Beware: Songs that get in your head

Oct 1, 2012 at 4:33 a.m. ET

Songs that get stuck in your head are called earworms. While commercials and jingles are notorious earworms, popular hits can get stuck in your head too.

Watch out for these 10 catchy tunes
Woman listening to music

And this is a common phenomenon: According to a 2003 study by marketing professor James J. Kellaris, Ph.D., of the University of Cincinnati, 98 percent of people have gotten a song stuck in their head.



Rebecca Black’s YouTube sensation, "Friday" is a catchy song with a repetitive chorus that easily gets lodged in your head.


"Rumour Has It"

One of Adele’s powerful hits, this radio-friendly song has a catchy chorus that can get stuck in your head.


"Call Me Maybe"

This earworm sparked a global phenomenon, as groups from around the world posted videos of themselves performing to this sticky song.


"All the Single Ladies"

Try listening to Beyonce’s hit without singing it to yourself after.

"Songs with lyrics are reported as most frequently stuck (74 percent), followed by commercial jingles (15 percent) and instrumental tunes without words (11 percent)," wrote Kellaris.


Remember this song by Chumbawamba? Its peppy beat and repetitiveness make it a particularly tricky earworm. “I get knocked down, but I get up again…”


"Breakfast at Tiffany’s"

This 1990s hit by Deep Blue Something received non-stop radio play when it first came out.


"Who Let the Dogs Out?"

The Baha Men had this one-hit wonder that’s ubiquitous at sporting events and pep rallies. The chorus, repeated over and over, makes this song an earworm.



Peppy with a good beat and easy-to-remember lyrics, YMCA gets stuck in wedding-goers heads long after the reception is over.


"Teenage Dream"

This popular Katy Perry song has a boppy quality that easily can get lodged in your head.


"Stayin’ Alive"

A disco staple, this Bee Gees song has all the hallmarks of an earworm: catchy, upbeat lyrics with a repetitive chorus.

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