Feb 072009

“When the crescendo comes up during a song, I lose myself in it. I feel I’m making love to the audience. The sound fondles them, taunts them. grabs at them, embraces them.” — Vanilla Fudge keyboardist Mark Stein, from the liner notes to the Fudge’s 1968 concept album The Beat Goes On

Fellow Townspeople — I went out on a particularly fruitless thrifting expedition today; so fruitless, in fact, that I had to resort to buying an album solely because it looked like the single most colossally pretentious turd ever unleashed on the record buying public. And it was! This Vanilla Fudge album — The Beat Goes On, from 1968 — is astonishing in its badness, even for a Vanilla Fudge LP. Its awfulness is almost surreal. It may in fact be the worst album I’ve ever heard.

The basic idea, if there really is one, involves slowing down the Sonny Bono song from the title to a dirge-like pace, splitting it into six pieces, and filling groove space between these 6-minute-long snippets with brief, partial covers of music by artists ranging from Mozart to The Beatles — interspersed with pompous, idiotic interview segments with band members and lengthy audio montages of famous speeches by politicians from the 20th century, and the occasional sitar raga. Yes, I’m serious.

I’m sure you’re eager to hear some of this. I’m afraid I cannot indulge your macabre curiosity. If I were to rip and post this album here, I might be responsible for single-handedly upsetting the fundamental, universal balance between musical good and evil, and unleashing armies of winged demons wearing Bad Company T-shirts upon the world. The gates of hell would burst asunder, and with a giant retching sound, the rock netherworld would give up its glassy-eyed, greasy-haired, bongwater-soaked rock undead to assault and terrorize the planet. It’s just not worth it.

Sorry, guys. Trust me, I’ve got your best interests at heart here.

Your friend,



  5 Responses to “The Worst Album I’ve Ever Heard: Vanilla Fudge’s “The Beat Goes On””

  1. Mr. Moderator

    I just got home a little while ago and laughed hard at this piece before realizing that there was that problem where you, loyal Townsfolk, could not reply and tell Hrrundi what you thought of this album. It’s now fixed.

    I had no idea this album existed or that anything like it could have existed. Thanks for the warning. The best thing I ever heard by Vanilla Fudge – the only good thing – was their cover of “Keep Me Hanging On” played at 45 rather than 33. They actually sounded like The Undertones at that speed. Maybe you should try spinning this album you picked up at 45 and see if it makes a difference.

  2. That’s funny – I have a friend who had a mix tape that included the 45 of “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”, which he had played at 33 because he thought that made it sounds more like an authentic reggae song.

    I had Carmine Appice’s book, “Realistic Rock” back when I took drum lessons. The front cover is an embarrassment, thought the actual content is pretty useful.

  3. There was a copy of that album at my parents house when I was in grade school. I have no idea where it could have come from because my parents were musically agnostic.

    Even in the most open-minded phase of my rock nerd conversion, I still recognized that album as an unredeemable turd. (Although that description probably not fair to turds everywhere).

  4. pudman13

    What surprised my most about this album when I heard it many years ago was the lack of “hard rock” on it. I mean…the only thing that redeemed them in the first place was their noise level.

  5. 2000 Man

    Thanks for not sharing!

Lost Password?

twitter facebook youtube