An earworm, from the German Ohrwurm, is a phenomenon that we have all experienced. We hear a song or often just a couple of bars from a song and we can’t seem to shake it.
We’ve selected 7 of our favourites. Notable, in their day for their extensive airplay which may well have lodged them in our subconscious.
However, despite their ‘annoyingness’ when they were released they are in fact great pop songs. Let us know what song has this effect on you or when it last happened to you in the comments section below.
Seasons in The Sun by Terry Jacks
Adapted from the Jacques Brel song Le Moribond Rod McKuen produced this worldwide hit for Canadian, Terry Jacks in 1974 and also a Christmas number 1 for Westlife in 1999.
Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep by Middle Of The Road
Scottish band Middle of The Road covered a French song by Lally Stott which was a minor hit across Europe. The Middle of The Road version was almost hijacked by another cover by Mac and Katie Kisson which was released about the same time back in 1971. Luckily DJ’s like Tony Blackburn had made their choice and Middle of The Road Chirpy, Chirpy, Cheep, Cheep went on to become one of the fewer than 50 all-time singles to have sold in excess of 10 million copies worldwide.
Hello by Lionel Richie
A soft rock ballad for Lionel Richie on Motown back in 1984. The song became as much famed for the opening line ‘Hello, is it me you’re looking for’ as it did for the hugely popular music video that went with it.
Honey by Bobby Goldsboro
Bobby Goldsboro’s Honey hears him mourning his deceased wife by looking into their garden at a tree and remembering when she had planted it. The airwaves loved it and played it constantly, it’s initial success back in 1968 might have also been related to the fact that the world was mourning the loss of Martin Luther King just 1 week before its release, but who knows?
Brown Girl In The Ring by Bony M
Boney M’s version of a Carribean children’s play song. It was released initially for Boney M as the B side to Rivers of Babylon another earworm.
Don’t Worry, Be Happy by Bobby McFerrin
Bobby McFerrin’s philosophy for life in 4 short words, Don’t Worry be Happy, thought to derive from the Indian mystic Meher Abba’s often used expression ‘Don’t worry, be happy’. An entirely a cappella song produced solely by Bobby McFerrin the song itself is quite an accomplishment, however much maligned around the time due to it ruling the airwaves in an era when radio ruled.
I’m Gonna Be ‘500 Miles’ by The Proclaimers
The Proclaimer’s biggest hit to date it took on a life of its own for the folk duo upon release in 1988, hitting the number one spot in such far-flung places like Iceland, New Zealand and Australia. It has featured on adverts and films over the past 3 decades giving it longevity afforded to few folk anthems.
What other songs spring to mind and fit the category? Let us know in the comments section below.