Overplayed Songs We Never Want to Hear Again
It’s a worn-out joke by now: No matter who’s onstage, someone will yell ‘Free Bird’ during their set. Guaranteed. But it doesn’t come as a surprise. The song’s ubiquity over the past 40 years has made it a familiar part of the landscape. Maybe too familiar. How many times can one person hear ‘Free Bird’ in his lifetime? No surprise either that it’s one of the most Overplayed Songs We Never Want to Hear Again. Don’t get us wrong. We love these songs. There’s a good reason they’re considered classics. But the artists have other cuts we’d like to hear once in a while. There’s no reason to hog the airwaves with just one song.
Nobody’s so badass that they couldn’t use an extra shot of the stuff to make them even more badass. That’s where George Thorogood & the Destroyers’ way-overplayed ‘Bad to the Bone’ comes in. That opening dirty, bluesy guitar riff says it all: You don’t want to mess with this dude, dog or garbage bag. From movies and TV shows to commercials and classic-rock radio, the overplaying of ‘Bad to the Bone’ over the past 30 years has softened its bite.
The granddaddy of overplayed songs still resonates with audiences 40 years after its release. There isn’t a day that goes by without ‘Free Bird’ flying high on some radio station. Everyone knows it. Shout ‘Free Bird’ at a concert these days, and chances are the band onstage (if they have any sense of humor) will at least attempt to play Lynyrd Skynyrd’s guitar anthem. But give it a rest already — we know that solo better than almost anything else in Skynyrd’s catalog.
If ‘Free Bird’ isn’t the most Overplayed Song We Never Want to Hear Again, then that honor goes to Led Zeppelin’s equally epic-length ballad. ‘Stairway to Heaven’ is the stuff of legend — a classic-rock staple that refuses to go away. We love the song, but we love the other seven songs on the album too (even though we hear way too much of them also). How about a deep cut from ‘Presence’ occasionally? It sure beats another spring clean for the May Queen.
Between the movie trailers, video games and its role as the de facto theme song for ‘CSI: Miami,’ the Who’s counterculture classic has lost much of its power over the past 40 years. After all, how can you give it to the Man when your song is bumping up against Michael Bay movies and tampon commercials? Meet the new boss, indeed.
There are probably a dozen or so Rolling Stones songs we could have picked for this list, but we heard the epic closing track from ‘Let It Bleed’ twice during a 90-minute drive over the weekend on two different radio stations, so it’s the freshest in our mind right now. It’s a great song, but its overuse in TV shows (from the great ‘Sopranos’ to the stinky ‘Swingtown’), commercials (that Coke one from 2004 was particularly annoying) and movies (it underscores a pivotal scene in ‘The Big Chill,’ but we blame that 1983 movie for the song’s downfall) has been just as epic.