We tend to think of successful songs as the carefully crafted result of great artistic vision and hours of grueling, dedicated work. This isn't always the case, though. Every so often a song explodes into the mainstream completely by accident, tearing up the charts to the surprise (and sometimes chagrin) of the musicians responsible. Like ...
6"Loser" -- Beck
The first and biggest hit of Beck's life would be the result of a bored Beck and his ability to make up random bullshit on the fly.
He had a lot of practice. Before he got famous, Beck played his music anywhere he could -- in clubs, in coffee houses and on the streets of L.A., usually to crowds who couldn't give less of a shit about him. Being the type of guy he is, he'd eventually break out of whatever song he was playing and start making up random lyrics instead, just to see who was paying attention.
"Heathcliff the cat, fucking a midget, with a pigeon's foot in the skyyyyy!"
This particular skill came into play later when Beck and Carl Stephenson, a producer for Rap-A-Lot Records, spontaneously decided to record a song in Stephenson's kitchen. Beck started rapping, and they both got a laugh out of how terrible he sounded. As they were playing it back, Beck just started sarcastically singing, "I'm a loser, baby, so why don't you kill me." Everything else is just random nonsense Beck made up while staring at things in Stephenson's kitchen.
Suddenly the lines about dog food, beef and Cheez Whiz make sense. Well, more sense, anyway.
The track took six and a half hours to record and produce from start to finish. Beck wasn't happy with the song, it being something he slapped together as a demonstration of how bad he was at rapping, and only agreed to release it under pressure from his label at the time, Bong Load. Because who wouldn't recognize the wisdom of every business decision made by an organization with such a name?
U2, for example, got their first big break while signed to Boner Fart Records.
"Loser" got Beck the attention he needed, and he soon got picked up by a real label, Geffen Records, which reissued the song in 1994. It peaked at 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, made Beck a star and was ultimately ranked #203 in Rolling Stone's "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time." Not bad for a bunch of gibberish made up in a kitchen.