Due to the recent discussion of song lyrics that are bad enough to make Richard Simmons kill himself, I am compelled to throw my two cents into the fray. A large number of the artists quoted have been people that, frankly, nobody gives a monkey's behind about. Jesse McCartney? Savage Garden? Peter Gabriel? Who cares? The real tragedy is when people considered to be lyrical legends commit such offenses. Yes, even some of history's greatest songwriters have penned lyrical travesties. Let's examine a few.
Your sister's gone out. She's on a date
You just sit at home and masturbate
- Billy Joel, "Captain Jack"
I am easily one of the world's biggest Billy Joel fans, but even I admit that those are possibly two of the worst lines of music ever written. Just because some action occurs doesn't mean you need to write about it. Somehow I don't think there has ever been a chart-topping hit with lyrics such as, "I woke up this morning, scratched my ass, clipped my toenails, then headed to class." Shame on you, Billy.
We refused to admit that we wore this disguise
Every inch of us growing
Like Pinocchio's nose
As we walked around in the emperor's new clothes
- Elton John, "Emperor's New Clothes"
Come on, Elton. You are known worldwide as being one of the greatest songwriters of all time, and you write that abomination? Lyrics like that make Britney Spears look like Shakespeare. And exactly what part of you is growing like Pinocchio's nose? It seems to me that the behavior of your anatomy is something you should keep to yourself.
In case of accidents he always took his mom
He's the all American bullet-headed saxon mother's son.
All the children sing
Hey Bungalow Bill
What did you kill
-The Beatles, "The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill"
Wish I was a Kellogg's Cornflake
Floatin' in my bowl takin' movies,
Relaxin' awhile, livin' in style,
Talkin' to a raisin who 'casionn'ly plays LA.,
Casually glancing at his toupee.
Wish I was an English muffin
'Bout to make the most out of a toaster.
I'd ease myself down,
Comin' up brown.
I prefer boysenberry
More than any ordinary jam.
I'm a "Citizens for Boysenberry Jam" fan.
-Simon & Garfunkel, "Punky's Dilemma"
There's metaphor, and then there's Punky's Dilemma. You nailed the whole metaphor thing with "I Am A Rock." That song was brilliant. This one is just disturbing. Of all the food products you could be, you pick cereal and an English muffin? Also, what is this "Citizen's for Boysenberry Jam" line about? Is the jam being oppressed? Has the jam been banned? Is jam comparable to fair wages? I simply do not understand.
Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle like a gypsy queen,
Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle all dressed in green,
Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle 'til the moon is blue,
Wiggle 'til the moon sees you.
Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle in your boots and shoes,
Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, you got nothing to lose,
Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, like a swarm of bees,
Wiggle on your hands and knees.
Bob Dylan may very well be the world's most well-known lyricist. Not only did he author multiple hits of his own, he also wrote the lyrics to myriad other songs that were made popular by other artists. But, I guess even Mikhail Baryshnikov trips and falls sometimes. Clearly that is what happened here. I don't even know how else to respond to this. I'm frankly dumbfounded.
In short, even the greats have their off days. I mean, even the man who produced Sin City brought us The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3-D. But, that's another story altogether.