Worst… Song… Ever


“I started a joke,
which started the whole world crying.
But I didn’t see…
that the joke was on… me?

I don’t normally like to issue blanket declarations.  There are usually two sides to an argument.  I like to think I have an open mind.  I am always open to free discussion and exchange of opinions.  However, it has to be said “I Started a Joke” by the BeeGees is the worst song ever.  No jury in the world would disagree, especially if they found it locked in their heads for three or four days.

“I started to cry,
which started the whole world laughing.
Oh, if I’d only seen…
that the joke was on… me?

I admit there are other songs out there, poorly written and sung badly.  However, there are a lot of songwriting hacks out there and a lot of talentless musicians.  You can’t count their songs because – sadly – it’s the best they can do.  Love them or hate them, you have to admit the BeeGees had talent.  Their blended harmonies placed them in the company of the Beach Boys and the Everly Brothers.  Their songwriting produced hit after hit; many that should still be considered classics today.  However, “I Started a Joke” isn’t one of them.  It is the worst song because not only does lack merit as an individual song, but also it deviates so much from the normal high standards of the group.

“I… looked at the skies.
Running my hands
Over my eyes,
And I fell out of bed,
Hurting my head
From things that I’d said.

While The Sixties did produce music which changed the world, it also produced that other type of pop music: Maudlin Rock.  Patches drowned herself in a river.  Teen Angel was hit by a train when she went back to a stalled car to get her boyfriend’s high school ring.  I don’t know what Laurie did, but she came back from the dead just to go to a dance and totally screw with the head of some guy.  While Dickie Lee had a couple of hits capitalizing on Death, the BeeGees made a veritable cottage industry out of it.  They recorded songs about being trapped in a mine, walking the last mile on death row, and of course the ultimate anti-persona, the narrator of “I Started a Joke”.

“Till I finally died,
which started the whole world living,
Oh, if I’d only seen…
that the joke was on me.

Meka and I were having dinner together.  We were still dating and she had just driven in from Michigan for the weekend.  On the way, she said she had heard the worst song ever.

“Really,” I asked.  “Was if ‘I Started a Joke’ by the BeeGees?”

Meka stared at me.  Her fork was frozen halfway to her mouth hanging open in shock.

“How -” she finally stammered.  “How did you know?”

While I thought we had something special before this, I think this cinched the deal.   “I Started a Joke” is the worst song ever, but – in a perverse way – it is Our Song.

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