Earworm #247: “Tell Her No” by The Zombies

For some reason, or maybe no reason, I woke up with zombies and an earworm. Okay, let’s make it clear quickly that these were The Zombies, not those amalgamations of decimated flesh now creeping constantly across your television screen. Nah, what was rattling around in my head was that British Invasion band and that great song, “Tell Her No.” If you’re a Gen B member, bet you can sing a few bars of that hit (and if you don’t know the truth about earworms, get the scoop).

There was a certain minor-key inflection to the song that set it apart from some of the perky pop of the early-to-mid 1960s. And a maturity to the lyrics as a guy admonishes a friend to stay away from a girl he loves, opening, “And if she should tell you come closer / And if she tempts you with her charms / tell her no, no, no…” Continue reading


You Knew Earworms Were Real–But Now They’re Official

Everyone has suffered an “earworm,” whether you knew what to call it or not. You know, that song that crept from somewhere in your cortex and began to sing itself over and over and—

Even as I write this, Tom Petty is crooning “It’s Good to Be King” in my ear, which hopefully is a reflection of my current state of mind. A couple of days ago, it was horrific as I couldn’t stop Glen Campbell from wailing “Galveston” until I wanted to beat my head against the wall. Why that song, which I haven’t heard in at least two decades, at least not that I remember? Had I done something unmentionable and my brain, that so-called conscience therein, was punishing me? I finally had to plug in “Exile on Main Street” at a painful decibel rate to drive Glen out of town. Of course, then “Tumbling Dice” started rolling around, and, for some bizarre reason, it was the Linda Rondstadt version.

But, still, better than “Galveston.” Oh, what, now it’s in your head? Sorry.

But I digress. The news is that “earworm” has officially been accepted into the lexicon of life by the editors of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary in their latest update, joining other such keywords as mashup, sexting, man cave, and f-bomb. “Earworm” is defined as “a song or melody that keeps repeating in one’s mind.” But as one commentator put it, “it’s more like an insidious virus holding up a tiny boombox inside your brain, playing the same song over and over and over.” Continue reading