Earworms and Beyond

I almost always have an earworm, that phenomenon where some song or other, often from the distant past, plays in your head over and over, sometimes for days.

I woke up with a particularly interesting one today. It harkens back to high school Spanish class, and I’m pretty sure I’ve never heard it since then. It goes…
“Eva María se fue, buscando el sol en la playa, con su maleta de piel, y su bikini de rayas.
Translation: “Eva María left, looking for the sun at the beach, with her leather suitcase and her striped bikini.”
This one is by the Madrid ’60s-’70s pop group Formula V (English). It is highly recommended listening. It will make you happy, regardless of the fuzzy old video and whether you can understand it or not. Their cute bow-tie tuxes and the lead singer’s dorky dancing will put a smile on your face, guaranteed.

My earworms are almost always a partial song, picking up at a random spot or tapering off into nothing. Another I had recently was
“…Rooms to let, 50 cents…Man of means by no means, KING OF THE ROAD!”
Go figure. How long has it been since I actually heard that one?
Roger Miller’s screaming, maniacal fans and his well-placed finger snaps are also worth a listen!

But the most prominent recently, having appeared consistently, or at least when some other song isn’t playing, is a hymn from my childhood called To God Be the Glory. It’s the most complete one I think I’ve ever had, and it gives me a fresh dose of evangelism every time it pops up:
To God be the Glory, great things He hath done;
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son.
Who yielded His life, an atonement for sin,
And opened the lifegates that all may go in.

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!
Let the earth hear His voice.
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the people rejoice…

Considering that I haven’t darkened the door of a church in decades except for weddings, funerals, and visits to my parents (some overlap there), that is pretty phenomenal! Which tells you that I must have sung it hundreds of times back when. Here is a lovely rendition of it by a quartet, accompanied by only violin, cello, and piano. It starts with the history of the song, but you can pick the music up at 1:40.

Whenever I have an earworm, The Professor attempts to dislodge it by singing ABBA’s Waterloo to me. It never works. Good try though.

I wish I had control over the earworms. Music I might select if I did:

Dvořák’s New World Symphony
This 3-minute version by the 1960’s all-white, all-male Berlin Philharmonic captures the part that does go through my head the few times that I’m privileged to land on it. It is so energetic that you will not even NEED coffee if you listen to it upon awakening! For a beautiful, more colorful, more modern, complete version (50 minutes), check out the Frankfurt Symphony Orchestra‘s.

Melissa Etheridge, I’m the Only One
Ignore the captions – oddly, they are from another hit of hers, Come to My Window. I might put it on the desired earworm list, too.

Karen Carpenter’s version of Desperado

Barry Manilow, pre-out, pre-bizarre plastic surgery, Weekend in New England

The Eagles, Hotel California
Seems like this one could persevere for weeks!! They also did Desperado, but the Carpenters version is so wrenchingly heartbreaking.

Dolly Parton’s iconic Jolene.
Perfect earworm candidate. When she sang it on The Porter Wagoner Show over 50 years ago, who knew it would still be making the rounds now! As a testament to its staying power, listen to her goddaughter, Miley Cyrus, sing it.

As a note, I draw the line at Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven, unless perhaps this Kennedy Center Honors version sung by Ann and Nancy Wilson from Heart, accompanied on drums by John Bonham’s son Jason. Also, note cameo by Stephen Colbert!

And earworms aside, here are two more of my favorite Kennedy Center Honors performances:
Adam Lambert singing a lovely, poignant, slowed-down version of Believe to Cher, and

MY FAVORITE OF ALL TIME, the incomparable Aretha Franklin, in a floor-length mink coat with train, singing A Natural Woman to Carole King. She becomes so incredibly, thrillingly into her performance that she doffs that mink coat right onto the floor and brings the crowd to their feet! Including the Obamas, who are rocking out in their box. If you listen to nothing else from this post, you can make your day with just this one. She was 73 at the time, and what a set of pipes!!!

It’s morning and I’m not even done with my tea (not being an a.m. coffee drinker). That’s a lot of music! One of these might crowd out Eva María. We’ll see what pops up next. I’ll keep you posted!

About Verla

Wordfreak. Retired private investigator and Spanish court interpreter. Erstwhile librarian. Texan by birth, cheesehead by upbringing, latina by soul, in New Mexico by choice. Lover of things purple. Passionate participant in the Librivox audiobook recording project. We record books that are in the public domain in the U.S. The recordings are then placed in the public domain themselves.
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