The worst album in the world... ever!

Competition was intense, but Simon Le Bon and co have won pop's least coveted title

Anthony Barnes,Arts,Media Correspondent
Sunday 26 March 2006 02:00 BST

It may have sounded like a winning formula at the time: a chart-topping band covering some of the most iconic songs of the past 30 years.

But Duran Duran's 1995 release Thank You, in which they paid tribute to the bands that had inspired them, has been given the dubious honour of being branded the worst album of all time.

With 12 tracks, including Lou Reed's "Perfect Day", Bob Dylan's "Lay Lady Lay", Elvis Costello's "Watching the Detectives" and The Doors' "Crystal Ship" - none of which was suited to their style of glossy pop - it is 54 minutes and 29 seconds of pure hell, according to music experts at Q magazine.

The track that prompted the most hoots of derision was their decision to tackle Public Enemy's "911 is a Joke" - originally an angry diatribe by militant rappers about the treatment of the black underclass in the US, which lost its power when performed by a group of middle-class white boys from Birmingham.

Other horrors that made Q's hall of shame included every solo Spice Girls album, given equal footing at number two in the chart. Chief among them must have been Victoria Beckham's attempts at pop credibility, one of many attempts at career resurrection.

Another that makes the list is Naomi Campbell's recording debut Baby Woman. The album was created by credible producers, including Youth and Tim Simenon, but even their input didn't get it into the top 75.

The deputy editor of Q, Gareth Grundy, said: "The list is a mixture of the unspeakable and those ridiculous acts of hubris, although we tried not to pick on the obvious soft targets.

"Duran Duran was the one that united everyone in agreement. We put it on in the office to remind ourselves how bad it was. Sometimes these things are redeemed by some sort of kitsch or novelty value, but it didn't even have that. It's not funny for even a split second and not even the sort of thing that you would put on for a laugh if you were drunk.

"It is abysmal on every level, as befits an album where you have Simon Le Bon trying to cover Public Enemy."

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Even the studio engineer who worked on the Duran Duran project, Ken Scott, thought the worst-album accolade was a fair assessment. "I think it turned out pretty badly," he admitted.

Afterwards, the band described the album, which went to number 12 and clocked up a pitiful three weeks in the charts, as "commercial suicide".

As a result their next effort did not get an official release in the UK. Cover versions are a common theme in Q's top 10. It also includes Urban Renewal, a collection of Phil Collins songs performed by credible hip-hop acts, and Westlife's attempt to cover some of Frank Sinatra's hits.


Duran Duran


Spice Girls

Any of their solo albums "WRETCHED"

Various Artists


Lou Reed

Metal Machine Music "TOSS"

Billy Idol

Cyberpunk "RISIBLE"

Naomi Campbell


Kevin Rowland


Mick Jagger




Tin Machine

Tin Machine II "A DISASTER"


DJ MARK RADCLIFFE nominates Metal Machine Music, by Lou Reed: "I would say William Shatner's album, but that's almost so bad it comes out the other side. Metal Machine Music is not one, but two albums of unlistenable noise, so technically it's twice as bad. I think Lou Reed would be quite proud of it being the worst album ever."

TV PRESENTER JUNE SARPONG nominates Aquarium, by Aqua: "When I was growing up I used to think they were really cool and I bought all their albums, in fact. The next one was called Aquarius. But looking back now this must be the worst thing I've heard."

DJ NORMAN COOK nominates The Mash Up Mix 2006, various artists: "Mash-ups or bootlegs [where DJs construct new tracks from samples] used to be something underground, illegal and naughty. But when they start doing K-tel style compilations, things like that kill the whole genre."

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