Monday 13 December 2010
I was following a thread on The Word blog recently about those pesky tunes that get lodged in your brain and steadfastly refuse to leave. And it's an affliction for which there is no cure. Even deafness wouldn't get rid of them - once they're in, that's it. I have many pieces of music (sometimes only brief snippets) that nudge their way from the deep recesses of my brain and take centre stage. This is one I share with Quentin Cooper of Radio 4's Material World: despite not having heard it since I was a nipper, I still know it note for note.
Quentin ran a feature on Ear Worms and the feedback the following week was fascinating. Musical memories from our childhood right through to music played at funerals, pulling in hits of the day, muzak, radio jingles, cheesy advert music and (most interestingly) tunes you can't abide - they all find a way into our heads and take up residency. Play School aside, here's another one that gets regular airplay, creeping up on me when I least expect it:
Middle Of The Road's Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep was a massive hit in the summer of 1971 and coincided with the Medds' first ever European jaunt to Spain. And at the tender age of nine I was aware that it wasn't only us Brits who were getting off on bubblegum pop: every cafe, diner and bar my parents took me to during the hottest fortnight I'd ever experienced, all I could hear was Chirpy Bloody Cheep Cheep. On the flight back something strange happened - I'd got a window seat and was trying to sleep with my head leaning against the window when, all of a sudden, the tune started playing; it wasn't coming out over the tannoy and there was nobody next to me with a transistor radio jammed to their lug hole. No, what I was experiencing was my own, very primitive, 'in-flight entertainment.' Forty years later and I still can't find the off button.