Musicians Who Hate Their Own Songs


Black and white image of Nirvana

Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain is among musicians who hate their own songs – Author Anne Erickson, Photo via Chris Cuffaro

Writing music can be a very cathartic experience. I’m a musician, and I write my own music, so I totally understand what it’s like to work on a song and feel somehow attached to it. I’ve also written songs that I liked at the time but years later, not so much. It’s hard, because some people really love those songs, but when I hear them, it just makes me cringe. That said, it’s not surprising that there are a handful of musicians who hate their own songs. That’s even the case when some of those songs are very popular with fans.

Musicians Who Hate Their Own Songs

Nirvana, “Smells Like Teen Spirit”

It’s pretty much impossible not to like, or at least appreciate, Nirvana’s breakout hit, “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” This song started an entire musical movement and made grunge music the defining musical genre of the 1990s. But, frontman Kurt Cobain, understandably, got tired of the song. He once said that he thought the production on the band’s album “Nevermind,” which features “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” was a bit too polished. He also said that he could “barely get through” playing the single live after doing it so many times.

Radiohead, “Creep”

It’s well known that Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke is not a fan of Radiohead’s biggest hit, “Creep.” In fact, Radiohead hasn’t even played the song much live since 1998. Yorke is simply tired of playing it. A band like Radiohead is about going against the grain, so it makes sense that Yorke and company would reject their most mainstream hit. I love the track, though, and so do many fans.

Guns N’ Roses, “Sweet Child O’ Mine”

Who doesn’t love that fantastic opening guitar solo on Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child O’ Mine?” Apparently, Slash doesn’t like it. The guitarist has said that he “hated it” for a long time but eventually got to the point where he could “appreciate it.” That’s a good thing, because I can’t imagine a Guns N’ Roses concert without “Sweet Child O’ Mine.” Talk about a major letdown.

Eminem, “Cleanin’ Out My Closet”

Eminem got really personal in his song “Cleanin’ Out My Closet,” so much that he actually has said he regretted going so hard on her a bit. At one point, he apologized to his mom for the super harsh lyrics with a new song, “Headlight.” In that song, he raps, “My mom probably got it the worst. The brunt of it, but as stubborn as we are, did I take it too far?”

The Who, “Pinball Wizard”

Even if you aren’t a fan of The Who, you’ve probably heard and enjoyed their mega hit “Pinball Wizard.” But, Pete Townshend is not big on the track. He has actually said the song is “awful” and “clumsy.” That’s pretty brutal. But, Pete, the public doesn’t agree.

Oasis, “Wonderwall”

Here’s another example of a band’s biggest hit being a song they just don’t like. Liam Gallagher is famously not a fan of the band’s mega hit, “Wonderwall.” He has even said that he can’t stand the song. But, considering that Oasis will probably never reunite, we don’t have to worry about fans being disappointed with that song being left off setlists.

On the subject of grunge, find some of the best grunge songs of all time here.

Anne Erickson
Posted by Anne Erickson | Alternative, Features, Grunge, Music, Rock