Alright, we all got ’em.

Favorite tunes we don’t like to admit to liking.

Over time bad songs become kitschy and acceptable. You can wear them like a badge of honor.

But while they are contemporary, you can’t admit to liking them. Can’t, that is, if you want to have any rep at all.

Guilty Pleasure Songs come as you age. When you’re a teenager or a young twenty-something you haven’t paid your dues yet. You can’t adopt older songs not from your era as your own GPS. You have to have lived through them.

Having lived through the disco era and the 80’s I have no shortage of GPS.

Remember they have to be bad not just from an outdated era.

Without further delay, here are my Top 5 all time GPS

5.  Rock and Roll All Night–Kiss

Look, I know some people take KISS seriously. I can’t, not as an adult. I remember being a high school freshman listening to this and even then knew it was sort of cheesy. I still do and i still love it.

4. Kiss Me Deadly- Lita Ford

Gotta quarter?

What a great horny teenager song! Which is a little weird to really love when you’re 48.

3.  Laughter in the Rain–Neil Sedaka

Yes, I consider myself unmistakably masculine. Yes, this a man with a sexy woman’s voice. Yes, I love this song.

2. The Pina Colada Song– some dude named Rupert Holmes

Bad lyrics, really bad lyrics. Bad synth music. Bad vocals.

I freakin’ love this song.

And think about it. Whoever wrote this gem, if they kept the rights and invested it properly would never have to work again their life. That’s for writing:

I was tired of my lady

We’d been together too long

Like a worn out recording

Of a favorite song.

Think about that the next time you get a rejection letter for your 100k word manuscript

And my number one, all time GPS..a song as good as “Don’t Be Cruel,” “Born to Run,” ” Start Me Up” “Brown Eyed Girl” “Hey Jude”… except that I could never, ever admit it:

1. Kung Fu Fighting– Carl Douglas

Are you kidding–it doesn’t get any better.

Just the line “There were funky Chinamen from funky Chinatown” would’ve been enough. Just the wa-wa 70’s guitar work and just the “Woaoo-ooo’s” combined with the bad cliche Charlie Chan background would’ve been enough. This sucker had it all.


Just try to write something as good as:

“From a feint into a slip, and kicking from the hip.”

Carl Douglas, I bow to you Sensei!

Here are the complete lyrics:

Everybody was kung-fu fighting
Those cats were fast as lightning
In fact it was a little bit frightning
But they fought with expert timing

They were funky China men from funky Chinatown
They were chopping them up and they were chopping them down
It’s an ancient Chinese art and everybody knew their part
From a feint into a slip, and kicking from the hip

Everybody was kung-fu fighting
Those cats were fast as lightning
In fact it was a little bit frightning
But they fought with expert timing

There was funky Billy Chin and little Sammy Chung
He said here comes the big boss, lets get it on
We took a bow and made a stand, started swinging with the hand
The sudden motion made me skip now we’re into a brand knew trip

Everybody was kung-fu fighting
Those cats were fast as lightning
In fact it was a little bit frightning
But they did it with expert timing

(repeat)..make sure you have expert timing
Kung-fu fighting, had to be fast as lightning

  1. Jen Forbus says:

    Hmmm, this is a hard question for me to answer for two reasons. First being I’m not usually embarrassed by what I listen to. I guess I just think if I like it, I don’t care if other people don’t. Kinda like what I read. I’m not embarrassed by anything I read either – don’t consider any of it “guilty pleasures”. The other reason being I mostly listen to audio books these days. I don’t listen to music anywhere near as much as I once did.

    Of course, everyone knows I listen to Harry, because I’m not at all ashamed to admit that. Some people might make fun of me because I like show tunes: Rent, Cats, any Cole Porter, etc. I listen to Big Band – but that isn’t “my era” either. My sister thinks I should be ashamed of everything I listen to. So, who knows. I’ll just go on existing in my own little world.

  2. BD says:

    Great picks, TS!

    I’m a sucker for the Sweedish Schlockmeisters–ABBA. And I ain’t no ‘Mama Mia’ Johnny come lately fool, neither. 8-tracks, baby. A portable one. About the size of a 30 pack of Black Label (cans of course). Made the most horrific *CHU-KA-CLICK* mid song when it changed program.
    Same goes for John Denver. Singing along to ‘Rocky Mountain High’ on the 8-track of the green Chevy wagon (when station wagons were pretty much U-Boats with 4 tires) was a beautiful thing.

    Nowadays, Carl Douglas would be taken out behind the Human Resources shed and beat mercilessly with the Insensitive Stereotype Nunchucks.

    Ever see Seagal butcher ‘KungFu Fighting’ on SNL? Master Po would not be pleased.

  3. tjs9261 says:

    Love the 8 track…especially in a woody station wagon with, what, like a V-32 engine…

  4. Be Happy Bobby Mcfferin

  5. Pasquale Palumbo says:

    “Wannabe”-Spice Girls
    “Friends in Low Places”-Garth Brooks

  6. Just A Girl says:

    i already typed this once and it didnt stick – probably operator error but i am going to blame the computer.

    dancing queen – abba
    I am women – helen reddy (which i listen to every morning on way to work)
    take this job and shove it – johnny paycheck (followed by this)
    Whistle a happy tune – the king and I (end with this and get of car and go to work)
    Cant roller skate in a buffalo herd – roger miller
    do-wacka-do – roger miller
    Mule Train – T.E.Ford (this is what i play when getting my kids up and out the door to school)
    Kiss me big – T.E.Ford)

    Any musical (I actually own and listen to regularly the following)
    the king and i
    the pajama game
    the sound of music
    My Fair Lady

  7. PMAdesigns says:

    Ah… Kung Fu Fighting, I can picture David Carradine, now!

    And what about The Stones fluff song, Wild Horses? I was 19, living down the shore..Ocean City, MD, dating a very sexy older(by 10 years) bass player who was top billing on the weekends at my favorite club… mmmmmm, I’m still smiling! 😉

  8. Just A Girl says:

    dancing queen – abba
    i am women – helen reddy
    cant roller skate in a buffalo herd – Roger Miller
    do-wacka-do – Roger Miller
    Mule Train – T.E. Ford
    Kiss Me Big Bed = T.E. Ford

    The whole sound track from the Pajama Game

    Note – my boys sing Kung Fu Fighting with my husband all the time…

  9. le0pard13 says:

    Let’s scroll down the ol’ iPod thumbwheel for this GPS post, Tom:

    5. Come Saturday Morning – The Sandpipers (among my R&B and Jazz cuts, and the album cuts of hip lesser-knowns, this one syrupy tune from my youth certainly sticks out)
    4. All I Ask of You – Barbara Streisand (alright, I had to throw in at least Broadway show tune by the Babs)
    3. Burning Bridges – Mike Curb Congregation (I’m guilty, guilty, guilty… at least I can say it’s the theme song to one of my favorite WWII movies, Kelly’s Heroes, see today’s post)
    2. Last Train to Clarksville – The Monkee’s (my only defense is that I watched their show as a kid… first run)
    1. Key Largo – Bertie Higgins (I love my wife, and it’s the title of one of all-time favorite Bogart pictures… there, I said)

    This was fun, Tom (now I just have to live this down). Thanks.

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