Way, way, waaaaaaaay back in the olden days — as in, 1974 — I got an earworm that I have never quite shaken in the ensuing 38 years. All I remember is that I would hum the chorus or sing it in my head. I didn’t know anything else about it — the lyrics, the singer, the title, nothing. I must have heard it on the radio in our car — and by radio, I mean the crackly AM station that was the only available music in my mother’s Ford Pinto hatchback.
When I tell my children about the 1970s, I always make a point to mention AM radio and black-and-white TVs with rabbit ears on top. And how the internet had not been invented. And we didn’t have microwaves. Oh, and the fact that not only did cars not have airbags, they didn’t even always have seatbelts. Honestly, the girls cannot believe the primitive conditions that we had to endure back then.
Anyway, so there was this other song stuck in my head and I have never been able to shake it. I might forget it for months at at time, but then it will come roaring back, but only the tiny bit that I remember. And it wasn’t until yesterday that I finally decided to just Google the damn thing to see what it might could be.
Right now you’re thinking, “Jen, why only yesterday? You’ve had access to the internets for more than a decade now. Why didn’t you research this a long time ago?”
And my answer to that is that I assumed I was wrong about this song. That I didn’t remember the lyrics correctly or that I had possibly even made it up in my five-year-old brain and that it never existed at all.
Lest you think I lack confidence in 1974 Jen (actually, it would be 1974 Jenni, because that’s what my family called me back in the day) (that’s not a nickname that’s open for use by any of you, EVER), there’s a reason why I was questioning what I think I knew. Let me tell you another story that’s just full of randomness.
In 1980, my stepfather played baseball (softball?) in a summer league and after some of the games, everyone would go to the Pizza Inn for for some of the thinnest-crust pizzas you’ve ever eaten. The adults would give us kids coins for the jukebox while they sat around and talked. We’d shake them down for money and then we’d go play our favorite songs over and over, all evening long.
At the time, I was crazy about the song “Are You Ready” by K.C. (yes, of the Sunshine Band) and Teri DeSario. (People, DO NOT judge me for this.) Only, once again, I didn’t know the name of the song or who sang it. When I went to the jukebox to pump in my quarters, I scanned the song titles available and found a song that seemed like it might be the right one, so I loaded in my coins and chose that song. Only, my song never came up, but this other song that I hated did.
Not realizing that I had made a mistake, I loaded more coins into the jukebox and selected the same song again. Again, I was disappointed to hear a song that I did not like at all. Over and over again, I did this. Eventually, at some point that summer, I figured out that “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’” by Journey was NOT the song that I thought it was and that I clearly had no everlovin’ clue what it was that I was seeking.
(Go watch that Journey video. Just do it. It’s a live performance and Steve Perry’s hair is all kinds of amazing. He looks like Nicole Whatsherface from the Pussycat Dolls, only with ginormous sideburns.)
(And as I think we all know, I seriously love me some Journey these days and I’ve
brainwashed trained my daughters to puffyheartlove them too.)
Now you understand why I might possibly be doubting the memories of my 5 year old self, yes? This is why I didn’t bother to research that song that I might or might not have remembered correctly or might have possibly made up. But yesterday I did and in about two seconds, it popped right up on my computer screen.
So, what was this song that I heard in 1974 and which has stayed with me for all time? It was “Billy Don’t Be A Hero” by a group I’ve never heard of called Paper Lace. I just read up on the song and band on Wikipedia and learned all sorts of interesting things, including the fact that the band is still active.
After all that, I just had to go to YouTube and find the video. And when I did, I actually paused and tried to decide if I wanted to hear it again for the first time in ever-so-long or if I just wanted to live with my hazy memories. I actually pondered this for a few hours.
Ah, screw it. I had to listen to it. And so should you.
Yep, that’s pretty much exactly how I remembered it.
And, in the process, I managed to give myself a hellacious earworm, which should really come as no surprise to anyone, yet it did not occur to me that would happen.
Pete and I have been together for almost 25 years now, so you’d think that we’ve told each other everything that there is to know about ourselves, but we still manage to surprise each other on occasion. I mentioned this whole earworm thing last night and he immediately started humming the chorus. If I had just mentioned this to him, say, 10 or 20 years ago, then I might have saved myself some wondering.
What about the rest of you? Do any of you have a lifelong earworm or something similar?