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The Catchiest Songs of All Time

Last updated on: September 30, 2011 16:31 IST

The Catchiest Songs of All Time

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Ever wondered why some songs are catchier than others? Apparently, there's a scientific reason behind it.

According to a latest study conducted by a team of researchers, reports Daily Mail, sing-along hits are like a 'subconscious war cry' that bear four key elements -- 'long and detailed musical phrases, multiple pitch changes in a song's hook, male vocalists and higher male voices making a noticeable vocal effort' determining their popularity. Based on these extensive investigations and practical experiments, they developed a list of the catchiest songs of all time.

Too much technical jargon, that? How about taking a look at who's made it to the top ten instead? Here goes:

We are the champions, Queen

It's the ultimate song of victory, a befitting tribute to the triumph of spirit, a jubilant anthem that no sporting event is truly complete without. Pretty much the response Queen frontman Freddie Mercury had in mind considering his inspiration while he penned the words on paper.

In a 1978 interview to Circus Magazine, the late legend reveals how he was, 'thinking about football when I wrote it. I wanted a participation song, something that the fans could latch on to. It was aimed at the masses; I thought we'd see how they took it. It worked a treat. When we performed it at a private concert in London, the fans actually broke into a football chant between numbers.' 


Image: We are the champions, Queen

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Y.M.C.A, Village People

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Think Village People, think all-American costumes. The disco group is also responsible for one of the chartbusting songs of the seventies. Despite the track's strong homosexual connotations coupled with the band's gay association, Victor Willis, who wrote Y.M.C.A following a conversation with composer Jacques Morali, insists it was completely unintentional.  

As for the real Y.M.C.A, i.e, Young Men's Christian Association, the original reaction was far from favourable as the authorities threatened to slap a lawsuit on Village People owing to its suggestive lyrics but changed their mind


Image: Y.M.C.A. Village People

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Fat Lip, Sum 41

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Surprisingly, there's no Beatles on the list. Instead you've got a Canadian pop punk band, Sum 41 making its entry on third spot with their best known single, Fat Lip. While Green Day's influence looms large, Fat Lip also nods at Gods of heavy metal -- Iron Maiden and Judas Priest.

Check out this sampler from their adolescent angst filled lyrics:

'Because you don't know us at all, 
We laugh when old people fall.
But what would you expect with a conscience so small.
Heavy metal and mullets it's how we were raised,
Maiden and Priest were the gods that we praised.'


Image: Fat Lip, Sum 41

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The final countdown, Europe

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More than 20 years have passed since the Scandinavian band released this roaring international hit but The final countdown hasn't lost an ounce of its dramatic allure. Even Bollywood couldn't resist ripping it blatantly to provide Salman Khan one of the most sensual songs of his early career; Mere rang mein rangnewali (Maine Pyaar Kiya).

Lead singer Joey Tempest tells BBC how he was still in college and keyboards were the in thing, when he came up with the idea behind Final countdown, 'I borrowed this keyboard from the only guy in school that had a keyboard. I went home and tried a few sounds on it and I came up with that riff. I thought it was very special and I kept it in the drawer until we did the third album many years later.'


Image: The final countdown, Europe

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Monster, The Automatic

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The Automatic formed a band in school while they were still in their teens in Wales, United Kingdom. Even so, there's nothing remotely puerile about their stark single, Monster, which deals with the inner demons that come into play as a result of drug abuse.

Despite mixed reviews, Monster caught enough listeners' fancy to climb on UK album charts. Too bad they haven't been able to deliver anything earth shattering since.


Image: Monster, The Automatic

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Ruby, Kaiser Chiefs

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Did you know that Leeds-based indie rock band, Kaiser Chiefs named themselves after a South African football club? Well, now you do. Also their smashing single, Ruby from second album, Yours Truly, Angry Mob,is, if scientists are to be believed, the sixth-most catchiest songs of all time.

There's no doubting its catchiness, alright. Usually, a song with a girl's name, be it Michelle, Delilah or Roxanne, spells a back story. But Ruby, the band members insist, is about no one in particular


Image: Ruby, Kaiser Chiefs

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I'm always here, Jimi Jamison (Baywatch theme song)

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Better known as the Baywatch theme song, picturised against a bevy of swimsuit clad beauties and beefy hunks in trunks, rock artist Jimi Jamison's I'm always here is famous for more reasons than one.

Being the man behind other iconic numbers like Eye of the tiger and Burning heart, Mississippi born Jamison has no trouble lending just the right blend of charisma and verve to I'm always here. 


Image: I'm always here, Jimi Jamison (Baywatch theme song)

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Brown-eyed girl, Van Morrison

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One of Van Morrison's most enduring hits, Brown-eyed girl is simply unforgettable. No doubt it's been covered frequently, including from the likes of U2 and Bob Dylan.

Brown-eyed girl, previously titled Brown-skinned girl, marked the Northern Irish singer's breakthrough as a solo artist. Deemed a tad unsuitable for its times especially because of the line, 'making love in the grass,' which failed to make the final cut.

The Grammy winner later released its censored edition in 1990's Best of Van Morrison. For all its adulation, the song did not rank among his favourites.


Image: Brown-eyed girl, Van Morrison

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Teenage dirtbag, Wheatus

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So what's the story behind this highly addictive ditty from 2000? It seems Wheatus guy Brendan B Brown bumped into the word 'dirtbag' while browsing through an issue of Rolling Stones magazine. Almost instantly he was inspired to write a song 'about really drug-addled kids in the woods, killing each other.' The hard-hitting track, incidentally, was featured in Jason Biggs starrer, Loser.

Some of the lines, 'He brings a gun to school' were altered to 'He brings his mates to fights' following the Columbine High School massacre in 1999.


Image: Teenage dirtbag, Wheatus

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Livin' on a prayer, Bon Jovi

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Any Bon Jovi fan will swear by this grand chartbuster from the 1980s. The rock sensation's milestone single, Livin' on a prayer reigned on every countdown, catapulting the band into superstar league. Consequently, it also picked a Best Stage Performance trophy at MTV Video Music Awards and was a raging attraction on their concert menu.

The song, worded around Tommy and Gina, mostly drew its inspiration from songwriter Desmond Child's real-life experiences as a struggling New York cabbie along with waitress girlfriend, Maria Vidal; how they'd get together in the evening to make music. 


Image: Livin' on a prayer, Bon Jovi

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