Poor James Blunt: in a new interview, the singer’s admitted his Number One single ‘You’re Beautiful’ was a bit naff and “became annoying”. The 2005 single sold a whopping 625,000 copies – but what are the other worst Number One hits in history?
Mr Blobby – ‘Mr Blobby’ (1993). A shameless novelty cash-in, and not even a particularly good one: gibberish lyrics about the pink alien from Noel’s House Party and some cloying Christmas-lite instrumentation make for a music horrorshow.
Aqua – ‘Barbie Girl’ (1997). Danish bubblegum popsters Aqua were no stranger to releasing awful tat – other singles included ‘Itsy Bitsy Spider’ and ‘Doctor Jones’ – but their imagined tacky romance between Barbie and Ken was by far the nadir.
Crazy Frog – ‘Axel F’ (2005). The ringtone that, inexplicably, spawned a cartoon amphibian popstar and a Number One smash in ‘Axel F’. It was designed to be purposefully annoying, and yet still outsold chart rivals Coldplay by four copies to one. Penny for your thoughts, Chris Martin…
Vanilla Ice – ‘Ice Ice Baby’ (1990). He ripped off Queen and David Bowie’s classic ‘Under Pressure’, and then sullied it with his stilted delivery and cringey lyrics (“Cooking MCs like a pound of bacon”). In the UK, though, it went platinum and sold over 600,000 copies.
Peter Andre – ‘Mysterious Girl’ (2004). Australian singer Andre had originally released ‘Mysterious Girl’ back in 1996, but reached Number One in 2004 off the back of his appearance in ‘I’m A Celebrity’. Eight years on, it was still rubbish.
Five and Queen – ‘We Will Rock You’ (2000). Poor Queen. Is nothing sacred? This time, boyband Five – probably the least rock-heavy group of people ever – teamed up with the remaining members of the British group for a poppy version of ‘We Will Rock You’.
Las Ketchup – ‘The Ketchup Song’ (2002). Remarkably, ‘The Ketchup Song’ – less about condiments, more about a sleazeball named Diego prowling around a nightclub – is the UK’s 50th best-selling single of the 2000s.
Akon – ‘Lonely’ (2005). Also known as ‘that song with the awful Alvin and the Chipmunks-style vocals’, Akon whimpered about how he had nobody and was left on his own over saccharine beats. If this was the best you could do, chap, it’s little wonder you had no friends.
The Simpsons – ‘Do The Bartman’ (1990). Michael Jackson’s cameo on The Simpsons resulted in one of the finest ever episodes of the US cartoon, but this crossover single he penned, with its watered-down, kid-friendly pop rap, was less of a critical achievement.
Bob The Builder – ‘Can We Fix It’? (2000). Giving actor Neil Morrissey a shot at pop stardom, ‘Can We Fix It?’ was the theme tune from cartoon series ‘Bob The Builder’. It claimed the Christmas Number One spot in 2000 and went on to be the year’s biggest-selling single.
Rick Astley – ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ (1987). The song’s a travesty – subtle-as-a-sledgehammer blue-eyed soul courtesy of Stock, Aitken and Waterman – but it’s become a 21st century phenomenon due to the popularity of ‘Rickrolling’. Yep, its legacy is now one of tricking people into clicking links and rejoicing when they have to watch a rubbish pop video instead.
Gareth Gates and The Kumars – ‘Spirit In The Sky’ (2003). Let’s not be too harsh: it was for Comic Relief, and thus undoubtedly raised money for a good cause. But really, was this the best they could do? Gates and TV comedy family the Kumars in a syrupy, ‘funny’ take on the old gospel standard.
Sam And Mark – ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’ (2004). ‘Pop Idol’ contestants Sam And Mark covered The Beatles’ classic in 2004. But Sam and Mark weren’t Lennon And McCartney; they were more like Paul and Barry Chuckle, and their version of the Fab Four’s classic track was a cloying mess.
Tellytubbies – Tellytubbies Say ‘Eh-oh’ (1997). Four furry aliens say their own names on a loop, laugh like scary maniacs, run around a field for a bit and then insist you do it all again. How on earth did this nightmarish acid-trip become popular with children?
3 Of A Kind –’Babycakes’ (2004). Making the Teletubbies look like poet laureates in waiting is garage trio 3 Of A Kind, who kept The Libertines’ ‘Can’t Stand Me Now’ off the top spot with their sickly rhymes about young love and lust. Predictably – and mercifully – they were one hit wonders.
Hear’Say – ‘Pure And Simple’ (March 2001)
If worms and Afghan hounds – the dumbest animals in the world, apparently – knew how to write songs, ‘Pure And Simple gunna be there’ would be their effort. This moronic dirge hit the number one spot in 2001 despite sounding like a worse version of Oasis’ ‘All Around The World’.
DJ Casper- Cha Cha Slide (2004)
On the face of it there is nothing wrong with ‘Cha Cha Slide’: it’s got a funky beat and the dance routine is nothing to sneer at. Hearing it again and again? Sonic torture. Inspired by the Chicago stepping movement, the song was recorded in 1998 but didn’t get to number one in the UK till 2004.
Lou Bega, ‘Mambo No.5’ (2001)
Angela, Pamela, Sandra, Rita, Monica, Erika, Tina, Mary, and Jessica… Lou Bega would’ve been a hit on Tinder. For a man in his mid-20s, Bega was living the highlife in 1999 and his ridiculous song topped the charts in so many countries.
Vengaboys – ‘We’re Going To Ibiza’ (August 1999)
If it’s Monday morning when you read this, please take caution. ‘We’re Going To Ibiza’ could be the very worst song ever written. People actually bought this? People actually bought this.
Eiffel 65 – ‘Blue (Da Ba Dee)’ (1999)
The music of Eiffel 65’s massive hit is actually quite amazing, in a ringtone sort of way. It’s the lyrics that really let the side down. The man with the blue house and window and corvette…? Everyone together now: ‘I have a girlfriend and she is so blue.’
Gary Barlow- ‘Forever Love’ (1996)
An insipid skidmark of a track that was thankfully booted off the top spot by the Spice Girls’ Buffalo platforms with their debut single ‘Wannabe’ in 1996.
Tinchy Stryder ft Dappy – ‘Number 1’ (2009)
It starts off almost OK until Dappy appears and the chorus gets all whiney and nasal and worse than the sound of a dental drill in your root canal.
B*Witched- ‘C’est La Vie’ (1998)
For lovers of double denim, the Irish girl group’s first UK number one includes lyric that makes Vengaboys look like Proust. “We can talk, we can sing / I’ll be the queen and you’ll be the king.” Mmm.
Shaggy- ‘It Wasn’t Me’ (2000)
Deserves a space on this list just for bringing the image of Shaggy banging, butt-naked, on the bathroom floor of his villa into the wider consciousness; it was number one in both the UK and the US at the same time.
Cher Lloyd – ‘Swagger Jagger’ (2011)
The X Factor-Syco sprog’s first single took abrasive to new levels, lurching from a spoken-word verse to a cheesy chorus, a study on the worst side of the modern world: “You can’t stop YouTubeing me, on repeat, runnin’ this beat.”
Chico – ‘It’s Chico Time’ (2006)
Another X Factor loser. What’s Chico Time, exactly, in this context? “It’s erotic, exotic, hypnotic, that’s for sure.” Nice sentiment, shame Chico had a voice like a horse with a sore throat.
One Direction – ‘One Way Or Another/Teenage Kicks’ (2013)
If it wasn’t for charity, we’d say the One Direction appropriation of The Undertones’ ‘Teenage Kicks’ and Blondie’s ‘One Way Or Another’ was a sacrilegious travesty of the highest order.
Rednex – ‘Cotton Eye Joe’ (1994)
The soundtrack to many a 90s kid whizzing around ice rinks with a slush puppy in hand. Swedish Rednex, a strange band who combined techno with country music, saw fit to remix the trad. American folk song to questionable results.
The Black Eyed Peas – I Gotta Feeling
At which the entire nation of the United Kingdom lost their minds and voted a listening experience worse than being bludgeoned by spanners and screwdrivers the best song for two weeks in 2009.
LMFAO – ‘Party Rock Anthem’ (2011)
What can you expect from a party thrown by EDM clowns LMFAO? Wacky glasses, T-Shirts with slogans like ‘ALL I DO IS FUCK AND PARTY’, a lot of boring chat about ‘molly’ and the worst music ever to exist on earth. Count me in!
Robin Thicke – ‘Blurred Lines’
Pick your reason. 1. It’s a rip-off of one of Marvin Gaye’s great songs, ‘Got To Give It Up’. 2. The lyrics are sexist and offensive. Case closed.