Posts Tagged ‘Music’
July 31, 2012 | Lists
Music videos can be painful to watch. After all, how many different ways are there to film some guy straddling a chair and emoting? The concert scenes in them seem contrived – no actual crowd is going to be as full of joy as a bunch of people getting a free lunch when they yell “cut”. And then there’s the rappers doing everything short of horse-whipping their investment advisers to flaunt their fabulous wealth and the other genre clichés – running in the rain, flashbacks, bad dance numbers and vintage cars.
Music videos demand novelty to stay fresh and celebrities are often brought in to help mix things up and perhaps make up for a performer’s complete inability to act even when the role consists mostly of lip-synching one’s own lyrics and gyrating expectantly in the general direction of a potential romantic conquest. Some of these cameos work well – Danny Aiello in Papa Don’t Preach seemed like the kind of guy who would genuinely object to having an 80s version of Madonna as his daughter and might want to pontificate on the subject – And then there’s these, the Top 10 Strange Celebrity Music Videos Cameos:
10. Gheorghe Muresan in Eminem’s My Name Is…
Retired 7’7 NBA player Gheorghe Muresan’s greatest claim to fame, besides dunking a basketball without needing to jump, is starring alongside Billy Crystal in “My Giant”, playing the titular character who Crystal based on Andre The Giant. The precious few parts calling for a man tall enough to extract bird’s nests from tree tops with his teeth has kept the Transylvanian from appearing in too many other Hollywood roles.
However, Muresan did make a return to public prominence in Eminem’s breakout video “My Name Is”. He appears as one half of a ventriloquist act — and not as the dummy (ain’t nobody got a hand that big).
9. William S. Burroughs in U2′s Last Night on Earth
Bono has never been one to shy from putting his lips to the posteriors of his artistic betters — see Cash, Bukowski, Dylan — and he does so again here by including William S. Burroughs in this video.
The man who wrote Naked Lunch and who inspired the likes of Jack Kerouac and Ken Kesey somehow found himself in a video for a song by a guy so hungry for photo-ops he carries around jars of lens cleaner for cameramen.
The title of this song was a little too appropriate, however, as this video was the last appearance Burroughs made, dying shortly after it was filmed.
8. Big Show in Sisqo and Foxy Brown’s Thong Song
In a song in which women at nightclubs are advised to put their “drinks down” and pull their “thongs up”, probably the last guy you want to see is someone promoted as the “world’s largest athlete”, who could list “being able to provide shade for a family of four” on his resume.
Mercifully he is not pictured in the garment that inspired this tune and if you blink you’ll miss him. In order to prevent any unnecessary exposure to that song, we’ve pictured him here.
Dishonorable Mention: Penn & Teller in Run DMC’s It’s Tricky
Penn & Teller are a noted physically asymmetrical magician duo, one giant and lumbering and another you wouldn’t want making a deposition on your behalf if you faced years in the slammer.
The duo appear as Three-Card Monte tricksters, a card game known to separate tourists from the contents of their wallets (it’s tricky, a card trick, get it? The duo weren’t conscripted as eye candy or for their street cred).
7. Larry Bird in Toby Keith’s Red Solo Cup
Keith called this tune, an ode to a plastic drinking cup “the stupidest song that I have ever heard in my life”. Not surprisingly, he doesn’t have a songwriter credit for it, though the people who do are likely to be happy to cash his checks regardless of his sass.
A number of celebrities make appearances in the video, including Craig Ferguson, Sammy Hagar and Ted Nugent shooting said cup with a crossbow, but it’s the appearance of the worst-nicknamed NBA player in the history of the game — “The Hick from French Lick” — that surprises here. Larry Bird, not exactly an MTV mainstay during his career let alone years after retirement, comes in at 3.23 to spin the red cup on his finger and give a “What the hell is going on, fellas?” grin.
Mr Keith is becoming a Shark Guys regular after having been previously featured in our Worst Songs by Tall Musicians list (going alphabetically several worthy candidates arose before we reached “R”).
6. Angelina Jolie in Meatloaf’s Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through
If you’re a young Angelina Jolie hitting the hobo trail, you probably wouldn’t want to run into a heavy, ballad singing guy in a do-rag named Meatloaf, but that’s what happens in this bizarre early appearance of the future Lara Croft.
Jolie is a teenage runaway in the video and as creepy as the accompanying image here looks, Meatloaf is actually trying to help her, not get her back to his tinted window van for some Southern Comfort and both Bat Out of Hell records played back to back. By the video’s end she returns to her parents, though unfortunately Jon Voigt is not involved.
The video was directed by no less than Michael Bay, who like many a young director was forced to do artistic penance by making music videos before being able to truly explore his craft in films such as the Transformers franchise and that one with Ben Affleck in a spacesuit.
5. Don King in Michael Jackson’s Liberian Girl
This entire list could have centered around this one video, a 1989 cavalcade of weird celebrity cameos, featuring anyone even remotely recognizable at that time from the girl in Blossom to Paula Abdul.
We chose three that were the most jarring of them all: Lou Ferrigno (in it inexplicably for all of a second), John Travolta (playing his Grease role years after the fact) and boxing mogul and part-time murderer Don King.
Mr King won because he was inserted for no reason that we can fathom to make a cheap joke about his hair at the 2.15 mark.
4. Mark Cuban in Dorrough’s Get Big
Mark Cuban is the guy on the venture capital reality show The Shark Tank (no relation) who makes the other guys on the panel except for Kevin O’Leary look like Dickensian paupers and by outbidding them for every decent entrepreneurial idea that comes down the pike.
Cuban is the outspoken (outspoken being our favorite euphemism for asshole) owner of the NBA champion Dallas Mavericks and appears in Dallas-area rapper Dorrough’s video for Get Big. At the 0:45 mark Cuban pops out of an armored car, which maybe rich people need to do during these tough economic times to keep from getting pummeled.
“Get Big” did not, really, peaking at 109 on the Billboard Top 200 Singles Charts.
3. Hulk Hogan in Dolly Parton’s Headlock on My Heart
Professional wrestling has made some stellar contributions to the music industry, such as Captain Lou Albano’s cameo in the video for Cyndi Lauper’s Girls Just Wanna Have Fun and the inimitable country stylings of a former wrestler once known as Kamala, the Ugandan Headhunter (and not the kind who recruits top executive talent).
There have also been some disasters — see the “We Are the World” in tights that is the 1980s World Wrestling Federation cover of the execrable novelty hit by Cannibal and the Headhunters “Land of 1000 Dances“.
“Headlock on My Heart” was written by Dolly Parton, presumably an attempt on her part to cash in on the immense popularity of pro wrestling and specifically Hulk Hogan during the 1980s. That she didn’t know a thing about pro wrestling is clear with the name she gives Hogan in this, “Starlight, Starbright”, quite possibly the worst wrestling moniker that has ever been conceived. But the video is a joy to watch, beginning as it does with our fellow Ontarian “Iron” Mike Sharpe getting his ass handed to him by Hogan and ending with Dolly declaring, “In this ring, I thee wed.”
2. John Cusack in Suicidal Tendencies’ Trip at the Brain
The guy going off to war while his girlfriend tearfully chucks a wine glass into the fireplace after seeing him off is a well-worn video cliché. Jingoistic croon-fests though, rarely feature the military rank about which Abraham Lincoln once said: “I can make more generals, but horses cost money”.
John Cusack is a pretty damn good actor, and at the time before his career was in full swing, probably came cheap. The future star of The Grifters and Grosse Point Blank, has been quoted as saying, “I’ve made 10 good films. The ones that suck, I tend to blank out. It’s like I never even made them.” This statement can likely be extrapolated to music videos and his turn as an angry general in Suicidal Tendencies’ Trip at the Brain.
1. Milton Berle in Ratt’s Round and Round
At the age of five Milton Berle began a career that has spanned vaudeville, silent film, the advent of radio and finally television, a medium he dominated — literally, as the only thing on the other available channel was a test of the emergency broadcast system.
One job that undoubtedly escaped mention in his obit, was his cameo in Ratt’s Round and Round. Had it not been for a familial connection — his nephew managed the band and refusing him probably would have put a pall over family gatherings — it’s unlikely that the band would have had their calls returned let alone had Uncle Miltie star in their video. This 1984 tune by Ratt (a near universal law of rock music: a band is likely to stink if their name is misspelled), featured Uncle Miltie and yet among his countless Walk of Fame accomplishments, it’s not even mentioned on his Wikipedia page (though tellingly, appearances in The Nanny and on Beverley Hills 90210 are).
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March 15, 2012 | Lists
It’s better to be tall than short unless you lay bricks or limbo for a living. Tall people are likelier to be more successful than short people and unlike the little people, when a beanpole gets frustrated, nobody will condescend to him and say that he has Napoleonic complex.
It’s unlikely that any man who does his clothes shopping in the children’s department will become commander-in-chief (actually, spending too much in the children’s section of a department store might be enough to disqualify a person from most forms of gainful employment).
That said, the benefits of being tall are … short-lived. Having to carry around that massive frame for 60 years wears on the ole ticker – you’re unlikely to find many people in a nursing home who can dunk.
At some point, your knees and heart give out and your family is saddled with the added burden of having to get a custom-made coffin to see you out.
It’s also of no benefit to a musician to be tall. They’re more likely to knock down stage equipment and start a fire while attempting a dance move. Music, like the movies, was made for the little people. Drummers sit down for most of the show, so they could be sitting in a booster seat and the fans would be none the wiser. And provided a guitarist or lead singer has enough stage presence he can walk top of the head to armpit with some of the most beautiful women in the world.
There are some tall and successful musicians but they are in the minority. Here we look at songs by musicians who might be able to reach for the highest items on any grocery store shelf without asking for assistance, but who’ve penned tunes that, nonetheless, suck. We present, in order of height from shortest to tallest guys who could possibly beat us up for writing this, the Top 10 Terrible Songs by Tall People!
Defying the edict that a tall man dancing most closely resembles an ostrich high-stepping it over hot tar is former Menudo star Ricky Martin. Everyone remembers where they were when he made his appearance on the hit show Glee – at home, in front of a TV and watching anything else.
The song, “up-tempo, salsa-influenced…with double entendres about the singer’s infatuation with a woman”, was not surprisingly written by someone who wasn’t Ricky Martin and made numerous All Time Worst Songs lists, sandwiched between Cotton Eyed Joe and I Wanna Sex you Up, neither of which will be performed at a White House gala any time soon.
Evocative lyricism courtesy of the worst thing to come out of Canada since SARS and the 9/11 hijackers (not really, but we listen to a lot of conservative talk radio and sometimes the lines blur) Nickelback. They’re a band that everybody doesn’t love to hate, but one for which people carry hatred around with them like a burden, wishing its source would just stop making music.
“Look at this photograph
Every time I do it makes me laugh
How did our eyes get so red?
And what the hell is on Joey’s head?”
(On his head? Perhaps noise-cancelling earphones).
8. Hero (Enrique Iglesias – 6’2)
A half inch taller than papa Julio, but still yet to do a duet with Willie Nelson is Enrique Iglesias. This is another “worst of” song, this time the 2000s rather than of all time (but to be fair, it needs a chance to marinate). Enrique was asked to perform the wretched tune at the benefit concert America: A Tribute to Heroes a week and a half after the September 11, 2001 attacks. Didn’t the good people of New York suffer enough?
7. Ice Ice Baby (Vanilla Ice – 6’2)
So much damnation has been directed towards this song and its reasonably tall singer that we don’t have much to add, except that we enjoyed that episode of Entourage where rapper Saigon dangled Johnny Drama off a ledge and more recently a similar scene in Californication.
Ice denied this ever happened, but then again, he would.
Royalty are typically short, squat and interbred, but not so the Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Will Smith passed on his musical genes to daughter Willow, whose “Whip My Hair” is sure to feature prominently in future bad music lists decades hence.
One person whose talent genes skipped a generation was Hank Williams Sr, arguably the greatest country singer of all time.
Hank Jr’s song asked fans of the sport the rhetorical question, “Are you ready for some football?” as the horrible intro music to Monday Night Football, referencing the show’s anchors (Frank, Al and Dan!) in the lyrics. The song was dumped in 2011 after the singer made an oblique Hitler / Obama reference.
5. Lips of an Angel (Hinder – Austin Winkler 6’3)
This is how Nickelback would sound if their singer was a tenor not a baritone.
This made a Do Not Play list for weddings, alongside other songs about stalking/break-ups/infidelity (Every Breath you Take, I Will Survive and Jesse’s Girl respectively). The song can make an expanded list of “songs not be be played at weddings or anywhere else”. In it the narrator, a person in a committed relationship, takes a call from a past amour while his current squeeze is in the other room:
“Honey why are you calling me so late?
It’s kinda hard to talk right now
Honey why are you crying, is everything okay?
I gotta whisper ’cause I can’t be too loud”
We would have preferred, “Honey, why are you calling me so late. You’re under a court order to refrain from communicating via telephone or mobile and coming within 100 feet of me.” Nice rhythm to it.
The late, great Greg Giraldo said of Keith: “You put the big in bigot!” at the Larry the Cable Guy Comedy Roast. The xenophobic red neck ballad Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue made many people say ugh and launched a feud with the Dixie Chicks. Apparently the tune only took 20 minutes to write, which is a lot less time than it takes to forget.
Rapper Master P once tried out for the 1999 Toronto Raptors and was cut (we naturally assumed anyone who tried out for that dismal team was automatically guaranteed a spot).
3. Jump in my Car (David Hasselhoff – 6’4)
David Hasselhoff is surprisingly tall given the fact that we know him best from that video where he’s on his back on the floor eating a hamburger drunk. Working on a similar theme as Billy Ocean’s creepy Get outta My Dreams and Into My Car, the Hoff’s tune cuts right to the chase as far kidnapping and abduction via automobile is concerned.
According to Hasselhoff, the song’s video (originally a hit for some obscure Australian band in 1975) was intended as self-parody, which would’ve worked if people got the joke.
2. Honky Tonk Badonkadonk (Trace Adkins – 6’6)
At 6’6, if Trace Adkins’ career as a country music artist ever tanks, he could try out for professional wrestling as “Wide Brim Bill: The Killer Country Singer”. However, given the success of this unspeakably terrible tune, he will never be out of work. With lyrics like the following, country music has fallen off a high precipice.
“Got it goin’ on
Like Donkey Kong
Shut my mouth, slap your grandma
There outta be a law
Get the Sheriff on the phone”
1. K.O.B.E. (Kobe Bryant – 6’7 featuring Tyra Banks – 5’10)
Dishonorable Mention: (I Know I Got) Skillz (Shaquille O’Neal – 7’1)
Two domains in which people who are far taller than their peers dominate are basketball and fashion. In basketball, height gives you an advantage in both game-play and in also making those long jerseys and shorts work in a fashion sense. In modelling, fashion houses want to display their clothes properly, which means hanging them off the long limbed women who dominate that industry rather than squat women better suited to piling cordwood.
Here two … giants of both worlds team up to regale us with a page out of Kobe’s diary in which he bemoans never getting any ‘legit’ women
“I don’t know, yo, these women come and go
Like the wind they blow, how do I know it’s you for sure?”
While he’s not going to win any rhyming prizes for that, we almost took him off this list because of this inspired verse:
“Can’t get witcha, let the door hitcha, where the Lord splitcha”
We said almost.
The Shark Guys are the authors of Tastes Like Human: The Shark Guys’ Book of Bitingly Funny Lists (Available now!)