The Top Ten Worst Hit Songs of 1976
April 14th, 2011
Todd just sits there
- Video for New Boyz - "Backseat"
- New Boyz: ...backseat
- Dev: I wanna get beside ya
- New Boyz: In the backseat
- Dev: So I can be your backseat driver
- New Boyz: In the backseat
- Dev: I-I-I-I wanna get beside ya
- New Boyz: In the backseat
- Dev: So I can be your backseat...
Todd: Nope. Not today. [Walks off...] Nope. Not doin' it. [...and comes back with the lists] Okay, Billboard's Top 100 Year-End Lists. [Starts flipping through] Just gonna pick one at random here... [pulls out the list] ...uh...okay. [Starts playing "Rhiannon" by Fleetwood Mac on his piano]
THE TOP TEN WORST HIT SONGS OF 1976
A year-end review
- Episode of Soul Train with Candi Staton's "Young Hearts Run Free" playing.
Todd (VO): 1976—a grand year! The year of America's bicentennial and, oh how this country celebrated. With picnics and cookouts, with a renewed sense of patriotism, and most of all, with a buttload of awesome music!
[Dances in his seat to Walter Murphy - "A Fifth of Beethoven"]
- Clip for KC and the Sunshine Band's "That's The Way (I Like it)" as the song plays in the backround
- KC and the Sunshine Band: That's the way, uh-huh uh-huh, I like it.
- Montage of clips including: Peter Frampton - "Show Me the Way"; Queen - "Bohemian Rhapsody"; Elton John and Kiki Dee - "Don't Go Breaking My Heart"; Donna Summer - "Love to Love You Baby"; David Bowie - "Golden Years"; Hall & Oates - "She's Gone"; Thin Lizzy - "The Boys are Back in Town"; Diana Ross - "Love Hangover"; Aerosmith - "Dream On"; Paul Simon - "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover"; Earth, Wind & Fire - "Sing a Song"; Bellamy Brothers - "Let Your Love Flow"; Parliament - "Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof off the Sucker)"; KISS - "Rock and Roll All Nite"; Bay City Rollers - "Money Honey"; and Lou Rawls - "You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine"
Todd (VO): Yeah, that's the way I like it. I've gone through all these lists, and '76 would probably rank up there with 1965 and 1983 as one of the best years ever for pop music. There is so much great funk, soul, classic rock, R&B, singer-songwriter ballads, hard rock, early disco, and even crossover country music that it is absolutely ridiculous. I could make a Top 30 out of this list and still have to make some really painful cuts. And it's not just that there's a lot of good stuff; it's that all the good stuff is amazingly good. This is the year that brought us "Dream On," "Give Up the Funk," "Bohemian Rhapsody," "The Boys Are Back in Town," "Love Rollercoaster," "Evil Woman," "Rock and Roll All Nite." Dear God, this year rocks!
Todd: Of course, when the good stuff is that good, it just makes the bad stuff look that much worse, and it's helpful to compare the worst of '76 to the other Top 10s I've done in the past.
Todd (VO): [Clips of Ke$ha - "BlahBlahBlah"] Where the worst songs of 2010 were aggressively obnoxious [Glenn Medeiros - "Nothing's Gonna Change My Love For You"] and the worst songs of 1987 were bland and insipid, [Clip from The Donny and Marie Show, with the two singing "Deep Purple"] the worst songs of 1976 are kitschy and lame. And if you've got more of a stomach for 70s cheese than I do, you're not gonna like my picks for this list very much. But you know what?
Todd: When a year can give you Elton John and P-Funk, there's no making excuses for turds like the ones I'm about to reveal to you. So wake up everybody, we're gonna take it to the limit one more time! We're counting down...
- Clip of Wings - "Silly Love Songs", which serves as the interlude through the countdown
- Paul McCartney: You'd think that people would have had enough of silly love songs
Todd (VO): ...the Top Ten Worst Hit Songs of 1976!
- Paul: Some people wanna fill the world with silly love songs
Todd (VO): #10.
- Clip of Beach Boys - "Wouldn't It Be Nice"
- Brian Wilson: Wouldn't it be nice if we were older...
Todd (VO): The Beach Boys were one of the greatest rock bands of the 60s. The 70s...not so much.
- Performance of "Rock and Roll Music"
- Mike Love: That's why I go for that rock and roll music
Todd (VO): Yeah, the post-Brian years were definitely not good to these guys. Now their own contribution to this year was a lousy, lackluster cover of Chuck Berry's "Rock and Roll Music," and you can consider that the unofficial #11 of this list. But the Beach Boys were able to cause bad music to happen indirectly as well, and by sheer coincidence, the bottom two songs on this list are Beach Boys-related.
Todd: Now maybe it's a little unfair to hold things like this against the guys who gave us "Good Vibrations" and "God Only Knows," but quite frankly, someone has to take the blame for this. So, that out of the way, let me tell you about a guy named Henry Gross.
#10. Henry Gross - "Shannon"
Todd (VO): Henry Gross was a founding member of [clip of performance by...] Sha Na Na, the late 60s and 70s group who dressed like greasers and did covers of 50s songs that epically missed the point. But Henry left early on to pursue a career as a singer-songwriter. [Cover of the album Love Is the Stuff]He never had all that much success, but he did become friends with [picture of...] Beach Boys lead singer Carl Wilson, and when Carl's Irish Setter Shannon passed away, Henry Gross wrote the song "Shannon" in tribute—a song which became his only hit.
Todd: Now, me? I think this song is irritating as hell, but if I squint my ears at it, I can kind of hear what other people heard in it. Maybe people found that horrible falsetto charming in a Beach-Boys-ish kind of way. But let's be serious—this song was written because Carl's dog died, and there is no part of me that finds this an acceptable subject for a song.
- Pictures of cute little puppies. R.I.P. Sgt. Muffykins
- Henry: She always loved to swim away
Todd (VO): [sarcastic] Oh, boo-hoo-hoo, the doggy's dead. I'm a 12-year-old girl apparently. No, I cannot believe this sappy-ass shit was the best thing he could think of to write a song about, especially considering that Carl's brother [picture of...] Brian Wilson was going through a well-publicized depression and drug-induced mental breakdown. God, you think they ever spoke?
- Todd (as Brian): Hey, Henry, is Carl around? I really need to talk to him. I think Dr. Landy might be taking advantage of me.
- Todd (as Henry): Oh, God! I can't talk right now, Brian! I don't know if you heard, but Carl's dog died! I'm just...I'm just so upset, I have to go write a song about it right now! I'm sorry, I have to go!
- Todd (as Brian): Just can...can you please get Ca--
- Todd (as Henry): I gotta go, bye!
Todd: You know, for what it's worth, I asked Casey Kasem to add more details about this song, but he didn't want to.
- Casey: [the infamous rant] This is the god—last goddamn time. I want somebody to use his fucking brain... I gotta talk about a fucking dog dying!!!
- Henry Gross playing "Shannon"
Todd (VO): Henry Gross—his one hit was about a dead dog. Apparently, there are more weepy fortysomething housewives in the world than I realized.
- Henry: She always loved to swim away
Todd (VO): #9.
Todd: Okay, now you wanna know the worst thing the Beach Boys did to the 70s? Yeah, I'll tell ya. They hired a guy named Daryl as their touring keyboardist. Daryl worked with them for a while and later brought in his future wife Toni when they needed a second keyboardist. Now with those connections, they were able to launch their own successful career as recording artists and together, they were among the most successful, and worst, acts of the decade. They were... the Captain & Tennille.
#9. The Captain & Tennille - "Shop Around"
- Toni Tennille: There's some things that I want you to know
Todd (VO): The Captain & Tennille were apparently sold to record labels as a sexier, more adult version of [pictures of...] the Carpenters, which is a little like selling Gary Coleman as a taller version of Webster—technically true, but entirely misleading.
- Captain & Tennille: My mama told me...
- Tennille: You better shop around
Todd (VO): The Captain & Tennille had a couple hits this year; I picked their butchering of Smokey Robinson's "Shop Around" as a representative of them as a whole. As a performer, Toni Tennille always came off the same way—like your best friend's mom got on the karaoke machine after having too many daiquiris. You're just left embarrassed for everyone involved.
- Tennille: Woo!
Todd: If this were any other music group, I'd call this their worst song; with the Captain & Tennille, I'm not even sure this would make their bottom 5. I mean, they had a song called "Muskrat Love," and it was literally about muskrats in love. Now if there's one thing that makes this song in particular unbearable...
Todd (VO): ...it's that the original song was about playing the field to make sure you have someone to compare your future mate to before you settle down, and that worked just fine for Ol' Smokey, but be damned if I'm gonna take romantic advice from a woman who wound up with a guy that spent his entire adult life dressed like a cast member of The Love Boat. Now if they were going to cover any Smokey Robinson song, it should've been "Tears of a Clown" 'cause that's what he looked like.
- Tennille: You better shop around, aah-ha-ha
- You better...
Todd (VO): #8.
#8. Chicago - "If You Leave Me Now"
- Peter Cetera: If you leave me now
- You'll take away the biggest part of me
Todd: Have I mentioned that I hate Chicago? Have I mentioned that I hate, hate, hate, hate Chicago? 'Cause I haaaaaate Chicago!
- Peter: And if you leave me now...
Todd (VO): Now there's plenty more pillowy-soft soft rock in '76, but I hate this one in particular.
Todd: Why? As always, it comes back down to Peter Cetera.
- Peter: Ooh-hoo-hoo.
Todd (VO): Simply put, I hate this man's voice. It resonates at just the right frequency to piss me off. It is one of the most wretched things I have ever heard, but I can't really explain why. I don't have this reaction to any other soft-rocker in the universe. [Pictures of...] Phil Collins? Fine. Bryan Adams? Fine. Richard Marx? Fine. Mi...heh...but you know what? I probably would stand up for Michael Bolton before I stuck up for Peter Cetera. My mind just squeals in agony every time I have to hear his horrible dog whistle of a voice encased inside this Xanax of a song.
Todd: Now even ignoring Pete Cetera's voice, this song infuriates me. Why would you make a breakup song that sounds like a goddamn lullaby?
- Peter: Ooh-hoo-hoo, No baby please don't go
Todd: No baby please don't go. [Starts lulling off to sleep, finally putting a pillow on the keyboard and plopping his head on it]
- Peter: I just got to have your lovin'
Todd: [yawning] Chicago... a really bad band.
Todd (VO): #7.
Todd: As it turns out, Chicago were not the only band to suddenly sell out in '76.
- Clip of Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show - "The Cover of the Rolling Stone"
- Dr. Hook: Well, we big rock singers, we got golden fingers
Todd (VO): Yeah...these guys. Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show were a weird kind of band. They started out making a lot of silly semi-comedy songs mostly written by Shel Silverstein. [Cover of the book Where the Sidewalk Ends] Yeah, that Shel Silverstein. Then right about this time, they reinvented themselves and became a smooth AM rock group. Now, I'm not really a fan of either version, but they do have my respect. They were loose and funny and they didn't take themselves all that seriously.
Todd: But then again, maybe if they had taken themselves more seriously, they would've tried a little harder than this.
#7. Dr. Hook - "Only Sixteen"
- Dr. Hook: She was only sixteen, only sixteen
- But I loved her so
Todd (VO): "Only Sixteen," I've discovered to my great surprise, is a cover of an old Sam Cooke song. Now I checked out the original, and it's actually pretty good. [Picture of Cooke, with his version of "Only Sixteen" playing over it] But that's mostly because Sam Cooke was a god and he could do whatever he wanted. Despite that, it's really not one of Sam's better compositions. It starts out as your standard jailbait freakout. You know...
Todd: "Oh, she's too young, she's too young, oh no..." And then you get to the punchline.
- Dr. Hook: Why did I give my heart so fast
- It never will happen again
- But I was a mere child of sixteen
- I've aged a year since then
Todd: Get it? She's only sixteen, and that's way too young because he's seventeen A-hyuk, a-hyuk, a-hyuk.
- Dr. Hook: But she was too young to fall in love
Todd (VO): Of course, you'd never guess there was even supposed to be a punchline listening to this twinkling bore-fest. Whose idea was it to play this straight? God, you'd think they never heard a joke at all listening to this, and that's just not true. All of their previous songs were all about having a sense of humor.
- Clip of "You Make My Pants Wanna Get Up and Dance"
- Dr. Hook: You make my pants wanna get up and dance
- You make my face wanna grin
Todd (VO): Okay, it was a stupid sense of humor, but it was there. How'd they wind up performing this with all the solemnity of Grandma's funeral?
- Dr. Hook: And I was too young to know [Todd just shrugs]
- [falsetto] I....
Todd (VO): #6.
Todd: You know what word didn't really survive the end of the 70s? "Boogie."
- The Sylvers on Soul Train singing "Boogie Fever"
- Sylvers: Boogie fever
- You got to boogie down
Todd (VO): Yeah, the 70s were all about boogieing. I'm your boogie man, so put on your boogie shoes, and boogie-oogie-oogie in a boogie wonderland.
Todd: Yes, it was a whole decade of boogieing. And if there was ever a song that didn't earn the right to use the word, it was this one.
#6. Silver Convention - "Get Up and Boogie"
- Silver Convention: Get up and boogie
Todd (VO): And that's not good, because "boogie" is just about the only word in the song. The Silver Convention were a German band who had their only two hits that year—this song and [Clip of...] "Fly, Robin, Fly." Together, the two singles used a combined [list of all words from both songs] twelve words, six per song. Despite this, "Fly, Robin, Fly" does come across as an actual song and not an unfinished demo, which is not something I can say about "Get Up and Boogie."
Todd: Now forgive the redundancy, but a good dance song should make you want to dance, and boy, oh boy, oh boy, does this song make me wanna find a comfortable spot against the wall.
- Silver Convention: Get up and boogie
Todd (VO): No.
- Silver Convention: Get up and boogie
Todd: No! Is that all you got? I've never felt less like boogieing. You can't kinda suggest people dance. You have to make them dance. This is how you do it.
- Clip of C & C Music Factory - "Gonna Make You Sweat"
- Martha Wash: Everybody dance now!
Todd (VO): See? That's not a request, that's a command. Meanwhile, these losers don't even look like they're trying.
- Silver Convention: Boogie. Boogie.
Todd (VO): For what it's worth, it's a little hard to find videos for songs this old, but I am so glad I found this particular one. I don't know what show this is, but it's like the anti-TRL. These people are so bored. They're more bored than I am somehow.
Todd: "Get up and boogie"? How about sit down and shut up? Attention, everybody—the Silver Convention wants you to know that they suck.
- Silver Convention: That's right.
Todd (VO): #5.
Todd: The Billboard charts have always been shaped by the fact that they cover what's popular in America, and America is a big, big place. Now for something to hit #1 in this country, it's got to have a very widespread appeal. Now compare this to a smaller country like Britain, where weird novelty hits get to #1 all the time. Among the things that've topped the U.K. charts are [clips of...] "Do the Bartman," something called "The Ketchup Song," and my personal favorite, [single cover of...] "Amazing Grace" played on the bagpipes (#1 for 5 weeks in 1972).
Now in the U.S., we don't have to deal with the onslaught of jive bunnies or crazy frogs or whatever...except in '76, when two ridiculously bad novelty hits made it all the way to #1, and we'll be dealing with them both, one now and one later; and the one we're gonna deal with first is so indelibly associated with the worst music of the 70s that I'm almost obligated to put it on here. And to be fair, it's not like I disagree. What two words send shivers up a music lover's spine more than [Video for...] "Disco Duck"?
#5. Rick Dees & His Cast of Idiots - "Disco Duck"
- There are actually people dancing in duck costumes
- Idiots: Disco, disco duck
- Duck: (sounds like Donald Duck) Got to have me a woman
- Idiots: Disco, disco duck
- Duck: Oh get down mama (Seriously, look at this shit)
Todd (VO): Now, see, I grew up with Weird Al, you know, Jonathan Coulton, Flight of the Conchords, so I've got this unreasonable expectation that novelty songs ought to be funny. Rick Dees, meanwhile, was a [picture of...] radio DJ-the polar opposite of funny. [Stamped with "NOT FUNNY"]
- Rick Dees: Look at me, I'm the disco duck
Todd (VO): Yeah, I guess this song is supposed to be a parody of the "The Funky Chicken," but [video of kid dancing to "Funky Chicken"] you go back and listen to "The Funky Chicken," you'll find out that it's actually pretty damn funky. Now I can't imagine anyone discoing to "Disco Duck."
- Rick: Went to a party the other night
Todd (VO): Of course, you weren't actually supposed to dance to "Disco Duck," I assume. No, you were listening for one reason—to hear this amazing Donald Duck impression.
- Duck: Oh mama shake your tail feather
Todd (VO): Yeah, I guess people in 1976 had never heard that one before. Other than that, if you listen to the song, you'll find that the premise of a disco-dancing duck is not enough to sustain even a three-minute song. Hell, they'd basically just given up even before the end of the chorus.
- Idiots: Try your luck, don't be a cluck
Todd (VO): "Don't be a cluck"? What the hell does being a cluck mean? What does clucking have to do with ducks? Could you not think of any other insult that rhymed with "duck"? (_uck) Hmmm. No, I guess I can't either.
- Idiots: Disco
- Duck: Disco
- Idiots: Disco
- Duck: Disco
- Idiots: Disco, disco
Todd (VO): Amazingly, Dees' follow-up "Dis-Gorilla" didn't chart because everyone suddenly regained their sanity, and Dees went back to his day job of being unfunny on the radio between songs. But that's probably no consolation to those who had to suffer through this at the time.
Todd: Well, screw this. It's time for some Disco Duck Hunt.
- [Shot of Duck Hunt game, with the song stopping once the duck is shot. The dog laughs]
Todd (VO): #4.
- Opening shot from Saturday Night Fever, with...
Todd (VO): Yeah, you strut, John Travolta. Yeah, you know what? [Dance scene] You strut and you dance, John Travolta. Yeah, you strut, you dance and you [singing "Sandy" in Grease] sing, John Travolta. Yeah, I've never thought about it, but John Travolta's movies have had a huge effect on popular music. His movies have had some of the best-selling soundtracks of all time. [Album covers of] Saturday Night Fever, Grease, Urban Cowboy, Pulp Fiction, might as well throw Hairspray in there. Hell, even the [opening of...] Welcome Back, Kotter theme was a #1 hit that year.
Todd: So with all that in mind, I guess it's not that surprising to me that John Travolta had a singing career.
#4. John Travolta - "Let Her In"
- John: ...different today, hey-hey
Todd (VO): It's also not surprising to me that it sucked so hard. The 70s were littered with terrible teen idols—[images of...] Osmond, Garrett, Cassidy. But Travolta may have been the worst of them by virtue of one simple fact—unlike all the simpering pretty-boys of the era...
Todd: John Travolta just flat-out couldn't sing.
- John: Gonna let her in
- Gonna let her in, um-hmm
Todd (VO): "But wait," I hear you saying. "What about Grease? He was singing constantly in that movie, right? And he sounded fine."
Todd: Okay, 1—Grease sucks; 2—go back and really listen to those songs.
- Clip of "You're the One That I Want" from Grease
- John: I got chills that are multiplyin'
Todd (VO): Yeah, the man can't sing...at all.
Todd: You think Battlefield Earth is the worst product John Travolta ever made? Well, you're right, but "Let Her In" comes pretty damn close.
- John: I'm gonna let her in.
Todd: By the way, when he says he's gonna let her in, he actually means he gonna (OBLIGATORY SCIENTOLOGY JOKE) let the thetans into her soul to drive out the influence of Lord Xenu. (OBLIGATORY BARBARINO IMPRESSION) Oh, my God, I swear.
- John: Let her in my life....
- Clip from Welcome Back, Kotter
- Barbarino: How do you like my song?
- Mr. Kotter: It's got a good beat, but you can't dance to it. I give it a 35.
Todd (VO): #3.
- Clip of Barry Manilow - "Mandy"
- Barry: Oh, Mandy, well you came...
Todd: MANILOWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!!! Nah, I'm just kidding. I don't really have anything against Barry Manilow.
Todd (VO): Yeah, he's schmaltzy, he's a cheeseball. But you know, he's charming enough and goofy enough that I can't really get too worked up about him. And of course, "Copacabana" is untouchable.
Todd: So, yeah, got that, everybody? Don't hate Barry Manilow, I think he's okay. So what is it about this song that drives me right up the wall?
#3. Barry Manilow - "I Write the Songs"
- Barry: I write the songs that make the whole world sing
Todd (VO): Okay, if there's one attitude that Barry Manilow doesn't wear very well, it's complete arrogance. Do you wanna hear Barry Manilow brag about how much money he has? Wanna hear him talk about how many groupies he's banged? Of course you don't, no one does. And to be fair, he never has, but even that'd be better than what he claims in this song. 'Cause you see, Barry Manilow...writes the songs.
Todd: He writes...all the songs.
- Barry: I've been alive forever, and I wrote the very first song
Todd (VO): Yes, he wrote the first song and the last song. He writes the songs that make the whole world sing. He writes the songs that make the young girls cry.
- Barry: I write the songs that make the young girls cry
Todd (VO): Yes, Barry Manilow is the Prometheus of music, bringing the gift of song from on high on Mount Olympus down to you.
- Barry: I put the words and the melodies together
Todd (VO): He is responsible for all music ever written. "Back in Black," Beethoven's 5th, Scooby-Doo theme? No need to thank him personally, folks. He feels your appreciation in every note you sing. Gag me.
- Barry: I have this feeling that I think a lot of people are gonna think I'm on this amazing ego trip singing "I Write the Songs."
Todd: The sad thing is that Barry actually seemed aware of the problems of the song, saying, quote: "The problem with the song was that if you didn't listen carefully to the lyric, you would think that the singer was singing about himself. It could be misinterpreted as a monumental ego trip."
Oh, my mistake, Barry. I must be a very superficial listener. Right, where's the ego in presuming to speak for the entire concept of music?
Todd (VO): It's like when I tell people I'm Jesus. Where's the ego in that? And yeah, of course, "I" in the song means music.
- Barry: I am music and I write the songs
Todd (VO): Music writes the songs. That makes perfect sense.
Todd: Of course, it's one of the great ironies of pop music that Barry Manilow did not write "I Write the Songs," and to be fair, he was always quick to give credit to the actual writer, although he may just have been trying to defer blame. No, the actual writer of the song was Bruce Johnston of the...[album cover of Unreleased Gems by the...] BEACH BOYS?! Oh, come on, what the hell, Beach Boys?! Where's the quality control?! [single cover of "Love Will Keep Us Together"] Oh my God, and this was originally recorded by the Captain & Tennille?! Oh my God, the layers of suck on this song are unbearable!
- Barry: I write the songs that make the whole...
Todd (VO): No, no, no, I am not gonna sit here and be bragged at by Barry Manilow and the guy who was at best the fifth-best songwriter in the Beach Boys.
Todd: You guys write the songs that make the whole world vomit.
- Barry: [big finish] And I write the songs!
Todd (VO): #2.
- Plays Jerry Reed - "East Bound and Down"
Todd: May I suggest a possibility here? Just, you know, crazy theory right off the top of my head. Maybe the whole trucker craze of the 70s was, in fact, completely stupid.
- Footage of trucks and clips from Convoy
Todd (VO): Well, what's so amazing about driving a truck for a living? I mean, maybe being a trucker's worth a few good stories, but you know, why were they heroes and badasses all of a sudden? What's so heroic about hauling a trailer full of Kmart goods to Wichita? I...I assume it had something to do with the fad of CB radios, which was the only way back before the Internet that idiots could yammer at strangers about nothing. I guess people were hearing these truckers using their own distinct language, giving themselves special nicknames, thought it was cool. But you know who else does that? [Picture of The Nostalgia Critic and The Nostalgia Chick with "Big Lipped Alligator Moment" plastered over] Internet video reviewers. Why haven't we captured the national consciousness?
Todd: I well and truly do not get it. But it was so popular that we even got a hit song out of it, and I've gotta put the hammer down on it. So you know what. [Mimes CB radio in hand] Breaker, breaker, this here's Shadow Todd. We've got trouble north bound up ahead on the Top 40, looks like we got us a convoy.
#2. C.W. McCall - "Convoy"
- C.W. McCall: It was the dark of the moon on the sixth of June in a Kenworth pullin logs
- Cab over Pete with a reefer on...
Todd (VO): Okay, now see if you can follow this. The guy you see here is not the original C.W. McCall. That man is named William Fries, Jr., a marketing director who first creating C.W. McCall as an advertising character for bread commercials.
- Commercial for Old Home
- C.W. (not the singer): I said, "C.W. McCall, and I haul for Old Home. You can call me C.W."
Todd (VO): And for reasons I cannot figure out, he them became C.W. McCall and started releasing country albums.
Todd: Yeah, this is the other bizarro novelty #1 of the year, and for the record, I think "Convoy" is many, many times worse than "Disco Duck." It was just this god-awful horrible mess of hokey music and incomprehensible trucker lingo.
- C.W.: Cab over Pete with a reefer on and a Jimmy haulin hogs
Todd: Breaker 1-9, brush your hair, we got a flip-flop on the double meat wagon. Smokey's in the parking lot barefoot.
- C.W.: We tore up all of our swindle sheets and left 'em sittin' on the scales
Todd: 10-4, chicken in the bread pan peckin' out dough. Granny does your dog bite. No child, no. Roger that.
- C.W.: Yeah them smokeys as thick as bugs on a bumper
- They even had a bear in the air
Todd (VO): Now as far as I can tell, the story of this song is that McCall and a bunch of other truckers had banded together to help each other avoid the cops, but I've gone through the lyrics several times trying to decipher them and I have never understood why we'd be rooting for the truckers to escape the cops, or for that matter, what the cops were chasing them for. Maybe they're smuggling illegal guns to crazy militia groups in Montana. Could be anything. But when we don't have a reason, it just sounds like something truckers would make up to make themselves sound cooler.
Todd: Maybe McCall's authoritative bass is what made people ignore the fact that he's not even trying to sing, but then what do you do when you get to the chorus, which is sung by this ridiculously femmy choir that sounds like they're supposed to be doing the Care Bears theme?
- Chorus: Coz we got a little convoy rockin' thru the night
Todd (VO): If music were a highway, this song would be a ten-car pileup. This is a song made so truckers can pretend to be outlaws, by a country singer pretending to be a trucker, who's actually a marketer who's pretending to be a country singer.
Todd: And you people bought this? You deserved your gas shortage.
- C.W.: We'll catch you on the flip-flop. This here's the Rubber Duck on the side. We gone. Bye bye.
Todd (VO): #1.
Todd: Now I am not one to bend to popular opinion. If I disagree with the general consensus, I'll tell you. But my #1 pick for this list is not one of those occasions. This song doesn't need me bashing on it because it's already considered one of the worst songs of all time. It's not just a bad song, it's a legend among bad songs. It's the bad song people think of when they think of bad songs. And while other songs of that year like "Play That Funky Music, White Boy" or "Shake Shake Shake Your Booty" may have been laughed at back then, time has sort of rehabilitated their reputations. Not so with this song. It sucked then and it sucks now, and once you hear it, I imagine you all will have to agree. So, ladies and gentlemen, please put your hands together for the #1 worst hit song of 1976...
- Clip from The Simpsons
- Homer Simpson: Starland Vocal Band? They suck!
#1. Starland Vocal Band - "Afternoon Delight"
- Bill Danoff: Gonna find my baby, gonna hold her tight
- Gonna grab some afternoon delight
Todd (VO): "Afternoon Delight" was an important milestone in my evolution as a critic. For me as a youngster, it was one of the first songs that I ever heard where I realized that I hated it completely and totally. Now I really, really, really try not to bash people for having different tastes in music than me, but I have no idea what kind of inbred simpleton you would have to be to actually like this song, and it was one of the biggest hits of the decade!
- Taffy and Margot: Thinking of you's working up my appetite
- Looking forward to a little afternoon delight...
Todd (VO): I hate the way this song sounds, I hate the vocals, I hate the music, and we haven't even gotten to the actual lyrical content yet.
- Clip from Arrested Development episode of the same name
- Narrator (Ron Howard): "Afternoon Delight" was more adult-themed than its innocent melody would have you believe.
Todd: I'm gonna go ahead and assume that most of you already know what this song is actually about. But for those of you who don't...
- Clip from Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
- Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell): This song is about daytime lovemaking-the naughty type.
Todd (VO): You've gotta be kidding me. These people wrote a song about sex. These people. These people look like they'd probably need sex explained to them. I refuse to believe that anyone who could make a song that sounds like this have ever, ever even heard of sex.
Todd: Only very rarely do you have a popular song that in retrospect pretty much everyone agrees was absolutely terrible.
- [Clip from PCU, where Droz (Jeremy Piven) puts "Afternoon Delight" on repeat]
Todd (VO): When you need a song to immediately drive everyone out of the room, "Afternoon Delight" is the song you'd play.
- [A chair bursts through the window and two men break through and one jumps. Back to the video]
I don't think I even need to explain myself at this point. Never in the universe has there ever been a sex song this unsexy. Not even "Your Body Is a Wonderland," not even "Closer" by Nine Inch Nails, and yet they were taken entirely seriously at the time. They won two Grammys, they had their own show. How, how, how?!
Todd: Starland Vocal Band—what the hell were you people thinking?
- Starland Vocal Band: Af....afternoon delight.
Closing tag song: Orleans - "Still the One"
Seriously, though, 1976 was a great year
Special thanks to JesuOtaku for rescuing this project
- ↑ #76 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
- ↑ #90 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
- ↑ #10 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
- ↑ #45 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
- ↑ #50 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
- ↑ #18 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
- ↑ #2 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
- ↑ #41 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
- ↑ #33 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
- ↑ #81 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
- ↑ #87 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
- ↑ #15 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
- ↑ #51 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
- ↑ #8 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
- ↑ #59 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
- ↑ #36 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
- ↑ #93 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
- ↑ #96 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
- ↑ #92 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
- ↑ #32 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
- ↑ #42 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
- ↑ #1 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
- ↑ #62 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100; Todd said this would be #10 in 2017...
- ↑ #47 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100; ...as his love for dogs made him reconsider about this one
- ↑ #62 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
- ↑ #48 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
- ↑ #35 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
- ↑ #20 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
- ↑ #24 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
- ↑ #14 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
- ↑ #96 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
- ↑ #74 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
- ↑ #13 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
- ↑ #57 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
- ↑ #5 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
- ↑ #26 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
- ↑ #12 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
- ↑ #82 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100