No-Fun Number Ones: The Worst Chart Toppers Since Tiffany

tiffany_album.jpg
Denim never dies.
It's no secret that chart success is no real guarantor of musical quality. Hell, "(How Much Is) That Doggie in the Window?" went number one way back in 1952, pissing kids off so badly that they had to invent rock 'n roll. Twenty-five years ago this week, however, Billboard reached a new low when mall-pop singer Tiffany's Tommy James & the Shondells cover "I Think We're Alone Now" went number one. The song stayed in the top spot for two weeks, a triumphant glory for possibly the '80s most cheerfully disposable bubblegum. After Tiffany, it seemed as though any old crap you could think of was capable of hitting number one on the charts.

Sadly, the past two-and-a-half decades have only confirmed and reconfirmed that notion. "I Think We're Alone Now," unfortunately, was only the first of dozens of intensely grating, cloying and irritating tunes to top the Billboard Hot 100. As proof, Rocks Off has assembled the 15 worst #1 hits from the past 25 years for your amusement, delight and disgust. Prepare yourselves.


15. Gwen Stefani - "Hollaback Girl"

This track hit number one in 2005, causing most of the nation to immediately begin questioning why, exactly, everyone was riding the Neptunes' nuts so hard. At least, that's what should have happened. Instead, "Hollaback Girl" was nominated for two Grammies and became the first digital single to sell a million downloads. Sure, Gwen looked amazing in the music video, but this shit was NOT bananas. It was just shit.


14. Soulja Boy - "Crank That"

Who was blasting this godawful garbage rap and dancing like an idiot back in 2007? YOUUUUUU. Somehow, this infectious tripe had the whole country supermanning any number of hoes before we all began wishing Soulja Boy's career would be given a military funeral.


13. Rick Astley - "Never Gonna Give You Up"

For about five minutes in 2007, this infectiously awful number one hit from 1987 became hilarious. Then it went right back to being insufferable. Trust us, Rick, you can go ahead and give us up already. God knows you've already made us cry.


12. Prince - "Batdance"

Sure, sure: Prince is a genius. But the runaway success of this forgettable soundtrack fodder is more a tribute to the massive popularity of Tim Burton's "Batman" than the creative talents of The Artist. The song went number one in '89 and featured an inventive video starring about 100 Batmen and Jokers, but it's rarely been heard (or requested) since.


11. UB40 - "Can't Help Falling in Love"

"Can't Help Falling in Love" was one of Elvis' more eye-rolling soundtrack hits from his Hollywood period, and absolutely no one was demanding a middle-of-the-road, pop-reggae cover version 32 years later. Undaunted, UB40 defied logic by turning the old chestnut into one of the '80s most insipid number one hits, cementing their status as one of history's whackest bands in the process.


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18 comments
april5k
april5k

So, I knew that "Kokomo" was released by the saddest excuse for The Beach Boys, but I looked it up and I can't believe John Phillips wrote it (and had to share the credit with McKenzie, Love and Melcher at that! It took 4 people!). I literally said "Shame on you John Phillips" to my computer upon reading it. I didn't even say "Shame on you John Phillips" when McKenzie Phillips released her memoir. 

Guest
Guest

Rick Astley - "Never Gonna Give You Up"

I don't know. I still like the song even though it did get played out way afterwords. It's not so douchy in my opinion.

Brittanie Shey
Brittanie Shey

"but this shit was NOT bananas. It was just shit"

Made me giggle. Also, I can't hate on Mambo No. 5. It takes cajones to cover Perez Prado. Sorry.

Robert
Robert

Mambo #5 was used in a Bridgestone tire commercial last year (2011).  A way cool 1958 Cadillac was drifting on the Bonneville Salt Flats to Mambo #5.

Chris D
Chris D

Did that god awful Colby Callait (sp?) song Bubbly hit number one? Worst song of the 2000's EASILY...

bibulb
bibulb

Holy crap. I remember not being impressed with it on first release, but I hadn't remembered that Batdance NEVER GOES ANYWHERE. What the hell?

Craig Hlavaty
Craig Hlavaty

I'm sorry, but Prince's "Partyman" is more amazing than words. I wish that was the hit single from the Batman disc.

Thursday Girl
Thursday Girl

Oh God. I'd somehow managed to erase Batdance from my memory for more than 20 years. And now it's back. I'll just forward my therapy bill to HP. 

Bud Brooks
Bud Brooks

They're just guilty pleasure songs. Calm down dude...seriously. Not everything has to be "Adele-like" to be enjoyed.

FattyFatBastard
FattyFatBastard

Brilliant researching.  We Built this City was #1 a full two years before Tiffany.  If you're going to be a music snob, you're going to need to try a lot harder.

Evan
Evan

We built this city on guac and molé!

Jim C
Jim C

For a brief shining moment, Prince was taken seriously.  Then the Batdance video occured.  Moment over.

Nathan Smith
Nathan Smith

"I didn't even say 'Shame on you John Phillips' when McKenzie Phillips released her memoir."

Well, shame on you!

John Seaborn Gray
John Seaborn Gray

It's just a humorous list. Calm down dude... seriously. Not everything has to be "serious journalism" to be enjoyed.

I, for one, thought it was hilarious. Well done, Nathan.

Nathan Smith
Nathan Smith

Right as always, Fatty.  I whittled these down from a much larger list.  Obviously, I mixed up the Starship date somewhere along the line.  Oops!  "We Built This City" is still the guiltiest pleasure on this list by far, and I enjoyed writing about it.  Thanks for readin'.

april5k
april5k

I rather enjoyed the irony in this guy saying "calm down".

Guest
Guest

Me too!

It's pretty tough to put your snobbery out there and get caught out.

Good eye fatty and good on you Mr. Smith for manning up.

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