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Top 10 Artists That Hate Their Own Songs

VO: Matt Campbell
Script written by Shane Fraser Just because you wrote it doesn’t mean you like it. Welcome to and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Artists that Hate Their Own Songs. For this list, we’re looking at popular songs that were hated by their writers or performers. Special thanks to our user Titanic07 for suggesting this idea, check out the voting page at WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Artists+That+Hate+Their+Own+Songs

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Top 10 Artists that Hate Their Own Songs

Just because you wrote it doesn’t mean you like it. Welcome to and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Artists that Hate Their Own Songs.
For this list, we’re looking at popular songs that were hated by their writers or performers. The artists must have voiced a clear dislike of the song at some point, and the songs must be successful and well-known.    

#10: Frank Sinatra
“Strangers in the Night” (1966)

As one of Sinatra’s most beloved and best-known songs, “Strangers in the Night” went to number one on the charts and received widespread commercial and critical acclaim, including multiple Grammy wins. None of this made a difference to Sinatra, the performer of the pre-written song, who made his hatred crystal clear. Not one to mince words, the legendary crooner called “Strangers in the Night” a “piece of sh*t” and “the worst f**king song” he ever heard. He was disgusted when he had to play the song live, and could even be heard muttering expletives during performances. Who knew Ol’ Blue Eyes had a mouth like a sailor.

#9: Mandy Moore
“Candy” (1999) 

“Candy” was Mandy Moore’s debut single and launched the 15-year-old into fame. She became a teenybopper idol as “Candy” climbed the charts and made every adult listener cringe—just as adult Mandy Moore does now. Now 32 years old, Moore is overwhelmingly embarrassed by “Candy” and the rest of her early catalogue, reportedly calling those songs “just awful.” Moore also said that if she had the money she would give a refund to everyone who bought her first two albums. It’s no wonder she decided to take a more mature approach on later albums.

#8: Bob Geldof
“Do They Know It’s Christmas?” (1984)

Geldof, other than being known as the frontman for The Boomtown Rats, is the writer of one of the most well known Christmas songs of all time. “Do They Know It’s Christmas” was written in response to the 1983 Ethiopian famine, in collaboration with some of the biggest artists of the decade. Geldof does not have kind words for such altruistic songs, or his sanctimonious songwriting, saying that the Band Aid tune, and his work on USA for Africa’s “We Are the World” are the two of the worst songs in history and that he is regretfully responsible. He also resents going to the supermarket to hear “Do They Know It’s Christmas” playing “every f#$*ing Christmas.”

#7: Pete Townshend
“Pinball Wizard” (1969)

Who doesn’t like “Pinball Wizard?” It tells an amazing story with catchy lyrics, all the while providing an indelible rock backdrop that can energize any listener. Well, The Who doesn’t . . . more specifically their lead guitarist and primary songwriter Pete Townshend. He considers the song “awful” and told an interviewer that it was “the most clumsy piece of writing I’ve ever done.” He then rattled off some of the lyrics and cringed with embarrassment over the simplicity of the lines. Townshend also admitted that he wrote the song in one rushed session not thinking that it would be part of The Who’s ultimate legacy.

#6: “Like a Virgin” (1984)

Released as the title track on her second album, “Like a Virgin” is credited with sending Madonna into pop superstardom. The song portrayed Madonna as an independent and sexually liberated woman, traits that helped shape her image and fandom. Despite “Like a Virgin” being a crucial career stepping stone, Madonna told a New York radio station that she wasn’t sure she could sing the song ever again, unless, she stipulated, she was paid 30 million dollars. She also criticized restaurant staff for playing “Like a Virgin” whenever she dined at their establishments.   

#5: Robert Plant
“Stairway to Heaven” (1971)

“Stairway to Heaven” is so ubiquitous with music that it might as well be a synonym. It’s arguably the greatest rock song of all time, and one of the most requested songs on the radio, played on near-repeat for 45 years. So it’s understandable that one could get sick of “Stairway”. So imagine the man who has to sing it. Led Zeppelin’s frontman Robert Plant is plumb tired of the song, as he’s made clear many times in many interviews. He said he’d break out in hives if he had to sing that song in every show, and said the lyrics meant something in 1971, but now they don’t do it for him.

#4: Michael Stipe
“Shiny Happy People” (1991)

Though a commercial success, “Shiny Happy People” was not received well by critics who considered it a blatant mainstream sellout and one of the weakest links of R.E.M.’s strong discography. Michael Stipe, lead singer and writer, agreed with the second criticism at least, saying in a cameo appearance on the show “Space Ghost Coast to Coast” that he hates the song. He also said that “Shiny Happy People” was the one song unanimously agreed upon by the band members to not be included on their greatest hits album, In Time.

#3: Beastie Boys
“(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!)” (1986)

Everyone’s favorite party song wasn’t meant to be taken literally, the Beastie Boys have said. It was an ironic take on anarchist values that was meant more as a parody than an actual party song itself. They resent the false meaning and popularity of “Fight for your Right,” even writing in the liner notes to their 1999 greatest hits album that the song was meant as a joke. Mike D elaborated on the hatred later on, saying that most fans sing the song earnestly without knowing it’s a spoof on them, and that the group’s own values have been misinterpreted because of this.

#2: Radiohead
“Creep” (1992)

No song is hated with the intensity that Thom Yorke hates “Creep.” Though he wrote it, Radiohead’s frontman is so thoroughly flummoxed by its popularity that he refused to play “Creep” for a seven year stretch and has even cursed the audience and left the stage when they’ve requested it. Other band members agree with those sentiments: guitarist Jonny Greenwood hated the song so much that he tried to sabotage the recording by hitting the guitar extra hard before the chorus, which obviously backfired as that crunch sound is now iconic.
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
Lupe Fiasco
“The Show Goes On” (2010)
Miley Cyrus
“Party in the U.S.A.” (2009)
“Date Rape” (1991)

#1: Kurt Cobain
“Smells Like Teen Spirit” (1991)

The song that represents an entire counterculture was hated by its figurehead. Cobain despised the grunge anthem for being a Pixies rip-off and being overrated by the peripheral fans. In a 1994 interview with Rolling Stone, Cobain said that “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is almost an embarrassment to play. He continued to vent his frustration by saying, “everyone has focused on that song so much. The reason it gets a big reaction is people have seen it on MTV a million times. It’s been pounded into their brains.” He capped off the diatribe by telling the interviewer how he would rather throw his guitar down and walk away than play the song live.

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