Ryan Wilson

Great Moments in Song Gibberish

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Sometimes, you hear the lyrics of a song and you’re just floored at how beautiful they are. You marvel at these pieces of intricate poetry set to musical accompaniment. Then there is these songs.

These are the songs that took the music charts by storm, despite the lack of comprehensive lyrics. Whether the words are nonsensical, unexplainable, or even just plain noise for noise’s sake, we have to admit, they’ve got irritating levels of catchiness. To keep my sanity, I’ve limited this list to songs I could tolerate listening to as I wrote this article.

Blue Moon – The Marcels

Let’s start this off right with the oldest entry in the list, Blue Moon, as covered by The Marcels. The song was the result of executive meddling back in the 1930s, and was actually the 4th time new lyrics were written to the same tune (and I thought today’s repackaging of songs was bad…). It wasn’t until the 1960s, when doo-wop group The Marcels got a hold of the Frankensong and made it a number one hit on the Billboard chart. Their contribution to the song: a faster tempo and an unforgettable (yet total nonsense) intro.

Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm – Crash Test Dummies

Crash Test Dummies is the epitome of the one-hit wonder. Though I personally find their first two albums to be among the greatest albums of the early 90s, only one song ever broke the Top 40. Behind the titular “mmm”s, there is an incredibly dark song about three “normal” kids. While the chorus might seem placeholder (a fact that the band has jokingly said was due to the fact the studio wouldn’t allow the chorus to be “fuuuuuckiiiing shiiiiiiiit”) Brad Roberts’ baritone pipes serve to make the song even more haunting.

Scatman (Ski-Ba-Bop-Ba-Dop-Bop) – Scatman John

What started as a childhood stutter led to a successful career in club music, when Scatman John (then John Larkin) got introduced to the improvisation jazz technique known as scatting. Hidden within what lyrics exist in the song is a positive message towards fellow stutterers. Tragically, his career was cut short, as he died from lung cancer only 5 years after his big breakthrough hit.

MMMBop – Hanson

Deep inside, you knew this one was coming. That pop-trio of brothers that you thought you forgot about many years ago, yet their memory laid dormant inside, ready at any moment to go Godzilla on your subconscious.

You couldn’t go anywhere in 1997 without hearing the prepubescent squeals of Hanson (or its fans). If released just a year or two earlier, MMMBop would have been buried in post-grunge and college rock, destined for “one-hit wonder” status. But, alas, the band still performs today, albeit under their own independent label. Stop fighting it, you know you’ve caught yourself singing the chorus:

Mmmbop, ba duba dop
Ba du bop, ba duba dop
Ba du bop, ba duba dop
Ba du
Mmmbop, ba duba dop
Ba du bop, Ba du dop
Ba du bop, Ba du dop
Ba du

In a Gadda Da Vida – Iron Butterfly

You don’t need to be on drugs to get through the entirety of Iron Butterfly’s one hit, but it certainly played a part in the song’s creation. What else could explain why the song is 17 minutes long, has enough lyrics to fill half an index card, and was retitled because the intoxicated singer slurred his way through saying “In the Garden of Eden”?

Я очень рад, ведь я, наконец, возвращаюсь домой (I Am Glad, Cause I’m Finally Returning Back Home) – Eduard Khil

Though the name might not sound familiar (and, if you don’t have the right text encoding, might appear as downright gibberish itself), you have certainly heard this song. Written, yes you heard me right, written by Russian composer Arkady Ostrovsky, this catchy little ditty was unwittingly made “Internet Famous” by Eduard Khil, who treated the tune as a vocal exercise.

Thus “Trololo” was born.

De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da – The Police

Sting penned this song intentionally to be meta, as ‘De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da’ is a simple song about how so much can be said in a simple song. Just one listen to his solo works and we beg for those simpler days to return.

Tutti Frutti – Little Richard

Tutti Frutti is pure, raw energy. It’s a mystery to how Little Richard gets through this loud and accelerated song without passing out. Like him or hate him, we must recognize him as a pioneer that put rock-and-roll on the map.

See any big moments in gibberish I missed? Feel free to post them in the comments!

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