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4. Starship

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We Built This City
Highest Billboard Position:
#1 in 1985

Fans of the great Hall of Fame outfielder, Willie Mays, try to forget his last two bungling years with the New York Mets.  His skills were clearly eroded and he was more like “Confused Grandpa” than the “Say Hey Kid”.  Somehow, we think Grace Slick can identify with Mays just a little too well.

Before Starship was Starship, they were Jefferson Starship, and before that they were Jefferson Airplane, one of the premier psychedelic bands in music history.  They have the distinction of being the only band to be a part of Altamont, Monterrey Pop and Woodstock, the three key music festivals of the 60’s.  Sixteen years after Woodstock, the band that Slick had so triumphantly fronted was stripped of any aspect of the counter culture that she was once the symbol of.  Rather, she now fronted “Corporate Rock”, music palatable for elevators and dentist chairs.  For a song talking about building a city on Rock and Roll, there was nothing “Rock” at all about this attempted anthem.  Slick has gone to say that the music really wasn’t her, and we accept her apology.

How awful is "We Built this City"?

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I totally agree, this song is god awful! - 20%
This song is bad, but there is much worse. - 60%
This song is actually a guilty pleasure. - 20%
No opinion. - 0%
You are nuts, this song is amazing. - 0%
Last modified on Friday, 29 June 2012 14:35


+1 #1 Knuckles 2012-05-22 11:52
Whatever they were on when they wrote they wrote the song must have been something. I hope it never sees the light of day ever again.
+1 #2 Darryl Tahirali 2012-07-12 19:07
Slick might be right. By the time she sang on this monstrosity, she was the only Airplaner left in the band. They even had to shorten their name to Starship because Paul Kantner had left, legally taking the "Jefferson" with him.

I always thought this obnoxious song was crass nostalgia-monge ring on their part, or else hometown boasting a la Journey's "Lights" (I was living in the SF Bay Area at the time and had to endure both on a regular basis). However, in looking it up, I see that the song was not written by Slick or anyone else associated with the Airplane, or even with the Starship except when they became simply Starship,

"City" was written by . . . Bernie Taupin, Martin Page, Dennis Lambert, and Peter Wolf. Taupin of course is Elton John's longtime lyricist (yes, I smell song-doctoring going on here too), but this Peter Wolf is not the J. Geils frontman. This Peter Wolf is an Austrian music whiz who played keyboards with Frank Zappa before becoming a hit pop producer in the 1980s, including "City" and another song on this list of 100 worst, Wang Chung's "Everybody Have Fun Tonight." He also produced Heart's big ballad "What about Love," which I presume just missed the cut here, although I would gladly swap Maria Muldaur's "Midnight at the Oasis" for it.

I'm surprised there hasn't been a cover version, "ironic" or not.
-1 #3 David Williams 2014-11-11 06:33
Really, you can't find other songs worse than Starship's We Built This City? Don't listen to radio much, do we? I kinda like the song, would never purchase it. But I don't flip the channel when it come on. But if you listen to music at all, you could easily find about a thousand or so songs that are worse. And I said Easily find. Funny how the charts lie, number one on Billboard but it's number four in " 100 Worst Songs of Modern Pop Culture". You guys probably have a copy at home but won't admit to it. Plus that ridiculous song you like never got playtime it was so bad. The charts don't lie guys, it was popular because it was a decent song. Never a number one for me, but definitely not a number four of the worst, grow up. Was going to read through the list, but after this major mistake, what's the sense?
0 #4 Darryl Tahirali 2014-11-13 19:51
@David Williams: Do you lose a lot of blood spurting through that thin skin of yours?

Grow up. Music provokes intense feelings from listeners both positive and negative. And half--if not most--of the fun of any list is arguing with it. Besides, I bet you've got a copy of Knee Deep in the Hoopla, the album that has "City," at home too.
0 #5 Committee Chairman 2014-11-18 01:13
I would like to go on the record and state that at no point has any Starship album ever found its way on the chairman's record collection.

Somehow, i never thought this would be a sentence i would have to write.

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