Recently, in what appears to be a deep-rooted desire to be fired from my weekly radio show called The Groove Tube on a local FM station, I put together a medley of songs that feature in a competition to discover the Worlds Worst Songs in the history of Recorded Music.
Listeners have been encouraged to respond by SMS or by email and the results will shortly be revealed.
Though I took enormous delight in selecting some of my favourite all time songs I doubt if listeners demanding regular fixes of Rihanna, Britney, Coldplay and Kanye will be overly generous with their time. Dwindling ratings might cost me my Wednesday afternoon slot but there are some causes worth braving any eventuality.
The honoured songs would have to unintentionally dreadful in order to qualify and so my Rhino Records “World Worst Songs” CD couldn’t be considered denying Gloria Balsam’s epic Fluffy (Where Are You Where Are You) a place in history. Its a charming ditty about a young girl who loses her puppy and is full of woe and sadness but just when all seems lost a forlorn and contrite Fluffy returns in the nick of time and is soon nursed back to full fluffiness.
With Fluffy out of the way, the battle was on and the first entry to be judged was a pearl of a number from the heady days of the Disco 80s and Mithun (whose dancing resembled a grand mal seizure at the best of times) the King, dancing to the syncopated, screechy disco sounds of the Master Genius Bappi Lahiri. Who can forget such classics such as “Pom Pom, Mama Mia Pyar ki Gaadi Tez Chalao Axxilator Aur Dabao”, yet this particular competition began with a lilting Alisha Chinoy number from one of the finest musical-jungle-epics the world has known: Tarzan starring the might Hemant Birje who started out life as a bit of a beefcake hunk and graduated to the dizzying heights with roles in films by the legendary Ramsay Brothers and even Mohan Bhakri. Anyway, the first song in the competition is one you will all remember fondly no doubt. Alisha, straining for her best sexy, breathy Madonna impersonation wails away “Tarzan, my Tarzan, Aaja Tujhe Dikha Doon Pyar Kaise Ho, Ho o o Tarzan” I am not quite certain where Bappi Da got his “inspiration” for this particular number yet in my mind it is a worthy start to discover the finest of pure crap.
The second entry was a blast from the past and this one is a controversial entry as there are some who feel that it was an intentional attempt at sounding awful, yet the sheer life-changing experience that is Mahendra Kapoor and Asha ji’s Twinkle Twinkle Little Star cannot be overlooked and demands inclusion by its longevity and its claim to have tortured listeners for almost 40 years. The next number was a fizzing Disco number by Bappi Lahiri from his 80s pinnacle simply called Dance Music from Naukar Biwi Ka. An instrumental number featuring a typically shrieking desi chorus and a familiar assault by his buoyant string section is a sizzler with the icing on the cake being some timely “Doo-wops” thrown in by the chorus. Two minutes of the King of Pop at his brilliant best downloadable this instant from iTunes.
Next up an old Shanker – Jaikishen number by way of The Beatles – Tum Ko Hai Dil Se Pyar by the wonderful Mohd Rafi featuring a terrifyingly sexy Shammi Kapoor from Janwar doing the shimmy-shake thang in his inimitable style. What glory! I adore the track yet the jaw drops at the sheer blatant theft of it all and hats off for Shankar Jaikishen for paving the way for everyone else who stole so liberally and continue to pilfer with no shame at all. The Atif Aslam song ripped off from a Korean film for Race proves that though Bappi Da is the butt of all evil insinuations, the pilferers are still at large even in an era of copyright control. But then, even giants like RD Burman stooped to borrow, occasionally without any pretence or shame.
Back to the topic at hand – The next song was a Pakistani number which can easily be used as an object of extreme torture. It’s a song sung by a child (or a woman trying to sound like a mentally deranged infant) called Meri Salgirah Hai Bolo has to be heard to be believed. If it wasn’t for the words it could easily be mistaken for a lament instead of a birthday celebration. Next up, another controversial selection which many reckon is a truly meaningful work of art. Fine, but in my book, Deepak Chopra and Demi Moore’s Desire has to rank as one of the most crassly and pretentious songs ever recorded. It’s suitably found on the pseudo Nirvana Lounge series: New Age World Music schlock of the most sublime kind. Deepak prattles away in his best sexy voice (with his pronounced S’s resounding like the champion Self Help Icon that he is) while Demi coos in admiration. It is a fabulous piece of the highest quality crap and if you are one of those who listen to this track in rapt seriousness are prime fodder for fleecing by a man who surely must be the new-age Rajneesh/Osho.
The next song is from another mega-genius Anu Malik (though the lord only knows how he had decided to spell his name by now, last I heard it was Annnu Malllick). One of my most prized possessions of all is the English album recorded by Malik in the 90s titled Eyes. Though the entire album is a stupendous and dare I say even mind-altering body of work, it is quite a challenge to decide which of the gems within is worthy of inclusion in our competition. Finally after much sometimes heated debate, it was decided that undoubtedly the title track had to be included as well as another stroke of genius called You Look to Me a Virgin (pronounced Whir-Gin) which is sung by Malik to the tune of his hit song Yeh Kaali Kaali Aankhen and will have you reeling and applauding the sheer gall of the man!
Eyes is a soft, melodious, slow burning passionate number that will have you weeping by the end, not through the intended emotion maybe but at the absolute inanity and crassness of the song. Another classic from the same album that deserved a spot but was cruelly denied is “I Have No Dollars” a sure-fire winner from Malik that could perhaps been titled “I Have no Talent” maybe. I should avoid such evil comments as I have been told by reliable sources that Malik has indeed done the odd half decent work along his career by accident – one or two of them even original compositions. Personally, nothing can out do the sheer gusto and passion and bombast of this number, not even the joint forces of Deepak and Demi.
Eyes: The Album is my proudest possession, sharing the pedestal with another stunning English album by Bappi Lahiri titled Ala-Li-La. Once again, the album is littered with gems but the song that is the standout is one featuring a youthful Bappa and Reema who provides a sizzling rap with an accent to match. The song Sachurday Night Fever’s lyrics are simple but laden with underlying statements of teenage angst. It goes Sachurday Nite Fever, La la la la la la, We Are All Teenagers La la la la la la and this is repeated about 38 times with Reema’s astounding Rap thrown in the middle.
Finally we drew to a close with Ottowan’s nonsensical D.I.S.C.O which Indivar could’ve written in his worst disco nightmares and ultimately the showstopper by Pakistani playback singer A Nayyar with his classic, again entirely in English “Run Run Run for life, Life is Sweet, We May Meet, We May Not Meet”. Which also features a verse that sort of goes like: But for all glamorous sensations, it is the most wondrous, most splenderous amination (I think he meant animation!)? Things get even more fascinating in the following verses and clearly demonstrate that us desi are far better at the creative use of the English language than the Angrezs ever were.
Bappi Da’s You Are My Chicken Fry is a song I cannot bare to be have criticized even mockingly or in jest. It is far too sacred and close to my heart. Only special people can appreciate the mastery of such poetry and composition. The words may appear childish but they are laced with a subtle edge. It is one of the greatest ever songs which is on the shortlist of songs to be played at my knighthood ceremony.
So, the gauntlet has been thrown down, the results to be announced shortly, meanwhile if any one reading this has any votes to cast now would be the time……………or perhaps recommend some songs for future competitions, fire away.
We have already had two Shankar – Ehsan – Loy crackers being nominated: Rock N Roll Soniye and It’s the Time to Disco which make even the most naff “Zoo Zoo Zoobie Zoobie Zoobies” seem charmingly inoffensive and almost lyrical and tuneful by comparison.
Just in case you feel brave enough to listen to the showdown it will be at 2.30PM Wednesday the 19th of November LIVE at www.cityfm89.com. Incidentally, I had the pleasure of being driven from Heathrow airport by the ex-chauffeur of Nadeem Saifi (of Nadeem-Shravan fame/ignominy) He had some amusing things to say about his former employer including how he would shamelessly steal tunes even from young students begging him for a “break” leeching success any which way that he could. Nadeem-Shravan deserve an eternal roasting for inflicting the quivering nasal horrors of Kumar Sanu on the world and that’s just for starters.
NB: Note that all Lollywood Disco numbers from the 80s and 90s have been disqualified as they were deemed in a stratosphere of their own and would destroy the entire exercise with a single knockout blow. Here is ample proof: