Oh those crazy Brits. If they’re not spending their days at football (soccer) matches and their nights in pubs, singing their lungs out in both places, then they’re apparently studying people at football matches and pubs singing their lungs out.
In one of the more unusual press releases I’ve seen recently, I learned that a musicologist named Alisun Pawley spent “30 nights undercover” trying to determine what factors catapulted a popular song into that next category, the sing-along song.
First of all, I love the idea of going “undercover” in a pub for 30 nights, and plan to spend some time devising ways in which I too can be asked to do important work while watching soccer and drinking ale.
But Pawley’s research is Britain-specific. Here’s her list of the Top Ten Sing-Along-Able Songs, all of which were big hits in the UK at some point. I think many Americans might be hard-pressed to sing along with about half of these:
- ‘We are the Champions’, Queen (1977)
- ‘Y.M.C.A’, The Village People (1978)
- ‘Fat Lip,’ Sum 41 (2001)
- ‘The Final Countdown’, Europe (1986)
- ‘Monster’, The Automatic (2006)
- ‘Ruby’, The Kaiser Chiefs (2007)
- ‘I’m Always Here’, Jimi Jamison (1996)
- ‘Brown Eyed Girl’, Van Morrison (1967)
- ‘Teenage Dirtbag’, Wheatus (2000)
- ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’, Bon Jovi (1986)
According to the press release, Pawley suggests that an American list may have different songs (duh!), but they’d all have a high male lead singer. That seems to be a marker for what she calls this “neo-tribal” sing-along behavior.
She hasn’t done any research here in the States yet. But that doesn’t mean we can’t. What songs do you think would be at the top of an American list of Sing-Along Songs?