Monday, 30 March 2015

Do you ever wake up with a song in your head?

Part three of my series of 12 investigative talks with highly creative people is on the way.


In the meantime I have a question that can’t wait  

Do you ever wake up with a song in your head?

Maybe I don’t get out enough, but after hearing Scottish singer songwriter Eddi Reader perform live in Vicar Street Dublin at the end of February, I still often wake to her fabulous voice singing the Robert Burns’ anthem ‘My Love is like a red, red rose.’

I decided to Google the lyrics to be sure they were playing correctly in my head. 

I had no sooner typed  ‘my love’ when up comes ‘My Lovely Horse.’ I rushed, panic stricken, to complete the phrase and to fill my head as fast as possible with a You Tube video of Eddi singing my latest favourite song before Ted and Dougal took over my brain. 

Do you remember that episode of Fr. Ted when Dougal got Eurosong fever and he and Ted composed a dirge called ‘My Lovely Horse?’  That ‘song’ wedged itself into my head for ages after. It still occasionally comes back.  I need help when this happens....

I wonder if it is involuntary  -  is it a random thing - what is it that determines what will get stuck and what will not? 

by Robert Burn
Can we control it? 
Having Eddi playing beautiful Robert Burn lyrics in my head is a joy.
Apparently even Bob Dylan, when asked the source of his greatest creative inspiration, cited Burns' 1794 song A Red, Red Rose, as the lyrics that have had the biggest effect on his life.

On the other hand having Dougal and Ted singing in one’s head, much as one might love them, is a horror.

The last time a voice got stuck in my head, before Eddi, was in January when I interviewed Clara Rose on this blog. 
Her song, Wallflower Waltz, is my other favourite song.

I imagine either song could be the perfect antidote for the horrors.

 Wallflower Waltz -  gentle, layered, fragile yet strong, measured, lyrically beautiful, modern…

A Red, Red Rose - ancient, perfect, indescribable….

I want to know what you think?

And to sincerely thank my muses Clara Rose, Eddi Reader and Robert Burns.

PS    Careful now.  Do NOT Google My Lovely Horse.


  1. Lately it's Copacabana by Barry Manilow. Very hard to shift!

  2. Hesitation Blues in my head today...that was a Janis Joplin song....interestingly, Freud had a lot to say about the songs in peoples heads, he , himself , "did not really care for music"....and I quote...a Leonard Cohen..."and from your lips she drew an alleluia"....the new song in my head.....and on it goes....

  3. Interesting Bridget McMahon... lets look at the Freudian angle...
    I've a constant loop of various songs in my head... this morning I started off with one of my own songs (!), then I went into my work as a music therapist and was absorbed in music from 9-5 but the only song that stayed was the bubblegum pop Taylor Swift.. 'Im just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake...' aaaah! Now that I'm home I've got Right Said Fred's 90s classic: 'Deeply Dippy'. So if Freud was here what would he deduce...
    I'm self absorbed but I gotta shake that off and maybe I'm deeply dippy 'bout someone new...!

    A fun game? Or a terrifying one?!

  4. Thank you for comments and tweets!
    What an eclectic bunch. So far we have:
    Magic - Coldplay
    Uptown Funk - Mark Ronson
    Copacabana - Barry Manilow
    Hesitation Blues - Janis Joplin
    Alleluia - Leonard Cohen
    I’m going to shake, shake, shake -Taylor Swift
    Deeply Dippy – Right Said Fred
    Various (Heart is a Drum) - Beck

  5. I reckon these songs fall into two categories.
    Firstly there's the catchy song, one that has a hook to use the lingo. Best example I can think of is "Price Tag" by Jessie J. from a couple of years back. I spent about 6 months walking around with the words "It's all about the money, money, money" constantly in my head. I didn't mind though because it's a damn fine song (imho).

    And then,,, there's the gimmick song, the annoying song with bizarre lyrics that's specifically written to burrow into your brain and lodge there. Who's old enough to remember "The Chicken Song" by Spitting Image. It describes perfectly the insidious gimmick song and in doing so, was an archtypical gimmick song. The lyrics describe the effect better that I could:

    Now you've heard it once
    Your brain will spring a leak
    And though you hate this song
    You'll be humming it for weeks

    So once again from the top.......

    Hold a chicken in the air
    Stick a deckchair up your nose
    Buy a jumbo jet
    And then bury all your clothes
    Paint your left knee green
    Then extract your wisdom teeth
    Form a string quartet
    And pretend your name is Keith

  6. My Favourite is "Who Knows Where The Time Goes" by Fairport Convention and sung by Sandy Denny....the lyrics...

    Across the evening sky, all the birds are leaving
    But how can they know it's time for them to go?
    Before the winter fire, I will still be dreaming
    I have no thought of time
    For who knows where the time goes?
    Who knows where the time goes?

    Sad, deserted shore, your fickle friends are leaving
    Ah, but then you know it's time for them to go
    But I will still be here, I have no thought of leaving
    I do not count the time
    For who knows where the time goes?
    Who knows where the time goes?

    And I am not alone while my love is near me
    I know it will be so until it's time to go
    So come the storms of winter and then the birds in spring again
    I have no fear of time
    For who knows how my love grows?
    And who knows where the time goes?