If you were like me in the 1970’s you listened to top 40 radio most of the time. You heard a lot of great songs and instant classics. But among them were many unforgettable songs that were just weird or strange. I’ve tried from memory to remember the ones that stand out in my mind.
For weird reasons they became hits. They either made no sense or having any musical merit. Just a bizarre era of story songs.
Of course, this stuff is all pretty subjective but I did have a few criteria for what should be here. I decided to include a song if it:
- made me sick without even listening to it again
- made me want to break my radio
- made my stomach turn
- brought out violent thoughts of hatred, revenge, etc.
- reminded me how lame the radio and record companies are
- could make me want to break my stereo
- would make me leave a bar or club if they started playing it
- would make me boo a band who started playing it
- suspended my belief in a divine force that governs the universe
I’m not saying that there weren’t ANY good songs during the 70s but there was just a truck-load of waste back then. If anybody’s stupid enough to think that ALL disco sucks, remember that it’s just a bastard son of rhythm & blues just like rock’n’roll is- so they’re related, see? Also, the 1970s definitely didn’t have a monopoly on shitty music- there was tons of crap unleashed on us in the decade before and after and now also (there’s a future article there somewhere). Clothes-pin anyone?
The 70’s was an interesting time for music. There was a lot of experimentation and creativity from that decade, but there was also plenty of crap as well. Here is my list of the worst and most irritating songs of the 70’s.
The Brady Bunch – Keep On Movin – 1973
Keep On Movin’ is a 1973 song that was sung by the Brady kids from the popular television sitcom The Brady Bunch.
The episode is title “Amateur Nite”. The kids appear on a television talent show to win $100 for Mike and Carol’s anniversary gift. This was the result of Jan’s misunderstanding the price for the engraving of a tray the kids had intended to give their parents (it was 85 cents per letter, not for the entire engraving).
Feel free to sing along… (I know you know the words!!)
I also included Time to Change, which is a song about puberty. (It appears Peter isn’t the only one who’s going through some changes in this video.) These songs are dreadful. I can’t imagine anyone who worked on this show ever thinking that the dreck they were producing was any good. But America loved this family. Even though this is not what America looked like in the early 70s. In real life, Barry Williams was banging Florence Henderson, Maureen McCormick was a coke head and poor Robert Reed, a Shakespearean actor who believed television was below his ability and sitcoms even worse later died from AIDS.
That’s the show I want to watch!
Even when this show was on the air, it was awful and dated. The only reason I watched it was, like many other boys back in the early 70s we loved hot Marsha.
God, this music is awful!
Kill me now…
Tee Set – Ma Belle Amie – 1970
The song reached #5 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and #3 in Australia and Canada in 1970. In South Africa, it was a #1 hit. The song also reached the Top 10 across central Europe.
The original issue of the single in the Netherlands was released in 1969 on Tee Set Records (TS 1329), selling over 100,000 copies. There are available at least three studio-recorded versions of the song – the US hit on Colossus Records (CS107), released in 1969, a British issue on Major Minor Records (MM666), released in 1970, and a Black and White video featuring the band miming along a waterfront. This video version appears to be the same as the hit US rendering but for minor differences to the repeated chorus ending of the song. The British release is completely different, slower in tempo and starting in a lower key. The group also recorded an Italian language version of the song.
This song is just annoying. It feels like these guys are the inbred cousins of the Bay City Rollers. Every shot is either the band members in separate boxes, (which makes no sense) or a super uncomfortable close-up on the singer’s face.
Robin McNamara – Lay a Little Lovin’ On Me – 1970
“Lay a Little Lovin’ on Me” is a 1970 song written by Jeff Barry, Robin McNamara, and Jim Cretecos and recorded by Robin McNamara. The song reached #11 on the Billboard Hot 100, and was McNamara’s only hit. “Lay A Little Lovin’ On Me” also peaked at #6 (for 2 weeks) on Canada’s national RPM Top 100 singles chart in August of 1970 and at number 49 in Australia in 1970.
This guy is like Tommy Bolin, Robert Plant, and Tiny Tim had a kid. It’s not a terrible song, but bad enough to add to this list.
The Poppy Family – Which Way You Goin’ Billy? – 1970
“Which Way You Goin’ Billy?” was a global, multi-million-selling hit single from the Canadian band The Poppy Family. The single, first released in 1969, was from the album of the same name and was a chart-topping hit in Canada and Ireland. It was also a significant hit in other parts of the world, reaching #2 on both the U.S. Cash Box and Billboard pop charts.
This song feels like the cross-eyed stepchild to Terry Jacks, Seasons in the Sun. Just a weird song. I remember hearing it on the radio in the early 70s and thinking… “Where’s Billy off to?”
Oh, wait… Terry Jacks was in this band!
The Sandpipers – Come Saturday Morning – 1970
“Come Saturday Morning” is a popular song with music by Fred Karlin and lyrics by Dory Previn, published in 1970. It was first performed by The Sandpipers on the soundtrack of the 1969 film The Sterile Cuckoo starring Liza Minnelli. The Sandpipers also included the song on their 1970 album, Come Saturday Morning. In 1970, “Come Saturday Morning” was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song, losing to “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” from the film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
The sound of this song just makes me depressed. It feels like a rejected song from The Graduate. I almost want to watch the film The Sterile Cuckoo. How did they even pitch that picture?
I’m sure it’s trash.
The Piglets – Johnny Reggae – 1971
King himself has explained in comments on his YouTube channel] and in his autobiography 65, My Life So Far that the vocalists were session singers “coached to sound like teenage scrubbers”, and that the lead vocalist was session singer Barbara Kay, who also recorded as Kay Barry for Embassy Records.
This song makes me want to get a running start in an office building and plow through a plate glass window and plummet to my death 40 stories below.
Blue Swede – Hooked on a Feeling – 1974
“Hooked on a Feeling” is a 1968 pop song written by Mark James and originally performed by B.J. Thomas. Thomas’s version featured the sound of the electric sitar (played by Reggie Young) and reached No. 5 in 1969 on the Billboard Hot 100. It has been recorded by many other artists, including Blue Swede, whose version reached No. 1 in the United States in 1974. The Blue Swede version made singer Björn Skifs‘ “Ooga-Chaka-Ooga-Ooga” intro well known (and famous in Sweden at the time), although it had been used originally by British musician Jonathan King in his 1971 version of the song.
The original version of this song was fine. B.J. Thomas is a good writer. But why in the world would someone record that song with the “Ooga-Chaka-Ooga-Ooga” nonsense on the track to ruin it. But, I’m sure there are people out there who like this version. Just odd, so it makes my list.
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