CoS Exclusive FeaturesHotList 'Em Carefully

The 25 Worst No. 1 Rock Songs

on July 03, 2013, 11:01am
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In March of 1981, Billboard introduced Top Tracks, a new chart designed to measure the airplay of songs aired on “album-oriented rock radio stations.” Since then, the list’s had several face-lifts and name changes — from Top Rock Tracks to Album Rock Tracks to Mainstream Rock Tracks. Why tracks over singles? Because not all the stuff getting airplay on the radio was a single.

Over the past three decades, the chart’s seen its golden days (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ “You Got Lucky”; Pat Benatar’s “Love Is a Battlefield”), its proud moments (The Replacements’ “I’ll Be You”; R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion”), its loud times (Soundgarden’s “Blow Up the Outside World”; The Offspring’s “Gone Away”), and its confusing twists (Kiss’s “Psycho Circus”; Eddie Money’s “The Love in Your Eyes”).

The chart’s also had its share of lousy stretches — many of them downright horrific. And because we’re pessimists, we decided to collect the very, very worst of them* and carve it down to a list of 25 scumbag tracks. So, as you click on through, remember that each entry we included was once on top of the world… of rock, that is.

* We opted to ignore Nickelback, namely because we wanted to challenge ourselves.

Artwork by Sam Moore; titles by Steven Fiche.

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Jay-Z has a lot of shittysongs
July 3, 2013 at 12:22 am

So CoS now deletes any comments that don’t agree with them? Messed up man

Alex Young
July 3, 2013 at 12:26 am

We never delete comments. Which one(s) are you referencing and I’ll look into it.

July 3, 2013 at 12:27 am

GODSMACK is for bullies. lol

Raul Vega
July 3, 2013 at 12:35 am

This list is pretty true but it comes off as pretty pretentious. And in case you hadn’t noticed, John Frusciante (RHCP) tends to copy riffs. “Under the Bridge” is really just T.Rex’s “Rip Off” (irony noted). It doesn’t mean their songs are bad. And “Dani California” is really more “Purple Haze” than “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” I’m saddened back your lack of research. I know this isn’t BBC or NPR but take some pride in your job.

July 3, 2013 at 12:37 am

Sounds more like “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” to me.

July 5, 2013 at 1:42 pm

Ur a blowhard turd. Gassing off on the internet must make you feel very self righteous and important.

Thomas O’Mahony
July 6, 2013 at 11:29 am

You do realize that Rip Off and Under the Bridge have only one common chord? Under the bridge uses a F#m7 at the end of the verse and Rip Off uses the same F#m7.

July 3, 2013 at 12:46 am

Bravo. Absolutely hilarious.

H. Drew Blackburn
July 3, 2013 at 1:13 am

Solid like Iraq.

Jayson Ellin
July 3, 2013 at 4:05 am

Dani California sticks out like a sore thumb. No reason it should be included with such trash. It’s not a great song by any means, and some of what’s stated about it is true, but to include it with the likes of Tantric, Creed, and Trapt is just silly. Smells like someone who dislikes the Chili Peppers with an ax to grind.

July 3, 2013 at 9:05 am

don’t you talk about my Bob Segar

July 6, 2013 at 11:07 pm

Yeah…that one seems out of place on the list.

Sam C
July 3, 2013 at 10:23 am

Great stuff. Five bags of popcorn, two sodas, and a little CD with a frowny face because you hurt these songs’ feelings.

james greer
July 3, 2013 at 12:31 pm

I guess you guys have never listened to the worst 80′s buttrock song ever invented? Kim Mitchell – Go for A Soda? Go for a soda? are you f’ing kidding me? Its far worse that any crap by 38 Special or Molly Hatchett

H. Willie
July 3, 2013 at 3:06 pm

I don’t think “Go For A Soda” was ever #1 on the mainstream rock charts, so it’s not eligible for this list. Also, we don’t have any .38 Special or Molly Hatchet songs on there.

July 3, 2013 at 1:40 pm

ok where is nickelback on this list?

H. Willie
July 3, 2013 at 3:05 pm

* We opted to ignore Nickelback, namely because we wanted to challenge ourselves.

July 3, 2013 at 3:25 pm

ahhhhhh Creed is just as obvious though.
Tomatoes Tomahtos?

H. Willie
July 4, 2013 at 4:11 pm


July 3, 2013 at 4:05 pm

this list is mostly pretentious bullshit. 90% of these songs are really good. There are far worse rock songs out there.

July 5, 2013 at 1:43 pm

Show your face!

July 5, 2013 at 3:59 pm

show yours.

J. Walter Swartz
July 3, 2013 at 5:31 pm

I thought you were going to leave Nickleback off the list. Then Creed is number 1? Creed is Nickleback. No one is fooled. Same band.

July 5, 2013 at 12:55 am

Jared Leto should stick to getting his face ripped apart by Ed Norton.

July 6, 2013 at 11:06 pm


July 6, 2013 at 11:06 pm

Although I clicked every slide so I guess you won this round consequence of sound!

July 8, 2013 at 11:14 am

Seriously you know nothing about good music

July 8, 2013 at 1:24 pm

I’m looking for an April Fools.. xD I know it’s not April, but sh!t man…

sean pratt
March 7, 2014 at 1:05 pm

It’s because they are praising all their influences and the periods of rock and roll that changed it all

Trey Nowell
March 13, 2014 at 6:28 pm