The Revenge of Guilty Pleasures

Readers come up with their own list of songs that are so bad they're good.

"Mandy," by Barry Manilow
Date charted: December 7, 1974. Peak: No. 1.
You're kidding, right? People couldn't actually like this epic teeth-grinder, could they? Could they?

"Mr. Bojangles," by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
Date charted: January 2, 1971. Peak: No. 9.
A wise soul confesses, "When it comes on the radio, I always turn it up. By the time the song is through, I realize I've been had once again by its mawkish sentimentality. But I do it every time."

"One Night in Bangkok," by Murray Head
Date charted: March 23, 1985. Peak: No. 3.
Penned by lyricist Tim Rice and two members of Abba (see below), "One Night in Bangkok" is, by any decent standard, crummy. Evidently, my standards aren't the only ones that are indecent.

"One Toke Over the Line," by Brewer & Shipley
Date charted: March 13, 1971. Peak: No. 10.
Would anyone remember this track if it weren't about weed? Maybe--but not nearly as fondly.

"Poor Side of Town," by Johnny Rivers
Date charted: October 8, 1966. Peak: No. 1.
Rivers put out some entertaining material: "Seventh Son," "Secret Agent Man," "Rockin' Pneumonia--Boogie Woogie Flu." Couldn't you folks have picked one of those instead?

"The Rain, the Park & Other Things," by the Cowsills
Date charted: October 21, 1967. Peak: No. 2.
I've been praying that I wouldn't be forced into the position of conceding that I have a certain irrational fondness for the Cowsills. Thanks a heap, whoever you are.

"Runaway," by Bon Jovi
Date charted: April 21, 1984. Peak: No. 39.
Back in the Eighties, it seemed that Jon Bon Jovi's career would just keep growing and growing and growing. Now, though, he's reduced to making guest appearances on Regis & Kathy Lee. Time really does heal all wounds.

"Save the Best for Last," by Vanessa Williams
Date charted: February 15, 1992. Peak: No. 1.
If this number's title is to be believed, Williams will eventually put out something good--and then she'll die.

"Sugar, Sugar," by the Archies
Date charted: August 16, 1969. Peak: No. 1.
Let me tell you a little secret: Everyone likes this song. They may claim otherwise, but they're lying. Trust me.

"Take a Chance on Me," by Abba
Date charted: May 6, 1978. Peak: No. 3.
Among the most insidious songs in recent pop-music history. If the Soviets had found a way to use it for propaganda purposes, the U.S. would've gone Communist midway through the Reagan administration.

"U Can't Touch This," by M.C. Hammer
Date charted: April 28, 1990. Peak: No. 8.
Sure, it's pretty good; it's basically a remake of the Rick James funk classic "Super Freak (Part 1)." Now if only that Hammer guy wasn't on it...

"Undercover Angel," by Alan O'Day
Date charted: May 7, 1977. Peak: No. 1.
I wonder: Will listening to a couple of Slayer albums finally force this song out of my head?

"Watching Scotty Grow," by Bobby Goldsboro
Date charted: January 9, 1971. Peak: No. 11.
My God. What is wrong with you people?

"Working for the Weekend," by Loverboy
Date charted: January 9, 1982. Peak: No. 29.
Best enjoyed while wearing a headband and red leather pants and sweating profusely.

"You Oughta Know," by Alanis Morissette
Date charted: 1995. Peak: No. 1.
The horrifying Morissette phenomenon is too recent for me to be able to see this song as anything other than the beginning of something really bad. Give me another ten years and perhaps I'll think differently. But I hope not.

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