The Top 10 Songs We Never Want to Hear Again

Listeners on Air

Friday, July 27, 2012

Album cover for Bruce Springsteen's Born in the USA Album cover for Bruce Springsteen's Born in the USA (Columbia Records)

A couple weeks ago, Kurt Andersen talked with the music critic Tim Page about great music that’s been overplayed to the point of inanity. Call it death by heavy rotation — and not even the Beatles are immune. “I’m a guy in his late 50s,” Page said, “and I’ve been listening to, say, Sgt. Pepper since I was 13 or 14. I don’t need to hear it again.”

“I regret something so beautiful becoming so mundane,” writes George G about Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. We got hundreds more nominations (via our website and Facebook) and present the following playlist. Listen at your own risk.

Studio 360's Do Not Playlist:

“Hotel California,” The Eagles

The Eagles’ biggest hit was perhaps the most popular example of “over-saturation to the extreme,” writes John Smith from Sarasota. “Could easily be declared an illegal weapon of war if used on prisoners.” “To make matters worse,” writes Kit Moresby, “the French have a particular fondness for it, and sing it passionately in bars in Paris.”



“Canon in D,” Johann Pachelbel

Number 1 on the classical offenders list is this “insipid” (Joshua Israelsohn, Boston) piece that “got ruined at weddings” (Ken Druse, Brooklyn). “Any time someone tries to make you relax — at Lamaze class, in a hypnosis session,” writes Karen Clark, “they play it, and with me it has the opposite effect!”




“Adagio for Strings,” Samuel Barber

“I know it’s supposed to be the ultimate tearjerker, but at this point I feel it twisting my arm to cry. I know your game, Samuel Barber, and it won’t work on me anymore!”

Johanna, New York




“Black Water,” Doobie Brothers

“This song, and anything from the Doobie Brothers’ 1970s catalogue, makes you feel like you’re in a smoke-filled Dodge camper-van riding down the highway. But you know what? After nearly 40 years, the air’s getting a little stale in that van.”

— Julia Barton, Studio 360 producer



“Born in the USA,” Bruce Springsteen

“How many times has that song been played at sports events, 4th of July, and other red-blooded American venues? It is not a patriotic song; it is an anti-patriotic song. Which the idiots pumping their fists in the air as they sing the chorus would know had they ever listened to the rest of the lyrics. … It ruins a great song.”

Lisa Matlock, Homer, Alaska



“F**k You,” Cee Lo Green

"I thought this song was brilliant the first time I heard it: so catchy, so funny, so unexpected. Then the cleaned up version, 'Forget You,' ruined it for me. The whole point of the song was setting vulgar lyrics against an uber-cheerful melody. The move to make it Glee-friendly just bummed me out. Sorry, Cee Lo! 'Forget You' needs to be forgotten."

— Leital Molad, Studio 360 Senior Producer


“Hallelujah,” Leonard Cohen, covered by everyone else

“It always starts out the same, sung softly, respectfully, and then builds to ludicrous heights of emotionality... It now feels less revelatory and more like calculated and insincere emotionality. Doesn't matter who sings it now, it's been ruined for me.”




“Brick House,” Commodores

“For decades, the Commodores’ 'Brick House' has been the soundtrack for tired movie scenes in which a foxy lady walks in slow motion as a gaggle of males wag their tongues. (Or even better, when an ugly man in drag struts his stuff.) It used to be funky; now it’s just straight played out. Every time that bass line slinks up my spine, I feel like I’m being hit on by someone’s pervy uncle.”

— Alana Harper, Studio 360 production assistant



“Carmina Burana: O Fortuna!” Carl Orff

“What is dreadful is its exploitation in (endlessly repetitive) soundtracks of every dreary sort of low-budget horror and exorcism-themed movie, and similar digitally enhanced apocalyptic media trash.”

Debbie Tegarden, New Jersey




“Someone Like You,” Adele

“I'm not usually one for heartfelt ballads, but something about 'Someone Like You' got to me — until I started hearing it three times per grocery shopping trip. Now Adele's sincere lyrics and raw, powerful voice make me think of the produce aisle, another great song ruined by fluorescent lighting and a pile of under-ripe avocados.”

— Eve Asher, Studio 360 intern

    Music Playlist
  1. Canon in D Major
    Artist: Pachelbel
    Album: Classical Classics
    Label: Big Eye Music
    Purchase: Amazon
  2. Born in the USA
    Artist: Bruce Springsteen
    Album: Born in the USA
    Label: Sony
    Purchase: Amazon
  3. Hallelujah
    Artist: Rufus Wainwright
    Album: Hallelujah
    Label: DreamWorks
    Purchase: Amazon
  4. Hallelujah
    Artist: K. D. Lang
    Album: Recollection
    Label: Nonesuch
    Purchase: Amazon
  5. Hallelujah
    Artist: Neil Diamond
    Album: Dreams
    Label: Columbia
    Purchase: Amazon
  6. Brick House
    Artist: Commodores
    Album: Commodores
    Label: Motown
    Purchase: Amazon
  7. Someone Like You
    Artist: Adele
    Album: 21
    Label: Columbia
    Purchase: Amazon

Comments [44]

John from FL

Debbie Boone-you light up my life. When I lived in OK they played that song every three songs for weeks, I could go another 5 lifetimes and never hear that song again and it would be too soon

Oct. 08 2013 07:19 PM
Kenneth E. MacAlister Jr. from Langhorne, PA

I don't remember the title of the song, only that it was the first hit for The White Stripes & EVERY DAMN COLLEGE SPORTS ARENA & MARCHING BAND RELENTLESSLY PLAY THIS STUPID, REPETITIVE TUNE AT EVERY SINGLE COLLEGE SPORTING EVENT. NO LYRICS ARE SUNG, JUST THE ENDLESS ANNOYING MUSIC OVER & OVER & OVER & OVER.......!!!!!!!! I have to watch college sports with the sound off to avoid hearing that, I think I've vented enough. This Tune, whatever it is called, has something about an Army in the title I think, has surpassed "Welcome To The Jungle", "Crazy Train", "We Will Rock You", "Rock And Roll Pt.1", "Enter Sandman", etc. as THE MOST OVERPLAYED TUNE sporting events. If I hear it again i'll end up in an asylum!

Nov. 17 2012 02:01 PM
BG from Virginia Beach

Agreed on F--k/Forget You.

-Don't Stop Believing. Ever since that "Family Guy" episode, that has probably become one of the most overplayed songs of all time. Honestly, I could do without ever hearing ANY Journey song, seeing as how overplayed they are, especially in commercials (I'm looking at you "Any Way You Want It").

-Come Together...another overplayed commercial tune, although I can still listen to most other Beatles tunes, unlike Journey.

-Pumped Up was catchy at first, then I really listened to it. That was right around the time of the Aurora shooting and I've hated the song ever since...I think the tragedy just made me really sensitive to it all. But it becoming overplayed made me hate it even more.

-Before I Let Go by Maze f/Frankie Beverly

Oct. 24 2012 10:48 AM

Journey "Don't Stop Believing"
Seriously. Please stop playing this song.

Sep. 25 2012 08:49 PM

everything U2 has ever done.

Sep. 22 2012 03:57 PM
Doug from Denver

True to form, I'm several weeks behind.

Music that needs a moratorium:

Respighi's entire Roman Trilogy.
The Gershwin Big 3 (Rhapsody in Blue, American in Paris, Concerto in F).

The Barber Adagio out of context (not included in the full string quartet).
Elgar's Nimrod Variation extracted from the full Enigma Variations. I love both within the context of the full pieces.

Borderline are the Stravinsky Big 3 (Petroushka, Firebird, Rite). Great music, just played too much.

Aug. 12 2012 07:53 PM
Nicolas Hall from Oregon Coast

Thankfully most of those overplayed songs fade eventually. . . but there are three that I could never hear again and wouldn't miss them. I like to refer to them as my desert island songs. . . that is to say, the three songs I would like to SEND to a desert island so we would never have to hear them again.

And I try to not pick apart any one genre. . . equality in my banishment. :)

1. Stairway to Heaven - Led Zeppelin
2. Tainted Love - Soft Cell
3. Give It Away - Red Hot Chili Peppers

Aug. 09 2012 02:52 PM
Lisa from Culver City, CA

WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD by Louie Armstrong. This is a beautiful song that has been used "ironically" in too many movies and tv shows. Now when I hear this song I think of slasher movies and nuclear holocaust. Ugh.

Aug. 08 2012 10:40 PM
Charlie from Montana

I could do with substantially less of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama", and Kid Rock's subsequent derivative work. "Sweet Home" is certainly overplayed, and what really chaps me about it is the way people who have never been to, and are certainly not from Alabama (or, for that matter, the 70s) rabidly latch on to it like it's their personal cultural anthem or something.

Aug. 07 2012 12:09 PM
Rebecca from New York, NY

Nessum Dorma has been played so much as to become meaningless.
Sections of Mozart's Requiem are played to death and don't forget
the opening to Carmen!
Yes, and Carmina Burana, but folks have covered that.
Do advertisers only know 4 or 5 pieces of classical music?

Aug. 06 2012 11:11 PM
christocc from NYfC

Dave Brubeck's "Take Five." In the early '70s, I worked at a Lafayette Electronics store (remember those?). We got a deal on auto-reversing reel-to-reel tape decks and to demonstrate how well they worked, my boss put "Take Five" on both sides of a tape. Not the album, mind you, just the song. For eight hours a day, every day, for about a week, we listened to "Take Five." You've never seen a sales staff push one item so hard. We knew that once we were were out of stock, we could destroy that tape! If I never hear that song again, I'll die a happy man.

Aug. 06 2012 05:39 PM
david from toronto

The Antidote for worn out songs- a true story

I was studying a semester in Quebec and my roommate, and the only one with a boombox, was an extremely bossy and posessive music fan. but not what I liked. It was the days before Ipods I had to abide by her rules. She like sappy R & B like Anita Baker along with Italian pop and traditional macedonian musics
(she danced in a macedonian folk group. Now I'm pretty open minded and listened for a while , a few weeks but after many fights I gave up and chose not listen to any music for rest of the semester.
When I returned home everything sounded fresh again. even the Beatles.

Aug. 06 2012 10:58 AM
Roberto Ramirez from Mexico

I hate Queen's Bohemia Rhapsody. Way too overplayed ever since Waynes World in the 90s.

Aug. 05 2012 10:42 PM
Vanessa from LA

Any song from Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of The Opera. I used to love that musical when I was a kid, but after seeing it live several times and piped in at restaurants as instrumental Muzak, I don't need to hear Phantom ever again.

Aug. 05 2012 04:16 AM
Brian Shea

Christmas Music.
All Christmas Music.
I've worked in Retail for many years. In November and December I just want to hide. The constant bombardment of Christmas music in appalling.
If were to hear a classic piece of Christmas music in June, I'd be fine, but the first piece I hear in November, and I'm done.
I now own a small store, and I will not play any of this music, unless it pops up in the middle of an NPR show, and even then I may change the channel.

Aug. 04 2012 03:23 PM
Buck from Minneapolis

Anything, absolutely, positively and completely *anything* sung by Bob Dylan. Everyone does Dylan better than Dylan. And he's wildly overplayed. Paramecium do better Dylan than Dylan. Shades of paint sing Dylan better than Dylan. Great songs, but Dylan shouldn't sing 'em.

Aug. 03 2012 01:29 PM
Lauren Elmore from Cambridge, MA

I know it's too late to place a vote, but I am listening to Pandora right now and Eric Clapton's "Layla" came on and I instantly gave it a thumbs down. That is a great song that I wouldn't be sad if I never heard again.

Aug. 03 2012 01:01 PM
Jennifer from California

I agree with most of these songs and mostly feel that songs get played out. When a new song plays on the radio and people rave about it, it gets played out too much. This leaves me not wanting to listen to the stations that do this. Some stations are better at this than others. I stick to my iPod and CD's (yes, I still use my CD's). Then I have control over what I listen to.

Aug. 02 2012 05:12 PM

A couple of years ago I was in a hip burger joint where a series of old songs were playing over the sound system. "Born To Be Wild" by Steppenwolf came on and a very distinct thought came into my head: if I could arrange never ever to hear that song again, the sum of my life would probably be just a little bit happier. It wasn't worth walking out for 3 minutes to avoid hearing it, but sitting there while it insidiously overtook my consciousness was really aggravating.

After it ended, the very next thing I heard out of the speaker was the familiar string introduction to Ray Charles' "Georgia On My Mind." As that song progressed with Ray's soulful vocals, my eyes spontaneously (and quite unexpectedly) welled up with tears. I found myself overcome with emotion for the remainder of the song.

So while I wholeheartedly nominate "Born To Be Wild" for inclusion on your list and I still have no desire to hear it, it will always have a soft spot in my heart.

Aug. 02 2012 02:28 PM

Anything, and I mean anything by Jimmy Buffett. Nothing remotely interesting or creative to see here please lets all move along. Sorry Baby Boomers

Aug. 02 2012 09:45 AM
Drew Thaxton from GA

Don't Stop Believing is the most overplayed song of all time

Aug. 01 2012 01:13 PM
Donald from Brentwood, NY

I concur with Pachelbel's Kanon. I must add Vivaldi's Four Seasons & Gloria & Handel's Messiah. (I otherwise adore Handel & think he is somewhat underrated.)

Aug. 01 2012 12:19 PM
Carlos from Summit, NJ

I'd have to add the Leonard Cohen original to the many cover versions of "Hallelujah" to add to the Do Not Play list. The shmaltzy "oooh-oooh"ing of the background singers really start to grate about one-third of the way through the song. On the other hand, I do have a soft spot for Jeff Buckley's rendition (maybe because of his untimely drowning death).

On a related note, is it ever socially acceptable to say you like a cover version better than the original recording? Am I a musical heretic for preferring Buckley to Cohen, or for saying Aretha Franklin's recording of "Respect" outshines Otis Redding? Who could say that Willie Nelson's "Crazy" isn't exponentially more beautiful when sung by Patsy Cline?

Jul. 31 2012 08:55 AM
Steve Wennblom from ND

Over driven - Road worn

Bachman–Turner Overdrive

You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet
Taking Care of Business
Roll on Down the Highway

Jul. 30 2012 04:22 PM
Steve Wennblom from ND

Chicago was as unique and talented band as any in recent times.
But, please park these songs on memory lane for a millennium.

Saturday in the Park
Feelin’ Stronger Every Day
Wishing You Were Here
Old Days
If You Leave Me Now
Another Rainy Day in NY City
Baby What a Big Surprise

Jul. 30 2012 04:07 PM
clive betters

sorry.. "i will always love you" boo boo bad

Jul. 30 2012 10:06 AM
clive betters

this is touchy, because of her recent death,but please retire the song, "i will always be there" especially, the over the top bombastic version of it,that whitney houston made famous. i can also do without, dolly partons[kind of sweet but insipid] original at this point as well.

Jul. 30 2012 10:02 AM
Erick from St. Paul

Please retire "God Bless America". This unholy marriage of religon and blind patriotism was sacherine slop when Bessie Smith sang it and the years have not improved it. One has to wonder what all those ballplayers from formerly occupied countries think when subjected to it over and over and over. . . .

Jul. 29 2012 08:47 PM
NikiPatton from West Tisbury, MA

Of the top 10 Pachelbel's Canon has to lead for me but please, please, please, expand this overplayed list to the the top we can add pieces like "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" (about #18 I would think), "Father and Son" (Cat Stevens -- #47?), All of Bach's organ pieces. (I still love him but 70 years of overplay, spearheaded by E.Power Biggs in the '60's, does take its toll)...etc. etc. They are fun just to think of. What a great idea...

Jul. 29 2012 05:12 PM
David from Studio 360

After watching a couple days of Olympics, please lord, deliver me from "Chariots of Fire".

Jul. 29 2012 03:08 PM
DIckeyFuller from DC

Led Zep is totally played, especially "Stairway to Heaven."

Also, even though I love and still miss Jerry Garcia, I never want to hear "Sugar Magnolia" again.


Jul. 29 2012 01:52 PM
Richard Daniels from NYC

Pictures at an Exhibition. No need to hear it ever again.

Jul. 29 2012 11:59 AM
Let's Not Get It On

"Let's Get It On" by Marvin Gaye.

If I hear it one more time during a movie scene in which a couple is about to make out, God help me.

After all the endless replays, it's beyond me how the way-too-smooth funk guitar can put anyone in the mood. For me, hearing this song instantly induces eye-rolling and sexlessness.

As long as Marvin Gaye is singing, I will NEVER get it on.

Jul. 29 2012 11:57 AM
annie from Bronx

The aria "O mio babino caro." I'm hearing it too much on a commercial with Patti Smith talking about how Puccini wrote hit after hit, like Motown. I'll be so glad when WNYC stops playing this. Also, when I went to the Shakespeare marathon at the Greene Space, so discoed-up version of "o mio babino caro" was being played as interstitial music during the breaks--yikes, I wanted to run.

Jul. 29 2012 11:49 AM
Suzie from New York, NY

"Respect" by Aretha Franklin and "I Will Survive" sung by Gloria Gaynor - specifically, when played at weddings, with all 'the ladies'! hopping around and mouthing the words. [Shoot me.]

Jul. 29 2012 11:48 AM
Mike from PA

Isn't all music you hear on the radio overplayed? I got stuck in a job that played the same radio station everyday and I would hear the same songs everyday. I like someone like Ozzy as much as the next person but I don't want to bark at the moon anymore and I wanna get off the crazytrain

Jul. 28 2012 05:56 PM
David K from Brooklyn, NY

One title that I don't see represented here is "What a Wonderful World" in all its iterations (most popular being Louis Armstrong's recording made popular by the Good Morning Vietnam soundtrack). Serious moratorium needed on that one.

Jul. 28 2012 05:16 PM
Kelley from Venice CA

PDQ Bach's Oedipus Tex CD contains a track called Classical Rap, during which he complains about art movie theaters.
You pay twenty dollars
To stand in line
And listen to Vivaldi
One More Time!

This is followed by the violins of Vivaldi's Four Seasons that we all know too well
PDQ follows it with a scratch DJ version that's now what I always think of when I hear this Vivaldi piece.

No Four Seasons.

Jul. 28 2012 02:54 PM
Justin Smallbridge from Vancouver

Gotye's "Somebody That I Used To Know." This strenuously twee-n-weepy minuet for self-pitying adolescent Oompa-Loompas started out as merely annoying. Heavy rotation across multiple radio formats ensured its inescapability and resultant transmutation from just irksome to completely intolerable.

Jul. 28 2012 12:51 PM
Peter Helffrich

I nominate Ravel's "Bolero." Even if you've heard it only once, you've heard it a dozen times.

Jul. 28 2012 08:15 AM
Carlos C. Martínez Rivera from Puerto Rico

I agree with the playlist, although I disagree with the fact that in some cases, it is not the song, or the hype around it, rather the covers and remakes and adaptations of the original song that make it unbearable. This is the case with Hallelujah, the song is and will always be beautiful, like Liz suggested, it is all the remakes that make you cringe. Wasn't it performed even in Shrek?

However, I still think Leonard Cohen version is as beautiful as always and I do invite you to hear the adaptation made by Robi Draco Rosa, especially this live rendition last March. It is in Spanish and he changes the lyrics of the song, but I do think it is still brilliant. Please give it a try :)

Jul. 28 2012 08:05 AM
Kelly from WHYY

Anything from Michael Jackson. Too many of his songs were over played for too many years. Specifically: Billy Jean.

Jul. 28 2012 08:00 AM
Rusty Baker from Pennsylvania

I have declared my vehicles no Bob Seeger or Fleetwood Mac zones. I nominate "Turn the Page" and "Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow" to this list.

Jul. 27 2012 10:02 AM
Michael J. Curtiss from NH

What?! "Beautiful" by that hermaphroditic munchkin James Blunt failed to make this list? This shall not stand!

Jul. 26 2012 09:38 PM

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