So, I’m going to try something a little bit different.
I’m sure you have all had a song stick in your mind, one that you just can’t shake regardless whether you like the tune or not. Here is what our modern day Rosetta Stone for all knowledge, Wikipedia, has to say on the subject:
An earworm, sometimes known as a brainworm, is a catchy piece of music that continually repeats through a person’s mind after it is no longer playing. Phrases used to describe an earworm include musical imagery repetition, involuntary musical imagery, and stuck song syndrome. The word earworm is a calque from the German Ohrwurm and was, according to Oliver Sacks, first used in the 1980s.
Researchers who have studied and written about the phenomenon include Theodor Reik, Sean Bennett, Oliver Sacks, Daniel Levitin, James Kellaris, Philip Beaman, Vicky Williamson, and, in a more theoretical perspective, Peter Szendy. The phenomenon is common and should not be confused with palinacousis, a rare medical condition caused by damage to the temporal lobe of the brain that results in auditory hallucinations.
Me? I get them all the time. Someone’s phone rings with a particular but catchy melody and I am hearing that song, playing in my head for days on end. I am sitting in a coffee shop and a song comes on that I haven’t heard of in years. Or, sometimes, a song just occurs to me, out of the blue and from absolutely nowhere. Once there it takes up residence and just sort of roosts.
The thing about earworms is their insidious nature. They seem to say, “Here I am and just what the fuck are you going to do about it.” A mental raspberry ringing in our brains until you wish you had never, ever, heard the song in the very first place.
It’s kind of sad, really.
And just what do I propose to do about it? What is it that I propose to do to combat this auditory plague?
Why, absolutely nothing.
O.K. Not true. No, on the contrary. I would now love to plant one of these wee beasties in your own ears. I heard it this afternoon, can’t get rid of it so I figure that I would be remiss if I didn’t share the love.
Today’s earworm is a lovely little ditty originally released in 1982. Come On Eileen, by Dexy’s Midnight Runners, was released in the very early summer of 1982. A Celtic / New Wave / Soul song, it shot to the #1 slot here in Canada on the old CHUM charts (remember those?). It was just so darned catchy. Gregarious even. And just when I started to tire of it’s endless repetition on the nascent MTV network I actually listened to the words. Let me tell you, for such a bubbly, ebullient song, some of the lyrics were actually pretty risqué for the time.
And tell me, who out there among you can admit to never having their thoughts verge on dirty when thinking of / looking at the object of your lusts…
So, for your earworm enjoyment I present Come On Eileen by Dexy’s Midnight Runners.
No need to thank me now, I assure you.
Can you hear it? Over and over again? Smiles.
Just be glad I didn’t sick Walking on Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves on you… Ooops…