Friday, 20 April 2012

Ye of Little Faith

Today we’re back on the abortion trail – or rather the anti-abortion trail, with a couple of tracks that get mentioned a lot on the World’s Worst Records but until now I’ve failed to post.

First up is the slick AOR sickness that is Seals and Crofts – the same guys who wrote the classic Summer Breeze – with their vile pro-life paean Unborn Child; a track so disgusting that it virtually killed their up-until-then rather successful career: the single reached a lowly 66 on the Billboard chart (their four previous singles had all hit the top 20) and, outside of Greatest Hits collections the album it came from (also called Unborn Child) was their last to enter the top 30.

Jim Seals and Darrell ‘Dash’ Crofts first met in the 1950s, both being joining a Texas doo-wop band Dean Beard and the Crew Cuts. By 1958 the pair has moved to California and joined The Champs – a band which also featured Glen Campbell and had recently scored a huge hit with the quasi-instrumental Tequila. In 1963 the pair left the Champs to join Campbell in his own band Glen Campbell and the GCs. After a couple of years the band disintegrated, and Seals and Crofts found themselves back in Texas, where they became members of a band called The Dawnbreakers. It was about this time that both Seals and Crofts became members of the Bahá'í Faith.

By 1969 the pair were performing as a duo, with Seals on guitar, saxophone and violin, and Crofts on guitar and mandolin. A couple of unsuccessful albums followed before they signed with Warner Bros. Records. Their second album for Warners - Summer Breeze - sold over one million copies and reached number 7 on the Billboard chart. The title track is best known, certainly in the UK, for being covered by the Isley Brothers.

Seals and Crofts are devotees of the Baha'i Faith, and a number of their songs contain Baha'i references or passages from Baha'i scriptures. When they appeared in concert, they would often hang around after the performance to talk about the faith and pass out literature to anyone interested. Although the duo split in 1980 after they lost their contract with Warner Bros. in both 1991 and 2004 they made brief stabs at reunions.

This particular track, Unborn Child, is another in the long line of nasty, anti-abortion rhetoric which spewed out of the States. One rather pleasing side effect of this release was that is caused pro-choice advocates to boycott the album and the duo's concerts. Take a look at some of the lyrics; they’re just vile:

Oh little baby, you'll never cry, nor will you hear a sweet lullaby.
Oh unborn child, if you only knew just what your momma was plannin' to do.
You're still a-clingin' to the tree of life, but soon you'll be cut off before you get ripe.
Oh unborn child, beginning to grow inside your momma, but you'll never know.
Oh tiny bud, that grows in the womb, only to be crushed before you can bloom.
Mama stop! Turn around; go back! Think it over.

People like this deserve to be punched in the face.

As a little extra today I bring you another disgusting anti-abortion song which, once again, has been referred to occasionally here but never before posted: L’ilMarkie’s Diary of an Unborn Child. Words fail me; a grown man pretending to be a child tries to guilt couples considering abortion into having their child by documenting its progress in the womb. It’s horrible, as you’d expect, right up until almost three minutes into the song, when Mark Fox’s creepy child-voice announces ‘December 28: today, my mother killed me’.

Based on an anonymously-credited article which appeared in Awake!, the magazine of the Jehovah's Witnesses, in 1980, Diary of an Unborn Child really is one of the most vile performances ever committed to vinyl, and as such deserves its place here among the rest of the World’s Worst Records. Enjoy!


  1. There's this pro-life polish song:

    A little taste of the lyrics (as you can also guess from those stupid illustrations in the video):

    Children are afraid of injections,
    Gypsy and chimney sweeps.
    I'm very afraid of trashcans
    There lie the remains of my face.
    Kids want to hug a doll,
    I cradle to the ground with fear,
    Someone threw it into the sink
    my body warm and soft.

  2. I don't think that, just because someone feels himself against abortion, any song that reflects such a view should be condemned as "vile." I'm personally for a woman's right to choose (as my wife did), but feel there's a considerable difference between 'Unborn Child' and a song recorded today and given mass distribution that advocates criminal behaviours as well as violence towards women, homosexuals et cet.

    1. Hi Keir - I use the word vile a lot (it's almost a catchphrase) but with Unborn Child what I find most vile is the song's insipid, twee lyrics. The line 'You're still a-clingin' to the tree of life, but soon you'll be cut off before you get ripe' is really, really nasty. It's not just because I have an issue with the sentiment; it's just plain awful

  3. 4/22/12 wrote:
    I just mentioned "Unborn Child" in a earlier blog last week and I knew you'd get around to it. Yes, Seals & Crofts do take credit to the music of "Unborn Child", but the lyrics were apparently written by a woman, Lana Bogan,who just happenes to be Dash Croft's Sister-in-law. She is a devout Ba'Hai follower, and she allegedly composed this as a poem in 1973-74 to respond (conservatively, I suspect)to the abortion-rights advocates then-popular at the time. I myself don't particularly like to get personal about dangerous political stands on a soap box, and never considered myself a Republican, Democrat, or even a Libertarian. I just consider myself a free-willing independent,and consider this song wretched as an intentional purpose of forcing one's own religious belief on others as an intrusion, but on the other hand, consider Seals and Crofts as a pleasant-sounding 70's throwback duo.Politicians can drive me crazy, and there's no use in being vitrolic about arachic politics in the 21st Century, though haters are going to hate, old-fashioned Republican senators,nowithstanding. BTW, Seals & Crofts managed to chart in the Top 40 until 1978, with three additional Top 40 hits charting after "Unborn Child's" release:"I'll Play For You" (#18 Billboard),"Get Closer"(#37 Billboard,1976), and finally, "You're The Love" (#18 Billboard, 1978). I'm now waiting you to preview Paul Anka's horrible anti-abortion single from 1974 that went to #1 on Billboard that year and #1 on Canada's CHUM chart. I need not name the title,you probably already know about it and the controversy surrounding it.

    1. Hi Rob, not crediting Lana Bogan for her lyrics was a serious oversight on my part - I knew she'd written them and should have mentioned her. I wasn't aware of S&C's later chart hits though, so that's down to poor research on my part. They never really 'happened' here in the UK, which I guess makes it easier to ignore how big there were in the States. My bad.

  4. Hey! Lil Markie's song is SO awful I fell off my chair laughing. I have heard a few other things he recorded (as Lil Markie) and he is just creepy as a kid. What is really awful I feel, is that he apparently made his recordings for kids to listen to. Listening to this with that in mind makes me scream "Won't somebody please think of the children?"

  5. What is really wretched is that there is a million and a half precious unborn baby's being slaughtered each year in this country.

  6. Dear Anonymous. It's 'babies' not 'baby's'. And in 2012 the figure in the US was 1.05 million, not 1.5. Also, only 4.8 percent of those abortions took place after 16 weeks, so very few of the terminated foetuses could possibly be considered 'babies' anyway. Take your misguided guilt trip somewhere else.

  7. "Unborn Child" was a classic case of musicians who thought they were more important than they were, and who disastrously misjudged their audience's tolerance. Unaware that previous references to their faith made some songs on their albums "songs to skip", Seals and Crofts suffered the same as some liberal musicians who took on anti-bomb stances and the like - they were preaching to the choir while turning off everyone not already in it. "Unborn Child" killed their career, making them the Seventies equivalent of Teabagger loonies in many eyes (and ears). Power went to artists' heads after their Sixties culture-leading heyday; they forgot that, for the most part, listeners wanted to be taken away from the troubles of the day by music and art after the Vietnam conflict was over, not reminded of them. In the eyes of most of the public, "Unborn Child" made Seals and Crofts a "Christian rock band", and, at that time, there wasn't much that was more uncool than that. Unlike "Unborn Child", that uncoolness has stood the test of time.

  8. At the rate we're going, more "babies" will be shot than aborted in a few years, so the point is moot.

  9. Darryl, you sir are an idiot. I'm a libertarian, and I believe in the woman's right to choose (only in certain life threatening circumstances and perhaps rape/incest), but this song is not vile. I'm glad they followed their faith and 'put it out there'. Let's be honest, Pro Choice supporter are generally liberal communists who wanna have sex with whoever they want and not pay for the consequences. Seriously people....consider giving the child up for adoption. There are so many people who cannot conceive and would sell everything they own to have a child.

    1. In the UK there are around 4,000 children waiting to be adopted at any one time. In other countries the number can run into tens if not hundreds of thousands (latest US figures 130,000). You want to add to that...and I'm the idiot?

  10. The main reason I called you an idiot is that you sound so friggin' hateful of these guys for putting out a song like that. They can stand for what they believe it and they took the risk of losing an audience especially at a time when the femi-nazis were all about Womens Lib, etc all that bullshit. Yes I agree, there is so much red tape and costs associated with adopting children, you are correct there are many children that are left to the state to care for them or they're put into foster homes. But I still can't agree with allowing abortion without restrictions.

  11. This is the United States of America - people can voice their opinions as they wish and should not be knocked so superficially as they were in this article. The music was great - give credit where credit it due.

  12. You failed to mention in your review of the Unborn Child song that the Baha'is actually believe in a moderate use of abortion such as a case where it is medically necessary to spare the life of the mother. Baha'is believe that this reason for an abortion is strictly a decision between mother and doctor where it is legal to have one. Baha'is believe abortion should not be practiced to simply be rid of an unwanted pregnancy.
    The song was meant to address this latter vile and unGodly use of abortion according to the teachings of the Baha'i Faith.

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. Down here in Australia and New Zealand their music still get loads of airplay, so you are wrong if you think they fell off the radar. For the style of music they made they had no equal, and as a musician, I and my fellow musicians will always respect the great stuff they wrote. Unborn Child the track, never got much attention down here, and in any case regardless of the boys and their faith's views, most of us do what is best at the time and get on with life. The track "Desert People" is a classic, and more worthy of mentioning for its plea for world peace.....but just like Unborn Child, no one really listens that deeply....I think if the boys advertised a few concerts down here they would pack the shows out and make a few million in doing so :)


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