Bad Songs: Frankie Avalon, “Bobby Sox to Stockings”

My Spotify does a cool thing: gives little subset genre playlists of my main giant playlist so if I just want to sample some new wave and no Motown, both of which are on the bigger collection, I can hear just that.

The other day I felt nostalgic, so I put on list that includes Buddy Holly and Gene Vincent and Del Shannon. I am not sure how Spotify associated this horrible Frankie Avalon song with those great artists, but it did, and the song I had forgotten came back to haunt.

This “music” represents the absolute worst of what people imagine of those wonderful nostalgic 50’s, when mainstream radio sucked, racism was rote, and despite the separation of church and state, we were forced to eat fucking fishsticks at the school cafeteria every Friday.

Aside from being a joke, though, the intro to this song from American Bandstand is cool because you can see the Top 10 at the time behind Frankie and Dick Clark. Other than that, the only thing worse than those Friday fishsticks is this song.

10 thoughts on “Bad Songs: Frankie Avalon, “Bobby Sox to Stockings”

  1. This is one of the worst. It makes my infomercial that I always wanted to do. The Worst Songs Ever. I guarantee you it would sell. But there are so many. Dave Barry did the Book of Bad Songs, which my daughter Anastasia gave me one Christmas, which trashes many worthy candidates. His all-time worst is McArthur Park, a song that he points out hit #1 twice, a decade apart and in two versions: Richard Harris (!) and Donna Summer. Usually this sort of thing is shooting fish in a barrel so I like that Barry went after a song with pretensions. Presumably Frankie Avalon knew he was doing shit, though come to think of it Richard Harris had to know too. Donna Summer was just looking for something to float over the thump thump thump.

    If you look at the Top 10 from any week, all through the glory decades of pop radio, you will find similarly shitty songs. I find this reassuring; people were assholes then too. After all, these were all big hits. The real worst songs ever we can never hear, they were written and forgotten by the thousands long ago. Except for the ones yet to come!

    So I picked out a week, this week in 1967. You can’t avoid great at this time but there is no lack of shit:

    1) I’m a Believer (Monkees)
    2) Georgy Girl (The Seekers, and this one happens to be on my wife Vicki’s all-time shit list)
    3) Kind of a Drag (The Buckinghams)
    4) Ruby Tuesday
    5) We Ain’t Got Nothing Yet (Blues Magoos, let’s hear that:

    Those guys could play, not on the video obviously but they played on the record and they could play.

    6) Tell It Like It Is (Aaron Neville – great as this is there is better alternate version that I can’t find)
    7) 98.6 (Keith, just Keith)
    8) Snoopy Vs. the Red Baron (The Royal Guardsmen – now there’s a name)
    9) Love Is Here and Now You’re Gone (Supremes – underrated in their canon)
    10) The Beat Goes On (where? Sonny & Cher)

    Not exactly a mighty cultural boast. The Velvet Underground with Nico was a month away from release, ignored when it wasn’t hated.

    It just occured to me what cover to do next with the Girls Next Door (we’re doing one of mine next called Ghost Love). This one is begging to be punked up. This is an excellent remix:

  2. Good thoughts Gene.

    I am not crazy for the Monkees, but Neil Diamond–a solid tunesmith–did write I’m A Believer.

    True there is dreck everywhere and I hated MaCarthur Park. I was given “A Tramp Shining” as a present I remember, and I quickly brought it to Tower and swapped it for something I could deal with. But, along with came laurels for Jim Webb, who also wrote “Up Up and Away” confirming his place among the schlock writers.

    I have my own sort of Top 5 worst songs, and I disagree with Steve that “Hallelujah” belongs. It is actually kind of funny/ironic to me. But, I think the most self aggrandizing is “Spirit In The Sky” which I hate beyond all belief like I hated fucking fishsticks.

    Pandering Christian proselytizing just irritates the shit out of me. Buddhists, Jews, Shintos, Hindus never try to convince anyone to join their flock, and I always resent the Christian arrogance for what is a baby religion in the world’s scheme (I mean, when Jesus was born, the previously mentioned faiths had all been around for twice as long as Christianity has presently been popular).

    But, I digress.

    Maybe there is a piece out there to expound, but worst songs?

    1) Spirit in the Sky
    2) An Open Letter to a Teenage Son
    3) In the Year 2525
    4) Incense and Peppermints
    5) Honey

    Bobby Sox to Stockings is close, and if you listen to the opening riff, if it can be called, listen to Avalon’s Venus to see how unimaginative his producers were.

    And, yeah, Blues Magoos ruled.

  3. I fully understand your resentment, but I always liked Spirit in the Sky. That fuzz guitar sounds like electric farts.
    An Open Letter to a Teenage Son – I had forgotten about that one. Oooh.
    In the Year 2525 – I always listen to it when it comes on; it’s like Horror at Party Beach in its good/badness. HOW PRESCIENT THEY WERE.
    Incense and Peppermints – Frankie Avalon: “When a girl changes from LSD to Wrigley’s.”
    Honey – Made I think #3 in Dave Barry’s book. I always thought Bobby Goldsboro killed her, or I like to think so.

  4. The bobby sox song is completely new to me. Sometimes it’s better to be younger and have missed things. I think I saw Barron Trump in the audience.

    Worst songs of all-time? Too difficult. Needs to be qualifiers to arrive at a reasonable subset from which to choose. When I’m at the gym I think I’m hearing the worst song ever a couple times a week. Then next week comes along.

    Surprised Joan Jett never croaked out a “punk” cover of “Incense And Peppermints.”

  5. Frankie Avalon actually did a lot of good records. “Bobby Sox to Stockings” was emphatically not one of them! (By the way, “Spirit in the Sky” is sorta great, in my opinion, and the entire album, filled with minor-key melodies, is worth a listen.)

  6. I should have added that the flip side to the Avalon 45, “A Boy Without a Girl,” sugar-laden as it is, is one of his absolute best and most beautiful. Void yourself of cynicism, and we would all wish for as happy a relationship as this song portrays. And I’m not getting old and soft; I loved this as a kid, even though it took me decades to find that “girl” – “And since you’ve come to me / all the world has come to shine.” Works for me.

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