I'm pretty sure anyone reading this column has at least a few songs that would qualify for a list of this nature. You know, the moment one of them comes on the radio you can't change the station fast enough.
It's the kind of song you hate so much it almost makes you angry just to hear it.
The kind of song that can put you in a bad mood by just thinking about it.
The kind of song you would rather lose a friendship over than have to listen to even once more in your life.
Here are my all-time best of the worst, plus a handful of dishonorable mentions:
º "Don't Worry, Be Happy," by Bobby McFerrin (1988): For some reason, this song just makes my skin crawl. That said, I do admire what McFerrin did with this a capella effort.
All the "instruments" in the song are entirely overdubbed voice offerings and other sounds made by McFerrin himself. But I still can't stand the song and will switch stations the very second I hear the intro.
º "Copacabana," by Barry Manilow (1978): Strangely enough, I absolutely love a number of Manilow's other songs, especially his earlier efforts like "Mandy" and "Weekend in New England," but this hodgepodge of a show tune schtick masquerading as pop music has always irritated me to no end.
Ironically, "Copacabana" earned Manilow his first and only Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. Must have been a lean year at the Grammies. (Actually it was a lean year in that category. Manilow beat out Gino Vannelli, Jackson Browne, Dan Hill and Gerry Rafferty.)
º "Hotel California," by the Eagles (1977): If nothing else, this song is simply so-o-o-o long. No single should be more than four minutes, unless you're Rod Stewart, and in that case I'll allow five. And what the heck is "Hotel California" about? I don't like songs that require me to think too much. It's full of metaphorical characters and conjectural interpretations.
The Eagles themselves describe the effort as their "interpretation of the high life in Los Angeles." So what does that mean exactly? And did I say it was too long? Yeah, close to seven minutes, which includes a 60-second intro and a two-minute guitar solo at the end. This song completely soured me on the Eagles.
º "Mambo No. 5," by Lou Bega (1999): This catastrophe was No. 1 in France for 20 weeks. That must say something about the musical taste of the French.
º "Who Let the Dogs Out," by the Baha Men (2000): This forgettable effort was actually kind of cute ... for about five minutes.
º "Mr. Roboto," by Styx (1983): Any song by Styx was irritating, this one simple more so than the others.
º "Thank God I'm A Country Boy," by John Denver (1974): I could probably name a half-dozen songs by the late country/pop artist I admire and love -- "Annie's Song" is my favorite -- but this was not one of them.