by Daniel Wirtheim

1. “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” Guns N’ Roses

This could be the best song on the list, only because Bob Dylan wrote it. How could such a terrible, sapped up version of a masterpiece go so far in the classic-rock radio repertoire? Even when they really break it down and bring in back-up vocals, the vocals are just so fake — horrendous, even.

2. “Hotel California,” Eagles

I don’t hate the Eagles just because the Dude hates the Eagles. I just think this song is stupid, and doesn’t make any sense. “So I called up the captain, ‘Please bring me my wine’/ He said, ‘We haven’t had that spirit here since 1969.’” A good songwriter would know that wine is not a spirit; the fermentation processes are completely different.

3. “Dream On,” Aerosmith

I’ll admit that “Sweet Emotion” is a pretty good song, at least the first 45 seconds, before the lyrics start to make no sense and you realize you’re listening to a band that is harder than cockroaches to kill. “Dream On” should be banned because it’s so obviously created by some sleazy music exec who wanted kids to think there was more to this ridiculous group of clowns than the most basic rock and roll talent. There’s absolutely no reason this should carry on like it has.

4. “In the Air Tonight,” Phil Collins

The legend of this song — when Phil Collins plays directly to the guy who let a girl drown and Phil saw the whole thing go down — is way cooler than the actual song. It’s like that one was a genius marketing-ploy that won’t die.

5. “More than a Feeling,” Boston

When I hear this song I try to imagine what’s going on in the DJ booth. I tell myself that this is either when the DJ takes a smoke break or when the automated DJ takes over. I’ve heard people say before, “Yeah, but that guy invented really cool things for the guitar; he was a genius.” The dude who invented the vibrating ab-belt was probably hailed as a genius of his time, but do we still honor that?

6. “Rock and Roll Band,” Boston

“Rock and roll band, everybody’s waitin’/ Getting’ crazy/ Anticipating love and music/ play, play, play, play, yeah, yeah, yeah.” Those are the actual lyrics.


  1. If I recall correctly, Dream On’s lyric was written by Steven Tyler when he was a young teenager, and the introductory riff was something Joe Perry was playing as a warm-up; Tyler said, “Hey, I think I have words to go with that,” and their first hit was born.
    Also, while I think Hotel California is overplayed, there can be a time and a place for it. Additionally, “We haven’t had that spirit here since 1969” isn’t that bad of a songwriting fumble. Yes, while wine is not a spirit, I enjoy the double entendre with, you know, “joie de vivre.”
    Otherwise, yeah, this list is spot-on, though you forgot Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey, as our dearly departed Jeff Laughlin would point out.

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