Oddly enough, a recent study by Manchester’s Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) argues that “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls may be the most recognizable song — the catchiest song ever. It’s official!
To collect data, researchers developed an interactive online game, called “Hooked On Music” that asked 12,000 participants to name a song randomly selected from over 1,000 best-selling tunes when it began playing from the hook.
Apparently, of all the songs played, the Spice Girls’ anthem ‘Wannabe’ was recognised in the fastest time — 2.29 seconds, to be precise.
Elvis Presley had two songs (It’s Now Or Never and Devil in Disguise) on the list, as did Lady Gaga (Just Dance and Poker Face).
Other songs in the top ten included Lou Bega’s “Mambo No 5,” which was the second most recognisable song in the list, clocking in at just 2.48 seconds.
Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” came in third at 2.62 seconds with Lady Gaga, Abba, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Roy Orbison, Aerosmith and the Human League rounding out the top ten.
Here is the list in full – Top 20 Most Recognizable Songs Of All Time:
- Spice Girls – Wannabe: 2.29 seconds
- Lou Bega – Mambo No 5: 2.48 seconds
- Survivor – Eye of the Tiger: 2.62 seconds
- Lady Gaga – Just Dance: 2.66 seconds
- ABBA – SOS: 2.73 seconds
- Roy Orbison – Pretty Woman: 2.73 seconds
- Michael Jackson – Beat It: 2.80 seconds
- Whitney Houston – I Will Always Love You: 2.83 seconds
- The Human League – Don’t You Want Me: 2.83 seconds
- Aerosmith – I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing: 2.84 seconds
- Lady Gaga – Poker Face: 2.88 seconds
- Hanson – MMMbop: 2.89 seconds
- Elvis Presley – It’s Now Or Never: 2.91 seconds
- Bachman-Turner Overdrive – You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet: 2.94 seconds
- Michael Jackson – Billie Jean: 2.97 seconds
- Culture Club – Karma Chameleon: 2.99 seconds
- Britney Spears – Baby One More Time: 2.99 seconds
- Elvis Presley – Devil in Disguise: 3.01 seconds
- Boney M – Rivers of Babylon: 3.03 seconds
- Elton John – Candle in the Wind: 3.04 seconds
Ashley Burgoyne, a computational musicologist from the University of Amsterdam, Netherlands, who conceived the idea, told BBC News there is “very little” scientific literature on whether the most memorable pieces of music shared particular characteristics.
“You may only hear something a couple of times yet 10 years later you immediately realise that you have heard it before,” he said.
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