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"Classic" songs by great bands/artists that are actually crappy sell-out?

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"Classic" songs by great bands/artists that are actually crappy sell-out?

Old 05-21-07, 09:19 AM
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"Classic" songs by great bands/artists that are actually crappy sell-out?

A little bit of music snob whining ahead, I apologize in advance.

There are lots of bands that make shallow music designed to sell a lot of record. If you expect it from them, it's not that bad.

What's painful is when a great band waters down their strengths in a naked attempt to sell some records. I don't really mind it if the song works (The Stones going disco to great effect with the "Some Girls" album, the Dead's classic "Touch of Grey"). What is annoying is when the song is way below the standards of the band. Even worse is when the sellout song becomes one of the more famous songs by this artist...

Here's a few examples:

Bob Marley: "We're Jammin". Ugh. Whenever I hear "I hope you like jammin' too!", it just stings. It's hard enough hearing one of the greatest artists of the past fifty years, a man with deep spiritual conviction and political vision, make a cheap bid for American R+B radio play. The fact that this piece of crap went on to be his biggest hit is just awful.

The Who: "Magic Bus". The Who were lots of things, but they certainly weren't hippies. Here's one of the most explosive, fuck-it-all bands of all time recording a pat, tuneless, folksy "Summer of Love" jam session. And they did it when they were at their tense, wound-up best as a band. It's the low point of their career. Of course, it went on to sell millions and become a 15-minute concert staple.

The Clash: "Should I Stay or Should I Go". Not really a deliberate sell-out. I'll bet they threw this on Combat Rock as filler. Joe Strummer even admitted that it's "something we used to play just to warm up". So now, a band that made many of the best, wide-ranging and charged punk albums of all time is mostly remembered for an incredibly stupid frat-boy sing along. You could argue that it was knowingly dumb, but that doesn't make matters any better.

Any others?
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Old 05-21-07, 09:42 AM
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I think "Magic Bus" worked well live, and Townshend's original demo was pretty awesome. It's probably the lamest single The Who released prior to "Squeeze Box".

It always bothered me when U2 ripped off the "Madchester" sound on Achtung Baby, particularly with "Mysterious Ways".
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Old 05-21-07, 10:18 AM
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Hiro, I actually LOVE those Marley and Clash tunes (and yeah, I'm a fan of their earlier work). The Who song doesn't seem like a sellout to me even though it doesn't blow me away.

It's funnier to me to see a band like Jefferson Airplane or Heart make the hideous transformation top to bottom. Not saying they are up there with The Who, but wow did they stink it up in the 80's.

How about Eric Carmen? The Raspberries were pretty damn great, but his solo work scraped the bottom of the barrel as the years went on.

And I heard Dire Straits "Money For Nothing" the other day on the radio and never really realized how bloody awful that song is in almost every respect (from a pretty good album).
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Old 05-21-07, 10:24 AM
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Rod Stewart & Kiss cashed in on the disco fad (Do You Think I'm Sexy; I Was Made For Loving You)
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Old 05-21-07, 10:44 AM
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Yeah, KISS was the first one to come to mind. They will record any style that is fashionable to sell records. Sometimes it works, other times, not so much.
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Old 05-21-07, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by GuessWho
Rod Stewart & Kiss cashed in on the disco fad (Do You Think I'm Sexy; I Was Made For Loving You)
Don't forget Blondie #1 hit "Heart of Glass". I admit liking the song but it sound too much liked disco music. I glad the disco fad quickly dies out.
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Old 05-21-07, 11:54 AM
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How about Another Brick In The Wall, Part 2 by Pink Floyd?
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Old 05-21-07, 02:22 PM
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I love U2, but Vertigo sounded like something for a cellular phone or diet soda commercial.
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Old 05-21-07, 02:31 PM
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The Stones and Start Me Up never worked for me.
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Old 05-21-07, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by madcougar
I love U2, but Vertigo sounded like something for a cellular phone or diet soda commercial.
Or iPod?
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Old 05-21-07, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by mphtrilogy
The Stones and Start Me Up never worked for me.
I'm with you on that one.
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Old 05-21-07, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by mphtrilogy
The Stones and Start Me Up never worked for me.
That song was recorded around 1975 or so. They just took years to finally release it.
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Old 05-21-07, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by wendersfan
That song was recorded around 1975 or so. They just took years to finally release it.
Then maybe it was the band that was the sell out... for sure by that time anyway...

But did that Ed Sullivan thing with "let's spend the night..." to "let's spend some time..." time bother anyone when compared to The Doors letting it rip?


From Wikipedia:

Bob Dylan was slated to make his first nationwide television appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show on May 12, 1963, and intended to perform "Talkin' John Birch Paranoid Blues," a song he wrote lampooning the John Birch Society and the red-hunting paranoia associated with it. During the afternoon rehearsal that day, CBS officials told Dylan they had deemed the song unacceptable for broadcast and wanted him to substitute another. "No; this is what I want to do," Dylan responded. "If I can't play my song, I'd rather not appear on the show." He then left the studio, walking out on the stint.

On September 17, 1967 The Doors appeared on the show. The show's network censors demanded the group to change its lyrics for their hit song Light My Fire, altering the line "Girl, we couldn't get much higher" because of what the censors said was a reference to drugs. Jim Morrison, the band's lead singer, agreed but changed his mind after a quick band meeting and sang the original line instead with no notice to the show's producers. Morrison insisted that it was an accident, and that he meant to change the lyric but was so nervous about performing on live television that he forgot to change it when he was singing. Sullivan was reportedly so furious that he refused to shake their hands. They were never invited back.

In contrast, the Rolling Stones were instructed to change the title of their "Let's Spend the Night Together" single for the band's January 15, 1967 appearance. The band complied, with Mick Jagger ostentatiously rolling his eyes heavenward whenever he reached the song's one-night-only, clean refrain, "Let's spend some time together.". Jerry Lee Lewis in 1969.


I love the Stones music generally speaking, but that never sat right with me...
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Old 05-21-07, 03:35 PM
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Mick Jagger has never been, nor will ever be, a sell-out. One must have principles beyond wanting to be rich and famous in order to sell out.
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Old 05-21-07, 07:55 PM
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Cheap Trick, "The Flame". And "I Want You To Want Me". I'm a fan of theirs, and I can barely listen to the first song, and turn the other off whenever/wherever I can.
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Old 05-21-07, 08:31 PM
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David Bowie - I'm a huge fan of his, but I can live without ever hearing Fame, Let's Dance, Golden Years or anything off Ziggy again. Not that they aren't all great songs and Ziggy's a great album, but I'm so burnt out on all of it that there's no excitement when I hear them now, just boredom

KISS - I hate Rock And Roll All Nite, and I love a lot of their stuff
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Old 05-21-07, 08:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Hiro11
The Who: "Magic Bus". The Who were lots of things, but they certainly weren't hippies. Here's one of the most explosive, fuck-it-all bands of all time recording a pat, tuneless, folksy "Summer of Love" jam session. And they did it when they were at their tense, wound-up best as a band. It's the low point of their career. Of course, it went on to sell millions and become a 15-minute concert staple.
Actually, Pete wrote it in '65, so it's nothing to do with "Summer of Love" or trying to be hippies or whatever. I love the song and it's Bo Diddley-esque rhythm, far from "pat, tuneless, and folksy". But that's just my opinion.

As for the Stones, I humbly submit "Emotional Rescue". Thank you.
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Old 05-21-07, 09:22 PM
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Eh, sounds like Hiro's having a bad day. I like all 3 songs he mentioned. Each one is a good time. I don't listen to the radio much, but when I do, I am most grateful for anything halfway decent. That's a rare thing. To be fair, I've never spent time with singing frat boys. I imagine they could ruin anything.

If you want a horrible Who hit, let's jump to "Who Are You." It's one of those songs you hear so much for your whole life that you almost don't realize how bad it is. & if you want to talk sell-out, how about turning 3 of your best known songs into television theme songs so that now no one wants to ever hear them again? Or Bob Dylan releasing what may be his most boring sounding album ever & it selling like mad because he made an ipod commercial. Or Tom Waits complaining for years about other artists allowing their songs in commercials & then re-recording a song he had already written & recorded for ANOTHER movie to be used in Shrek 2! SHREK 2!!! Oh geez, now I'm having a bad day...

This is reminding me of high school. People would find out that I liked Pink Floyd & would inevitably come up to me all excited, breathing heavy through their mouth, crazed look in their eye, & ask, "do you know The Wall!?" Frustrating, sure, (doubly so because The Wall was probably the only Floyd album I didn't like at the time) but you can't blame the artists for things like that.
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Old 05-21-07, 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Lokimok
Eh, sounds like Hiro's having a bad day.
Yeah, kinda pissy thread on my part...
If you want a horrible Who hit, let's jump to "Who Are You."
Yeah, I was going to mention that one, but Magic Bus has always bothered me more because it was released right when they were in their prime...
Oh geez, now I'm having a bad day...
My work here is done.
/rubs hands gleefully.
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Old 05-21-07, 10:41 PM
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Originally Posted by nothingfails
David Bowie - I'm a huge fan of his, but I can live without ever hearing Fame, Let's Dance, Golden Years or anything off Ziggy again. Not that they aren't all great songs and Ziggy's a great album, but I'm so burnt out on all of it that there's no excitement when I hear them now, just boredom

KISS - I hate Rock And Roll All Nite, and I love a lot of their stuff
What does a song being overplayed and now boring have to do with it being a sell-out?
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Old 05-21-07, 10:53 PM
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Metallica - Black Album and St. Anger.............


They were first metal and sold out to make the black album, then made st. anger to capitalize on the rap metal scene.

Pretty much the entire black album is a "classic song"
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Old 05-21-07, 11:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Hiro11
.

The Clash: "Should I Stay or Should I Go". Not really a deliberate sell-out. I'll bet they threw this on Combat Rock as filler. Joe Strummer even admitted that it's "something we used to play just to warm up". So now, a band that made many of the best, wide-ranging and charged punk albums of all time is mostly remembered for an incredibly stupid frat-boy sing along. You could argue that it was knowingly dumb, but that doesn't make matters any better.

Agree 100% with this one. I love The Clash, but never cared for this, which is what I feel to be a mediocre at best Clash song, definitely sounds like filler. Too bad I tend to hear it on the radio more than any of their other songs.
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Old 05-22-07, 03:47 AM
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Originally Posted by GuessWho
What does a song being overplayed and now boring have to do with it being a sell-out?
what's your attitude problem? If people can cite "Start Me Up" as a Stones song they can't stand to listen to because it's overplayed in this thread, then I'm gonna say what David Bowie songs I can't bare to listen to anymore.

If you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say it. No reason to be a freaking douchebag

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Last edited by benedict; 05-22-07 at 01:08 PM.
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Old 05-22-07, 03:54 AM
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Old 05-22-07, 06:21 AM
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Berlin's "Take My Breath Away"- couldn't believe it was the same group that gave us "Sex (I'm A.....)"

Also The B-52s "Love Shack"- definitely didn't deserve to be their most well-known song. I thought "Human" by Human League was a complete sell-out the first moment I heard it, but thankfully that one's been largely forgotten by now.
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