The one thing you learn when researching "Hero" songs is how lousy most of them are. Heroes deserve our respect and adulation. Yet just as the road to hell is paved with good intentions, you apparently drive on that road listening to terrible, terrible songs. There were many to choose from. I decided to stick with the worst. So, while I've always been partial to "Jukebox Hero" by Foreigner and that one guitar that blows me away and I've always been amused by the advice given to "Billy" about not becoming a hero, I've instead turned to the dark side and chosen songs that involuntarily bring up lunch.
Black Sabbath--"Zero the Hero": This is where you find the hardcore fans. Black Sabbath, not with Ozzy, not with Dio, but with Ian Gillan singing. Not as dire as Van Halen III with Gary Cherone, but there comes a time in every fan's life where they're supposed to throw in the towel and say 'Enough." "Accept the fact that you're second rate," begins this tune and while it's nice to see a band acknowledging its truth, "your life is a six-lane highway to nowhere" is a needless putdown of the New Jersey highway system that has since expanded to eight and sometimes ten-lane highways to nowhere. You mess with Jersey and Jersey always wins!
We Don't Need Another Hero (Thunderdome)": Tina Turner suffered at the hands of her abusive ex-husband Ike. She made a comeback that made for a feel-good story and revitalized the wig industry. She then appeared in the 1985 movie Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome and sang this horrible ditty that received a Golden Globe nomination for "Best Original Song" and a Grammy nomination for "Best Female Pop Vocal Performance." Makes you wonder what these institutions mean when they use a word like "Best."
Joey Scarbury--"Believe it Or Not (Theme from Greatest American Hero)": What does it say about a song when the best version of it is a parody? Unquestionably, the finest version of this song has been heard on George Constanza's answering machine and we all know he isn't real. And if the bald guy from Seinfeld is outranking you, it's worse than discovering you've got nowhere to go but down. You're already there, bubba.
A World Without Heroes": A world without Kiss might be a better one, but allegedly there are people who love this band, though it seems that The Elder, the concept album from which this track hails, is not well-liked by even its creators. Imagine that. The guys in Kiss ranking their own material. "Hmmn, 'Calling Dr. Love,' now that was a good idea. 'Meetcha meetcha meetcha in the Ladies Room, for my money it can't too soon,' another hot one. 'A World Without Heroes'? Now that's going too far! We've got to have standards, boys!'"
Nickelback--"Hero": Generally speaking any sentence that has the word Nickelback in it is doomed. Nothing good can come from this. Readers of this column already know how we feel about Canada and their relentless plot to make us like Celine Dion. I know these guys are from Vancouver and that's supposed to be different, filled with good people who are hugging trees and saving whales and getting their health checked out on a weekly basis but nothing excuses this mass conspiracy to make EVERYONE SOUND ALIKE. Though I must admit, I did admire the way the final lyrics were transcribed on the webpage I found: "As we all fly away. yeahaahh...ooouuhh (3X)" To which I'd like to add (3x): Yeahaahh...ooouuhh, indeed!