Good Year For Earworms

Today’s guest post is from Linda in St. Paul (West Side).

The Germans have a word for it – ohrwurm, which translates literally as earworm, that phenomenon of getting a song lodged in your head that plays over and over till it drives you to distraction. I fall victim on a regular basis. Often particular songs are triggered by everyday objects or activities, and this is never more true than when I’m working in a garden.

I can’t trim a rosebush without drifting into It’s Been a Good Year For the Roses. It’s usually the George Jones version, though it occasionally morphs briefly into Elvis Costello.

Tending a bittersweet vine is a sure way to conjure Big Head Todd and the Monsters. (“Bittersweet…more sweet than bitter…bitter than sweet…”)  If you don’t know it, you could look it up on YouTube. Consider yourself warned, though – it’s a sticky one, as difficult to dislodge as a ball of burdock seeds.

Buttercups invariably trigger All Shook Up. I explained this to a friend once and she told me I am lucky my mental jukebox goes to Elvis instead of The Foundations.

An especially virulent earworm is Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree with Anyone Else But Me. I cannot even walk past an apple tree without suffering an acute attack.

And then sometimes my brain takes an odd detour and arrives at destination I’m at a loss to explain. I spend a couple of weeks in the summer pulling a vine known as hog peanut. To my knowledge, no one has ever written a song about hog peanut. The song that surfaces from my subconscious to fill the void is the bebop classic Salt Peanuts, with the lyrics adapted: “Hog peanut…hog peanut…” in an endless loop. Can you hear it?

Winter is fast approaching, and the garden earworms will sleep beneath the snow for a few months, to return in the spring. The only thing I have to say is…it’s been a good year for the roses.

Share your favorite (or least favorite) earworms.

55 thoughts on “Good Year For Earworms”

  1. Currently I have Sia’s Chandelier stuck in my head. Daughter did a lyra routine to it at her circus showcase this weekend. The chorus lyrics start with, “I gonna swing from the chandelier…” Appropriate for swinging from a big round ring (that’s what they lyra really is). Before that it was Mussorgsky and a bit of Grieg. The Queen of the Night aria from Magic Flute gets lodged in from time to time, songs from musicals, but what’s firmly lodged right now is all about swinging from the chandelier…

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Full disclosure: the Mussorgsky was because I was teaching a lesson on Pictures at an Exhibition. Grieg…well, that was Daughter’s fault. She was humming a bit of In the Hall of the Mountain King from Peer Gynt and needed help placing it. It’s not that I go around humming Mussorgsky on a regular basis. Queen of the Night, well, that one comes unbidden. (Especially the “cluckuratura” version I came across a few years ago where rather than being sung, it’s clucked like a chicken…)

        Liked by 2 people

  2. mine are not triggered by word association.
    i tend to get a tune inn my head and start singing it and it morphs into my own version of the classic. dont sit under the apple tree is one that i loved at one point in my life that pops up now and again. is that the one the movie used for the little bou who made the catapillar dance with his harmonica? or was it yes sir thats my baby? somehow those two get associated for me. the queen tune from waynes world pops in and rides for extended periods.. im got a red roses for a blue lady, hey mr tamborine man. ha cha cha cha cha ,,, ive got a million of em

    danke schoen darlin danke schoen

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Good morning. I don’t remember the last time Sunny Side of the Street infected my ear. I believe it has become stuck in there a great many times over the years.

    The song that has been inside my ear lately is You are My Sun Shine. Although I don’t remember having any earworms triggered by gardening, I’m sure I do get musical worms in my ears while tending my garden. You have a very interesting collection of gardening earworms, Linda. Thanks for telling us about them.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. The 1980s, when I was a teen, was THE era for imbecilic yet catchy pop tunes, which unfortunately are now retro enough for store muzak fodder (oddly, they never seem to play Husker Du, early U2, REM, or anything like that). Last week at the grocery store, I caught “Heaven is a Place on Earth”, where it stuck until I thought I was going to need a knitting needle to evict it.

    BTW, my roommate, who is plagued by earworms like no one I’ve ever known, discovered that “Carry On Wayward Son” is an effective antidote. Of course, you have to like Kansas and that song, but it does work if you concentrate. I’ve also used Hedningarna’s “Bear” from the first Nordic Roots Sampler, and that’ll clear your mental sinuses in a big way.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. For a while, true, but it’s a complex enough song it eventually settles down on its own–I figure it takes too much of the brain’s idling power to run it as a loop!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. It is an article of faith with me that there is no human experience that does not have a Broadway showtune you can use to describe it. So I get those ALL the time.

    I’m also a fan of 70s novelty songs (all those K-Tel record ads, I am sure). I was puzzled as to why this particular favorite was being played at the State cross country meet, until I remembered what happens at 1:26
    The costuming at this is pretty amazing too.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Rise and Sing Baboons, Whether you want to or not!

    I am afraid to even read these for fear of getting these going all day.

    The ear worm that drives me nuts is……..It’s a Small World from DisneyLand. Oh, No. Here we go.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Like Lisa, it’s often the last thing sung at choral rehearsals, or danced at Tapestry. But our “senior chorus” that sings just at nursing home type places has some golden oldies that you REALLY wouldn’t want in there, they last for a loooonnnngggg time: Put on a Happy Face, Blue Skies.. there’s even one called “That Song is Drivin’ Me Crazy” and, guess what…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Morning all. Just by happenstance, last week I found a science video about earworms:

    The good news is that ear worms are normal!

    Like Lisa and BiR, my choir songs get stuck the most off. However, the “Hamms, the beer refreshing” jingle is the one that drives me the craziest!

    Liked by 3 people

  9. My sisters like to post one line of a song on Facebook that is sure to get an earworm started, just to annoy each other. Worst one: Gack Goon Went The Little Green Frog One Day.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. i get earworms all the time. Just depends on what I hear or what strikes me at that particular moment that then gets stuck. Last week, I picked up one of those Have a Nice Day 70’s compilation cd’s for $2. It had 3-4 songs on it that I hadn’t heard since I was a kid. And, yup, they went into ‘everlasting play loop’ in my head. But that was ok because something else distracted me just as I was about to stick an icepick in my ear. So, it’s all good! AND I found one of the Keepers 1A cd’s for $2 too…the one with Old Love on it…SCORE!!!

    Liked by 5 people

  11. I frequently find O Canada going through my head. Lately, though it is Stop in the Name of Love, as our work band is playing that for the center Christmas party on December 18th. I don’t have to sing it, though, just playing my bass guitar.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Today I’ve had Jackson Browne’s Fountain of Sorrow running through my head. This one comes up a lot. I took a couple of photos today, and thinking of the word “camera” makes my brain go to the line “…and the moment that my camera happened to find you…”

    As evidenced by the discussion here, there are far, far worse songs to get you in their grip.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. OT – Dale and his wife, Nancy, had to say good bye to their 16-plus year old dog today, and I’m sure Gus is feeling the pain, too. The pet lovers among us know how hard this is. Sincere condolences, Dale, Nancy and Gus. As this is just before Thanksgiving, I’m sure you’re grateful for the many years of this beloved pet in your lives, and I also know that it will make for a sadder holiday. May the good memories sustain you.

    Liked by 3 people

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