I’ve often stood at concerts and wondered whether artists die a little inside as they’re forced to perform their biggest hit night after night, even after they’ve grown and matured and moved on as a creator in the intervening years.
I mean…it’s probably hard for Billy Joel to hate Piano Man, since it’s still literally paying dividends, but he’s got to be tired of singing it, right?
Well, it turns out I’m not wrong – these 8 musicians would be thrilled to never hear or sing their greatest hit ever again.
8. Radiohead (Creep)
Thom Yorke called the song “crap” and still refuses to sing it regularly in live performances, while guitarist Jonny Greenwood says he tries to sabotage it when they do trot it out by “hitting the guitar hard – really hard.”
When one fan yelled out requesting it at a Montreal show, Yorke replied, “F*ck off, we’re tired of it.”
So there you go.
7. Flock of Seagulls (I Ran So Far Away)
Frontman Mike Score said on VH1’s 100 Greatest Songs of the 80s that he loathes the song, and performing it.
“Every time I perform live, everyone just wants to hear ‘I Ran.’ I’m sick of it.”
6. Led Zeppelin (Stairway to Heaven)
Robert Plant pledged to donate to an Oregon radio station that refused to play the song, one he refers to as “that bloody wedding song.” The group even avoided a reunion simply because he’d had it with playing that particular song.
“I’d break out in hives if I had to sing that song in every show,” he said in 1988. And when the band played a concert in 2008, he demanded it not be the finale, and also for guitarist Jimmy Page to “restrain himself from turning the song into an even more epic solo-filled noodle.”
I can’t help but giggle a bit at that one.
5. John Cougar Mellencamp (Jack & Diane)
“I’ve been able to live on my whims, that’s what Jack and Diane gave me. So I can’t hate them too much.”
4. Madonna (Like a Virgin)
In a 2008 interview, Madonna admitted “I’m not sure I can sing ‘Holiday’ or ‘Like a Virgin’ ever again. I just can’t, unless somebody paid me, like, $30 million or something.”
Just a year later, she said that just hearing the song by happenstance rubs her the wrong way. “For some reason people think that when you go to a restaurant or you are going shopping that you want to hear one of your own songs. It’s usually ‘Like a Virgin,’ and that is the one I don’t want to hear.”
3. Oasis (Wonderwall)
Liam Gallagher praised Oasis’ final album for lacking anything akin to the huge hit, telling MTV “I can’t f*cking stand that f*cking song! Every time I have to sing it I want to gag. You go to America, and they’re like: ‘Are you Mr. Wonderwall?’ You want to chin someone.”
2. Beastie Boys (Fight For Your Right)
They’ve said directly that the song “sucks” (in the liner notes for their 1999 greatest hits album) and dislike it largely because of a lost sense of its intended irony.
“The only thing that upsets me,” says Mike D, “is that we may have reinforced certain values of some people in our audience when our own values were actually totally different.”
1. REM (Shiny Happy People)
The 1991 hit isn’t near and dear to lead singer Michael Stipe’s heart – he said in 1995 “I hate that song,” and even though he’s tempered that statement since, still maintains that it has “limited appeal” and that the entire band agreed to leave it off their Greatest Hits album.
You don’t want to bite the hand that feeds you, but as an artist, I can see how it’s hard to be forced to keep looking back when all you want is to move forward. I know that the first novels I wrote feel like practice tests, now!
Do you think it’s selfish and dumb to hate your “best song?” Let us know in the comments!