Throughout history there are many songs in the airwaves that tend to get stuck in your head and easily pop out even though it’s been ages since you last listened to it. If you feel like checking out some of the top catchiest songs out there then read on and enjoy as they start playing in your head once again.
Top Ten Catchiest Songs
10. Macarena – Los del Rio
Around the early 90s “Macarena” exploded into the music scene and this catchy song came with an infectious dance step. It was conceived by the pop duo Los del Rio (Those from the River) in 1992 during a trip to Venezuela and released a year later as part of their album A mi me gusta (I Like It). It first became popular in Puerto Rico, Spain, and in Latino communities in New York City and Miami.
The “Macarena” craze went global in 1996 thanks to a remix which included lines in English, and it quickly sat at the top of the Billboard singles chart in the United States. It stayed in the chart for more than a year and sold around 11 million copies.
You might be wondering what the song is all about aside from dancing. If you check out the lyrics it’s about a girl named Macarena who cheats on her “no good” boyfriend Vitorino with two of his fine friends.
9. Mambo No. 5 – Lou Bega
Damaso Perez Prado is a Cuban composer who was often hailed as “King of the Mambo” due to his numerous contributions to the genre. He had the tendency of numbering some of his recordings starting with “Mambo No. 1” up to number eight. His fifth mambo was released in 1950 and, 49 years later, it had a remake courtesy of musician Lou Bega.
Bega added lyrics to the mainly instrumental recording and it was notable for the string of female names in the chorus. The remake dominated European and Australian charts while in the United States it only climbed up to number 3 on Billboard. It inspired cover versions including one from the popular cartoon character Bob the Builder wherein he names construction work and supplies instead of females.
Later on Bega revealed that the names mentioned were actually ladies he used to date, with Sandra being his favorite that’s why he wrote her as “Sandra in the sun”.
8. Y.M.C.A. – Village People
The Young Men’s Christian Association, or the YMCA, is an organization that focuses on empowering the physical, mental, and spiritual attributes of young people. In 1978 the disco group Village People released the single “Y.M.C.A.” which sang about the organization’s virtues and choreographed its logo.
The song was among the group’s hit singles and it peaked at several charts around the globe. “Y.M.C.A.” spawned numerous parody and cover versions, and it also became a staple in many sporting events and parties.
7. The Final Countdown – Europe
There’s no mistaking that, when you hear the iconic keyboard riff at the intro, you’ll know immediately that it is “The Final Countdown”.
The said riff was the genesis of the single. It was conceived in the early 80s and the band decided to use it as basis for an opening song to be used on concerts. They were eventually persuaded by their record company to have “The Final Countdown” as the first single of their album of the same name. Released in 1986, the single was met with success and top positions at different charts worldwide. In 2015 the song and the band were featured in an advertisement from insurance company GEICO.
6. Gangnam Style – PSY
“Oppan Gangnam Style!”
Released in 2012, “Gangnam Style” is the lead single of Psy’s sixth album. It was originally produced for the local airwaves but the South Korean singer’s music label released it on YouTube where it immediately raked in 500,000 views. In a span of two months the views amounted to a staggering 9 million per day, and a huge chunk of this boost was due to celebrities who spread word about the song. At the end of the year “Gangnam Style” was the first ever to attain one billion views on YouTube, and it was also included in the Guinness Book of World Records and the Yale Book of Quotations.
The song pokes fun at tryhards and “wannabes” who proclaim to be “Gangnam Style”, a term that refers to the classy lifestyle of those who live in the South Korean district of Gangnam. Even in the music video Psy claims to be as such even though his actions do not equate to high class.
5. Eye of the Tiger – Survivor
Being the theme song of Rocky III the fierce instrumentals at the beginning of “Eye of the Tiger” were tailored to emphasize the punches in the film’s fight scenes. Released in 1982 the single charted in several countries around the globe and has since then become a favorite theme music of sports, physical therapy, action scenes of movies and shows, and motivational videos. Even politicians used the song in their rallies although this led to legal troubles.
Song co-writer Jim Peterik attributed the “primal beat”, the simple melody, and the ferocious imagery of a tiger as the reasons of the song’s success. Some people even confuse the Katy Perry song “Roar” with this due to a line on the female singer’s single that states the eye of the tiger.
The Museum of Science and Industry, along with the University of Amsterdam, did a study in 2014 to determine how fast people can identify a catchy song. “Eye of the Tiger” ranked in third place with 2.62 seconds.
4. PPAP – Pikotaro
You might have stumbled upon a video of a Japanese man singing and grunting about pens and pineapples repeatedly, and you might have scratched your head in confusion as to what it was.
Turns out it was praised as the successor of “Gangnam Style”, and many listeners already had a bad case of last song syndrome.
Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen, or PPAP for short, is penned and sung by Daimaou Kosaka, a Japanese comedian who portrays a fictional singer-songwriter character named Pikotaro. He conceived the song and its eponymous items with the help of the pen he used to write “PPAP”, the pineapples on his table, and his birthplace of Aomori being the country’s top producer of apples.
The video was uploaded on YouTube in August 2016 and, thanks to Justin Bieber sharing it on Twitter, the views catapulted to millions per day. If you fancy something a bit different from the original then click here and enjoy “PPAP” in all its orchestral glory.
3. Never Gonna Give You Up – Rick Astley
Despite being one of the most notorious songs for online trolling, “Never Gonna Give You Up” is quite catchy with music that you can dance to if you so wish.
The song was originally released in 1987 and experienced much success in the charts of more than 20 countries. With the emergence of “rickrolling” in 2007 the song enjoyed additional exposure albeit much to the frustration of the receiving end of the prank.
“Never Gonna Give You Up” was conceived with the help of Stock Aitken Waterman (SAW), a trio of songwriters and producers. Pete Waterman was with Rick Astley when the former was in a phone call with a woman he was dating. After the call Astley commented “You’re never gonna give her up”,
2. We Are the Champions – Queen
In 2011 a team of researchers from Goldsmith’s University of London observed volunteers as they listened to a playlist. The researchers took note of several factors that influenced a song’s catchiness which included multiple pitch changes in the hook, higher male voices, and long musical phrases. At the end of the study it was Queen’s “We Are the Champions” that emerged as the catchiest in their list.
The song was released in 1977 and served as among the band’s most popular songs. It was a success although it did not peak at any chart. Along with its B-side “We Will Rock You”, the song is frequently played at sporting events with the audience singing along.
1. Wannabe – Spice Girls
I’ll tell you what you really really want: “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls only takes 2.29 seconds to be identified based on the same study in 2014 that ranked “Eye of the Tiger”.
The smash hit of the 90s was the debut single of the Spice Girls and their exuberance was present starting from the song’s production up to its very lively music video. It sold a million copies and was at the top of the UK Singles Chart for a month and a half.
The single was ranked as the most recognizable pop song in the past six decades. If you hear a group of girls singing about telling you what they really want, then that’s “Wannabe” for you.
There we go with the top ten catchiest songs. I hope that I did not give you a case of last song syndrome with this list. If you have other suggestions feel free to post them at the comments below.