Starting in garages around America, the UK and Australia in the early 70s, punk rock was a genre that defied convention, rejected the mainstream and stuck a finger up at "the establishment".
And though we all like to associate punk with politics, it’s important to remember that it might never have come about without a significant contribution from other artists of the time – namely those creating records so sappy, silly and downright stupid that punks had no choice but to grab their guitars and start writing…
Have You Never Been Mellow, Olivia Newton-John
Everyone at SPRESSO has a genuine affection for Grease – but there’s just no excusing Have You Never Been Mellow, Olivia Newton-John’s number one album from 1975. Packed with insipid country-pop love songs, this album is effectively an anthology of lukewarm imitations of better artists. Think The Carpenters meets Linda Ronstadt without the charisma or heart.
That’s the Way (I Like It), KC & the Sunshine Band
If there’s one subject songwriters never tire of it’s sex. When done well, it’s a theme that can turn a song into an instant classic. When done badly you’re left with KC and The Sunshine Band’s "That’s the Way (I Like It)", a song which attempts to explore the complexities of sex by repeating the same two lines over and over again. Something so fun shouldn’t sound this boring.
Lovin’ You, Minnie Riperton
The true definition of a guilty pleasure, this eardrum-piercing and nauseatingly sappy ode to love topped the charts back in 1975. While you have to admire Minnie’s ability to hit those high notes, you’ll find it hard to get through this song without wincing at the lyrics. Then again, going by those (ahem) climactic high notes, at least we know everyone involved was having a good time…
Feelings, Morris Albert
Never has a song been more ripe for parody than Morris Albert’s woeful love ballad "Feelings". Were it not for the hilariously vague lyrics (to this day, none of us can be sure what kinds of "feelings" Albert was referring to) this song would have quickly disappeared into obscurity. Listening to it now, we might be inclined to wonder if Albert literally improvised those awful lyrics on the spot.
Disco Duck, Rick Dees
If there’s one genre of music that paved the way for the iconoclastic punk movement, it was disco. To the young and rebellious, it was a genre that summed up everything wrong with the world – it was too upbeat, too safe, too clean and too damn popular. Even Rick Dees’ horrendous parody song "Disco Duck" did the unthinkable and got to number one, thus proving to the whole world that – even in parody format – disco could do no wrong. And if that isn’t reason enough to start a punk band, we don’t know what is.
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