Sunday, December 21, 2008


Help settle a Roseholme Cottage argument:

Suzanne Vega's "Tom's Diner" is the most insidious earworm ever, and can only be exorcised by singing the Oscar Meyer wiener commercial jingle three times. Yes or no?


steve said...

Of course not. The Oscar Meyer song does no good.

As Mark Twain pointed out long ago, the only way to get ride of an earworm is to give it to someone else.

Home on the Range said...

I'm on then fence here. I think you need to sing the Oscar Mayer song AND the Llama song.

word verif: lutedder - Norwegian lutefisk in cheese sauce.

Carteach said...


In the movie 'The Quiet Man', that little Irish dude keeps whistling a tune...... and that tune is the worst earworm ever invented by man or gods.

Anonymous said...

On a not-at-all related note, we're snowed in with five teenage boys here, all of whom are disgusted that this snow is too granular to form into snowballs. They have exhausted the limits of our entertainment supplies, and are subsequently wandering around indoors, occasionally kicking the cats and each other.

One of the boys has been singing "I Wanna Hippopotamus for Christmas" for two full days now. The others retaliated with "Song That Never Ends" and "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer," but so far the Hippo is winning.

Me, I'm hiding in the study until Algore's global warmening arrives to save us all.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Nonsense. You got an earworm? Sure fire way to get it out of there is to sing the lyrics to Amazing Grace to the tune from Gilligan's Island.

Amazing Grace
How sweet the sound
To save a wretch like me
I once was lost
but now I'm found
was blind but now I seeeee...
a three hour tour...


Anonymous said...

"Tom's Diner" not a bad lil tune. Could be the homemade apple cider/wine talking tho.

CartechO: I was going to watch "The quiet Man" for maybe the nth time later tonight. Strangely(or sadly) I never noticed that tune. However, tonight, I will!!

Gewehr98 said...

What's wrong with "Solitude Standing"?

Anonymous said...

I guess I don't see the problem.

They Live

Anonymous said...

I hadn't heard that one since my ex moved out sometime last century, and I didn't recognize the title -- and I'm the sadist who reminded you that Suzanne Vega exists. At any rate, I think anything (especially rational thought) can be eliminated with Badger Badger Badger.

Anonymous said...

The Oscar Meyer jingle's words are more interesting. I regret I was introduced to Ms. Vega's "talents".

Anonymous said...

"...sing the lyrics to Amazing Grace to the tune from Gilligan's Island."

Also works to the tune of "God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen."

Then you can try overlaying "Hernando's Hideaway" with "Stopping By Woods On a Snowy Evening:"

Whose Woods
   These are
I think I know...

His house
   Is in
the village, though;

He will
   Not mind
Me stopping here...

To watch
   His woods fill up with snow
With snow!

J.R.Shirley said...

I like "Solitude Standing", but I think "Take on Me" may be more pervasive than anything Vega's done.

Anonymous said...

This is worse. Much worse. Jo Stafford's "Shrimp Boats".

Yu may not want to click on the above link...

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

You can do the "Yellow Rose of Texas" to the Gilligan's Island theme, too.

What else? Emily Post:

Because I could not stop for Death—
He kindly stopped for me—
The Carriage held but just Ourselves—
And Immortality.

We slowly drove—He knew no haste
And I had put away
My labor and my leisure too,
For His Civility—

Anonymous said...

There's an entire CD called "Tom's Album" containing various rip-off versions of "Tom's Diner". Suzanne is cool - instead of calling in an airstrike of ASCAP lawyers, she rounded up all the perpetrators and put their songs together on a CD. There's rap and crap, and one very funny one called "Jeanie's Diner" set to the tune of "Tom's" but it's about Barbra Eden and "I Dream of Jeanie". Also, there's a really great version of "Rusted Pipe" done by Suzanne and a band called DNA.

NotClauswitz said...

That's not really what she looks like, is it? Very girl's college Sophmoreish.
I like the IZ version of Gilligan's Island - got poi?

Anonymous said...

What else? Emily Post:

Oh, for the love of Mike.

Emily Dickinson, not Emily Post.

I mean, really. If you don't actually know, use Google to keep yourself from being embarassed.

Jay G said...

One word that'll cure all your ills, Tam:


"What rolls down stairs
and over the chairs
and into your neighbor's dog?
It fits on your back,
It's good for a snack,
Everyone knows it's log.
It's log, it's log,
It's big, it's heavy, it's wood.
It's log, it's log, it's better than bad, it's good."

Don't thank me, your stunned silence is all the thanks I need...

Anonymous said...

The only way to get rid of an earworm is to imagine it being sung by Bob Dylan, in one of him more mubling monotones.
Of course this assume the song is not one of Bob Dylan's mumbling monotones.

Chuck Pergiel said...

If asked I would have said this song was a year or two old, not eleven. Criminently.

Anonymous said...

I gotta ask... is it the a cappella version or the version with the music? The answer to this question could decide your fate. If it is the a cappella version from the original album release that is stuck in your head, you could be doomed. If you mean the remix version that came along later, the cure is worse than the disease.

José Giganté said...

Wrong on both counts, Kylie Minogue's "Can't get you outta my head" is the catchiest ever and the scenery is far better.

atlharp said...

The most insidious earworm ever?

"Mickey" by Toni Basil.

No doubt in my mind; that song causes blood to come from my ears while at the same time producing violent tendencies. The only thing that gets close to producing a similar reaction is listening to Keith Olbermann....GRRRRRR!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I've been whistling My Chemical Romance's "Teenagers Scare The S**t out of me" for three days

Brad K. said...

I think the Polkas make better ear worms, such as Disneyland's infamous "Its a small, small world."

I have been plagued this last year with "Aunt Jemima's pancakes."

Aunt Jemima's Pancakes
without her syrup,
is like the spring
without the fall.

In this universe
there's just one thing worse.
That's no Aunt Jemima's at all.

I just listened to the whole, tortuous Tom's Diner. I can't think that would make it out of the noise, on a list of prominent earworms.

Six Pence None The Richer's "There She Goes" and "San Antonio Rose" rate stronger than Tom's Diner, with me. Heck, even Robert Mitchum and "Ballad of Thunder Road"

Let me tell the story
I can tell it all.
About the Mountain boy
Who ran illegal alcohol
His daddy made the whiskey,
Son he drove the load.
And when his engine roared
They called the highway
Thunder road.

and Clint Eastwood in "Paint Your Wagon

I talk to the trees
but they don't hear what I say.
I talk to the stars,
but they never hear me
The breeze hasn't time
to stop and hear what I say
I talk to them all
in vain.

When suddenly my words
reach someone else's ears
And someone else's heart
strings too.

Or even Lee Marving from "Paint Your Wagon"

I was born under a wand'ring star.
I was born under a wand'ring star.
Do I know where hell is?
Hell is in hello!
Heaven is good-bye
for ever it's time for me to go!


Snippets of "Oh, yeah" from the old Michael J. Fox "Secret of My Success" sticks better than "Tom's Diner".

I have to vote "No".

Anonymous said...

I don't think you can reach a viable conclusion when starting from a false premise.

Insidious ear worms are somewhat seasonal too. Right now, the most insidious is "Jingle Bell Rock". Giddy-up, Jingle-horse!

And, if you're unfortunate enough to have Tom's Diner segue into "I Dream of Jeannie", then you're really stuck. Gilligan's Island doesn't stand a chance.

Daniel, is the a cappella version the African, or the European one?

Also, having finally read "The Black Arrow", I'm finding The Raspberries to be pretty hard to shake.

Anonymous said...

Oh, forgot to mention that you can sing "Oh Little Town of Bethlehem" to House of the Rising sun.

Anonymous said...


New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Meh. I would have embarrassed myself regardless (or irregardless, if you're Anonymous up there.) I (or my brain) knew it was Dickinson, YOU knew it was Dickinson. My fingers typed Post.

It's a known and admitted flaw.

Roberta X said...

It's a cute song but I don't see it as earwormish. Then again, I worked in radio for so very long that earworms don't bother me a whole lot -- there's always something new crawling along to knock the old one out.

Something I didn't kow that turned up as Tam was researching "Tom's Diner:" Suzanne Vega is the godmother or something of the mp3; the guy doing development decided to use the acapella version to evaluate his nifty new invention...and discovered he was not yet done refinin' those algorithms. Solo voice (and solo piano) tends to reveal every little flaw and artifact. No word on how earwormy the poor lad got in the process.

El Capitan said...

Frank Zappa earworms are the worst...

See, when you start mumbling lyrics in mixed company, it's never something innocuous and work-friendly like 'Montana' or 'Dancin' Fool'.

No, you always get caught singing 'Dinah-Moe Humm', or 'Harder Than Your Husband', or even 'Dirty Love'... ("Poodle Bites! Poodle Chews it!")

Anonymous said...

The "music" from the Chicken Dance. Worst ear worm evar!

Anonymous said...

I'm leaning toward Jay G being right. That fucking "Log" song plays on ENDLESS loop every time we do anything involving the obtaining and processing of firewood.

Also, "Tom's Diner" isn't even the earwormiest thing Suzanne Vega ever did. That would be "Blood Makes Noise".

Anonymous said...


Yeah, "Mickey" is pretty ear-wormy. I recall blasting it through the ambulance PA system, driving in N. Oklahoma. (No patient at the time).

Dispatch would also get occasional calls like this:

Caller: "I noticed one of your ambulances. It was mooing at some cows. Is that normal?"

Dispatch: "Yes. The crews do that when they are bored on long trips"

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

Caller: "I noticed one of your ambulances. It was mooing at some cows. Is that normal?"

Dispatch: "Yes. The crews do that when they are bored on long trips"

I will not admit to having done that. Nope. Not me. Never.

The cows do kind of look at you funny, though.

Anonymous said...

Yes, they sure do!!

And, damn it Tam, I think you do this on purpose!! Not only is "Tom's Diner" an earworm, I find myself singing it to my dog!!!

Cybrludite said...

Most wrong song done to the tune of Gilligan's Island? The Marine Hymn. (Word of advice: NEVER let your DI's hear you sing it that way...)

As for earworms, there's all manner of stuff from the Seventies that hasn't been mentioned. Yet.

(Wanders off singing, "Rows and flows of angel's hair, ice cream castles in the air, and fethered canyons everywhere... I've looked at clouds that way...")