The Worst (Popular) Songs of the 1960s

The Worst (Popular) Songs of the 1960s

What do you think are the worst songs of the 1960s? 

The 1960s was a revolutionary time for music. Rock ‘n roll, the British sound, and Motown were all part of the 60’s music scene. 

Yet not every hit song was a good one. A lot of 60s hits were sappy, silly, or downright annoying! Many of them just haven’t stood the test of time. 

Let’s jump in and see which ones they are!

The 1960s was a decade of creativity born out of the 50s rock boom. Musicians were testing new sounds and styles on the American and British public.

From the British Invasion and psychedelic rock to folk and R&B and beyond, many songs flew while some flopped.

Even so, some of the most popular songs of the time hit high on the charts. But that doesn’t mean they were good. 

Of course, “great” or “terrible” labels are highly subjective. One listener’s gold is another’s dud. These are a few popular tunes we feel didn’t quite make musical gold.

Honey – Bobby Goldsboro

About the Song: Honey is about a husband who misses his dead wife. She had planted a tree when it was “just a twig,” and he notices how it’s grown. This triggers other memories of their life together. The music is sentimental. However, the lyrics are cliche and mean-spirited! 

The song is supposed to be sad and bittersweet, yet he calls his wife dumb. He appears patronizing and dismissive of his wife’s emotions throughout the song.

Worst Lyric: 

She was always young at heart
Kinda dumb, and kinda smart
I loved her so, and I surprised her with a puppy, 
Kept me up all Christmas Eve two years ago

First Appearance: Bobby Russell wrote Honey, and former Kingston Trio member Bob Shane produced it. Later, Bobby Goldsboro acquired the song and released it as a single in 1968. Honey was an immediate hit and spent five weeks at number 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. It was the best-selling album worldwide in 1968.

The Ballad of the Green Beret – Staff Sgt. Barry Sadler

About the Song: The Ballad of the Green Beret is a patriotic song written by Staff Sgt. Barry Sadler during the Vietnam war. There was a lot of negative feeling toward the military because of Vietnam. Sadler wrote the song while he was training to be an army medic. It was also partly to honor Army Specialist James Gabriel, the first native Hawaiian to die in Vietnam.

Sadler wrote the lyrics to promote a positive attitude towards the war. However, this verse is about a dying soldier telling his wife to ready their infant son for his future death. It promotes a cycle of war and aggression that the Vietnam protestors were trying to stop.

Worst Lyric: 

Back at home a young wife waits
Her Green Beret has met his fate
He has died for those oppressed
Leaving her his last request
Put silver wings on my son’s chest

First Appearance: The Ballad of the Green Beret was released on the same-titled album in January 1966. The song was a number 1 hit for five weeks and sold more than 9 million copies. It appeared in the 1968 John Wayne movie, The Green Berets. 

Over and Over – Dave Clark Five

About the Song: The singer is at a party but finds it pretty “dead.” He meets a pretty girl and asks her out. She says no that she’s waiting for her boyfriend. The singer then decides that he will ask her out repeatedly until she says yes.

The whole song is a bad lyric. He sees a girl he likes and wants, but she says no. He’s going to harass this girl until she says yes. No means no!

Worst Lyric: 

And my poor heart was broken
All my life where had she been? 
But I’ll try over and over
And over and over again

First Appearance: Over and Over was written by Robert James Byrd, aka Bobby Day, and released in 1958. It hit the Billboard Hot 100 that year but wasn’t a huge success. 

Then, The Dave Clark Five released their version of it in 1965. They left out the last verse and changed a couple of lyrics. Plus, it had a more danceable beat which was likely why it was a #1 hit. 

Sugar, Sugar – The Archies

About the Song: Sugar, Sugar is a song in the “bubblegum” genre. It’s about the singer’s “sweet” girlfriend. There’s not much more to the lyrics other than how much he loves her and wants her. It’s a catchy pop tune that’s easy to dance to. 

The song pretty much goes on like this the whole time. He throws in a few other words here and there. It’s basically about how she’s his sugar, his candy girl, and how much he loves her. It’s all right to dance to but watch out for once it gets stuck in your head!

Worst Lyric:

Sugar, sugar
Honey, honey
Sugar, sugar
Honey, aah

First Appearance: The song was released in May 1969 and was #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 for four weeks. The Archies was a fictional band created by Don Kirshner, who managed The Monkees, a hugely successful 60s pop band. But, The Monkees fired him for micromanaging them. 

Kirshner wanted a band he could control, so he based The Archies on characters from Archie comics. It was much easier to handle imaginary band members!

Yummy, Yummy, Yummy – Ohio Express

About the Song: The song is like Sugar, Sugar in that it equates love with sweets. It’s also in the Bubblegum genre. The singer says that he has love in his tummy, and his love is good enough to eat. That’s it in a nutshell.

It’s a nonsensical song about nothing. The singer thinks the girl is sweet and wants to eat her up. The lyrics are repetitive and silly. 

Worst Lyric: 

Yummy, yummy, yummy 
I got love in my tummy,
And I feel like a-loving you

First Appearance: Ohio Express, a studio creation, released Yummy, Yummy, Yummy in April 1968. The hit reached #4 on the US Pop Singles chart. 

Many artists have since covered the tune, and it even appears on many TV shows and films, such as The Simpsons, Futurama, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, and Supersize Me. It was also on Time Magazine’s 2011 list of songs with silly lyrics.

Puppy Love – Paul Anka

About the Song: Puppy Love was written by Paul Anka in 1960 for Annette Funicello, whom he was dating. They were both seventeen, and she was an actress with The Mickey Mouse Club. The adults in their lives wanted them to keep their relationship quiet and dismissed their love as “puppy love.” Anka and Funicello thought it would last forever, like all young people.

The lyrics are more varied than others on this list but still sappy. It was written and sung by a teenager and comes across as whiny and angsty.

Worst Lyric: 

Someone help me, help me
Help me please
Is the answer up above? 
How can I
Oh, how can I ever tell them? 
This is not a puppy love

First Appearance: Puppy Love was initially released on February 13, 1960. It reached number 2 on Billboard’s Hot 100. Twelve years later, Donny Osmond made it a hit again, and it became one of his most well-known songs.

I’m Henry the VIII, I Am – Herman’s Hermits

About the Song: R.P. Weston and Fred Murray initially wrote I’m Henry the VIII as a music hall song, a big part of English culture. The name refers to the British king, infamous for his eight wives, two of whom he beheaded. However, the song flips the lyrics as this Henry is the eighth husband of a widow.

The words aren’t too bad. They’re telling a story about Henry being her eighth husband – and all were named Henry. It might be unbelievable, but it’s fun. However, the sheer repetition of the lyrics is boring and annoying.

Worst Lyric: 

And every one was an Henry (Henry)
She wouldn’t have a Willy or a Sam (Sam)
I’m her eighth old man
I’m Henry, Henry the VIII I am!

First Appearance: The song was first released in 1910 as I’m Henery the VIII I Am by Harry Champion. In 1965 Herman’s Hermits recorded and released their version of the song. 

You might also remember it from the movie Ghost. Patrick Swayze sings this song repeatedly to annoy Whoopi Goldberg into doing him a favor. Proof that it’s one of the worst songs!

Which of These Songs From the 1960s Is the Worst?

These songs were huge hits in the 1960s. However, they haven’t lasted the test of time. Repetitive and annoying lyrics, sappy, syrupy lines, and a lack of imagination put these 1960s songs in the “worst” category. Many also show a patronizing and superficial view of women.

What’s your vote for the worst popular song of the 1960s?

Leave a Reply

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: