These infectious songs have been stuck in our heads since the 1960s
A bit too much "Na na na na," and maybe not enough "goodbye."
The 1960s was a sensational time to be tuned into the latest music trends. Not only was some of the best rock & roll being created, but there were also impressive revivals in both folk and blues that shook up listeners in the best ways possible. But among the most memorable songs being pumped out of the 1960s were also infectious hits that splintered pop music into categories like "sunshine pop" and "bubblegum pop." Today those genres comprise some of music history's most enduring earworms.
That's because these songs were built to catch on. Almost more like jingles than pop songs, these hits relied on repetition and funny phrasings to keep listeners spinning them again and again. These were hits that went beyond mass popularity. They were so hooky, you couldn't escape them.
Here, we've picked out the most persistent pop songs that we've had stuck in our heads since the 1960s. That's more than 50 years these songs have stood the test of time, with lyrics as simple as "Tra La La La La La La." See how many you can instantly recall, and, please, accept our apologies in advance for putting them back in your mental rotation for the next 50 years.
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Little Eva - "The Loco-Motion"
The song that dared to ask you give it a chance now became an unstoppable hit from the moment Little Eva first suggested we swing our hips in 1962. You are forgiven if you instantly started shimmying, doing "The Loco-Motion."
Brian Hyland - "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini"
Brian Hyland's little ditty about a little poka dot bikini was released in 1959, but it reached No. 1 in 1960, so we're going to lump this one in with the 1960s, the decade that wasn't afraid to drive the surprising hit to the top of the charts. Folks have been humming it during summer ever since.
Steam - "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye"
The 1960s wasn't going to let us go without one more earworm to take into the 1970s and onward. For many, that song was Steam's aptly titled "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye," which instantly hit No. 1 before the decade could end.
Nancy Sinatra - "Sugar Town"
This gem from Nancy Sinatra came after her heavy hit "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" and honestly, both songs have followed us around since their release. For "Sugar Town," it's something about the repetition of "Shoo- Shoo- Shoo" that slightly stomps out "Boots" as the more infectious hit.
The Troggs - "Wild Thing"
Fun fact: "Wild Thing" actually came out in the U.S. first, recorded by the Wild Ones before the British band The Troggs took it to No. 1. But one thing we know for sure is that the song was way bigger by the overseas band. It's been making everything gro-o-ovy ever since.
Manfred Mann - "Do Wah Diddy Diddy"
"Do Wah Diddy Diddy" is another hit that started in the U.S. but only took off once a British band laid it down. In this case that band was Manfred Mann, the same guys who gave us the nearly equally infectious earworm "Sha La La."
Lesley Gore - "It's My Party"
Lesley Gore and Quincy Jones teamed up to take "It's My Party" to No. 1 in 1963. It was notably Jones' first hit to do so. While that's impressive, the whiny refrain has been repeated ad nauseam by party girls for decades.
The Banana Splits - "The Tra La La Song"
Finally, here's one from TV. The Banana Splits was a variety show for kids that featured a fictional rock band. It premiered in 1968, and its theme has been echoed by folks with the song stuck in their heads (whether they watched the show or not) ever since, even cracking the Billboard charts before the decade concluded.