The Unintentionally Funny….

It was the best of lines, it was the worst of lines… (sorry)

Obviously through the course of popular / rock music history there have been many many songs written. The subjects range from just about everything, and the emotions they try to convey also are hugely diverse. 

Some are meant to be sad.  Others happy.  Some are even meant to be funny.  (See Weird Al Yankovic…I said “meant”)

Some obviously are not.  Some are and did not mean to be….

This is a list of “those” songs.  Unintentional funny songs.

 

“Honey (I Miss You)”

This 1968 massive hit by Bobby Goldsboro was written by producer Bobby Russell.  It’s supposed to pull at your heart not with strings but with thick rope.  And on the surface, it kind of does.  But if you really listen to the lyrics, the singer was actually quite mean to his Honey, saying she was “kinda dumb and kinda smart”.  Then (my favorite) she “Came runnin’ in all excited, Slipped and almost hurt herself, And I laughed till I cried.”  What?  He’s laughing his ass off because she might have sustained a head injury?  Guess it wouldn’t matter, since she was so “dumb”.  He’s also obliviousness to her emotional state “…caught her crying needlessly”; and culminating in her possible suicide “One day while I was not at home, While she was there and all alone, The angels came”.

If I were Honey I might do myself in as well, living with this heartless guy.

 

“Amanda”

 After two monster albums (or should I say 8-track tapes…since that was almost the exclusive format they sold in) it took Boston six years to release their next record.  SIX YEARS.  You would think they were busy crafting, re-crafting, and working diligently to come up with songs that would be even better than the huge sellers that came before.  Then the single came out.  Amanda:

 “I’m gonna take you by surprise

And make you realize, Amanda

I’m gonna tell you right away,

I can’t wait another day, Amanda

I’m gonna say it like a man

And make you understand, Amanda”

 It sounded like Boston.  That was good.  But how obvious was it that they used a freaking rhyming dictionary while “crafting” this new single.  Every cliché rhyme after another!

 “I’m running out of rhymes

I’ll poke you in the eyes, Amanda!”

 

“(You’re) Having my baby”

 This one was Paul Anka’a first hit number one hit in 15 years, since 1959’s “Lonely Boy”.  It’s hilarity is pretty apparent. 

First of all,  it’s obviously only his baby.  It’s not titled “Having OUR baby”. 

But then again, what a lovely way of showing how much she loves him…..

Feminist had to have loved this one.

 

“MacArthur Park”


Written by one of the all time great songwriters, Jimmy Webb and recorded by much more actor than singer Richard Harris, this song is so stupid that you HAD to think they were joking:

“Someone left the cake out in the rain

 I don’t think that I can take it ’cause it took
so long to bake it

And I’ll never have that recipe again… Oh, no!”

It wasn’t a joke.  It won a damn Grammy Award.  Then Donna Summer had a disco hit with it.

 “Oh, No!” is right. 

  

“We Built this City” 

Starship.  Not only a bad song, it’s just funny. Grace Slick is even embarrassed about it.

And Bernie Taupin wrote the lyrics! (More about him later)

“Knee deep in the hoopla”.  I can’t say anymore.  I’m laughing too hard.

 

“Sunglasses at night” 

Corey Hart.

“And I wear my sunglasses at night

So I can, so I can, Forget my name while you collect your claim

And I wear my sunglasses at night, So I can, so I can

See the light that’s right before my eyes”

And he bumps into crap a lot too.

Maybe this one WAS a joke.  I hope this one was a joke….

 

“I am I said”

Okay.  I like Neil Diamond.  I really do, especially his early work, and I’m down for some of his cheesier latter stuff too.

This song is actually great.  Supposedly it took him four months to write.  It’s a guy caught in between two worlds:

L.A.’s fine but it ain’t home

New York’s home but it ain’t mine no more.”

Doing good..

Up until the chorus.

“I am, I said, To no one there

And no one heard at all, Not even the chair…”

Why would he think the chair COULD hear him?

And why is he talking to a chair? 

No wonder he was kicked out of New York.  He’s crazy even for that town.

 

“Waterfalls”

Paul McCartney often gets the wrong reputation as being a mediocre lyricist.  Lennon was the word guy, McCartney the melody guy.

Not true.  “Eleanor Rigby”, “Hey Jude”, “For No One”, and countless others prove this completely wrong.

But about six months before being busted in a Japanese airport with almost EIGHT OUNCES of pot for personal use (like he was gonna share it) he released his album McCartney 2.  He was definitely smoking in the ounces.

The second single was called “Waterfalls”.  The thing that almost makes this more frustrating than funny is that it is one of the guy’s best melodies he penned post Beatles.  And the guy could write some melodies.   Lyrically though….well, here is the second verse:

“Don’t Go Chasing Polar Bears

In The Great Unknown

Some Big Friendly Polar Bear

Might Want To Take You Home”

 What?  I mean the term “jumping waterfalls” in the first verse is an old metaphor for keeping safe.  But chasing Polar Bears?  Really?

Then on to the third verse:

“Don’t Run After Motor Cars

Please Stay On The Side

Someone’s Glossy Motor Car

Might Take You For A Ride”

What, Is she a dog?  Or just as dumb as one?

Yep.  Pot makes you lazy.

  

“Someone Saved My Life Tonight” 

Elton John’s poignant song about his attempted suicide. 

And Bernie Taupin is a talented lyricist (besides the aforementioned “We Built This City).  Even when his lyrics are vague, or seem to not make literal sense (Take Me to The Pilot, Burn Down The Mission) they just sound good together and evoke great imagery.  But one little phrase just absolutely breaks me up in this 1975 hit: 

“And Someone saved my life tonight.  Sugar Bear” 

“Sugar Bear”?  The one from Super Sugar Crisp Cereal?  He saved your life?

Sugar Bear was pretty cool.  Had a real Dean Martin thing going for him, but….HE’S A CARTOON.

 

“Any Thing by the group America written by Dewey Bunnell”

 Self explanatory really….

From “Horse with No Name”:

 “The heat was hot” No kidding?  Really?  I wonder if his ice was cold?

“There were plants, and birds, and rocks, and things”  I could barely type that I was laughing so hard.

And of course: “’Cause there ain’t no-one for to give you no pain” The last line of the chorus.  Appropriately so…

 

From “Ventura Highway”:

“Cause the free wind is blowin’ through your hair

and the day surround your daylight there

Seasons cryin’ no despair

Alligator lizards in the air”

See… I wouldn’t have gotten it until the alligator lizards part.  Now I….wait, no I don’t.

 

And from “Tin Man”

“But Oz never did give nothing to the Tin Man 
That he didn’t, didn’t already have 


And Cause never was the reason for the evening 
Or the tropic of Sir Galahad. 



So please believe in me 
When I say I’m spinning round, round, round, round 
Smoke glass stain bright color 
Image going down, down, down, down 
Soapsuds green like bubbles”

I get this mental image of the village idiot spinning around and around dressed like a tin man.  That’s just funny stuff…

 

Well that’s all I got for now.  But there are more.  Many more. 

Have any unintentional funny songs that come to your mind?

And by the way, what the hell kind of attitude is “Jimmy Crack Corn,  and I don’t care”?  And if no one cares why is there a song about it?

Poor "Honey". So cute though...

Such a lovely way of showin' how much you love me...

Ummm, there's a bear behind you...

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10 responses

  1. DaleC

    I’m guessing Tin Man was influenced by some kind of hallucinogen. The others are merely stupid or, like Goldsboro and Anka, reflective of the times.

    Lyrics written while high or tripping are best understood by those who are high or tripping while listening. 🙂

    November 16, 2011 at 4:17 pm

  2. peggi

    must have been the brown acid

    November 16, 2011 at 4:43 pm

  3. Shawn Ryan

    I would put forth the hypothesis that almost any song written by Lionel Richie is meant as a lyrical joke. He is the master of the banal rhyming cliche, it’s so overwhelming in his songs, it’s just GOT to be intentional. I bet it takes him all of 5 minutes to crank out a song. Examples:

    “And your eyes, your eyes, your eyes, they tell me how much you care/Oh yes, you will always be my endless love” — “Endless Love
    (What about your lips, your lips, your lips or your nostrils, your nostrils, your nostrils?)

    “Because I’m truly, truly in love with you girl/I’m truly head over heels with your live/I need you and with your love I’m free/And truly, you know you’re all I really need” — Truly
    (Truly? Really for sure, like for real?)

    “I had a dream/I had an awesome dream/People in the park/Playing games in the dark” — Say You Say Me
    (Guess you wouldn’t write if you had a dream, a boring dream about people in the park throwing Frisbees)

    I’ll give him credit for some stick-in-your-head melodies, but his lyrics suck out loud.

    November 16, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    • “say you say me…Say it together”
      Then the logical answer would be: “sayyousayme”
      I couldn’t even go into Lionel because the tears were streaming down my face from laughter.

      November 16, 2011 at 5:16 pm

  4. JOHN MANN

    Well, you’ve set me straight on one lyric in particular. I always thought the line in Tin Man was “And ‘Cause never was the reason for believing
on the topic of Sir Galahad” which kinda makes sense. As in: “(just Be)cause” never was (a good) reason for believing (in a real person like) Sir Galahad”

    And I still think the first line of that chorus is a great lyric: “But Oz never did give nothing to the Tin Man 
That he didn’t, didn’t already have” The Tin Man had a ‘true’ heart all along (with or without a heart, he was the tenderest and most emotional of Dorothy’s companions, just as the Scarecrow was the wisest and the Cowardly Lion the bravest). We can’t just instantly get something given to us to make our dreams come true. It has to be within us already.

    November 16, 2011 at 7:00 pm

  5. Ben Hancox

    One must include the 10Cc ridiculousfest that is “I’m not in Love.” Just so, so, so horrid it is funny.

    November 16, 2011 at 8:37 pm

  6. Tres

    I think you misinterpreted someone saved my life tonight just a little bit. But anyway, what about a recent BJS song – “I saw a lion he was standing alone with a tadpole in a jar” I’ve always wondered WTF does that mean?

    November 18, 2011 at 11:59 pm

    • yes! The lonely Lion with a Tadpole line always cracked me up as well!
      But how did I “misinterpret” “Someone Saved My Life Tonight”?
      It DOESN’T say “Sugar Bear”?

      November 19, 2011 at 12:45 pm

      • Tres

        I think in the song he is talking facetiously to his girlfriend who he almost married. His friend talked him out of it during one long night of drinking, and thereby “saved his life.” I don’t think “saved my life” reference has to do with (at least directly) suicide. “sugar Bear” is like his pet name for her. He goes on to tell her — “you almost had your hooks in me, didn’t you dear?” At least that’s how I understood it for years. I think in the Capt Fantastic book (in the reissued CD) it is told that way.

        BTW — Led Zep was great, as was The Doors (and Pepper and Rumours). Can’t wait for Josh. Keep rocking!

        December 4, 2011 at 12:03 am

  7. Bill

    Someone saved my life tonight? I thought it was “someone SHAVED my wife tonight”.

    November 19, 2011 at 12:19 am

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