30 Catchy Songs You Can't Get Out of Your Head

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BBC News. “‘Brain Itch’ Keeps Songs in the Head.” Oct. 29, 2003 (June 24, 2021) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3221499.stm Consumer Science. “Who Let the Earworms Out?” December 2, 2005, pg. 14. DeNoon, Daniel J. “Songs Stick in Everyone’s Head.” WebMD, February 27, 2003. http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/news/20030227/songs-stick-in-everyones-head. Exploratorium. Science of Music. http://www.exploratorium.edu/music/questions /earworm.html. Kubit, B. M., & Janata, P. “Spontaneous mental replay of music improves memory for incidentally associated event knowledge.” Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. Advance online publication. (June 24, 2021) https:///10.1037/xge0001050 Kovler, Jessica. “Researcher confirms existence of ‘earworms’: 98% of people have had songs stuck in their head.” SFGate.com, August 12, 2003. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2003/08/12/MN129881.DTL. Kylstra, Carolyn. “Change that Tune. Parenting. November 2007, Volume 21, Issue 10, pg. 83. Prokhorov, Vadim. “Can’t Get it Out of My Head.” The Guardian, June 22, 2006. http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2006/jun/22/popandrock. Scientific American Mind. “Why is it that after listening to music, the last song you hear sometimes replays in your mind for several minutes after the music stops?” 2007, Volume 18, Issue, 2, pg. 86.

Friday by Rebecca Black

Rebecca Black became an overnight sensation with her viral hit “Friday,” which was released in 2011. Although the song was deemed annoying and wasn’t well received by critics, it has become a cult classic. It’s a highly-energetic song that celebrates the start of the weekend with a catchy hook that both teenyboppers and adults constantly got stuck in their heads.


Photo Courtesy: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images
Photo Courtesy: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

The popular song has sparked many covers and parodies, including a hilarious version with Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, Taylor Hicks and The Roots on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. It may not have been an award-winning hit, but the viral song is forever ingrained in people’s minds.


Questions 4-7

Look at the following theories (Questions 4-7) and the list of people below.

Match each theory with the person it is credited to.

Write the correct letter A-F in boxes 4-7 on your answer sheet.

4      The memorable nature of some tunes can help other learning processes.

5      Music may not always be stored in the memory in the form of separate notes.

6      People may have started to make music because of their need to remember things.

7      Having a song going round your head may happen to you more often when one part of the brain is tired.

List of people

A   Roger Chaffin

B   Susan Ball

C   Steven Brown

D   Caroline Palmer

E   Sandra Calvert

F   Leon James

Shape of You by Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran’s dancehall-infused pop track “Shape of You” was released in early 2017 and quickly became a smash hit that was perfect for the masses. The mid-tempo track was fun for dancing and singing along, thanks to the infectious hook and tropical house vibes.


Photo Courtesy: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images
Photo Courtesy: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images

The song went on to become the first to hit 2 billion streams and was the bestselling song of 2017 and the decade in Sheeran’s native U.K. Billboard ranked “Shape of You” as the ninth most successful song of all time. It won an award for Best Pop Solo Performance at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards.