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Gone But Not Forgotten
Feb 8, 2002
This is weird- I think I read this before somewhere- it's on the "Breaking News" section of the site here. Here's the link (not sure if it will work):


Does anybody remember reading this somewhere before? I seem to think it was two or three months ago. P'raps I'm barmy.
I think it's new here, but I'm glad it's posted, because it's a great subject.

"Chantilly Lace" by the Big Bopper is the one song I always avoid due to this syndrome. The rhythm and the melody are way too infectious, and will not leave my head for hours once I hear (or even think) it. It should be approached with caution. In fact, I should've never posted, because it's just started now that I've thought about it.
I've been a stuck tune sufferer for as long as I can remember. What makes it worse is that I only have to hear something once and I seem to know all the words.
Taking too many asperin causes buzzing in the ears (due to thinning of the blood? I may be wrong), I suppose, like electronic voice phenomina, the brain tries to make sense of it by turning it into a tune.
Oh and thanks, Chantilly Lace is one of my (many,many) can't listen to songs. :rolleyes:
Same here - and I'm a guilty party to te 'cooties' effect mentioned in the article. I once had the entire office singing 'Who let the Dogs out' . . .

Carole, who doesn't mind Chantilly Lace, but cannot stand Achey Breaky Heart!
Dooo dumdumdumdumdumdumdumdummdumdumdum.....MY SHARONA!!!!!!

Damn, thats there for the night now!!

I was interested in the auditory hallecinations (spelling????). A 92 year old relative of otherwise sane mind is constantly hearing 'Jewish' music being played in the flat abover hers, needless to say there is no music but she will not be convinced. Makes you wonder how many tales of 'voices' or ghosts could be attributed to this.
Carole mentioned 'cooties' - in fact that sentence in the article refered to TWO recent threads here -

Finally, there's the "cooties" method, in which a stuck song is "transferred" to someone else by humming a few bars. Says Kellaris: "It's like, 'Tag, you're it.'

(If you haven't come across the thread refering to Tag yet, I won't spoil the joke!)

Whatever can it all mean?

Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep! rynner
Someone recently suggested to me that the surest way to cure it is to think of another song. The trick is it has to be the same song every time. Saves you furtling around in your head looking for something suitable. It has to be something fairly slow, to calm you down, it has to be familiar enough to be easily reproduced in the head, and inoffensive enough not to replace the offending tune. Hard to find, but once you've found it, it works. :)
Oh, Rynner, you rotter, you've just implanted the king of the irritating stuck tune in my mind . . .

ooo eee chirpy, chirpy cheep cheep
Not a "disease" I have suffered from much..but after you have played in the orchestra pit for a show for a week or two then the whole bloody lot gets stuck, with reprises and alcohol doesn't improve it! It can be stuck for several days then just goes.:)
James Bond themes ("Goldfinger," "Thunderball," and "Tomorrow Never Dies") are bad for me, as well. It's just odd for a 6'4" meatcutter to go around singing Sheryl Crow-ish, "...it's murder on our love affair."

Maybe I've just admitted too much.
Did Kylie Minogue have a single out called "Can't get you out of my head"?



The voices!


T H E V O I C E S !
"Woke up this morning, I was singing this so-o-ong,
Ooo Eee, chirpy chirpy cheep cheep!"
I remember reading somewhere that getting music stuck in your head was related to being obsessive-compulsive. Makes sense, since I ALWAYS have one song or another floating around in my nugget and display some OCD symptoms from time to time. :)
house of the rising sun by the animals, is too damn catchy.
fortunatly it is a good song.

I agree - Can't Get You out of my Head is lodged just past my frontal lobes.
Ironic songtitle or what?
That and "Blue Monday" - the insomniac's favourite (i don't sleep much, and squarely blame New Order...)
I've been having an attack of Over the Hills and Far Away . It's the old CO's fault for being a Greenjacket named Richard. Bloody thing creeps up on me of an evening...that and Bonnie Lass of Fyvie-o . God, I'm a sad bugger, aren't I? Just so's y'know, I'm listening to Steeleye Span...great band, and anyone say's otherwise can take it up with my muzzle-loader on the wall...
This morning I had Ten Green Bottles on the brain, but now it's All Kinds Of Everything.

Is there any help available for me on the NHS?
Jellyfish and bladderwrack, used condoms too...
All kinds of smelly things remind me of you...

Ode to Nigg Bay
"...can't get you out of mAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGGHHHH!MAKE_IT_STOP!!!!!!!!!!!!!..."
Oh God NO...

I've just seen a tape of Kylie at the Brits, singing "Can't get you out of my head" to the riff of "Blue Monday"!!!
Is this where my destiny ends?
(see my entry at top of this page - I never saw the Brits first time round)
Sleep will never come again!

No Cure for Songs Stuck in Your Head

Mon Oct 20, 9:48 AM ET

By RACHEL KIPP, Associated Press Writer

ALBANY, N.Y. - Unexpected and insidious, the earworm slinks its way into the brain and refuses to leave. Symptoms vary, although high levels of annoyance and frustration are common. There are numerous potential treatments, but no cure.

"Earworm" is the term coined by University of Cincinnati marketing professor James Kellaris for the usually unwelcome songs that get stuck in people's heads. Since beginning his research in 2000, Kellaris has heard from people all over the world requesting help, sharing anecdotes and offering solutions.

"I quickly learned that virtually everybody experiences earworms at one time or another," he said. "I think because it's experienced privately and not often a topic of conversation, maybe people really long for some social comparison. They want to know if other people experience what they experience."

Kellaris, whose most pervasive personal earworm (Byzantine chants) likely has something to do with his wife's job as a church choir director, has been interested in the topic of earworms for decades. As a musician who now studies how marketers reach the public, he began wondering how widespread stuck songs really are, and began doing small surveys in 2000.

Last year, he surveyed about 500 students, faculty and staff on campus asking about the type, frequency and duration of earworms, and possible causes and cures. Among the songs respondents picked as most likely to become stuck were: "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," the Chili's restaurant "baby back ribs" jingle and "Who Let the Dogs Out."

But the choice that topped the so-called "playlist from hell" was "Other," meaning the majority of those surveyed chose a unique song of their own as the most probable earworm. That led Kellaris to conclude that stuck songs are highly idiosyncratic.

"There are certain tunes that we would describe as catchy that are more likely to become one, but just about anything can become an earworm," he said.

The study, presented at conferences of the Society for Consumer Psychology in 2001 and 2003, showed:

_Women report more irritation and frustration as a result of earworms.

_People who are constantly exposed to music suffer them more frequently.

_There may be a connection between earworms and a person's level of neurosis.

"People with higher neuroticism scores tend to react to the onset of an earworm by saying 'Oh no, here it goes again, I wonder how long this is going to last,'" Kellaris said. "That fretting about it, I think, exacerbates it."

The atmosphere is ripe for earworms at Last Vestige, a music store just west of downtown Albany. As customers flipped through compact discs and records with markers displaying such subjects as "Elvis the Pelvis" and "Beatles Cash-in Copycats," employees Jim Kaufman and Charles Monroe ruminated on recent bouts with earworms.

"Top 40 pop, usually — stuff you wouldn't catch yourself listening to at home," said Kaufman, who named Jennifer Lopez's "Jenny From the Block" as a past stuck song. "Or stuff you're ashamed to admit listening to at home."

Both men said they get rid of earworms either by trying to ignore them or by playing a tune they enjoy. Monroe said an earworm "usually happens when I only hear the song for like a second, like if I go to the laundromat and I'm kind of in and out."

Kellaris heard similar stories after news of his study reached the public. He got hundreds of e-mails from the Philippines, South Africa, Norway, the United Kingdom, Germany, Argentina and all over North America. Among the messages:

_A company that provided background music for retail stores wanted to know how to avoid using music prone to becoming an earworm.

_Sufferers of a psychiatric condition where patients hear music when none is playing sent queries and case histories hoping Kellaris had found a way to cure or treat the disorder. The professor said the two are unrelated.

_Personal stories about earworms haunting individuals for weeks, months or years.

_Suggestions of how to cure an earworm, including chewing on a cinnamon stick, passing the earworm on to someone else or erasing the offending song by singing the theme from "Gilligan's Island."

For marketers, earworms can be a "double-edged sword," helpful if consumers look upon a memorable jingle favorably but with the potential to breed negativity toward a brand if the stuck song is viewed as annoying or unwelcome, said Larry Compeau, a marketing professor at Clarkson University and executive officer of the Society for Consumer Psychology.

"I think the trick with earworms or with any kind of piece of music in advertising is to make sure the music is going to trigger the kinds of emotions or feelings you want the consumer to experience," he said.

Studying when earworms are most likely to occur is next up for Kellaris.

He said one theory is that stuck songs are "the brain's attempt to resolve missing information," and that retrieving the forgotten lyrics of a song will provide closure that "unsticks" an earworm.


Society for Consumer Psychology - that must be fun.

comments on what are being termed "earworms"

To all:

There can be many levels to a matter, and, unless you look at all of them, you can't necessarily be said to understand it completely.

For many Forteans, a likely nagging suspicion, it seems, at the back of all their thoughts is the possibility that maybe they're wrong, and what is taken to be strange occurrences may just be everyday occurrences, "poorly observed". The facade of utter certainty put up by "traditional science", in denying the existence of phenomena those such as Forteans follow, can be daunting for many. The thought, after all, is that, in "traditional science", the truth is supposedly the ultimate, empassioned goal, and the techniques are guaranteed to unveil reality, even in spite of any preferences or prejudices on the part of the observer.

The objectivity of science, though, has been glaringly obvious for at least the past couple of decades. With the life's blood of "traditional science" now the grant, and not the truth, every hack with a calculator seems to be coming up with "theories" to test and "studies" to make. All complete with a complete, and, usually, expensive, list of required expenditures! And, even if you come away with nothing, you still make lemonade. When Surveyor I was first dispatched to the moon, a NASA scientist was asked what if it turns out that the moon's surface is like quicksand, and the probe sinks and is never found. The scientists replied: "Well, we would have learned something, right there!" Even negative results can be depicted as triumphs, by the cagey liar!

If "the bottom line" wasn't more important to today's usual run of "scientists" than the truth, phen-fen would never have made it onto the market shelves, and people during the Eighties and early Nineties wouldn't have half starved themselves eating nothing but bran, and thinking that everything from coffee to red wine to butter was deadly! If some "fact" comes out over public dispatches, it's, apparently, just a matter of time before the exact opposite is declared true!

Many wonder, though, how "scientific methods" could possibly fail to point out the truth. "How can they be 'scientific' if they don't reveal reality?", it would be asked. A filthy secret of science is that the methods used can be employed to suggest, to the unwary, anything that one wishes! Magicians have methods for "forcing a card"; unscrupulous "researchers” have methods for "forcing a conclusion"!

And, where unscrupulousness trumps ethics, even more malignancies can be expected, such as trying to get "something for nothing". Increasingly, attention seems to be being paid to "astounding claims" that are decades old! A recent entry on the Fortean Times, for example, touted the theory that "the universe is shaped like a football", meaning a soccer ball. The article referenced speaks of relating the shape of the universe to "a dodecahedron, a shape composed of twelve pentagonal sides". Later, the article describes the sides as not really being straight edged, but rounded. They should be made aware that there is another name for a soccer ball, a football or a dodecahedron with curving sides, namely, a sphere! And the idea of a spherical universe goes back at least to the Einstein-DeSitter model, in the Thirties!

A dynamic example of this adulteration of scientific method can be seen in an article in the Monday, October 20, That's Odd! section of The New York Daily News. In that, the article, "No cure for songs stuck in your head", can be seen. In that article, University of Cincinnati marketing professor James Kellaris seems to trying, at once, to give the impression of conducting valid scientific analysis of a situation, and of conducting valuable research.

Kellaris' "field of study" is "tunes that get stuck in your head"! Terming them "earworms" - leave it to a professor of marketing to engage in "brand name recognition" techniques - Kellaris claims to have been interested in the subject for decades, and to have been actively collecting anecdotal information "from people all over the world", since 2000.

A major announcement: "I quickly learned" Kellaris proclaims, "that virtually everybody experiences earworms at one time or another." Because it's "experienced privately" and rarely brought up in conversation, Kellaris "concludes", "maybe people really long for some social comparison.

They want to know if other people experience what they experience."

How far is it from that to the concept up setting up "clinics" - expensive "clinics"! - to help people get songs out of their heads?

One "survey" he is credited with conducting was in 2002, among "about 500 students, faculty and staff" on the University of Cincinnati campus.

No matter what you say, the rank-and-file of society, as a whole, cannot be considered as efficiently modeled by a collection of individuals working in one spot, not engaging in a wide range of types of activity, and perpetually surrounded by rock music! To be sure, too, the depth of concerns for most college students do not quite come to the level of most adults! The college atmosphere cannot be considered necessarily close to the average environment in the wide world. But a secret of connived "research results" is carefully choosing your sample. Most "studies", you will find, are performed either on college community members, or employees of hospitals. Using these "tests", you could come to the conclusion that all an average 80-year-old man needed to have a baby would be to increase his estrogen level! Even when claims are made that samples are chosen "at random", if the original population, from which the sample is "randomly chosen", is carefully selected, the sample can say anything you want!

Nor even can Kellaris' technique be described as free from suspicion.

His "results", for example, suggest that the three most commonly stuck songs are "The Lion Sleeps Tonight", "Who Let The Dogs Out" and the "Baby Back Ribs" tune from "Chili's" - does a product tie-in seem in the works? The means whereby he "discovered" this fact, though, was in having participants in the "study" mark off which of a pre-determined list of songs, they tended to get stuck in their heads! Although these songs ranked the highest among the allowed list of candidates, Kellaris reports that the most frequent choice marked, though, was "Other", meaning that a song not on the list would get stuck in their heads.

This is reported as having led Kellaris to conclude "that stuck songs are highly idiosyncratic".

In other words, that everybody has their own special song, or group of songs, that will get stuck in their heads.

But, if most of the people interviewed had the song, say, "Bless Your Beautiful Hide", from "Seven Brides For Seven Brothers", stuck in their heads, since that wasn't on the list, they would also tend to respond "Other"! Simply responding "Other" could mean that all those respondents were thinking of the same song, but a song that was not on the list, but Kellaris' apparently careful misinterpretation of the results led to the "conclusion" that all of them were thinking of their own tunes!

Two diametrically opposed conclusions, from the one result!

Another secret of "forcing a conclusion", judicious "interpretation" of the material!

If you take the word of any member of what is termed the "scientific community", it appears, you're just as good as sticking a gun to your head!

As an aside, another of Kellaris' "discoveries" is that one way of freeing yourself from a stuck song is to chew on a stick of cinnamon.

There are lessons that, apparently, can be learned from anything, but you have to see them. This "study" bears very strong similarity to all of the "research" projects being used, these days, to, apparently, defraud the people into releasing taxpayer dollars for lab-coated swindles! The methods employed may be less subtle than the ones used to convince people that eggs are poison, but they are apparently of the same cloth! And it is important for people to realize the shape of lies, in order to avoid them, and, even, overcome them!

Julian Penrod
Thanks a bunch!!

Aweem away, aweem away, aweem away, aweem away, aweem away, aweem away,

aweem away, aweem away

:cross eye
Re: comments on what are being termed "earworms"

julianpenrod said:
A recent entry on the Fortean Times, for example, touted the theory that "the universe is shaped like a football", meaning a soccer ball.

No, it meant a football.

I've got Abracadabra by the Steve Miller Band stuck in my head. It has been there for about two weeks now, and it's -really- doing my head in.
Why call them "earworms" when theres already a perfectly good term for them?!? - memes
hey Snowman!!

how about you trade in for this Steve Miller song!! I once had this one stuck in me head for weeks!!!! "KEEP ON ROCKIN ME BABY"!!! god it would just keep playing!!! I WENT FROM PHONEX ARIZONIA ALL THE WAY TO JACONA



ad infinitum... :gaga:
Has anyone encountered the following: you're thinking deeply about a particular subject, something fairly important and personal, and whilst you think, there's a tune in the back of your mind. You don't pay it any attention because you're thinking, you just know it's there and you don't really think about it. Then when you've finished your thought, you listen to the tune, then you remember what it's called, and the title of the song is completely relevant to what you were just thinking about.

Or is it just me.

Example was, a few days I ago I was thinking about relocating, and when I'd finished I realised my brain was playing "Should I stay or should I go" by The Clash without any prompting from me...