CoS Exclusive FeaturesHotList 'Em Carefully

The 25 Worst No. 1 Rock Songs

by and
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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August 7, 2014 at 6:26 pm

I’d like to nominate “Sushi Girl” by the “Tubes” for the worst rock song EVER!!! Okay, I guess it’s not technically qualified for this list since it wasn’t a #1 hit. But, I’d highly recommend it if you’re looking for a good laugh. It includes several of the most awkward double entendres in rock history! Awful, awful, awful and hilarious!

August 4, 2014 at 2:40 pm

Whats with the slam on Robbie Robertson? The Band was one of the best bands in rock&roll. This list is suspect and based on some random douches opinions. this site blows.

Fritz (@TheFritz)
September 8, 2014 at 5:04 pm

He cowrote the song…
July 12, 2014 at 1:41 pm

Tremendous things here. I am very glad to see your article.
Thanks so much and I’m taking a look forward to contact
you. Will you please drop me a mail?

July 8, 2014 at 3:01 pm

Are you fuckin kidding me??? ‘Shine’ ???????

July 8, 2014 at 10:28 am

The panel that selected these songs must be fuckin’ deaf! What a joke!

July 7, 2014 at 4:48 pm

ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING?! THIS IS WAR BY 30 SECONDS TO MARS IT THE MOST MAJESTIC SHIT IVE EVER HEARD….and dont even get me started on dani california <333

July 7, 2014 at 3:09 pm

Yea Seriously Fuck you.

July 7, 2014 at 9:51 am

Man,fuck you.

Ken Settle Photos
July 7, 2014 at 2:09 am

“Chicken Stock Ballad”? “Like A Rock” is a brilliant song about the passage of time and the changes of perception as one ages, and it features an incredible slide guitar solo by none other than Rick Vito. The song deftly crosses, country and gospel roots to powerful effect. “Like A Rock” was never meant to be top 20 fodder. I would agree that having the song in rotation every five minutes for ten years on the Chevy commercials , over time, lessened the power of the lyric, the vocal and the track. But few people would turn their nose up at millions of dollars in return for those usages, and unless if YOU would, it is hypocritical to criticize those that do.

June 24, 2014 at 2:35 pm

Clapton or RHCP shouldn’t be anywhere near a list with Creed, Trapt, Puddle of Mudd, or Linkin Park also on it… & Nickelback really should be on there, too.

Sure, Dani California sounds a lot like Mary Jane, buuut rock is to the point where something is going to rip off something and the general rock population is gonna complain about it. Real talk.

June 2, 2014 at 3:08 pm

“China white” is a form of heroin or fentanyl. Not cocaine.

June 4, 2014 at 11:45 pm

I scrolled down as fast as I could to leave this comment. Because I’ve never used drugs and I still know what China White is. Ugh.

June 1, 2014 at 6:07 pm

The 25 worst lists created by consequence of sound

Now that’s a list

Trey Nowell
March 13, 2014 at 6:28 pm

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

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…

July 8, 2013 at 11:14 am

Seriously you know nothing about good music

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 5, 2013 at 12:55 am

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

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 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.

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


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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Solid like Iraq.

July 3, 2013 at 12:46 am

Bravo. Absolutely hilarious.

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 12:27 am

GODSMACK is for bullies. lol

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.


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