on everybody get down and get with it!
    That’s Rock N’ Roll

    That’s NOT Rock & Roll! That’s Candy POP!!! Wow! 😢

    • Hi, Darcy. Do you remember the line in The Boxer, which goes “Still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest?” That is so prophetic. It could describe most of online social media right now, lol. 😃

    • That is a doozy – I’m glad Paul Simon largely stopped with that over-serious tone after that one Simon and Garfunkel album. Seems a bit harsh to pick on deep cuts though.

      • I know some of Paul Simon’s albums and only some songs from S&G. I think he’s a great songwriter. I will have to check out their albums soon. I was on a music site and they featured a show called Saturday Night Live which I’ve never seen. Some music sites feature music artists who’ve been on it. Back in the 1970s Paul and Art reunited and were on the show. Paul was quoted saying to Art “So … you’ve come crawling back!” I thought that was funny. 😃

        • I haven’t really seen Saturday Night Live because I’m not American, but I understand that Simon appeared as a turkey once.

  25. It’s easy to criticise lyrics, but if you’ve ever tried to write them you’ll understand that it’s not as easy as it looks. However, if I was going to join the slag-em-off brigade here I would cite all Jon Anderson’s airy fairy tripe with Yes and bring to your attention the fact that Stairway To Heaven is the most pretentious song in rock history. “It’s just a spring clean for the May Queen” etc: pass the washing-up bowl, Robert, I think I’m going to puke.
    But the one little line that really gets my goat – and does it every single year because it’s a Christmas song – occurs in the Beach Boys’ Little Saint Nick. The whole thing is quite cringe-making, but look out for the filler harmony right after the Merry Christmas Baby bit. A descending line informs us “Christmas comes this time each year.” In the entire pantheon of pop and rock pseudo-wisdom, nothing can compare with this astounding piece of insight.

    • Yup, Jon Anderson would be a good one to do. Although my pick for worst Yes lyric (“I eat at chez nous”) was written by Trevor Rabin.

      Christmas does come the same time each year.

  26. “1971
    ‘Riders On The Storm’ was the last Doors’ single to feature front-man Jim Morrison – it entered the US charts the same week that Morrison died. That doesn’t excuse this lazy rhyme. Craig Finn of The Hold Steady later told The Guardian that “that’s surely the worst line in rock’n’roll history. He gave the green light to generations of pseuds.””

    I love the music in the song. Very atmospheric and wonderful. It’s a gorgeous tune. The lyrics are weird and kind of creepy. Was Jim drunk or high when he wrote the lyrics? The music is great, though. 😃

  27. Carly Simon’s horribly forced rhyme “yatch, apricot, gavotte” mars the otherwise awesome You’re So Vain. I misheard this for years on the radio as “you had one eye in the mirror as you watched yourself go by.“ And although this doesn’t rhyme, I much prefer it to Simon’s rhyming-dictionary choice “gavotte.” Plus it undermines the playboy image of the song’s subject. I doubt even Warren Beatty could get laid gavottin’ thru a-list soirées. ‘

    • Thanks for writing in! Those lines have never bothered me too much. I liked that song enough to check out its parent album No Secrets, and it’s by far the best song I think.

  28. Rebecca Black was/is a hottie however, her voice sounds like Urkel when croaking out Friday. Hanky Panky by TJ and the Shondells is quite vapid.

Leave a Reply

  • Husker Du Warehouse Songs and Stories

Review Pages

Read about the discographies of musical acts from the 1960s to the present day. Browse this site's review archives or enjoy these random selections:

Blog Posts

I add new blog posts to this website every week. Browse the archives or enjoy these random selections:

  • Husker Du Warehouse Songs and Stories
  • Sting the Dream of the Blue Turtles