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Artists Who Dislike Their Hit Songs



There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes when it comes to writing music, and what most fans of pop music don’t realize is that sometimes artists only have a partial say in their biggest hits. Writers, producers, and other label collaborators can also have a big impact.
The unfortunate consequence of this is that even though a song may become an international hit, it doesn’t mean the artist or band themselves like it. In fact, there’s a myriad of ways they may come to loathe it, but each one is circumstantial. Learn more about why some of the biggest musicians in the world hate the songs you and the music industry came to love here!

Creep – Radiohead

Radiohead dislikes their massive hit ‘Creep’ so much, they refuse to play it live under any circumstances. And why is that? They’re tired of it, plain and simple. Frontman Thom Yorke has made numerous rebuttals to crowd jeering calling for the song to be played, and has stated many times that it being overplayed initially caused the band to feel as if the song was burnt out.

Cherry Pie – Warrant

Singer Jani Lane of Warrant is another person who’s adamantly been against the song from the beginning. Record labels wanted a more commercial song from the band, so Lane was forced to write it on the spot on the back of a pizza box. To this day, he wishes he never wrote the song at all, being particularly self loathing and stating he’ll never get over that being his legacy.

Sweet Child O’ Mine – Guns ‘n’ Roses

Though it’s one of the most memorable guitar riffs of the ‘80s, Slash himself has repeatedly claimed to dislike ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ for years, but actually felt better about it after seeing the reaction it still gets to this day. More or less, he just found the whole song to be cheesy.

Pinball Wizard – The Who

Guitarist Pete Townshend of The Who is commonly regarded as one of the more innovative musicians in rock ‘n’ roll history, but his mega-hit ‘Pinball Wizard’ isn’t something he’s necessarily proud of. Though they continue to play the tune, Townshend has called it “awful” numerous times, as well as “the most clumsy piece of writing I’ve ever done.”

(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party) – The Beastie Boys

The Beastie Boys were pretty vocal about their disdain for the song ‘Fight For Your Right’, but the industry had its grips on the young artists and they were forced to make it into a commercial push. They thought the song made them look like jocks, and ironically was the exact type of music they had intended to make fun of when they formed their group.

Shiny Happy People – R.E.M

Michael Stipe has claimed that if there was one song he’d like R.E.M to be remembered for, it would not be ‘Shiny Happy People.’ Once calling it a “fruity pop song for children” with a lack of depth, Stipe even refused to let their label put the track on their greatest hits compilation, certifying their control over what they as a band think is greater.

Walk This Way – Run DMC/Aerosmith

The ironic part about ‘Walk This Way’ is that neither Aerosmith nor Run DMC really wanted to do it. In fact, it was producer Rick Rubin’s idea, and Rev Run and DMC were against it, while Jam Master Jay allowed it to take place. They thought the beat was nice, but initially wrote off the music as “hillbilly gibberish” and hardly believed it’d work. They were proved wrong, but it doesn’t mean they had to like it.

All I Wanna Do Is Make Love To You – Heart

Though ‘All I Wanna Do Is Make Love To You’ is an anthem for Heart fans out there, Ann Wilson considers it to be a low point in the band’s career. “It kind of stood for everything we wanted to get away from,” she once said. She called the message of the tune “hideous,” and noted that the topic embodied everything they were trying to stay away from.

Stairway To Heaven – Led Zeppelin

Many people will assume it was the ongoing legal battles behind Led Zeppelin’s hit song ‘Stairway To Heaven’, but Robert Plant was frankly never a fan. While he enjoyed the instrumental sections, he came to hate the lyrics, once stating “I’d break out in hives if I had to sing that song in every show.”

Crocodile Rock – Elton John

Once talking about songs he couldn’t stand performing live, Elton John stated, “There are certain songs that you think, “Ugh, I gotta sing that one again!” Well, ‘Crocodile Rock’ was revealed to fall exactly in that category, but on the contrary, he did understand that the audience love it, calling it a guilty pleasure he can’t help but cater to.

Royals – Lorde

Lorde knows she wrote a banger with ‘Royals,’ but her main frustration with the song is that if she’d written it now, it would be even better. She said the melody could’ve been better, but acknowledged she was naive at the time, and that the song now sits as something of a relic.

Telephone – Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga has done more than almost any artist out there since the release of her song ‘Telephone,’ but she says “it’s the song I have the most difficult time listening to.” Why? Well, she said it’s more the mental state of mind she was in during the mixing and final production process, which she said was stressful, included too many ideas, and left her with a sour taste in its release at all.

Like A Virgin – Madonna

Madonna has gone on record multiple times asserting that she’s very “sick” of a lot of her old material, but ‘Like A Virgin’ apparently strikes a particular cord, as she stated she hates hearing it everywhere. Not only does she wish she herself didn’t have to hear it anymore, but if you hope to hear it live, don’t plan on it. She said she probably wouldn’t perform it again unless someone gave her $30 million!

Brass In Pocket – The Pretenders

Before Brass In Pocket was even released, Chrissie Hynde went on record, telling The Observer “I wasn’t very happy with it and [I] told my producer that he could release it over my dead body”. She went on to call the song “So Obvious” and something she “hated with a vengeance,” making the song seem a lot worse than it actually is.

Speed Of Sound – Coldplay

For whatever reason, Coldplay ended up writing ‘Speed of Sound’ even though they had a feeling something felt off from the start. Chris Martin now says the song “pains” him and that this has led to the band almost never playing it live, except on select occasions. Overall, they just didn’t think it fit the rest of the sound they crafted in that era.

Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana

Nirvana was the epitome of an underground act that got bigger than they ever expected, or wanted to be. Singer Kurt Cobain complained multiple times that it was against his goals as a songwriter, once saying “I can barely get through ‘Teen Spirit.’ I literally want to throw my guitar down and walk away.”

Wonderwall – Oasis

Liam Gallagher doesn’t mince words, and his absolute intolerance for the song ‘Wonderwall’ is borderline comical at this point. Anytime he’s asked about the Oasis hit, he responds with an expletive-driven rant, and once essentially insisted he’d rather fight someone than discuss the song with them. “Every time I have to sing it I want to gag,” he said.

You’re Beautiful – James Blunt

Even up until now, ‘You’re Beautiful’ is still James Blunt’s biggest hit, and as you could imagine, he’s not thrilled about it. It’s mostly because people associate the annoyance of the song with Blunt himself, which is honestly an unfair assumption. “There was one song that was force-fed down people’s throats – ‘You’re Beautiful’ – and it became annoying, and then people start to associate the artist with the same word.”

Strangers In The Night – Frank Sinatra

Sinatra was not only over his No. 1 song, but he loathed “Strangers In The Night” so much he’d let the fans know on stage, calling it all sorts of swear words and “the worst song he’s ever heard.” The best knock though was when he said “If you like that song, you must be crazy about pineapple yogurt.” To his disbelief, the crowd apparently welcomed it still with open arms.

Candy – Mandy Moore

Mandy Moore is far past her days as a singer, but her rise to fame did start with her platinum album So Real, and the song ‘Candy’ was the superhit that catapulted her. “Ugh, those were awful–just awful!” she told Glamour Magazine in 2006. “If I had the money, I would give a refund to everyone who bought my first two albums.” Now that may be a little harsh!

Shape Of You – Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran was skeptical of ‘Shape Of You’ from the beginning, and it reportedly took months for his writers and producers to convince him to include it on his album. Sheeran stated he felt the song wasn’t really his personality, and put too much rhythmic pop into his independent songwriter mentality.

Escape – Metallica

Though Ride The Lightning is one of Metallica’s most successful releases ever, the song ‘Escape’ isn’t exactly one of their favorites. The song was a last-minute addition to the album after producers wanted one more filler track, and it resulted in a song singer James Hetfield wasn’t a fan of, mainly the lyricism. They only ever played it when performing the album in full – something Hetfield called one of his worst nightmares.

Rainbow In The Dark – Dio

While ‘Rainbow In The Dark’ remains one of Ronnie James Dio’s most interesting and eclectic tracks from his discography, the singer actually tried to destroy the master tapes before it was released. He publicly stated he hated the song because it sounded too poppy, and contradicted everything he had strived to accomplish on his previous release, Holy Diver.

Don’t Stop Me Now – Queen

The most interesting parts about revisiting songs is not knowing the hesitancy behind its initial release, and for ‘Don’t Stop Me Now,’ guitarist Brian May hated the song for a specific reason. He thought it celebrated the hedonistic lifestyle singer Freddie Mercury was engaging in, but he couldn’t deny the song’s joyous message. Unfortunately, his inclination was correct.

Heart Of Gold – Neil Young

Being the indie frontiersman he is, instead of embracing his solo fame with ‘Heart of Gold,’ he stopped performing the song live in the ‘70s and never looked back. He called the song a “bore,” and insisted for the rest of his career that he pushed limits in his style and artistry in order to keep his true fans on their toes. “This song put me in the middle of the road. Traveling there soon became a bore so I headed for the ditch. A rougher ride but I met more interesting people there.”

Creep – TLC

The subject matter behind ‘Creep’ by TLC is truly the reason why the group laments the track as a whole, because it is about women who cheat on their cheating partners to create a sense of urgency – a strong-woman take on T-Boz’s romantic history. However, Left Eye hated it so much that she protested it through production, the music video, and in future live performances and remixes.

Don’t You (Forget About Me) – Simple Minds

Simple Minds surely didn’t predict the success of ‘Don’t You,’ as they famously fought with the songwriter who wrote the tune for the movie The Breakfast Club, refusing to record it until they felt bad for the songwriter. Neither were happy with the finished product, but nonetheless, the song was insanely famous. “At the time, we felt the song didn’t suit us, because we had delusions of being ultra-hip,” singer Charlie Burchill stated.

I Ran – A Flock Of Seagulls

This song was more popular in America than almost anywhere else, and the band were annoyed because it was attached to their international fame. “Every time I perform live, everyone just wants to hear I Ran. I’m sick of it!” he told VH1. This is unfortunately another case of the wrong song being the one that escalates a group to superstardom, because ultimately they feel as though they have better songs.

Better Than Revenge – Taylor Swift

It truly feels like Taylor Swift has already been famous forever, and it’s almost true considering her age, since she’s been successful for almost two decades now. Which explains why years of self-reflection has led her to have a different perspective on certain songs, like ’Better Than Revenge.’ “I was 18 when I wrote that. That’s the age you are when you think someone can actually take your boyfriend,” she said. “Then you grow up and realize no one takes someone from you if they don’t want to leave.”

What’s Love Got To Do With It – Tina Turner

Tina Turner famously had a heated debate with her producer at the time over the demo of ‘What’s Love Got To Do With It,’ which spent weeks as a Billboard No. 1 and became a defining song of her career. However, he ended up letting Turner put her own spin on the track, effectively switching it up enough to make it her own to the point where she at least felt comfortable releasing it. Many are glad she did!

We Didn’t Start The Fire – Billy Joel

Though this Piano Man is often considered to do no wrong when composing music, he isn’t exactly a fan of ‘We Didn’t Start The Fire.’ After messing up lyrics when performing it live once, he called it “one of the worst melodies I ever wrote,” and “terrible,” despite what fans may think.

Let It Be/Hello Goodbye – The Beatles

John Lennon became increasingly critical of Paul McCartney’s role in The Beatles, oftentimes claiming he tried to take over the songwriting process. His biggest criticisms came of ‘Let It Be’ and ‘Hello Goodbye’ which he called “MacCartney’s attempt to write a single,” noting he thought it “wasn’t very good.” He notably also said ‘Let It Be’ “didn’t have anything to do with the Beatles.”

What Difference Does It Make – The Smiths

Morissey is already a skeptical individual at best, but even though ‘What Difference Does It Make’ is one of The Smiths most popular songs, he can’t stand his lyrical content from that tune. He’s called them “facile and mildly embarrassing,” which is a pretty critical self-assessment for a song that appears on the band’s debut album.

Common People – Pulp

Albeit a more obscure song and one that was very in its time, Pulp’s ‘Common People’ was a favorite of many during the decades of old. However, drummer Nick Banks said the song is a “tuneless dirge,” as well as “a load of rubbish.” Fans may not think so, but some of these musicians aren’t hiding their true feelings.

Take My Breath Away – Berlin

‘Take My Breath Away’ was actually written especially for Top Gun by Giorgio Moroder and Tom Whitlock, and was disliked by the band’s bassist John Crawford. Of the disdain, singer Terri Nunn claimed, “He kept saying it just wasn’t our sound or the right direction for us as a band, and that if we didn’t write it we shouldn’t record it. But our label insisted it wouldn’t hurt us, so we went ahead.” Unfortunately, releasing the song at all caused a rift that led to the band’s breakup.

Bad Boys – Wham!

Although ‘Bad Boys’ was a massive hit for the Wham! duo, George Michael famously disliked the track, even calling it “an albatross ‘round my neck.” They then purposely left the song off their greatest hits, putting songs that weren’t even singles on instead. At some point you get big enough to say enough is enough and dictate the viability of a song at all.

Do They Know It’s Christmas/We Are The World – Band Aid

While the intentions behind ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’ and ‘We Are The World’ were good, co-writer Bob Geldof doesn’t think the songs hold up. “I am responsible for two of the worst songs in history,” he said to the Daily Telegraph.” I will go to the supermarket, head to the meat counter and it will be playing – every [expletive] Christmas,” Geldof stated.

Kids – MGMT

Here’s another case of growing out of a song you wrote when you were much younger, as singer Andrew Van Wyngarden put it bluntly himself. “I think there’s at least partial irony and sarcasm. Now we’re [older]. It’s hard to keep that naive-19-year-old-at-college philosophy going when you’re writing a second album.”

Don’t Let Me Get Me – P!nk

In an interview with the LA Times, P!nk once said of ‘Don’t Let Me Get Me,’ “I wish I could burn that song and never sing it again.” In addition, of the songs she’s still forced to perform live from back in those days of her career, she calls it the one she dislikes singing live the most.

Gold Digger – Kanye West

The real reason Kanye West doesn’t like ‘Gold Digger’ is actually because he had written it with intentions for it to be for a female rapper Shawnna, who would’ve been singing from a women’s first-person point of view. “I never really liked that song, but I knew I would get paid for doing ‘Gold Digger,’” he stated in one interview.

Party In The USA – Miley Cyrus

While Miley Cyrus understands why people love ‘Party In The USA’ so much, she herself can’t stand it. She has vocalized why she hates it, and calls it an industry single that went too far. However, the anthem is here to stay, as it can still be heard at events and gatherings around the country. “Honestly, I picked that song because I needed something to go with my clothing line,” she told MileyWorld in 2009.

My Immortal – Evanescence

Evanescence’s Amy Lee almost didn’t even include ‘My Immortal’ on the album because she was caught off guard by the lack of mastered production. The label released the demo version to the world, and according to Lee, “It’s not even a real piano and it’s me singing late at night at my dad’s work where they had a studio and he let us go in there and record and I was in high school.”

I Kissed A Girl – Katy Perry

Katy Perry doesn’t exactly “hate” her song ‘I Kissed A Girl,’ but she wants to acknowledge how the political climate and narrative around bisexuality has changed since she wrote it. “We’ve come a long way. Bisexuality wasn’t as talked about back then, or any type of fluidity. If I had to write that song again, I probably would make an edit on it.”

Put Your Hearts Up – Ariana Grande

Before Ariana Grande really found her footing as an artist, she was still fighting off the remnants of her Disney career, which sort of led her to ‘Put Your Hearts Up.’ She told Rolling Stone she felt the song was geared towards kids, and essentially “inauthentic and fake.” To make matters worse, she also hated the music video, completing the trifecta of artist unhappiness.

The Lazy Song – Bruno Mars

Bruno Mars wasted no time in telling us exactly what he thinks of ‘The Lazy Song’ by addressing it on Twitter first hand. “When someone tells me they actually like ‘The Lazy Song,'” he wrote, then accompanied it with a video with him shaking his head in a deadpan stare. You can tell even he was disappointed with himself for that one.

Breakaway – Kelly Clarkson

Everyone has sung along to Kelly Clarkson’s arguably most popular song ‘Breakaway,’ whether they’d admit it or not. However the reason she doesn’t like it is because she said it’s not exciting or even challenging to sing, which I suppose for a former American Idol champion, is sort of the point. She wasn’t using her full potential! Sometimes catchy isn’t everything.

Complicated – Avril Lavigne

Avril Lavigne is on record saying she strictly is playing ‘Complicated’ live for the fans, and interestingly enough, she doesn’t agree with other artists who refuse to play these songs they loathe. Avril knows she was young when ‘Complicated’ was released, so she can accept it.

Starships – Nicki Minaj

“I mean ew, ‘Starships?’ I’m like, ‘Why did I do that?’ I really think that every time I hear it.” That’s from the mouth of Ms. Minaj herself, making it crystal clear that she’s not happy with the product that is her song ‘Starships.’ You have to feel for the artists who were under pressure to create at times.

Come And Get It – Selena Gomez

Selena Gomez is so over ‘Come And Get It,’ she once even called it “a Rihanna Reject” in reference to its sound. She also has stated it’s incredibly tough to perform live now, as it’s not the same vocal range as when she was younger. She knew she needed a hit at the time, so although she agreed then, it’s been a tough tune to keep in rotation.

OMG – Camila Cabello

Not only was ‘OMG’ a stand-alone single, but Camila Cabello had to fight for her other hit, ‘Havana,’ to be released in protest – that’s how much she couldn’t stand ‘OMG.’ When a fan asked her about it on Twitter, she responded honestly, saying even thinking of the song makes her feel like she’s “throwing up.”

Misery Business – Paramore

Paramore and ‘Misery Business’ have a very similar teenage angst theme, and vocalist Hayley Williams insists the song’s premise is outdated from her current beliefs. “Those words were written when I was 17, admittedly, from a very narrow-minded perspective. It wasn’t really meant to be this big philosophical statement about anything. It was quite literally a page in my diary about a singular moment I experienced as a high schooler.” Now, they refuse to play it live.

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