Top 10 Worst Lyrics of All Time

John Rentoul

A generous response to my call last week for nominations for the worst lyrics ever. This turned out to be a bigger enterprise than I had expected (and also one that has been attempted several times before). It raises so many deep questions about what constitutes awfulness that I haven’t really been able to compile a Top 10 or anything. So these are not in order. How do you rank bathos against annoying meaninglessness? Are bad lyrics in well-known songs worse than those in obscure ones?

But thanks to all contributors. These are awesomely awesome:

1. “I don’t want to see a ghost/It’s the sight that I fear most/I’d rather have a piece of toast.” Des’ree, “Life”. Several nominations for this. Also topped the BBC 6 Music worst lyrics poll four years ago.

human Top 10 Worst Lyrics of All Time2. “Are we human or are we dancer?” The Killers, ”Human” (right). Utter irritating inanity. Nominated by Toby Brown.

3. “Can’t complain, mustn’t grumble/Help yourself to another piece of apple crumble.” ABC, “That Was Then But This Is Now.” Several nominations, including from Jim the Hedgehog, and it led me to this, but it just sounds ordinarily rubbish to me.

4. “And dear Mr Murdoch what have you done?/You’re not quite as nice as Attila the Hun.” Roger Taylor, “Mr Murdoch”. Nominated by Citizen Sane.

5. “When I was a very small boy, very small boys talked to me.” New Order, “True Faith”. Nominated by David Ward.

6. “With a Smith & Wesson 38/John Lennon’s life was no longer a debate.” Cranberries, “I Just Shot John Lennon”. Citizen Sane.

7. “I’m serious as cancer when I say that rhythm is a dancer.” Snap, “Rhythm is a Dancer”. Also topped the poll in 2008. Nominated by Rafael Behr.

8. “My initial reaction is honey give me love/Not a facsimile of.” Johnny Bristol, the Osmonds and Boyzone, “Love Me for a Reason.” Nominated by Simon Parker; additional information from Arieh Kovler.

9. “Monetarism kills whole communities/Even families.” Style Council, “All Gone Away.” Nominated by Neil O’Brien.

10. “Trying to make His way home/Back up to heaven all alone/Nobody calling on the phone/’Cept the Pope maybe in Rome.”  Joan Osborne, “What If God was One Of Us?” Continuing the religious theme, describing the Almighty’s daily commute. Nominated by Dan Fox.

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  • bigdweb05

    11 Mustachioed Daughters, running in a field of fat.

    Stanshall 1970

  • Phil Smith

    Black Eyed peas.. just look at their catalouge for the last 2 years. 
    > select all
    > copy

  • BrianLuxury

    “Your sex is on fire, consumed with what’s to transpire”: ‘Sex on Fire’, Kings of Leon.

  • Craig Sherratt

    Any Lyric from Lou Reed & Metallica’s LuLu.

  • Paul

    Hey and don’t forget the line “Hey you, good lookin’ female – come ‘ere”.

  • Paul

    Crikey, now I realise how deep that lyric was.

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