This page has been archived and is no longer updated.Find out more about page archiving.

Pop stars can sometimes have a strained relationship with the songs that appear to define them. Many's the poetic genius who threw together a daft song for a laugh in a few heated moments, only to discover that their audience will not leave a venue unless it has been played in full.

Van Morrison is not overfond of Brown Eyed Girl, Berlin broke up over the success of their Top Gun theme Take My Breath Away (the only song of theirs anyone really knows now), and Kurt Cobain grew weary of blamming out Smells Like Teen Spirit for an audience that, he felt, were no longer his kind of people.

Here are some other stars who grew to dislike one key song in their repertoire.

1. The Pretenders - Brass in Pocket

[WATCH] Highlights of The Pretenders at Glastonbury 2017

Brass in Pocket is a perfectly poised pop song that captures the feeling of strutting about, feeling invulnerable. It's bottled confidence in musical form, which makes Chrissie Hynde's direct opposition to releasing it as a single seem even more odd. "This goes out over my dead body," she told producer Chris Thomas, only to be overruled and watch, appalled, as it went to No.1 in 1980.

She told Classic Rock: "I never thought it was that great. Was it pop? Motown? Rock? It didn't seem to know what it was. I used to cringe when I heard my voice on those early Pretenders recordings, and then that f***** went to No.1! I remember walking around Oxford Circus hearing it blasting out of people's radios. I was mortified."

Incidentally, if you've ever wondered what "Detroit leaning" is, as mentioned in the lyrics, Vulture went and found out.

2. Kanye West - Gold Digger

Taking a pragmatic approach, Kanye West came to view one of his biggest early hits - the Ray Charles/Jamie Foxx sampling Gold Digger - as a means to an end. He deliberately created a hit song - about a woman taking money from gullible chumps - to raise the money in order to innovate.

In a 2013 interview with Zane Lowe, Kanye freely admitted to not "never really" liking the song, but, "I knew I would get paid for doing Gold Digger." He added that used the cash to create an immersive live experience for his fans.

3. Madonna - Like a Virgin

[LISTEN] Jo Whiley talks to Madonna

For Madonna, the disowning of various breakthrough hits is less an act of petulance and more a show of growth as a person and an artist. She fairly regularly dismisses her old hits. In 2008 she told New York's Z100 FM: "I'm not sure I can sing Holiday or Like A Virgin ever again. I just can't - unless somebody paid me like $30 million or something."

In 2009 she redoubled her attack on Like a Virgin, saying, "For some reason people think that when you go to a restaurant or you are going shopping that you want to hear one of your own songs. It's usually Like a Virgin - and that is the one I don’t want to hear."

And in 2015 she shifted her attention to another hallmark hit, telling US Weekly magazine: "My least favorite is Material Girl. I never, ever want to hear it again!"

4. R.E.M. - Shiny Happy People

[LISTEN] How do R.E.M. deal with intra-band conflict?

Having spent the 1980s as a venerated alt-rocking combo of considerable influence, R.E.M. entered the 90s feeling like it was time to change their sound, and having swapped instruments around for a bit, they came up with something that would transform the public's view of them as a band, the perky Shiny Happy People.

"It was written to be as pop as it could possibly be, absurdly, ridiculously pop," Michael Stipe told the Sun, "The guys would give me pieces of music that were so ebullient and bubblegum that I'd be like, 'Okay, I accept your challenge and I raise you, we're going to call this one Shiny Happy People.'"

But the band's feelings about the song soon curdled. "We were going for something like The Banana Splits or The Monkees," Michael told the Telegraph, "It was a hit but none of us are particularly fond of it... It's a song primarily written for children".

5. Radiohead - Creep

[WATCH] Highlights of Radiohead at Glastonbury 2017

Radiohead have never liked this song. Thom Yorke would sardonically refer to it as "crap" and had short shrift for fans who asked to hear it in concert. Jonny Greenwood only introduced those violent guitar spasms in the verses to try and mess it up, and it has caused the band legal trouble with both The Hollies (Albert Hammond and Mike Hazlewood, writers of their hit The Air That I Breathe, sued over melodic similarities) and Lana Del Rey, as BBC News reported.

And it became their international calling card in the early 90s, prompting Thom to write the sneering My Iron Lung about his relationship with shallow success. The band has thawed a little on the song in recent years, playing it at Glastonbury 2017 and allowing the fan reaction to carry them through.

6. TLC - Creep

[LISTEN] T-Boz and Chilli talk TLC with Clare Crane

Another example of a song that very nearly didn't make it out of the studio, Creep is a song about women who cheat on their cheating partners in order to make them feel jealous and put more effort into the relationship. It was written by Dallas Austin, who wanted to recast TLC singer T-Boz's unfortunate romantic experiences as a kind of strong woman narrative, but it didn't sit well with Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes.

In the documentary The Last Days of Left Eye, she claims that that she was so adamant that the song should not see the light of day that she threatened to wear black tape over her mouth during the music video. Even after it was a global hit she continued to resent the song's message, and she even added a rap verse to a subsequent remix that offered advice on safe sex.

7. Run-D.M.C. - Walk this Way

The only person who thought it was a good idea for Run-D.M.C. to re-record Aerosmith's cocksure 70s tale of schoolyard sauce was producer Rick Rubin. Run-D.M.C. just liked the beat that began the song (written by singer Steven Tyler), but had never heard the rest of the record; Aerosmith weren't particularly bothered by this new hip hop fad but were game to try something new. The problems came when rappers Run and D.M.C. settled down to learn the lyrics. Steven Tyler was distinctly miffed that they didn't already know them, and the rappers were struggling to make head or tail of what they felt was weird hillbilly poetry. D.M.C. told the Independent: "You know how you make a kid sit down and eat his vegetables? And it takes the kid an hour to eat one green at a time? That's what me and Run were doing."

Even when the song started to blow up, the band were too embarrassed to perform it live. "We did not perform Walk This Way in 1986 while it was exploding," said Run. "It was a separate thing in my mind... Then I hear this exploding on a rock station in Boston and I’m seeing sales that are taking it well over 1.5 million. The next time out, I started to play it."

8. Simple Minds - Don't You (Forget About Me)

[WATCH] Simple Minds perform Don't You Forget About Me

[WATCH] Simple Minds perform Don't You Forget About Me

This is how a hit was made in the 1980s. Take a hot band with artistic credibility (Simple Minds), offer them the soundtrack song to a hot new American movie (The Breakfast Club), tell them they can't record their own song, they'll need to go with the one they're given, then introduce band to songwriter and watch them get on like a house on fire while steadfastly refusing to record his song. At this point, wait until the lead singer starts to feel sorry for the songwriter and gathers the band into the studio just to have a bash at the song on his battered cassette. Let the singer introduce a "la la la" refrain at the end in the absence of lyrics, hang on to that bit and try really hard to ignore the fact that they don't seem particularly pleased with what they've done. Release the song as a single, and watch it fly.

A contrite Charlie Burchill told the Guardian in 2016: "At the time, we felt the song didn't suit us, because we had delusions of being ultra-hip. When I listen to it now, it's obviously a brilliant, well-crafted pop song. I'm embarrassed we dissed it so much."

9. A Flock of Seagulls - I Ran

If they can muster the memory at all, most people remember A Flock of Seagulls for lead singer Mike Score's pompadour comb-over. But in America particularly the song I Ran was a very big deal. Sadly for the band, they preferred to play their other songs, very quickly tiring of giving the people what they wanted.

In an interview with VH1, Mike admitted he struggled to enjoy the song: "Every time I perform live, everyone just wants to hear I Ran... I'm sick of it!", although more recently he's come to realise that this is his musical legacy, for better or worse, telling Songfacts: "I don't think it's the best song we've got, although it was the biggest hit. I have moments where I think Space Age is a lot better, or Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You) is a lot better... But I like to play it live, because the crowd loves it."

10. Frank Sinatra - Strangers in the Night

[WATCH] Frank Sinatra performs at his 1971 retirement concert in LA

[WATCH] Frank Sinatra performs at his 1971 retirement concert in LA

At the other end of the crowd-pleaser scale is Ol' Blue Eyes. When you're Frank Sinatra, you can record a song that you openly despise - "Don Costa played it for me some years ago. I hated it! I hated this goddamn song the first I’ve heard it. And I still hate it!" - you can watch it quickly take on the mantle of a fan favourite and then spend the rest of your career telling audiences that they are idiots for liking it, without risking your status as the 20th century's crooner-in-chief.

Some of his choicest quotes about Strangers in the Night include telling audiences, "Here’s a song that I cannot stand" or "If you like that song, you must be crazy about pineapple yogurt" or "strangely enough I keep saying to myself, 'Why are you still singing this song?'". He also told a bandleader he'd "stick that violin bow up where the sun don’t shine" if he played it again, and was witnessed mouthing "I hate that song" during the ovation he received after singing it.

He also grew to hate My Way and New York, New York, proving that no star is too big to become bored of their own public image.

Like us on Facebook, on Instagram at bbcmusic, or follow us on Twitter @bbcmusic

Related links

Added item image
Added, go to My Music to see full list.
More from