cover image Dave Barry's Book of Bad Songs

Dave Barry's Book of Bad Songs

Dave Barry. Andrews McMeel Publishing, $12.95 (112pp) ISBN 978-0-8362-1443-7

In 1992, Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist Barry wrote a column about the tendency of bad song lyrics to stick in our heads. Reader response was enormous and led to a series of columns, a poll and this winning volume. Ultimately, Barry narrowed the field to pop songs written from 1960 to 1990, thus shutting out ""Mairzy Doats"" and Wagner. The largest number of votes went to ""MacArthur Park,"" the 1968 hit written by Jimmy Webb, with its mangled metaphors, followed by ""Yummy, Yummy, Yummy (I Got Love in My Tummy)"" by the Ohio Express and ""(You're) Having My Baby"" by Paul Anka. Also quoted are lines from Neil Diamond's ""I Am, I Said"": ""I am, I said/ To no one there/ And no one heard at all/ Not even the chair."" Barry then goes on to treat five sub-genres: weenie music, love songs women really hate, teen death songs and songs people get wrong, citing his own mis-hearing of the opening lines of ""Help Me Rhonda"" by the Beach Boys, as ""Well, since she put me down/ There's been owls pukin' in my bed."" Who can resist such a book? (June)