The Best Of The 50 Worst Rock-n-Roll Albums Of All Time

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This list is taken from Jimmy Guterman & Owen O'Donnell's book The Worst Rock n' Roll Records Of All Time (Citadel Press, 1991). Whatever its limitations, it's oodles more fun to read than Guterman's The Best Rock n' Roll Records Of All Time.
Here you're voting for what you think is the best album out of these 50. I thought it would be more fun to bitch about where they went wrong. And I suppose we could do a Worst of the Worst poll later if the masses want it.
Quite bizarrely, the site where I lifted this list from had Journey: Greatest Hits at #27. But my copy lists the Iron Butterfly record there so I went with that.
And if you'd like to vote for # 20, here's the tracklisting:

1. You Light Up My Life - Debby Boone
2. Let Your Love Flow - The Bellamy Brothers
3. Kiss You All Over - Exile
4. December 1963 (Oh What A Night) - The Four Seasons
5. My Melody Of Love - Bobby Vinton
6. That's Rock 'N' Roll - Shaun Cassidy
7. Daddy Don't You Walk So Fast - Wayne Newton
8. Burning Bridges - Mike Curb Congregation
9. The Candy Man - Sammy Davis Jr.
10. Different Worlds - Maureen McGovern

The book also features a 50 Worst Singles list which I'll do after this one.

Poll Results

OptionVotes
32. Donovan - Greatest Hits 17
2. Reed, Lou - Metal Machine Music 10
50. U2 - Unforgettable Fire7
16. Shaggs - Philosophy of the World 6
9. Grateful Dead - Europe '72 6
26. Bon Jovi - Slippery When Wet 6
13. Queen - Queen II 5
23. Parks, Van Dyke - Song Cycle 5
3. Dylan, Bob - Self Portrait 5
11. Jethro Tull - Aqualung 4
10. Yes - Tales from Topographic Oceans 4
33. Astley, Rick - Whenever You Need Somebody 2
19. Moody Blues - Days of Future Passed 2
30. Willis, Bruce - The Return of Bruno 1
28. Beach Boys - Still Cruisin' 1
1. Presley, Elvis - Having Fun with Elvis on Stage 1
38. America - History: America's Greatest Hits 1
48. Lowe, Nick - Pinker and Prouder than Previous 1
49. Parker, Graham & the Rumour - The Parkerilla 1
14. Queen - Live Killers 1
37. REO Speedwagon - Life as We Know It 0
8. Doors - Alive, She Cried 0
39. Starr, Ringo - Stop and Smell the Roses 0
40. Starr, Ringo - Old Wave 0
41. Franklin, Aretha - La Diva 0
42. Phantom, Rocker & Slick – same title 0
18. Travolta, John - Travolta Fever 0
43. Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - Original Soundtrack to the Motion Picture 0
6. Milli Vanilli - The Remix Album 0
45. Bowie, David - Never Let Me Down 0
46. Moore, Scotty - Guitar That Changed the World 0
47. Sheridan, Tony & the Elvis Presley TCB Band - (same title) 0
5. Boone, Pat - Pat Boone 0
4. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - American Dream 0
36. Grey, Joel - Black Sheep Boy 0
35. Starland Vocal Band - 4 X 4 0
21. Dylan, Bob - Live at Budokan 0
22. Waters, Rogers - Radio K.A.O.S. 0
17. Shaggs - Shaggs' Own Thing 0
24. Who - Who's Last 0
25. Rolling Stones - Still Life (American Concert 1981) 0
15. Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe - (same title) 0
27. Iron Butterfly: Live (Atco 1970) 0
29. Starship - Knee Deep in the Hoopla 0
7. Chicago - at Carnegie Hall 0
31. Blood, Sweat and Tears - Blood, Sweat & Tears (1969) 0
20. Various Artists - 70's Hits: Great Records of the Decade - Original Recordings, Vol. 1 0
12. Byrds - Byrds (1973) 0
34. Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Tarkus 0
44. Costello, Elvis & the Attractions - Goodbye Cruel World 0


Kevin John Bozelka, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 02:05 (fourteen years ago) link

Here's some of their reasoning (courtesy of here:

1. Presley, Elvis - Having Fun with Elvis on Stage
This 1974 monstrosity was subtitled "A Talking Album Only", but it was packaged like a standard live album. There was only one minor problem: this live album had no songs on it, just the rote between-song patter, repetitious non-jokes, and flat-out stupid scarf disbursements that were epidemic at the King's arena shows in the seventies.

2. Reed, Lou - Metal Machine Music
Capturing a sequence of squawks, screeches, and squeals, Reed uses no instruments, just electronic effects. The same drone vacillates for as long as it takes you to take the disc off the turntable.

3. Dylan, Bob - Self Portrait
... exactly what you don't deserve to confront on a Dylan record: lush string arrangements, a lazy angelic choir, dumb lyrics repeated until you want to drag “all the tired horses” out of the sun and into the glue factory.

4. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - American Dream
Young has since noted that the only reason he agreed to take part in this record was that he promised Crosby a CSNY reunion if the selfish, appetite-driven free-baser cleaned up, but that doesn't excuse the quality of his own compositions... Young's contributions to American Dream were its biggest embarrassments...

5. Boone, Pat - Pat Boone
His self-titled debut album (well, maybe he didn't title it himself) contains covers of contemporary R&B hits bleached a paler shade of white.

6. Milli Vanilli - The Remix Album
"Musically, we are more talented than any Bob Dylan. Musically, we are more talented than Paul McCartney". Half the record is remixes, with the expected random echo, scratches, and synthesizer slashes that are supposed to indicate remixing. The other half is made up of early tracks left off Girl, You Know It's True (American Debut Album).
Imagine, if you can, the existence of songs not good enough to make it onto a Milli Vanilli record.

7. Chicago - at Carnegie Hall
The music on this three-hour blast of bombast lives down to expectations. The packaging, which apes a high-class opera package, is wishful thinking.

8. Doors - Alive, She Cried
... another in the seemingly endless parade of Doors product that Elektra continues to release to capitalize on Morrison's refusal to die as a commercial prospect. The album consists of non-studio recordings made from 1968 to 1970 and focuses on the cheap theatrics and ho-hum sex fantasies that people are actually talking about when they describe Morrison as 'dynamic'.

9. Grateful Dead - Europe '72
Europe '72 captures the Grateful Dead precisely at the moment they turned into a parody of themselves. The back cover... depicted a cartoon cretin pushing an ice-cream against his rainbow-colored hair. It was a perfect descriptive image for this set: messy, unnecessary, and, well, dopey-looking.

10. Yes - Tales from Topographic Oceans
Tales from Topographic Oceans is a seventh-hand distillation of world thought, according to five of the most diffuse personalities (hence, when brought together, the most muddled thinkers) ever to try to coexist in a rock group. Keyboardist Rick Wakeman and drummer Alan White were the only genuine rockers of the bunch, although Wakeman's idea of inventiveness was often to try to coax fart noises out of his
Hammond B-3 organ and White often seemed so bewildered by the band's elaborate non-arrangements that he neglected to keep a beat.

11. Jethro Tull - Aqualung
Look at the back cover of Aqualung and you'll see a nine-verse pseudo-sacred text, penned in Gothic script by Anderson, starting with, "In the beginning Man created God; and in the image of Man created he him". Aside from the syntactic and theological nightmares implicit in these words, it's baffling why Anderson thought the text would be a good way to lure record buyers.

12. Byrds - Byrds (1973)
Many listeners of Byrds did not get past the first track, “Full Circle,” which limps out of the gate like a one-legged chestnut mare. The sound is listless, mid-tempo country rock, suggesting Poco in a stupor. The only thing the Byrds lost on this record was their
credibility; the only thing they found was the end of their record deal.

13. Queen - Queen II
What does the 'White Queen' stand for? Why do the band members want to go to 'The Seven Seas of Rhye'? Why do all four members part their hair in the middle? None of these questions are answered.

14. Queen - Live Killers
... the quartet ruins its few passable rock riffs (like “Now I'm Here'” with harmonic nonsense. It then collapses into an a cappella sing-along full of hoarse, off-key singing and Freddie Mercury joking, "Aah, the things you have to do for money."

15. Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe - (same title)
The question asked at the time was whether the Chris Squire-led band that held the legal right to the name Yes could possibly put out a worse record than this Yes (Not Yes).

16. Shaggs - Philosophy of the World
Groups like the Shaggs are the perfect justification for a book like this; the group is fundamentally awful, yet you can't help loving them.

17. Shaggs - Shaggs' Own Thing
... the Shaggs turned their talents to cover versions, most notably Tom T. Hall's nursery-school ditty, “I Love.” An atonal Dorothy recites Hall's list of lovable items (among them puppies, onions, and bourbon) with tremendous concentration, as if she's having trouble reading the lyrics and holding chords at the same time. It's a kitsch masterpiece.

18. Travolta, John - Travolta Fever
Why are we wasting our time with the music on Travolta Fever? That's not what was important to the performer, the producer, or the audience. What matters is that this record comes with a large poster of the idol, suitable for framing. We wonder how many young girls bought the package, threw away the records, and pulled out their thumbtacks.

19. Moody Blues - Days of Future Passed
Never before had any band displayed such a pompous approach to the seemingly straightforward act of putting together a record.

20. Various Artists - 70's Hits: Great Records of the Decade - Original Recordings, Vol. 1
... stands as a primer of the worst hits from that ten-year period.

21. Dylan, Bob - Live at Budokan
Bob Dylan went to Japan and made the most preposterous live album by a major performer in the history of rock & roll.

22. Waters, Rogers - Radio K.A.O.S.
Every few years a special kind of album emerges. An album fueled by colossal ineptitude and a perversely fascinating inability to communicate even the simplest idea without wrapping it in pretension. Radio K.A.O.S. ... was such an album.

23. Parks, Van Dyke - Song Cycle
Song Cycle's twelve over-orchestrated tracks are rampant with bad rhymes sung in a fey voice designed to make you say, "Oh gosh, what a genius." Instead, you lost interest after the first two minutes. Just because you've been told something is a masterpiece doesn't mean it is.

24. Who - Who's Last
Who's Last documents the final show from what must now be considered their last farewell tour (!). We just happen to know it was the last show; the information wasn't in the factually vacuous packaging. Perhaps the band members knew the record was a stinker and didn't want any of their names on it.

25. Rolling Stones - Still Life (American Concert 1981)
Still Life is a perfectly descriptive title for a live album that is as energetic as a plastic-fruit centerpiece.

26. Bon Jovi - Slippery When Wet
How many clichés can you squeeze into a single pop song? Probably not as many as Jon Bon Jovi can. The callous clinker, "Remember when we lost the keys/And you lost more than that in my back seat," is Meat Head Jovi's idea of evocative storytelling.

27. Journey - Greatest Hits
Those who insist that nothing in the Eighties rivaled the awfulness of the Seventies haven't had the distasteful experience of listening to the oeuvre of the San Francisco band Journey. They made Vanilla Fudge sound sensible.

28. Beach Boys - Still Cruisin'
For those waiting for the Beach Boys to hit rock bottom, the suspense ended with the release of this record.

29. Starship - Knee Deep in the Hoopla
The synthesizers heard throughout this album, provided by producer Peter Wolf (not Faye Dunaway's ex), do what synthesizers are supposed to do in the hands of minor talents: they mask the fat that there's no song in the immediate vicinity.

30. Willis, Bruce - The Return of Bruno
A host of backup singers and arrangements busier than Willis's accountants barely managed to prop up these songs. One could say they died easily.

31. Blood, Sweat and Tears - Blood, Sweat & Tears (1969)
They watered down Kooper's original concept until rock was all but eroded and aimed its fuzzy concept of jazz and blues to a mass audience who never listened to or cared for either.

32. Donovan - Greatest Hits
Sounding more like a be-in accidentally recorded than a bona fide song, “Mellow Yellow” is also notable in that it marks the first appearance by Paul McCartney on one of the worst records ever recorded. (There would be many, many more)

33. Astley, Rick - Whenever You Need Somebody
... his vacant smile was augmented by the desire to say absolutely nothing of importance either inside or outside a studio.

34. Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Tarkus
There's a picture of ol' Tarkus on the cover. He appears to be a giant armadillo with the body of a tank. Tarkus represents something (technology? nature? a rat that once bit Greg in the ankle?), but this symbolism is too obscure.

35. Starland Vocal Band - 4 X 4
... a quartet of laid-back studio hack singers who somehow managed to score a hit in 1976 with a sophomoric double entendre about making love during the day, the wretched “Afternoon Delight.” Not recognizing their status as lucky one-hit wonders, the band turned this unfortunate lapse of judgment by record buyers into a summer television variety series and the chance to record ever more insipid songs showcasing their vapid talents.

36. Grey, Joel - Black Sheep Boy
Grey's covers of Joni Mitchell and Donovan tunes have even less substance than the originals. The record's earnestness is what makes it truly rank.

37. REO Speedwagon - Life as We Know It
... the bland-rock group REO Speedwagon grasped at maturity and fell down so hard all you could hear was us laughing.

38. America - History: America's Greatest Hits
You still don't believe they're dumb? Well, what if we told you the band thought it was clever to start the title of seven consecutive albums with the letter H? We thought that would quiet you down.

39. Starr, Ringo - Stop and Smell the Roses
At the end of the first side of his worst album, formerly interesting ex-Beatles Ringo Starr says, "I'm going crazy with this record business. I want to stop it. You want me to stop it."

40. Starr, Ringo - Old Wave
... a collection that rocked somewhat harder than Smell but still had the misfortune of being built around an over-the-hill entertainer who had lost his interest in drumming and no longer worked to charm audiences with his off-key, rangeless singing.

41. Franklin, Aretha - La Diva
Blame disco. For every worthwhile new singer it uncovered, like Donna Summer, it ruined the careers of one hundred soul and blues singers.

42. Phantom, Rocker & Slick – same title
Mediocre talent on its own is just dull: a partnership of mediocre talents can generate something truly awful.

43. Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - Original Soundtrack to the Motion Picture

It was doomed from the start. Beatles fans are excused for hoping that when the Sex Pistols toured around the time this album was made, they came armed with guns, not guitars.

44. Costello, Elvis & the Attractions - Goodbye Cruel World
... even diehard fans like us came away from Goodbye Cruel World wondering if it was really a suicide note for his career.

45. Bowie, David - Never Let Me Down
"Day-in, Day-out, Stay-in, Fade-out/Day-in, ooh ooh/Day-in, ooh ooh ooh ooh".

46. Moore, Scotty - Guitar That Changed the World
You're unlikely to find a stronger bunch of rock songs, but you'll never hear them played with any less vigor unless the Mike Curb Congregation reunites.

47. Sheridan, Tony & the Elvis Presley TCB Band - (same title)
... proves that any Elvis project without Elvis is likely to fall short.

48. Lowe, Nick - Pinker and Prouder than Previous
Why does nearly every rock and roller we trust let us down sooner or later?

49. Parker, Graham & the Rumour - The Parkerilla
For Parker's part, either he is practicing being Foreigner's opening band or he's poorly parodying such a unit. The live stuff on The Parkerilla is bad, but the fourth side is a studio disaster.

50. U2 - Unforgettable Fire
They think they are the most important band in the world, and sometimes they are. On The Unforgettable Fire, they don't even come close.

Kevin John Bozelka, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 02:07 (fourteen years ago) link

btw I used to LOVE this book, despite some of its awful rockist assumptions.

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 02:08 (fourteen years ago) link

Oh wait! There's another discrepancy. #33 in my copy is Joey Bishop: Joey Bishop Sings Country Western. Oh well. Vote for Astley instead of Bishop there if you want.

Kevin John Bozelka, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 02:14 (fourteen years ago) link

btw I used to LOVE this book, despite some of its awful rockist assumptions.

It's a riot! How often are you going to read several paragraphs on a Starland Vocal Band album that doesn't include "Afternoon Delight?"

Kevin John Bozelka, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 02:17 (fourteen years ago) link

I think they hated "Emotional Rescue" too.

xpost: the SVB entry had a HILARIOUS exegesis of their rewrite of "La Bamba."

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 02:18 (fourteen years ago) link

Aqualung is a good album. Even if you didn't like it, you would have to understand why others do, and certainly one wouldn't say it's one of the 50 worst albums ever made. If you did, it's because you only listened to 60 albums or so.

Unforgettable Fire contains Bad, which in and of itself makes it NOT one of the worst albums ever.

The list is simply butt-plug music criticism of the worst kind.

humansuit, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 02:20 (fourteen years ago) link

Metal Machine Music is fucking awesome, chumps.

Whiney G. Weingarten, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 02:50 (fourteen years ago) link

I like Donovan, so I'm voting for Donovan.

Curt1s Stephens, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 02:57 (fourteen years ago) link

I voted for Donovan too. That's the only record I'm genuinely surprised to see up there.

Kevin John Bozelka, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 03:05 (fourteen years ago) link

I'll admit to not having heard 80% of these albums, but Europe '72 is indisputably smokin', and about 10 years before the Dead "descended into self-parody."

Reed, Presley, Donovan, Jovi, Tull, and Yes all get thumbs-up.

Hating on "Greatest Hits" albums is a sucker move. Who are these crapheads?

kingkongvsgodzilla, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 03:06 (fourteen years ago) link

Guterman wrote for Rolling Stone and authored books on Jerry Lee Lewis, The Sex Pistols, Springsteen, and Sinead.

Kevin John Bozelka, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 03:16 (fourteen years ago) link

I voted for Days of Future Passed. "Nights in White Satin" and "Tuesday Afternoon" are still great tunes by themselves, not to mention "Dawn is a Feeling" and "Evening Time to Get Away".

Joe, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 03:26 (fourteen years ago) link

I like Song Cycle!

Moodles, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 04:08 (fourteen years ago) link

FISTS ... SHAKING ... WITH ... RAGE ... AT ... THIS ... LIST!!!!

Sure there's some badduns on this list but the inclusion of Lou baby's sweet metal paen and the Queen 2 rekkid makes me want these guys' address.

BlackIronPrison, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 04:11 (fourteen years ago) link

Jimmy Guterman
1313 Mockingbird Ln.
Red Seal, NY 12121

Kevin John Bozelka, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 04:20 (fourteen years ago) link

Donovan - Greatest Hits

??????????????????????????????????????

Cunga, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 04:46 (fourteen years ago) link

yeah, why donovan??

sam500, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 05:06 (fourteen years ago) link

fuck that asshole I'm voting for Donovan

marmotwolof, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 05:21 (fourteen years ago) link

The inclusion of "Slippery When Wet" is preposterous!! For shame, Messers Guterman and O'Donnell!!

musically, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 05:37 (fourteen years ago) link

"Remember when we lost the keys/And you lost more than that in my back seat" is hilarious.

marmotwolof, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 05:44 (fourteen years ago) link

it's a really stupid line, but if you're getting all heated about a bon jovi lyric the problem is clearly with you, not them.

Jordan Sargent, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 05:49 (fourteen years ago) link

Another vote for Donovan

Hurting 2, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 05:55 (fourteen years ago) link

That one just isn't even justifiable as a pick for this

Hurting 2, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 05:55 (fourteen years ago) link

Queen II is one of the best records released by anyone

Dominique, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 06:07 (fourteen years ago) link

ELP made many, many worse records than Tarkus.

Sparkle Motion, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 06:11 (fourteen years ago) link

um...aqualung? queen II?? unforgettable fire??? the mind boggles

Charlie Howard, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 06:19 (fourteen years ago) link

I like that Moody Blues album. A lot.

gigabytepicnic, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 06:50 (fourteen years ago) link

I'm not a Bon Jovi fan but surely all their other albums are worse than Slippery When Wet.

Colonel Poo, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 08:33 (fourteen years ago) link

Reed, Lou - Metal Machine Music

Stopped reading the list after this. Choice made.

nathalie, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 08:37 (fourteen years ago) link

Randomly idiotic and antagonizing for the sake of antagonization, why many contribute to ILM less and less.

Gorge, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 08:38 (fourteen years ago) link

There's a couple things wrong with Self Portrait, mainly the inclusion of two live tracks, but that's all. I move.

xpost nath yeah, nearly voted that one but that often gets big votes round here.

Mark G, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 08:43 (fourteen years ago) link

fuck that asshole I'm voting for Donovan

very eloquent. well done.

sam500, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 08:43 (fourteen years ago) link

I do my best.

marmotwolof, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 08:46 (fourteen years ago) link

Randomly idiotic and antagonizing for the sake of antagonization, why many contribute to ILM less and less.

I don't know about that, George--the book was at the very least amusing at the time, and a poll thread based on same is certainly worthy of discussion.

My vote goes to Donovan. And yeah, even though I can imagine wimpophobics and people allergic to good, silly fun hatin' on that particular record (and Donovan in general), that doesn't mean we should let them off the hook so easily.

JN$OT, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 09:06 (fourteen years ago) link

He's not even that wimpy, and on some tracks his backing band is LED ZEPPELIN.

marmotwolof, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 09:09 (fourteen years ago) link

Right. "Season of the Witch" and "Hurdy Gurdy Man" rule!

JN$OT, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 09:13 (fourteen years ago) link

Actually they say Donovan was lying about the other Zep dudes being on HGM, and that it was really just John Paul Jones, but print the legend, etc.

marmotwolof, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 09:17 (fourteen years ago) link

i can't think of anyone who'd allow themselves to feel antagonised over such a harmless thread as this

Charlie Howard, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 11:14 (fourteen years ago) link

Donovan

zeus, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 11:28 (fourteen years ago) link

The only thing I own some tracks from is Nick Lowe, and good tracks they are.

Metal Machine Music has become a straw man for lazy critics. It'll come in first or second in this poll.

Mr. Odd, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 11:36 (fourteen years ago) link

It is indisputably Bonzo on "Atlantis" and "Hurdy Gurdy Man."

Guterman is very much part of the Dave marsh school of crits: to him, prog bands and Queen, among other things, was the stuff that Springsteen was supposed to destroy forever. Springsteen was supposed to restore the correct emphasis onto proper American music etc etc.

Veronica Moser, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 11:38 (fourteen years ago) link

I don't like the term, but this list practically self-identifies as 'rockist'. Can we please come up with another one for post-1980 music? Preferably starring K-Fed?

Just got offed, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 11:57 (fourteen years ago) link

Or one that includes both pre- and post-1980 music, and doesn't mince about in such a crass, favouritist manner?

Just got offed, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 12:00 (fourteen years ago) link

that doors record seems particularly rancid

Charlie Howard, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 12:02 (fourteen years ago) link

Can we please come up with another one for post-1980 music?

But there's quite a bit of post-1980 music up there already: Milli Vanilli, CSNY, ABWH, Roger Waters, Stones, Beach Boys, Starship, Bruce Willis, REO Speedwagon, Ringo Starr, Elvis Costello, Bowie, Nick Lowe, Tony Sheridan, U2.

Or did I totally misunderstand your question?

Kevin John Bozelka, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 12:06 (fourteen years ago) link

And the Doors record wasn't released until 1983.

Kevin John Bozelka, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 12:07 (fourteen years ago) link

Hmm. A lot of those are pre-1980's bands that went on too long, which doesn't count as true post-1980 music IMO. Besides, I'll have you at post-1990. The list is inherently rockist.

Just got offed, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 12:11 (fourteen years ago) link

Oh no argument on that last point.

Kevin John Bozelka, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 12:14 (fourteen years ago) link

It is indisputably Bonzo on "Atlantis" and "Hurdy Gurdy Man."

I read this as "indisputably Bono."

Guterman is very much part of the Dave marsh school of crits: to him, prog bands and Queen, among other things, was the stuff that Springsteen was supposed to destroy forever. Springsteen was supposed to restore the correct emphasis onto proper American music etc etc.

Dead OTM. And yet some of the pomposities of prog and Queen were very much present in Springsteen.

Kevin John Bozelka, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 12:15 (fourteen years ago) link

YSI...?

Shakey Mo Collier, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 21:15 (fourteen years ago) link

(its okay to ask for YSIs of unofficial bootlegs, isn't it???)

Shakey Mo Collier, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 21:16 (fourteen years ago) link

I don't think anyone would begrudge you this one.

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 21:17 (fourteen years ago) link

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN! ARE YOU READY TO ROCK! WE LOVE YOU ALL, INDIANAPOLIS, WITH OUR LOVE...GUNS!
cue Salt Marie Celeste.

John Justen, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 21:18 (fourteen years ago) link

DETROIT YOU'VE OPENED YOUR HEARTS...AND YOUR LEGS...TO US

shakey i'll try to find my cd-r i don't know where it is at the moment...

M@tt He1ges0n, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 21:26 (fourteen years ago) link

I have it at home, so I'll YSI it if no one else gets to it first.

John Justen, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 21:31 (fourteen years ago) link

thx - I grabbed three MP3s off of WFMU but they're only like a minute apiece

Shakey Mo Collier, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 21:38 (fourteen years ago) link

Shakey check your email.

Euler, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 21:40 (fourteen years ago) link

1st degree
2nd degree
If you've got any papers will you serve them to me?

sexyDancer, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 21:49 (fourteen years ago) link

Elvis: That's The Way It Was Is

will, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 21:50 (fourteen years ago) link

Thanks Euler!!!

Shakey Mo Collier, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 21:54 (fourteen years ago) link

I have it at home, so I'll YSI it if no one else gets to it first.

If somebody could that would be great, I've misplaced the disc it's on.

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 21:56 (fourteen years ago) link

Nice poll, Kevin!

Thanx, MVB!

Kevin John Bozelka, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 22:00 (fourteen years ago) link

"Every time one of the tracks comes on during itunes random play, the world seems a little brighter" re: Stanley…

OTmufuggin'M…

I suspect that M*** **leman would have some insight to impart re: Guterman and the way those preILM-era crits did they thang…

Veronica Moser, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 22:03 (fourteen years ago) link

Maybe that second Shaggs album too, tho I suspect it's kinda redundant.

Shaggs' Own Thing is included on the 1988 Rounder CD The Shaggs. So if you have that CD, you have Shaggs' Own Thing.

Kevin John Bozelka, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 23:03 (fourteen years ago) link

Nobody has the guts to put together a real list of the worst albums because it means spending oodles of time flipping through dollar vinyl for stuff that would never, ever be put out on CD. I guess it's more fun to take shots at easy targets.

This is an excellent point. But I'm not sure taking shots is only about fun. It's about cultural value as well. Which reminds me of one of my all-time fave Xgau reviews in which he calls Ministry's Filth Pig "a grindcore album worth hating." So is the worst album of all time something that enrages you and/or has been embraced by thousands, even millions? Or is it, say, a never-to-be-digitized genre piece that failed to make any impression on you whatsoever and/or has been embraced by a fan base in the single digits? (I think I've asked this question before on ILM but it bears repeating.) Is it worth it to go on record saying you hate (insert obscure grindcore band here)? What kind of value would that statement have? (Seriously asking here.)

Of course, all this says a lot about musical communities. And Xgau's own value system. Clearly, he's not part of any grindcore community. And one could question the value of his pumping, oh, The Popinjays or Orüj Güvenç.

If someone wrote a 1000-word think piece on why s/he loathes Ganzmord (to choose a recent Scott Seward fave), would anyone even publish it?

Kevin John Bozelka, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 23:30 (fourteen years ago) link

Obviously made by some pathetic prog-hater. And I think hating prog was more usual in 1991 than it is today. Voted "Tales From Topographic Oceans", but there are several great albums on the list. Most of which are prog in some form or another.

Geir Hongro, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 23:38 (fourteen years ago) link

xpost: he could still have picked high-profile artists and not been completely retarded over it

i need to get TFTO, actually.

Just got offed, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 23:39 (fourteen years ago) link

(to choose a recent Scott Seward fave)

I mean, that's why I love Scott Seward so much. He DOES flip through dollar vinyl. And writes about it.

Kevin John Bozelka, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 23:50 (fourteen years ago) link

Re Kevin John your interesting rant: I agree that it would be useless to publish a list of obscure crap. We wouldn't even be involved in this long thread.

On the other hand, picking live albums is lame. Come on - aren't a lot of these just pushed out there to fulfill a contract etc.?

Same goes for the Mil Vils of the world. OK, we get it.

I have no problem with people picking like this, if the writing is good (as stated above by people). Just the list in and of itself lends itself to a lot of strawman votes (see live albums), and purposely brash put-downs of stuff that is pretty darn good.

humansuit, Thursday, 9 August 2007 00:07 (fourteen years ago) link

rants not the right word.

humansuit, Thursday, 9 August 2007 00:07 (fourteen years ago) link

Oh "rant" is fine.

But it was more speculative, i.e. there may be some use in ripping on obscure crap, esp. if the writing is superb. Richard Meltzer comes to mind here. But even there, it's kind of a dead end even though those San Diego Reader previews are funnier than The Comedy of Errors.

Kevin John Bozelka, Thursday, 9 August 2007 04:00 (fourteen years ago) link

WTF, I totally thought I posted on this to praise that Beach Boys record, particularly "Somewhere Near Japan" and "In My Car."

Doctor Casino, Thursday, 9 August 2007 04:05 (fourteen years ago) link

From the FWIW Department:

About a decade ago, I had just jumped on board a music magazine as a freelancer. An editor was explaining the 0-10 rating system the mag used by giving examples of a 10 record and a 0 record. Some fancy remaster of Nevermind received a 10. "And what got a zero?" "Have you ever heard of The Impotent Sea Snakes?" Remarkably, some doomed publicist had sent me a copy of their 1995 God Save The Queens and I believe Greil Marcus wrote them up in his Real Life column. So the editor didn't have to tell me about their politically incorrect lyrics (their website deletes the real shockers) and fifth-rate glam vaudeville.

In any event, he called it the worst album ever made. So I'm just putting it out there in case you find the Nirvana/Impotent Sea Snakes spectrum a useful measuring tool.

Kevin John Bozelka, Thursday, 9 August 2007 04:40 (fourteen years ago) link

their politically incorrect lyrics (their website deletes the real shockers)

Then you must record them here for all to see.

marmotwolof, Thursday, 9 August 2007 04:49 (fourteen years ago) link

the Shaggs turned their talents to cover versions, most notably Tom T. Hall's nursery-school ditty, “I Love.”

in theory, this is the best, purest thing in the world

tremendoid, Thursday, 9 August 2007 05:00 (fourteen years ago) link

this is more like a worst of the big names sorta deal

Charlie Howard, Thursday, 9 August 2007 05:54 (fourteen years ago) link

Then you must record them here for all to see.

From "Porn Star": "I can even take niggers up my ass"

They get worse.

Song titles include:

"Fleching"
"Fist Fucking My Mother"
"Kangaroos (Up The Butt)"
"Ebony Whore"

And awful covers of "Sympathy for the Devil" and, um, "Backstabbers"

Kevin John Bozelka, Thursday, 9 August 2007 06:09 (fourteen years ago) link

Ooops, that should be "Felching"

Kevin John Bozelka, Thursday, 9 August 2007 06:10 (fourteen years ago) link

Hey that Impotent Snakes / Nirvana scale is helpful.

humansuit, Thursday, 9 August 2007 14:52 (fourteen years ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

ILX System, Thursday, 9 August 2007 23:01 (fourteen years ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

ILX System, Friday, 10 August 2007 23:01 (fourteen years ago) link

We have worn our love like heaven.

marmotwolof, Friday, 10 August 2007 23:06 (fourteen years ago) link

first there is no poll winner then there is

Shakey Mo Collier, Friday, 10 August 2007 23:12 (fourteen years ago) link

What do you mean?

Kevin John Bozelka, Saturday, 11 August 2007 21:55 (fourteen years ago) link

I get it now. Sorry - just wakin' up here.

Kevin John Bozelka, Saturday, 11 August 2007 21:57 (fourteen years ago) link

I do want to say, though, that a lot of these albums are still fuckin' awful, i.e. I'd LOVE to hear that Beach Boys defense.

Kevin John Bozelka, Saturday, 11 August 2007 21:59 (fourteen years ago) link

Shakey meant "first there is a poll winner then there is no poll winner then there is"

marmotwolof, Saturday, 11 August 2007 22:08 (fourteen years ago) link

twelve years pass...

You can now listen to the book's 50 worst singles all in order...though I wish there was a way to skip to the next track. (A 30 second sample is enough for a good laugh, but nobody needs to sit through the entirety of most of this shit.)
https://www.mixcloud.com/leerosevere/fifty-worst-rock-and-roll-singles-of-all-time/

birdistheword, Tuesday, 28 April 2020 03:46 (one year ago) link

one year passes...

I'm compelled to admit that, having learned here yesterday about the circumstances of author Jimmy Guterman's death in 2016, I've been obsessing whether to give greater or lesser credence to his opinion of the 50 worst records of all time. He died four months after Keith Emerson - I wonder if Emerson's death coloured his opinion of Tarkus? Did he perceive some common thread there that he didn't in 1991? The Costello blurb quoted above is also notable in this regard.
His wife has a blog where she discusses how much he loved music - how did it feel to him that his book of the worst records was more successful than his book about the best records?

Halfway there but for you, Saturday, 20 November 2021 16:13 (one week ago) link

I'm sure there are many atrocious records on this list, but Donovan's Greatest Hits is silly (so I'm glad it won this poll).

clemenza, Saturday, 20 November 2021 16:38 (one week ago) link

Paul McCartney can be heard as one of the background revellers on this track, but the "quite rightly" whispering lines in the chorus is not McCartney, but rather Donovan himself.[10] Donovan had a small part in coming up with the lyrics for "Yellow Submarine", and McCartney played bass guitar (uncredited) on portions of Donovan's Mellow Yellow album.[11]

does anyone know which portions on Mellow Yellow have mccartney's bass?

just staying (Karl Malone), Saturday, 20 November 2021 17:22 (one week ago) link

There's a bunch of conflicting information about McCartney's involvement with Donovan records, some of it spread by Donovan himself.

I actually have to give credit to this book for being confident enough to say, "I don't like Donovan, Moody Blues, Tull, BST, ELP - I'm going to say their worst albums are their most beloved". It's bolder than making a list with e.g. Cosmic Wheels, Under Wraps, Love Beach, etc. etc., because if you hate the essence of an act, why wouldn't you hate their hits the most?

Halfway there but for you, Sunday, 21 November 2021 00:37 (one week ago) link

Whatever your opinion of the Grateful Dead, Europe ‘72 is a bizarre choice for such a list (I read the rationale a few posts down from the OP, and still don’t get it).

apparent beef squash (morrisp), Sunday, 21 November 2021 00:50 (one week ago) link

the louche quality of Mellow Yellow and Donovan's voice were what confirmed for me that I was gay when I was a kid. I had already suspected it when I was seven and had a crush on my high school sister's Swedish exchange student friend

Dan S, Sunday, 21 November 2021 01:10 (one week ago) link

I think the Dead rationale was nothing more than, "3 albums, it's three times as boring".

Halfway there but for you, Sunday, 21 November 2021 01:15 (one week ago) link

Queen II is the best Queen album

Cool Im An Situation (Neanderthal), Sunday, 21 November 2021 02:39 (one week ago) link

It's at least the most Queen album.

Halfway there but for you, Sunday, 21 November 2021 02:57 (one week ago) link

I kinda miss this style of music writing. Just some dude writing about the shit he hates. Classic

frogbs, Sunday, 21 November 2021 02:59 (one week ago) link

Chris Ott thread is thataway

Cool Im An Situation (Neanderthal), Sunday, 21 November 2021 03:00 (one week ago) link


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