Musicians Who Hate Their Most Famous Songs

Here's the good news: We've finally started to move past the idea that a song has to be obscure in order for discerning people to like it. If you're lucky, you might make it the rest of your adult life without someone at a party berating you for never having heard of their favorite musicians, The Adjective Verb Nouns. As a society, we've finally made our peace with admitting that we don't hate popular music. At least, the listeners have. The songs' performers still think you're listening to garbage.

It's a tragic fact, but many of the music world's most prolific entertainers feel very strongly that their best-known songs are the audio equivalent of an upper decker in a Sears bathroom. If Van Gogh taught us anything, it's that nobody self-hates like an artist. Apparently the same can be said of, among others, Hannah Montana. Here are some famous musicians who might have happily forgone their residual checks in exchange for 20 years of not singing their top hits during residences at the Rio in Las Vegas.

John Lennon refuses to let it be

For a man who posthumously became the personification of love, John Lennon was sort of a jerk. He smacked his kids. He forced his wife to follow him to the bathroom in case she left him for another Beatle while he was dropping a deuce. Frankly, he's a prime example of the argument for separating the art from the artist. No well-balanced person could agree with most of the way Lennon lived his life.

Most damning of all (not really — absolutely not really) was his disdain for "Let It Be."

"Let It Be" was a chart topper. It was a beacon of hippie hope in a dark time. It was a gentle reminder from an iconic group that even though they were going away, everything was going to be all right. Nobody hates "Let It Be."

Nobody except John Lennon, who said he didn't know what Paul McCartney was thinking when he wrote it, that it should've been a Wings song, and essentially called it a knockoff of "Bridge Over Troubled Waters."

Radiohead doesn't know what the hell they're doing here

As anyone who's ever tried to impress a clearly-too-smart-for-them girl at a college party can tell you, Radiohead has a lot to say, man. Their musical range is well-established, and their more than 30 years of collaboration means you never know what songs you're going to hear if you see them in concert. What you do know is that you won't hear "Creep."

Radiohead front man Thom Yorke's totally mature nickname for the song? "Crap." Guitarist Jonny Greenwood claims the three guitar blasts right before the chorus were the result of his turning up the distortion on his guitar in an attempt to sabotage a "wimpy" song. These days, the band plays "Creep" live about as frequently as Hale-Bopp makes an appearance. Oh, and as an extra slice of charming, Yorke describes fans who like the song as being, and this is a quote, "an*lly retarded."

Smells Like Teen Spirit stinks

Kurt Cobain pretty famously hated "Smells Like Teen Spirit." That's a sentiment that makes sense if you're anyone in the '90s trying to come off as disaffected and over it, but why would an otherwise unemployable grunge kid from Aberdeen hold so much ill will against the song that paid for his house?

According to Cobain, it was because he ripped it off. In more than one interview, Nirvana's lead singer admitted that he was just trying to make something that sounded like The Pixies. He even went so far as to say that it was "almost an embarrassment to play."

And when dissing his own No. 1 hit wasn't cathartic enough for them, Cobain and the rest of the group took to trolling their fans for wanting to hear their cornerstone single. How, you ask? By playing the opening riff from Teen Spirit then immediately transitioning into a warped, mumble-screaming cover of Boston's "More Than A Feeling."

Lorde is royally upset

There are two schools of thought as to who Lorde is. The first states that she was actually Randy Marsh, Stan's dad from South Park, cleverly covering up his subterfuge with the lyrics "I am Lorde La La La."

The second, more plausible theory is that Lorde was still a teenage musician when she exploded onto the music scene in 2013 with her smash hit "Royals," and like most of us, she's spent every year since adolescence desperately wishing that she hadn't done what she did when she was younger.

Yes, Lorde hates "Royals," but only (and here's the twist) when she sings it. In an interview with the Daily Record, the New Zealand native said that she thinks her version of "Royals" sounds like a Nokia ringtone from 2006, and that virtually everyone who's put out a cover of it has done a better job than she did. That sort of harsh criticism is exactly what's keeping you from being our ruler, girl.

Miley Cyrus wrecked it

Of all the things ex-Disney Channel starlet Miley Cyrus née Montana could be retrospectively embarrassed about, the music video for "Wrecking Ball" is ... well, actually probably a good choice.

Sorry, fans of tastefully nuded-up 20-year-olds sticking their tongues on construction equipment. Miley is, like, super bummed that "Wrecking Ball" happened. In an interview on the Zach Sang Show, she put it this way:

"I'm never living that down. I will always be the naked girl on a wrecking balI, no matter how much I frolic with emu, I'm always the naked girl on the wrecking ball."

So essentially, Cyrus views her chart-topping single the same way that most of us look at that tattoo we got in college: It was spur of the moment, and now that's all anyone from back there remembers about us. Her fears go a smidge further, though, as later in the same interview she says her worst fear is having that music video played at her funeral.

Frank Sinatra would have rather stayed strangers

What is there to say about Frank Sinatra that your grandfather hasn't already told you? He was a consummate performer. He was a dynamite singer. He was Elvis for fans of The Godfather. He got pretty racist about Sammy Davis Jr.

Also, he would've hit "Strangers In The Night" with his car if he could have.

"Strangers In The Night," for the unfamiliar, was a song that hit the public like a gently crooning version of the bus from Speed. It was a No. 1 chart-topper in the U.S. and the U.K. Everybody loved it. Everybody except Sinatra.

Ol' Blue Eyes didn't shy away from the fact that he hated "Strangers In The Night," going so far as to verbally abuse the song on stage. Some choice cuts?

  • "Yeah, here's a song that I cannot stand. I just cannot stand this song, but what the hell."

  • "This is a song that I absolutely detested the first time I heard it. And strangely enough I keep saying to myself 'Why are you still singing this song?'"

  • "Here's a song, the first time I heard Don Costa played it for me some years ago. I hated it. ... And I still hate it! So sue me, shoot bullets through me. Shoot."

There are more, but they get pretty graphic.

Led Zeppelin can just take the elevator

To quote Wayne Campbell, "No 'Stairway.' Denied."

Given the opportunity, Robert Plant would really rather play anything besides "Stairway To Heaven." How do we know this? Because he's said so, dating as far back as 1988. According to Rolling Stone, Plant called Jimmy Page the night before a big reunion concert and was adamant that he would under no circumstances play that song again. It took hours of peer pressure before he finally caved, saying he'd do it this once, but never again.

And yeah, they played it again. Just not a lot. It's been strummed by Page as an instrumental at solo outings and occasionally dusted off for special reunions, but man, Robert Plant would rather shut the lid on that song's coffin. He's even gone so far as to pay money not to hear it, at one point donating $1,000 to a radio station pledge drive when they promised never to play "Stairway" again. That's the closest an artist can get to putting out a hit on their own work.

Today is gonna be the day you don't hear Wonderwall

Oasis hates a lot of things, but Oasis probably hates Oasis most of all. The only thing Oasis might hate more than Oasis is Oasis' chart topper "Wonderwall."

"Wonderwall," for anyone who missed the '90s, was a song that freshman arts majors used to learn on the acoustic guitar so women at coffee shop open mics would think they were deep. It's taken on a dark visage over the years, echoing a warped paraphrasing of Obi Wan's description of Darth Vader: It's more meme than music now.

It's a sweet song.

Oasis doesn't think so, though. They have a long history of slinging vitriol at their greatest success. Liam Gallagher says it makes him gag. Noah Gallagher once called take-backs on his earlier statements that it was about his recent ex-wife, saying the meaning of the song was "taken away" from him by the media. Then the brothers presumably went back to insulting one another via reporter.

Pulp can't connect with 'Common People'

Pulp was a band that was nothing if not persistent. They burned through over 20 band members. They pushed through the late '70s, all of the '80s, and half of the '90s without a major hit. And then, seemingly out of nowhere, they had one: "Common People." And their drummer hated it.

Yes, Pulp's biggest hit is also the least favorite of their longest-serving drummer, Nick Banks. Rolling Stone may have called it the greatest Britpop song of all time, but Banks said it was "a bit of a tuneless dirge." Asked if he thought they had something special when he first heard it, Banks replied "Not particularly," making sure to add that the original demo was a "load of rubbish." That's a lot of emotion to pile on a poppy little number that's been covered by Bastille, Tori Amos, and My Chemical Romance. In his defense, though, Pulp's less popular "Like A Friend" was way better. Watch the Season 4 finale of Venture Bros. if you need to check the math.

Take Berlin away

Quick, what are the four things you remember from Top Gun? Airplanes? Check. The love scene set to "Take My Breath Away" by Berlin? Check. The all-male volleyball scene that really should've been set to "Take My Breath Away" by Berlin? We're spinning off-topic. The point is, you remember "Take My Breath Away." By Berlin.

You know who wishes they didn't remember that song? Berlin. As we've learned, it's not uncommon for a group to dislike one of their singles, but there are ex-members of Berlin who still blame that song for the band breaking up.

In a 2016 interview with Australia's ABC News, Berlin's lead singer, Terri Nunn, claimed that when the song hit No. 1 in the U.S., U.K., and Australia, it forced the musicians into a recording and tour schedule that had them together 24 hours a day for months at a time. Their success became their downfall as the band just couldn't stand each other anymore. That song took the wind out of their sails. It took the air out of their balloon. It ... rats, it's too bad there isn't another way to say that.