Friday, August 3, 2012

Ten Musicians Who Became Famous For Being Bad

Here's another article that didn't make it to Complex, unfortunately.

Music is the most subjective form of art in the world. What you might find amazing, we might find shitty, and vice versa. There really isn’t a barometer or scale that can prove what music is stellar, and why. That said, bad music is much easier to discern. Whether it’s the amateurish production, the playschool lyrics or the sheer inability to hit notes, bad music is often ridiculed and booted off the stage, out of sight, out of mind.

But then, there are exceptions. Some acts or groups become famous BECAUSE they’re so bad. These are the anomalies that, though the odds were stacked against them, they still turned out to be famous. Many of them even grew to have cult followings, which are the greatest followings a musician can have. Those are the kind of people who will follow a group or musician to the end of the earth and get their face tattooed on their body. Now that’s clout.

This list features ten of the biggest musicians who were straight up trash, but got famous anyway, which is why we kind of dug them. How many times have you checked them out on YouTube?

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10. 50 Tyson

Most popular song: “I Ain’t Gonna Lie”

Performing live from his bathroom three years ago was 50 Tyson, a young, autistic man who literally has no flow whatsoever, which is part of his charm. Repeatedly saying the same lyrics over and over again (“They call me 50 Tyson from the Northside Zone, Twin City Minnesota, that’s where I’m from,”) 50 Tyson somehow managed to stumble over his words and still get a record deal, which is beyond amazing. Over 54,000 Twitter followers don’t lie. The guy has some serious fans.

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9. Shooby Taylor

Most famous song-Stout-Hearted Men

Do you really need to play an instrument to be a musician? Shooby Taylor certainly didn’t think so. In fact, instead of blowing into a horn of any sort, he uh, blew himself. Using his mad skat skills, Shooby Taylor basically made a whole bunch of horn sounds from his mouth to the joy and amusement of thousands. Is it good? Well, no, not really. In fact, we wouldn’t want to listen to it for more than three minutes, but for those three minutes, we’re in scat heaven. Peepy, poppy, peepy, poppy! He sounds like Bill Cosby looks in all those intros to his old TV show.

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8. Rebecca Black

Most famous song: Friday

Believed to have made one of the worst songs ever made, Rebecca Black made a career off of telling us that Thursday precedes Friday. She also informed us on her morning routine of eating cereal and that we , we, we so excited (not ARE so excited) for the weekend. Hmm. At over 34 million views on YouTube and countless copycat renditions, you can’t tell us that Rebecca Black isn’t famous. Or should we say, infamous?

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7. William Hung

Most famous song: She Bangs

William Hung cannot and could never hit a note to save his life. In fact, that’s why America fell in love with him. Sounding like a million other people singing at home on their Karaoke machines, the best thing about William Hung was his personality. It was infectious and lively. We’re STILL not sure if he knew that America was laughing at him, rather than with him. But he took it all in stride to the bank. Most struggling artists can’t even release a single mass-produced album. William Hung has three. 

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6. Sanjaya Malakar

Most famous song: You Really Got Me

Making little girls cry since 2006, Sanjaya, like William Hung, was another American Idol reject. But unlike Hung, who didn’t make it past the first round auditions, Sanjaya made it all the way to 7th place on the show, leading some people to wonder, who the hell was voting for him? He could barely reach certain notes at all and his renditions of certain songs were cringe-worthy, but people just seemed to like him. Except for Simon Cowell, of course, who officially said he would have quit the show completely if Sanjaya had won. Luckily, Sanjaya didn’t win, so we were spared a few more years before we got the abysmal, X-Factor.

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5. Tiny Tim

Most famous song: Tiptoe Through the Tulips

Awkward, high-pitched, creepy—these are just a few of the kinder words we have for Tiny Tim, whose most famous song, “Tiptoe Through the Tulips,” could be heard playing in the recent movie, Insidious. And you thought that was a girl singing that song! Nope! That was Tiny Tim, strumming his little ukulele, and looking like Sponebob in real life. We love the guy!

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4. David Hasselhoff

Most famous song: Hooked on a Feeling

The Hoff is probably most known for playing Michael Knight on Knight Rider or for his stint on Baywatch, but Hasselhoff became an overnight celebrity in Europe for his hammy renditions of some contemporary pop classics. His rendition of “Hooked on a Feeling,” while awful, garnered him a wider audience than he could have ever hoped for running shirtless on the beach. Do it for Deutschland, David! 

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3. T-baby

Most famous song: It’s So Cold in the D

Probably made most famous for being ridiculed on Beavis and Butthead, even the dancers in the background of the Starburst hair-colored, T-Baby’s, video, “It’s So Cold in the D”, looked like they didn’t know what they’re doing. Rapping about the cold unfairness of Detroit, T-Baby took a topic that could have been insightful and enlightening and made it suck ass. With a subpar beat and lazy rhymes, Detroit is probably where she’s  going to stay for the rest of her career. Still, we can’t help but think that the chorus is actually kind of catchy. It’s so cooooold in the D…

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2. The Shaggs

Most famous song: My Pal Foot Foot

Forced into being a band by their father, this all female group had a different outcome than the famous Jackson 5. Their lyrics rarely made any sense, they played their instruments as if they were all in different bands, and well, they just plain sucked. Their Philosophy of the World album is an endurance test in torture. But, in sucking so hard, they were actually kind of listenable if you shut your eyes and stopped cringing long enough to listen to them for a second. It wasn’t good, but hey, they were different. For better or for worse, nobody else sounds like The Shaggs.

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1.      1. Wesley Willis

Most famous song: Rock and Roll McDonalds

Out of all the “musicians” on this list, we’ve probably heard the most from Wesley Willis. We mean, how could we not? He released over 50 albums, all of them with the exact same song structure. If you don’t know his songs, they basically go in this order: Casio playing, lyrics, Casio playing, lyrics, long Casio playing, lyrics, and then finally, “Rock over London, rock on Chicago,” followed by some nonsensical advertisement. That said, we also probably love Wesley Willis more than any of the other artists on this list, mostly because he kept it real and wasn’t really trying to get famous. What he was trying to do, was expel the “demons” in his head, as he was a paranoid schizophrenic, and the music helped him relax. Out of all the people who suffered for their art, Wesley probably suffered the most. 

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