Bad Songs #14: "Julie's 16th Birthday" by John Bult

Check any list of the "worst album covers of all time" and you're bound to run across this little gem. Obviously, it earns its reputation from the implied cradle robbing, but a listen to the title song puts those rumors to rest.

In many ways it's almost worse than the initial thought that Mr. Bult might be hopping on some jail bait. In fact, it may be one of the most depressing songs I've ever heard.... poorly sung, poorly executed, but depressing as hell nonetheless.  I won't ruin it for you by giving away the (admittedly predictable) ending.  Listen for yourself.

"Julie's Sixteenth Birthday" by John Bult (1985)

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Note: To avoid getting emails pointing this out - this is indeed "bad songs 14" not "13", as there are two "bad songs 12". No need for panic.


  1. Holy crap on a cracker! I feel I'm a worse person for now having that song in my memory bank. I guess we are left to assume that the album cover depicts the scene in heaven where Jim is offering Julie his apology. Heaven therefore is a piano bar complete with beer and smokes (St. Peter has obviously loosened up about cigarettes getting past the pearly gates).

    1. Given the way ol' John conducted himself, I wouldn't be too hasty and assume this is heaven. Last I checked, "Old Nick" had a pretty loose policy on smoking.

    2. Heartbreaking song sung with pathos- his voice breaking throughout. Not sure the connection with the album cover though.

    3. In a Twilight Zone/Night Galley type twisted ending this is perhaps Jim's heaven and Julie's Hell all in one location.

  2. Wow, that's cringe worthy! Without listening to the song first or reading the comment I assumed the man on the album cover was consoling the young woman for getting her knocked up.


  4. Whoa. I was far happier thinking he was getting it on with a 16-year old. Now I need to go listen to Seasons in the Sun and Shannon just to cheer up to a tolerable level of sadness after that one.

  5. Hol-eeeeeeeeeeee frig that was bad

  6. I don't really want to listen to the song, but I tried to look up the lyrics - apparently no one's taken the time to write them down. Anyway, according to one of the replies to this post the girl on the cover is John's niece and he was trying to pull off a father/daughter thing.

  7. AnonymousJune 02, 2012

    What's your hurry Jim? One more drink won't hurt nothin'
    Well okay I said buth then I got to be runnin'
    you see my little Julie just turned sixteen today
    and tonight she is going out on her very first date

    Lord knows I never been much of a father
    Probably spent more time right here than I have at home with
    my daughter
    So tonight I'm making up for a lotta lost time
    a lot of hurt feelings and a lot of broken promises


    For once in my life I'm gonna do something right
    I'm gonna be home for my Julie tonight
    Its her sixteenth birthday (spoken) and you know its her first
    This is one promise that I'm not gonna break

    Aw come on, have one more Jim...you got plenty of time
    But that one led to many and I lost track of the time
    When I looked at my watch it was a quarter till eight
    So I left in a hurry since I was already late

    As I got closer to home I started to think
    Won't do me no harm to have one more drink
    So I reached for the bottle I kept under the seat
    When I looked up, my whole life passed right in front of me

    Next thing I remembered I was just comin' to
    In a hospital bed and right then I knew
    That I'd caused something awful to happen last night
    On my way home to Julie to set myself right

    At the foot of the bed stood my best friend Lou
    He walked to my side and asked what he could do
    I said, "Lou, I know I won't make it but don't let me die
    Not knowin' the truth 'bout what happened last night

    He said, "Jim, you lost control, crossed the yellow line
    Hit a car head on and Lord I wish I was lyin'
    Cause a young man was injured and a lovely girl died
    And I thought about that last drink and tears filled my eyes

    Ed note: You know what's going to happen next, don't you?

    I said Lou, should I pass on before she comes in
    Be sure and tell Julie how sorry I am for spoilin' her birthday
    He said, "Jim, you can save your breath
    Cause when you meet her in heaven, you can tell her yourself

    Raise your hand if you were blindsided by that revelation.

    No one?

    Didn't think so.

    Anyhow, I still think the Julie in the picture is a runaway teenage prostitute.

  8. Frank BoothOctober 20, 2012

    One of, if not THE, best bad album covers has to be Porter Wagoner's "Cold Hard Facts of Life." The song is also totally epic.