History is littered with artists who came to hate their own creations. Musicians are especially susceptible to this. After all, if you’re a painter you don’t have to redo a painting you don’t like. If you’re a writer, you don’t have to rewrite or even reread one of your books once it’s published. However, if you are a musician, you are expected to sing that song over and over and over again. These following songs became huge hits so it’s no surprise the people who made them eventually got tired of them.
1. Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin
This one is probably the most famous example and, to be fair, it’s not the entire band that hates the song, it’s just Robert Plant. Jimmy Page is actually quite a big fan of “Stairway to Heaven” and used to improvise epic guitar solos during live performances.
It took Plant about 17 years to get sick of the song. After that he said he’d “break out in hives” if he had to keep singing it at every show. Plant even admitted that one time he pledged money to a radio station in Portland in order to get them never to play “Stairway to Heaven” again. Speaking of radio, it would seem the song owes part of its success to nicotine-addicted DJs who played “Stairway to Heaven” frequently because it was the right length for a quick smoke break.
2. Creep by Radiohead
Another famous example, Creep was Radiohead’s breakout hit but band members called it “crap” on several occasions. Guitarist Jonny Greenwood was never a fan and admitted to trying to sabotage the recording of the song by playing the guitar really hard. Nowadays, the band steadfastly refuses to play “Creep” even at special events like Glastonbury. Fans who request the song are promptly dismissed and ignored.
While we’re at it, singer Thom Yorke also dislikes another Radiohead hit, “High & Dry”. He thought it sounded like a Rod Stewart song which is why it was originally left out of “Pablo Honey”. It eventually made its way onto “The Bends” but Yorke still considers it a “very bad” song.
3. Take My Breath Away by Berlin
Many people know new wave band Berlin only for their 1986 uberhit “Take My Breath Away” featured in the movie “Top Gun”. The song wasn’t written by the band and several members were apprehensive of recording it because they felt it didn’t fit their style. Bassist and singer/songwriter John Crawford was the one most against it. Eventually, the band was persuaded into recording the song and “Take My Breath Away” was a huge hit, especially in Germany. However, disagreements caused by the song also led to the breakup of the band soon after.
Eventually, Berlin reunited without Crawford. 15 years after “Take My Breath Away” released a new album.
4. Fight for Your Right by The Beastie Boys
Subtlety sometimes gets overlooked in art, particularly in a product that is meant to appeal to the masses. That was the problem with “Fight for Your Right”. In their Best Of collection, the Beastie Boys flat out said that the song “sucked”. It might be the song that made them famous, but the group members are upset that people were taking it seriously instead of realizing it’s a parody. The song was mocking the drunken jerks of the world, but nobody caught on and instead it became their party anthem.
5. Don’t You (Forget about Me) by Simple Minds
Like “Take My Breath Away”, this song became huge because it was featured in a popular movie (in this case, The Breakfast Club). Also like Berlin’s hit, this song wasn’t written by the band that performed it. Music producer Keith Forsey wrote it and then shopped it around to several musicians. Bryan Ferry, Billy Idol and The Fixx all turned it down.
Simple Minds also turned it down initially, but with some insistence from their record label the band was eventually persuaded to record the song that would become their biggest hit. Since then, the band went through a love-hate relationship with the song. Despite being a hit, they didn’t want to include it on their upcoming album, but they did release it later on a Best Of. And usually they don’t perform it live but they have relented on occasion.