This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.
My first column on earworms was really historic in nature – they were songs that have plagued me for some considerable time, more than 50 years in some cases.
Today's column is about new earworms. These are songs that got stuck in my brain while I was searching for music for various columns. The criterion is that they are not songs that hung around for a day or two, all these tormented me for at least a week.
Although they are recent additions, some of these go back quite a ways as well; I was just reminded of them during my searches. As with the previous column, I hope that because there are quite a few of them they'll cancel each other out. I'm not too sanguine about that. So, I've had to suffer all these and now it's your turn.
It’s not simple or dumb songs that fit the criterion. Ondeed, today’s list are made up mostly of good songs, starting with HALL AND OATES.
A couple of their songs could fit in this category, but the one that impacted on me in this regard is Rich Girl.
JERRY ORBACH started his show biz career as a song and dance man. He also played baddies quite a bit on television.
In his earlier incarnation he played the lead in the original staging of the musical play "The Fantasticks", often considered the longest running musical in history.
Jerry sang the musical's most famous song, Try to Remember. This is a gentle earworm I’ve featured before in these columns.
THE DIXIE CUPS were sitting around the recording studio one day between takes of whichever song they were recording. They began singing a song one of their grandmothers used to sing. The recording engineer let the tape roll and with a bit of tweaking, they had their biggest hit.
That song, and I’m sorry to inflict it on you, is Iko Iko.
Another female trio from around the same time is THE TOYS.
They had one big hit that impacted on my brain, and it’s this one. It’s based on a minuet by classical composer Christian Petzold (not J.S. Bach as is often contended). The song is A Lover's Concerto.
It’s best not to listen too closely to the words of Adam and Eve by BUZZ CASON.
They are problematic on several counts. The song is really jaunty though and I’ve been singing the chorus for about 50 years now, not continuously I hasten to add. I’ll play the song and leave it up to you.
IAN AND SYLVIA started out as a folk duo and eventually evolved into a full tilt rock band (Great Speckled Bird).
Some time towards the end of that process they recorded an album in Nashville called (surprise, surprise) “Nashville”. It didn’t get very good revues but I really liked it. One of the songs from it is The Renegade. Boy, this one stays with me for a long time whenever I hear it.
We’ll stay in Canada with GORDON LIGHTFOOT.
There are a number of songs of Gordie’s that remain in my brain, but for some reason this one seems to be the most insidious of his. It’s nowhere near my favorite, but it stays there for weeks at a time. Christian Island.
One of the finest bands from Texas, and one who have made a career of performing western swing music, is ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL.
There’s an album of theirs that I really like a lot. It’s called “The Wheel”. All the songs on it are worth a listen, just be prepared for I Can't Handle It Now, because it’ll stay with you for long time.
It's not only songs that are earwormy, tunes can be as well. In that case I go along singing dah dah dah dah dah dah dah (and so on). In this case I’m talking about a tune from “CAROUSEL”, indeed The Carousel Waltz. This will keep your dah dah dahs going for a long time.
THE EAGLES sure could write memorable songs.
It’s not too surprising that one of those would appear here today. The one I have in mind is Take It Easy, written by Glenn Frey and Jackson Browne.
This one is really historic. I hadn’t heard it for decades when I discovered it for one of my “Years” columns. That proved to be unfortunate as it’s by far the most earwormy song today, at least for me. I haven’t really managed to erase it since then. The song is performed by the FOUR KNIGHTS.
The song is I Get So Lonely. You have been warned.
THE BEATLES certainly wrote catchy tunes, but only one of theirs makes it to earworm status, for me anyway.
It’s not even a song, more a songlet, and on the “Abbey Road” album it was joined to other songlets, which is what we have today. Golden Slumbers, Carry That Weight and The End. I find the Golden Slumbers bit is the earwormy section, although the other bits hold their own as well.