23 “Despised” Bands That Are Crazy Successful
They got knocked down—but they got back up again.
Some bands, you’re just supposed to hate. Creed. Train. Limp Bizkit. (Oh, and of course Nickelback.) Whether it’s the soulless songwriting or the arrogant attitudes, that’s just the way it is—full stop. And yet, despite being reviled by, well, seemingly everyone, such bands tend to laugh their tunes all the way to the bank. We’re talking months on top of the charts, record sales by the million, and entire trophy cases of prestigious awards and accolades.
From the movie-credits anthems of Smash Mouth to the precognitive nature of Puddle of Mudd lyrics (they wrote “She Hates Me,” in what now seems like quite the prescient move), herein, you’ll find the worst bands that never got knocked down a peg. Let the nostalgic groaning commence. And for more groan-inducing knowledge the rockstars we love to hate, check out these 30 Terrible Original Names for Your Favorite Bands.
Chances are, if your most popular song is tied to a blockbuster franchise (Shrek), your anthem will eventually become so overrated that listeners will come to hate you—or at least that’s what happened to Smash Mouth when they truly hit it big with “I’m a Believer.”
To make matters worse, Smash Mouth has allegedly had a beef with Smashing Pumpkins for years after their catchy anthem was picked over a dreamy psych-rock song from the latter band to close out the first Shrek movie. And you can still hear the band in all its glory today: They’re touring around the country, and recently released an acoustic version of their first album, Fush Yu Mang, just this year.
At this point, it’s practically mandatory, per social law, to make fun of Nickelback whenever the opportunity arises. Of course, this is] despite the fact that Nickelback is one of the most successful Canadian bands of all time, selling over 50 million albums worldwide and ranking as the second-best selling international act in the 2000s, just behind the Beatles. Though, for nearly a decade, popular culture has been incredibly cruel to this post-grunge band—and who would dare to stick up for them now? And for more crazy facts about your favorite musical artists, check out these 30 Musicians Who Are Dying to Be Successful Actors.
Insane Clown Posse
Insane Clown Posse, known for such groan-worthy “hits” as “Miracles” and “Boogie Woogie Wu,” has somehow gone platinum twice (and gold five times). Though, despite their slightly terrifying musical inclinations, we could all learn a thing or two from their business savvy: their record label, Psychopathic, brings in more than $10 million a year.
Oh, and don’t forget the annual Gathering of the Juggalos, a three-day festival organized and headlined by the duo that takes place annually in Thornville, Ohio. It’s been going on for nearly two decades. And for more hip-hop hilarity, check out these 30 Funniest Rap Lyrics.
Since the late ’90s hits “Every Morning” and “Fly,” the band (well, more specifically, lead singer Mark McGrath) has dealt with their fair share of hate and skepticism. At one point, there were even media outlets “covering” McGrath’s death—allegations which were obviously not true. Though, what hurt the most was how people reacted to his supposed death before they knew that the facts of the matter didn’t align—in all honesty, they just didn’t care. Or if they did, it was only to call McGrath a jerk for faking his own death. However, despite dealing with unwarranted death hoaxes, Sugar Ray’s albums Floored and 14:59 saw great success for the band; both attained platinum status.
The Goo Goo Dolls
This collective of perfectly manicured men, responsible for sappy and lamely constructed love songs like “Iris” and “Slide,” has been around since the mid 1980s and is somehow still touring—and releasing new music!
Their latest album, Boxes, came out in 2016. And over the course of the band’s history, they’ve garnered 19 top ten singles on various charts and have sold more than 12 million albums worldwide. And for more ’90s nostalgia, check out these 20 Photos Only Kids Who Grew up in the 1990s Will Understand.
Dave Matthews Band
Let’s face it: Dave Matthews just represents a different generation of hippie-inclined frat guy, toting around a guitar and belting out (almost incomprehensibly) a few generic bits of wisdom like “eat, drink, and be merry.” Say what you will about this ’90s college band—they’ll just keep raking in the millions of dollars from tours every year (right now the band is worth an estimated $72 million).
While most of us refuse to accept Creed’s music with arms wide open, the group’s fame is undeniable: They’ve sold a whopping 58 million records worldwide. What’s more, many derivative bands in the so-called “butt rock” genre—heavily distorted guitars, paint-by-numbers songwriting, deeply groveling male vocals—credit singer Scott Stapp as a tonal influence. Creed, in other words, has left an indelible mark on the music industry.
While many of the music industry’s worst bands incite a palpable sense of hatred, Train has largely managed to catapult themselves into obscurity. (When’s the last time you un-ironically heard “Hey, Soul Sister”?) Before they reached obscurity, however, the band experienced enormous success, with platinum status on numerous records, like Drops of Jupiter—which also scored the band two Grammys.
What really speaks the loudest about the modern heir to the Grateful Dead is the fact that, if you take it from colloquial anecdotal evidence about their tours, most their fans will love them no matter what, regardless of their lack of vocal talent and nonsensical lyrics. Each year, their shows earn a reported $200 million.
To quote Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) from Deadpool: “I’m gonna do to you what Limp Bizkit did to music in the late ’90s.” Despite being one of the most obnoxious acts of all time—and, according to everyone’s favorite fictional anti-hero, being singlehandedly responsible for killing ’90s music—Limp Bizkit has actually been nominated for three Grammy awards.
If there is one element to late ’90s and early ’00s music that we can openly discern, it would be the formation of heroically vanilla pop. Matchbox Twenty seemed to really nail this particular sound—to a tune that people really, really loved, apparently.
The band’s first three albums each garnered platinum status in the United States, with the first, Yourself or Someone Like You, released in 1996, reached diamond status. Though, unfortunately for the band, whether they were writing songs about a particular time of day or yawn-inducing heartbreak, we were already over it before our friends hit “play” on the boombox.
Hootie & the Blowfish
Before Darius Rucker was a country hitmaker, he was a part of Hootie & the Blowfish, who were diversifying the entire music scene in the late ’90s, trying their best to usher everyone away from the grunge phase. In fact, their first album, Cracked Rear View, became the most successful album of 1995.
However, despite this fame and fortune, the band couldn’t catch a break from those naysayers who never truly got to say goodbye to their grunge music. For many, the painfully upbeat music produced by the band was far too much to stand in such serious, turbulent times—or, really, at any time at all. Now, they’re regarded as a fleeting cultural oddity.
Black Eyed Peas
We’re still wondering how listeners around the world could find substance in songs like “My Humps” and “Don’t Phunk With My Heart.” Lyrical quality aside, the Black Eyed Peas, as of 2011, were the second-best-selling artist or musical group of all time for downloaded tracks, with more than $42 million dollars in digital sales.
Maroon 5 is one of the more prime examples of a semi-talented act completely selling out. While their album Songs About Jane showed real promise, according to critical consensus at the time, later tracks like “Moves Like Jagger” didn’t exactly warrant the resulting radio play. Still, as of today, Maroon 5 is one of the most successful bands in the entire world, having sold more than 75 million records.
3 Doors Down
In the early ’00s, this rock band managed to remain incredibly successful, putting out a platinum-selling album, Away From the Sun and maintaining a steady presence on the Billboard 100 chart. Though now that the band’s success had faded into a cultural punchline, we’ve come to realize that the band’s ultimate Kryptonite was their desire to make any music at all—and we all suffered for it as well.
Perhaps more annoying than their perfectly coiffed mullets was Duran Duran’s ability to end up on every radio station, despite groans from the general population. In every way, Duran Duran epitomizes aspects of the ’80s we’d rather not remember. Annoying theatrics aside, this band still maintains a strong presence in the world, having sold over 100 million records since their debut.
Despite only making listeners suffer through a few hit songs, like “How to Save a Life,” The Fray, with their sappy, overly emotional love songs, still manages to annoy. Still, these tunes earned the band a Grammy nod, a spot on Billboard’s “Artists of the Decade” list, and a double-platinum certification (for their debut album).
Sure, viewers might have been rooting for Chris Daughtry on American Idol, since the rocker seemed to be the underdog crunch rock talent on a show full of aspiring pop stars—but we were never truly prepared for Daughtry to form a band and subject the world to soul-crushing mediocrity at every start of a new verse. As of today, despite producing less-than-stellar rock ballads, Daughtry is the third most successful American Idol finalist, after Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood.
Who can possibly forget Hanson’s “MMMBop,” released in 1997. At first, you might have confused it with a Kidz Bop song. As it turns out, it was the song doomed to haunt your brain for the following decade. Still, despite the mind-numbing nature of their music, the band has earned three Grammy nominations (for their album Middle of Nowhere) and eight Top 40 album placements.
First of all: LMFAO? Really? This dance duo was doomed from the start, given that their lyrics are almost as half-hearted as their name is. A prime example: One of their most famous songs, “Sexy and I Know It,” features a chorus in which the only two lyrical lines are “Girl look at that body” and “I work out.” The song that eventually garnered the group international attention (and accolades), “Party Rock Anthem,” reached number one on charts all across the world, and ended up being the third best-selling digital single of 2011. In 2012, the group announced that they would no longer be making music together.
Chumbawamba’s breakout hit, “Tubthumping (I Get Knocked Down),” skyrocketed to the number-two spot on U.K. charts and was awarded the Best British Single award at the 1998 Brit Awards. They went on to have a slate of other chart-toppers, including “Amnesia” and “Timebomb,” and toured up until 2012, when the band finally announced a split. Still, despite the success, Chumbawamba never quite crawled out from under the umbrella of being a punchline. It turns out not all things that get knocked down get back up again.
“Radioactive,” by Imagine Dragons, holds the record for most weeks charted on the Billboard Hot 100. And that’s not all: every year since they broke out in 2013 (they were originally founded in 2008, but took a few years to catch on), Imagine Dragons has racked up an impressive trophy case of awards and nominations. Just this year, in fact, they were nominated for an astonishing eleven Billboard Music Awards. Still, peruse musical subsections of social media (like Twitter and Reddit) and you’re bound to find endless negative comments regarding the band.
Puddle of Mudd
In 2002, when Puddle of Mudd crashed onto the scene with their smash hit, “Blurry,” the Billboard Music Awards deemed them both the Rock Artist of the Year and the Modern Rock Artist of the Year. They went on to sell more than seven million records, and released a collection of number-one singles, including “She Hates Me”—which, given the band’s uncanny ability to be the butt of many music-themed jokes, seems retrospectively quite fitting.
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