For some, the gimmicks couldn`t stand the test of time, others were just plain crap to begin with. These tunes will forever incite horror, laughter and despair in the listeners brave enough to revisit them. AOL Radio has launched a new station counting down the 111 most wretched songs in history -- here`s a look at the 20 worst of the worst.
`The Final Countdown`
The song`s synthesizer fanfare may have been considered pretty groundbreaking in 1986, but come to think of it, dudes with feathered hair seemed like a good idea at the time, too. Today, this song serves as a caricature of cheesy `80s synth rock.
--4 Non Blondes (1993)
When grunge music started moving units back in the early `90s, this group showed up as the genre`s angst-free, family-safe counterpoint. Even though frontwoman Linda Perry moved on to a successful career writing and producing songs for superstar artists, that doesn`t make up for her cringe-worthy yodeling in her former band`s only hit song.
`Gettin` Jiggy Wit It`
--Will Smith (1998)
Here is some SAT practice: Will Smith is to rap as the Jonas Brothers are to punk rock. As far as emcees go, nothing gets much more family-friendly than this Hollywood star`s hop-hop-lite slumming.
`Achy Breaky Heart`
--Billy Ray Cyrus (1992)
Until a few years ago, this song was what people thought of when they heard the name "Cyrus." For that reason, Billy Ray should be thanking his superstar daughter every day. To his credit, the man did heroically bring the mullet hairstyle to exciting and provocative new places.
If a song about thongs doesn`t already seem like an instant red flag, add in some lyrics comparing women to trucks and a chorus that sounds only half-written and you`ll see why this track fits snugly in our list.
--Gwen Stefani (2005)
When Courtney Love called Stefani a "cheerleader" in Seventeen magazine, Gwen defiantly fought back ... by making a cheerleader song. Repeated listening to this tuneless attitude-anthem may cause listeners to go a bit bananas themselves.
... Yes, he has a very high opinion of himself. Too bad we don`t. Gerardo is now an exec at Interscope Records and is responsible for bringing Enrique Iglesias to the U.S. But in his former life, he brought us some of the worst rapping in history along with one unforgettably lame chorus.
--C.W. McCall (1975)
This proto-rap track tells the story of three truckers on the road: Rubber Duck, Pig Pen and Sod Buster. Though it reached No. 1 in the U.S. in 1975, the novelty of the song wears off might quick. Once that happens, you`re stuck with one very annoying voice-over.
`With Arms Wide Open`
When even Fred Durst publicly makes fun of you, it`s clear you`ve got a problem. This powerless ballad represents Creed in a nutshell -- the Eddie Vedder knockoff vocals, the bland nu-metal chorus, the ridiculously self-important video: It`s like a sampler plate of hate.
--Spice Girls (1996)
When these Brit birds invaded the U.S. in 1996 with this huge single, girl power swept the nation. The song was dumb and over the top but admittedly kind of fun ... for a while, anyway. The pop anthem eventually transitioned from guilty pleasure back to purely annoying pre-teen fluff.
`My Heart Will Go On`
--Celine Dion (1997)
You`d be hard-pressed to find anybody who doesn`t groan when this one starts playing in the dentist waiting room. The strong vocal performance by Dion was impressively recorded on the first take, but unfortunately for her (and all of us), the song was so overplayed following the release of `Titanic` that there was seemingly no escaping it.
--Los Del Rio (1995)
This notorious one-hit wonder was not just a song but a cultural phenomenon when it was released in 1995. By the time community centers started teaching Macarena dance classes, it became clear that overexposure would cause the song`s star to burn out.
`Ebony and Ivory`
--Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder (1982)
This infamous duet offers proof that combining two great musicians with a positive message does not necessarily guarantee a great song. The cheesy easy-listening tune made its way to the top of the charts, but once the initial success died down, Stevie and Macca fans alike had to repress its memory deep into their collective subconscious.
`I`m Too Sexy`
--Right Said Fred (1991)
While the members of this British trio may be too sexy for their shirts, hats and cars, their 1991 single is not too sexy for our list of bad songs. The instrumental break, based on a riff from `Third Stone From the Sun,` probably still causes Jimi Hendrix to turn in his grave.
`I Am Woman`
--Helen Reddy (1972)
We won`t argue with its social significance, but musically Reddy`s women`s liberation anthem is a real dud. The singer claims that supernatural influences inspired the song. We say that`s no excuse.
`U Can`t Touch This`
--MC Hammer (1990)
The next song on our countdown gave us parachute pants and one overused catchphrase. The Oakland-based rapper`s biggest hit earned him about as much street cred as James Blunt and didn`t exactly pave the way for a long, fruitful career in the music biz.
The double entendres in this song by the Danish-Norwegian dance group prompted Barbie doll makers Mattel to file a lawsuit against the band. But for music fans, the racy lyrics aren`t the problem, it`s the eye-roll-inducing level of gimmickry that grates. This plaything needs to be left at the bottom of the toy box.
--Ricky Martin (2000)
Though the former Menudo singer`s 2000 single was a hit, Martin`s original version of the song was famously upstaged during the 2004 season of `American Idol` by pop genius William Hung. He may have had no regrets at all, but Ricky might feel different.
`Ice, Ice Baby`
--Vanilla Ice (1990)
After listening to this runner-up for worst song on our list, you can almost begin to understand why Suge Knight allegedly dangled Vanilla Ice from a 20th floor balcony. If only this were a list for worst movies -- Mr. Van Winkle would surely rank just as highly for his 1991 opus, `Cool as Ice.`
`Who Let the Dogs Out?`
--Baha Men (2000)
When the Seattle Mariners and New York Mets both claimed to be the first to adopt this song, ESPN commented that "this is a little like scientists arguing over who discovered a deadly virus." It`s the quintessential example of the type of song your parents embarrass you by knowing all the words to.