In the barren wasteland that is classic rock radio, there are songs that even the crows don't want to feast on anymore. We're talking about the tunes that come on when you're in the middle of a long drive that make you want to veer off the road into a ditch because you've heard them way too many times. Like the following 11 songs:
Before Jason Biggs shoved his sad junk into a revolting pastry so horny teens could learn about body shame, there was a song called "American Pie," and it was bad. Schmaltzy and frantically topical, a proto-"We Didn't Start the Fire" for the late '60s, the song's melancholy tone and McLean's soothing voice can trick you into thinking this a good song if it catches you at a vulnerable moment. Don't let it get you. Sing it with me: this will be the day this song dies.
"The Joker," Steve Miller Band
You know that painful, screechy whistling sound that comes after Steve Miller sings "Mau-rice" in the first verse? That sound belongs in prison. You won't be laughing then, joker.
"Big Yellow Taxi," Joni Mitchell
Imagine you are Adam Duritz, lead singer of the Counting Crows, and you're selecting the worst possible song to cover. You want the most cloying appeal to the green thumbs of your Hacky Sack-kicking fanbase. You search high and low. You find "Big Yellow Taxi," one of the most irritating songs ever written. And then, somehow, you make it worse.
"Carry On Wayward Son," Kansas
I can't hear this song without feeling like I'm living in the first 10 seconds of a trailer for an Adam Sandler movie. It's not a good feeling.
"Take It Easy," The Eagles
It's easy to pick on the Eagles. We get it, you think The Big Lebowski is cool. There's certainly a time and a place for their brand of ambling California dirtbag cool. But "Take It Easy," with its Jackson Browne-penned lyrics and its bumbling neurosis, isn't actually about taking anything easy. "Don’t let the sound of your own wheels make you crazy,” sings Glenn Frey, and the rest of the song is equally neurotic. This dude is a mess. This song is a lie.
"Hey Jude," The Beatles
Let's break this one down: three words, 10 seconds, looped for seven minutes. (Basically.) If you've heard this song once, you've already heard it too many times. Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nope.
"Mr. Roboto," Styx
If I wanted to listen to the Cats soundtrack, I'd listen to the Cats soundtrack.
"Piano Man," Billy Joel
Billy Joel saw it all while working LA's Executive Room in the '70s. Well la-di-da-diddy-da. Over the years, Joel's ode to bar dwellers slurred its way into the history books, becoming a favorite of the tone-deaf, last-call crowd who wind up bobbing their heads to the beat, intentionally or not. The song carries this booze-soaked reputation into the waking hours, like a hangover in the key of C. We've had enough.
"Brown Eyed Girl," Van Morrison
You've been planning this summer barbecue for two months and your playlist includes "Brown Eyed Girl"? C'mon, man, it's 2016.
"Sweet Caroline," Neil Diamond
We can blame the Boston Red Sox for poisoning karaoke joints and house parties with this sing-a-long nightmare. An eighth-inning staple, the Neil Diamond love song recalls the good times, leaving just enough room for blaring audience response ("SO GOOD / SO GOOD / SO GOOD.") Then it does it again. And again. And again. And again, until the listener's eyes crust over, their hands wrinkle and grey, their entire life passes by, the cruelest twist any pop song could deliver ("SO GOOD").
"L.A. Woman," The Doors
"Let's change the mood from glad to sadness," is a real line from this song, one of Jim Morrison's least-endearing attempts at profundity. He also calls himself "Mr. Mojo Risin" a bunch of times, which is like referring to yourself as "Dr. Big Dick McGee." It's not a good look.
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