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Readers’ Poll: The 10 Worst Songs of the 1970s

You chose to include ‘Billy Don’t Be A Hero,’ ‘Disco Duck,’ ‘You Light Up My Life’ and more

debbie boone worst 70s

Debbie Boone. Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Earlier this month, we asked our readers to vote on their least favorite songs of the 1980s. Quite frankly, you guys didn't go a very good job. You picked classics like "Puttin' On The Ritz" and "Rock Me Amadeus" and many people on the Internet violently disagreed with your choices. One guy even blamed me for the selections. "I make the assumption that the 20-something Rolling Stone writer wasn't even alive in the 80's," Rik Mikals wrote. "Or if they were, they were rolling around in a dirty diaper and would have no idea what constitutes a bad song from the 80's." I will have Mr. Mikals know that I turned 30 a whole four months ago. I was rolling around in diapers in the early 1980s, but I had nothing to do with the selections. I even repeatedly chastised the readers for making weak choices.

This week, we asked our readers to vote on their least favorite songs of the 1970s. They did a much better job this time around, picking some real turkeys. I guess that cheesy 198os is often fun, but cheesy 1970s tends to be agony. Remember, if you disagree with the selections, you have nobody to blame but yourselves. Click through to see the results. 

By Andy Greene

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4. Debby Boone – ‘You Light Up My Life’

You don't hear it much these days, but "You Light Up My Life" was actually the single biggest song of the 1970s. It spent 10 weeks at Number One, a record not beaten until 1991 when Boyz II Men stayed on top for 13 weeks in 1991. The song was written as a love song, but Pat Boone's daughter Debby always interpreted it as a song about her devotion to God. The song was written by Joe Brooks, who was arrested in 2009 on charges that he lured 11 women to his apartment with the promise of a movie audition, and then sexually assaulted them. He committed suicide before the case went to trial. Around the same time this was all going down, his son Nicholas was arrested for murdering his girlfriend. The New York tabloids had a field day with the two cases. Knowing all that, it's hard to listen to the song in quite the same way. 

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3. Paul Anka – ‘(You’re) Having My Baby’

Nobody disputes the fact that Paul Anka is a brilliant – the man wrote "My Way" for God's sake. That feat alone earns him a spot on the Songwriters Hall of Fame.  But in the summer of 1974 he released "(You're) Having My Baby," an uber-saccharine song about a man overjoyed about the news that his wife is pregnant. The song hit home for a lot of Americans, and it gave Anka his first Number One since 1959's "Lonely Boy." It's aged about as well as a bucket of of sweet and sour pork. New life was breathed into the tune in 2009 when it was featured on Glee. Finn sang it to Quinn while having dinner with her parents. At the time, he didn't know that Puck was the real father and that Quinn's dad would throw her out of the house after hearing the news.

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2. Starland Vocal Band – ‘Afternoon Delight’

It's hard to hate on a song about the joys of mid-day sex, but the Starland Vocal Band make it easy. The group was composed of two real-life couples that probably enjoyed some afternoon delights around the time of the song's release in 1976, though both couples have long-since divorced. The song hit Number One in the summer of 1976 and actually got the group a brief variety series on CBS the next year. They also won a Grammy for Best New Artist – as opposed to, say,  the Ramones or Tom Petty and the Hearbreakers or the many other great bands that started that year. The song got renewed attention when it was featured on Glee recently with guest star John Stamos. 

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1. Rick Dees – ‘Disco Duck’

Rick Dees was a Memphis DJ who spun so many disco songs that he decided to record his own parody of the genre in 1976. He never imagined that "Disco Duck" would reach Number One on the Hot 100 and briefly make him a household name. The song was a hit everywhere in America besides Memphis, whose radio stations didn't want to promote a rival – and Rick's own station refused to play it. He continued to release novelty songs in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but they failed to find an audience. Then Weird Al came around with "Eat It" and Dees just couldn't compete. Weird Al wasn't going to keep Rick Dees down though. He started the Rick Dees Weekly Top 40 in 1983 and it's still going strong.