I’m sorry.


  1. …there are no words for how much I hate you right now. And I didn’t even listen – all I had to do was see the title of the song.

    No. Words.

  2. My surefire cure for Earworm

    Weird Al Yankovic – Yoda

    I met him in a swamp down in Dagobah
    Where it bubbles all the time like a giant carbonated soda
    S-O-D-A, soda

    I saw the little runt sitting there on a log
    I asked him his name and in a raspy voice he said “Yoda”
    Y-O-D-A, Yoda
    Yo-yo-yo-yo Yoda

    [The rest snipped out because it exceeded fair use standards — JS]

  3. It’s not that bad a tune to have ‘earworming’ (I love that word and want the world to accept it for this phenomenon) as long as you don’t think about the story in the lyrics (girl ran after her horse in a blizzard and disappeared and guy is waiting for girl and horse to return for him… oops).

  4. As Brad said, I didn’t have to listen to the song, I just had to see the title, before my brain started going “She ran calling WIIIILLLLLLDDDDDDFIRE…”

    You are an evil, evil, evil, evil person doing this to us, your devoted readers.

    I am almost tempted to post a link to Train’s “Drive By” (which is another evil ear-worm song that should have never been recorded) just to get you back.

    Almost. I don’t want the mallet coming down on me.

  5. Sara E.:

    I don’t actually know that song. And I’d assume any song linked in this thread would be for revenge purposes in any event.

  6. I’ll see your “Wildfire” and raise you “Billy Don’t Be a Hero.” I was a tween/ young teen in the mid to late 70s, I can beat anyone at the “Jukebox from Hell” game.

    And the video is extra awesome because the timing is off so it has that bad horror film dubbing effect and the audience is clapping off time because it’s from the Dinah show so they don’t even have enough rhythm to clap to 70s white people pop.

  7. So I *was* going to say thanks, because annoying as Wildfire is, it beats the Lonely Goatherd song that has been in my head for a week. Only I was also a teenager in the 70s and I owned the Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods album in question, and I never, ever, ever, ever, needed to be reminded of it. Well, it was a nice 25 seconds there when my tormentor was only Wildfire.

  8. As a saintly gesture, I suggest to all you be-earwormed folk: Andrew Bird’s new album, “Break It Yourself.” Go listen and it will cleanse your ears nicely.

  9. I raise you your “Billy, Don’t Be A Hero”, Laura T D, and raise you one “Seasons in the Sun”….

    ‘we had joy, we had fun,
    we had’……….

    oh, someone please shoot me in the head now before it goes any further!

  10. Obviously I meant “…see you your…” not “…raise you your Billy, Don’t Be A Hero”.

  11. I’m reasonably certain I’ve never heard this song—I’m not a big country fan, and I was born fourteen years after it was released (yes, I know, you feel old reading that. You’re welcome)—and am therefore reluctant to listen to it, lest the same earwormy horror that’s plagued so many be visited upon my virgin, un-Wildfired ears. Should I do it? Is it really that bad?

  12. @beyondpaisley,

    I’d have to disagree about “The Ooga Chagga Song”. Partly because it’s 45rpm single flipside song “The Night Chicago Died”, is even worse. Moreso because it’s essentially a happy “Ain’t I Just Stylin’ From Being In Love” type of song, whereas “Billy…”, “Shannon”, and “Seasons…”, to name but three dreadful songs from the 70’s, were intentionally trying to be tear-jerker songs. Once the shiney new of their respective 15 minutes of fame wore off, all that was left was the super-schmaltz failure to achieve touch-your-heart feelings. And as far as schmaltzy tear-jerkery songs from the seventies goes, “Coward of the County” might just top the other three.

    As a side note, the reason I know the name of the B-sode to “Hoked On A Feeling” is my older brother bought the single, and played both sides over and over and over and over.

  13. OK, there was another “supernatural horse” song from the same era, where the singer was trying to corral and ride the horse, and ended up going over a cliff on the horse’s back.

    Anyone remember this one?

  14. I think I’ve just achieved something aking to the failure mode of clever…

    Captainned’s memory is far more accurate than mine.

    Paper Lace was responsible for “The Night Chicago Died”. Now I need to figure out what the horrible awefulness was that was on the flip-side of “Hooked On A Feeling”.

    Sigh…I hate it when I’m wrong (and petulantly pedantic at the same time) all over the internet.

  15. @ Lee S:

    Wikipedia says the b-side of Hooked on a Feeling is Gotta Have Your Love.

  16. It has been at least a very happy decade since this song has even flickered across my memory.


    Seriously, don’t make me pull out movie-soundtrack-era Bryan Adams and end all that is good in the world our of sheer spite alone.

  17. Hey, I liked Wildfire. Of course, I was about 20 when it was released, so what the hell did I know?
    It’s a small world, after all

  18. You’ve Failed.
    It’s not in my head.
    It must still be stuck in yours.

    Here’s the story
    Of a lovely lady
    Who was bringing up….

    (hee hee)

  19. I’d like to thank you all for posting all those song titles, one after another after another, all those songs I can hear in my head just by reading their titles in blog comments, because now, after reading them all, one,
    after another,
    after another,

    all I can hear is the sound of my own uncontrollable weeping while I twitch spasmodically, curled into a fetal position on the floor.

    Much, much better than “Wildfire.” Seriously. Thanks.

  20. Oh, my Lord, I do so hate this song. I remember riding in the back of my mom’s Pinto station wagon on the way to Super Giant to buy clothes for 7th grade, whining it at the top of our lungs.

    You are a bad, bad man, John Scalzi.

  21. Haha, it won’t play on my phone – my ears remain unassaulted. Though I will admit to some curiosity.

  22. That’s…. that’s a very strange, obscure, song to have stuck in your head…. It’s ancient, 70’s maybe? it didn’t get a lot of airtime after it went away. It’s not like they play it at weddings or every christmas no matter how old or bad it is.

    Is the song by chance attached to a young memory for you or something?

    Very strange…

  23. There is a better way to get a song out of your head
    Repeat after me
    Here’s the story
    of a lovely lady
    who was bringing up three very lovely girls
    all of them had hair of gold … like their mother
    the youngest one in curls

    You get the idea.

  24. “A Literary Nightmare.” Mark Twain, 1876.
    Nothing new to be heard here.
    Move along, folks.

  25. captainned @10:24–Try Chestnut Mare by the Byrds (I rememberd the group, and a quick on-line search pulled up the song’s title. I’m not an authority on obscure old songs about horses.)

  26. My father loves this song! He wanted a copy of it for many years, but didn’t know the artist and was slightly confused about the title. And walking into an early 90’s to mid 90’s record store asking for “Wildfire” got him only confused looks from the kids there.

    It wasn’t until Napster came along and my friend told him about it and the ability to get all kinds of songs that he downloaded it and was so very happy. He told everyone about the goodness that was Napster.

    And then every day, he would come home from work and play that song.

    I think my mom nearly killed my friend who told him about Napster.
    (but good memories! Thankfully, I was in college when this happened, so I only had to endure summers and vacations of it ;) )

  27. @ Bruce Diamond
    I’d never seen the video for that. Scary.

    I can I’ll have to go nuclear. Duck and cover!

  28. I was a tween/ young teen in the mid to late 70s, I can beat anyone at the “Jukebox from Hell” game.

    I’ve played this around many a battered table in many a bar, but never heard it called that. Thank,s it’s perfect.

    And now…

    “it’s a world of laughter a world of tears….”

  29. Eaons after the fact, in topics like this I still hesitate to click the youtube links fo fear of RickRolling.

    IRC has scarred my very soul.

  30. Jesus. I just listened to the first 30 seconds of that. That’s like the aural definition of schmaltz. (I love that the real definition of schmaltz is chicken fat. That song is chicken fat.)

  31. Wasn’t gonna go here, but once the Barney card has been played, all bets are off. (and sorry Gulliver-the Clash, Benny doing Louis, and the Andrew Sisters are not a fusillade, they are a playlist )

    and *that* is how the game is played on the “playgrounf [sic] in my mind”

  32. Almost every horrible earworm song I know has been mentioned in this thread, except perhaps “Sugar, Sugar” by the Archies.

    I think it is time to listen to some Weakerthans to cleanse my brain.

  33. Nah. I’m not sure what the worst earworm I ever experienced was, but this doesn’t even come close. For me, it’s a toss-up between having the “Bob the Builder” theme song stuck in my head (not exaggerating here) for nearly three full weeks, and somehow managing to have simultaneous and competing earworms of “Sloop John B.” by the Beach Boys and “James Connolly” by Black 47. I still don’t know how I managed to get two songs stuck at once, but it was a terrible couple of days.

    That said, for sheer power to irritate, I’m going to raise you a Ming-Ming from the Wonder Pets. It probably isn’t an earworm for most people, but I can get single phrases stuck in my head, so it has been one for me.

    (Can you tell I have pre-schoolers?)

  34. Since some of you seem to be really put out with John, may I suggest you:

    “Go ahead hate your neighbor,
    Go ahead cheat a friend,
    Do it in the name of heaven,
    you’ll be justified in the end. . .”

  35. @Bruce Diamond: My wife and daughter finally had to tell me that if I didn’t stop saying “not Constantinople” every time anyone said the word Istanbul, they were going to hit me.

  36. This is the song that never ends…

    Seriously? I don’t suffer from earworms. I revel in them.

    (As an aside, I’d like to thank the people who’ve posted 80s songs to this list – now I have ammunition to use on all those people who think 80s music was So Great and are So Sorry They Were Born Too Late. Grump grump grump kids today think we had it so good because the crap didn’t survive thirty years…)

  37. No. Just, no.

    And, in regards to “Billy, Don’t be a Hero,” and “Seasons in the Sun”?

    NO. JUST, NO.

    *stomps off to listen to “A Horse With No Name.”*

  38. Reddist: Ditto re Walk Off The Earth – and I just found out they are playing in Toronto on Tuesday. Yee haa!

  39. Considering I *liked* Wildfire – and I’m digging most of the revenge sons posted here – y’all are woefully miscalculating. Though it’s nice to see/hear who recorded this stuff. I used to think Wildfire was one of John Denver’s….now I know why I could never find it!

    Oh – yanno what was playing on 70s iTunes internet radio yesterday? “Come On Get Happy” from the Partridge Family!


  40. @Bruce Diamond

    I have flashbacks from high school when my AP calculus teacher played that song on repeat for an entire day. It wouldn’t have been that bad if I did not aid for him and have him as my ACADEC teacher/coach as well.

  41. And Laura TD? Thank you for that “Jukebox from Hell” label. I plan on unleashing it on my brother over Easter. :) When he starts quoting Quiet Riot, I’ll remind him he used to choose Kung Foo Fighting on the jukebox All. The. Time.

  42. Oh, well, I spent my teens listening to ABBA, so I guess I can’t complain. MAMMA MIA!

  43. Err, best of luck Caedmon. Prepping for those is never pleasant. Can’t imagine doing one unprepped either.

  44. Man, I love this song. I always get a bit teary when I hear it. And I love the creepy ending where he convinces himself to go out into the snow to join her.

  45. I laugh at your feeble attempt, having lived through reading the ENTIRE “Dave Barry’s Book of Bad Songs” and being of an appropriate age to have heard damn near all of them.

    I am, however, still pissed off that the author of “Wildfire” did/does not know what a “killing frost” is. Not weather cold enough to kill you, but weather cold enough to permit the slaughter of hogs without wasting a lot of pork to premature spoilage.

    I recommend Mark Twain’s “Punch, Brothers, Punch” on the horrors of, and cure for, earworms. (Available online here.

    Also, any of the songs from “Phineas and Ferb” are good enough to replace most of these. I’m particularly fond of “Klimpaloon”. (“He’s the magical old-timey bathing suit who lives in the Himalayas / They call him Klimpaloon….”)

  46. I’d like to claim that the unpaired parenthesis was a deliberate riposte, but actually it was just sloppy previewing.

  47. I heard that if you get earwormed by this song and you don’t earworm somebody else within 10 days, a ghost pony with a scraggly mane comes out of YouTube and you DIE.

  48. Personally, The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” has been cycling in my head for weeks because I know someone who uses the riff as a ringtone.

  49. if this was a British thread, people would by now have posted links to ‘Grandma’, ‘Ernie – the fastest milkman in the West’ ‘Agadoo’ or ‘The birdie song’, so think yourselves lucky….

  50. “Love Her Madly” isn’t an earworm song, so far as I understand what is meant by “earworm”. It’s part of the ultimate awesome playlist!

    The “Jim Morrison reads oddball disonant disjointed poetry out of his private notebook” * album isn’t earworm either, as we all seem to understand it, but listening to more than 30 seconds of it at any one time will make you want to commit sepuk.

    * I can’t recall now the “album title” this audio horror was released under.

  51. There was a funky singer playing in a rock and roll band. And never had no Problems, burning down the one night stands…Dancin’ and singin’ and movin’ to the groovin’
    And just when it hit me somebody turned around and shouted…

  52. We saw MMM preform “Wildfire” with the Wheeling Symphony, directed by Rachel Worbly, some twenty years ago. (He also played there in ’08 and ’09.) He did “What’s Forever For” at that concert and it will always be in my head! Some songs, like books, will be remember for a long time! Thanks, John

  53. Potential retentive alert: “Que sçais-je” should be written “Que sais-je”, unless written differently in Old French (350+ yo French…likely possibility)?

  54. I am a veteran of Laura’s Jukebox from Hell, even dressed up as one for Halloween once…I fire a warning shot across your bow:

  55. Bruce Durocher, it’s “Me and me mum and me dad and me gran.” Do it justice.

    (God, I love that song. And the video.)

  56. @Lila: I became curious and attempted to find references to that definition of “killing frost”, but most of the top hits seem to use the phrase to mean a temperature just cold enough to kill vegetation (as opposed to horses).

  57. @Matt: I stand corrected; both the Farmer’s Almanac and the USDA agree with you. Still, the point remains that “killing frost” = about 28 degrees F, not exactly fatal to horses.

  58. I didn’t check the comments to see if this was posted, but Bill Withers – Ain’t No Sunshine has been stuck in my head for the last few days.

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