a couple months ago (i think it was around july 14th.), i was watching “Good Day Live” (the national version), and on those little things where they say “when we come back, we’ll talk about…” before a commercial break, they said they were going to explain once and for all how to get rid of a song that’s stuck in your head; but i missed it. did anyone hear this?
Of course I didn’t watch the show, but (1) the punchline I’d expect, and (2) news reports about some research on this topic I’ve read about a few montsha go (don’t have a cite handy): You can get rid of a song stuck in your head by replacing it with another one to stick there.
I usually find the best way to get a song out of my head is to actually listen to it once, all the way through.
Okay, probably a MPSIMS hijack, but this might be worth trying out. As a youth, I accidently stumbled upon the observation that when I sang “Supercalifragilisticexpialidotious” (you know, from Disney’s “Mary Poppins”), I observed that the song running through my head was replaced, and the Mary Poppins song (I’m not typing it again) soon fell out of my head. A magic cure! I’ve asked a few co-workers to try this, and they claim success, it seems to work on all my family members… It’s time we tried it in the Straight Dope community.
Slight hijack: What is the official name for this? Based on an Alfred Bester book, I’ve always called this a “pepsid,” no relation to a digestive process. But my wife tells me there is an official word but cannot recall it. Any word mavens out there like to chime in?
GMRyujin, yeah, that works for me sometimes too. on a side note, i have this terrible problem of getting a piece of a song, sometimes iintrumental, sometimes with vocals, and sometimes with vocals that i can’t remember the words to that my brain “mumbles”. it’ll bother the hell out of me until i figure out what the song is, and then sometimes another will pop into my head the minute i figure out what the first was. yeah, i know i’m odd. i listen to way too much music.
Guitarist Leo Kottke said he was advised that the antidote was to play the tune backwards. He did this to exorcise the Woody Woodpecker song, and he ended up writing a song on the reversed riff.
In another slight Hijack. I like the reference that Robin Williams’ Character has in Mrs.Doubtfire. (Real early in the movie, when Robin is not ‘Mrs.Doubtfire’) Robin’s Character states (after humming) something like
“Sorry, you know, the last song you hear on the radio in the morning… you can’t get it out of your head.”
Interestingly enough I found that most of the time, for me anyway… this is the song that gets stuck in my head. Perhaps if we could evaluate this phenom further, we could ‘undo’ it.
I heard the best way to do it is to write down the lyrics. I’ve only tried that once though, and I can’t remember if it worked.
I took a meditation class in college. We had one-on-one meetings with the professor so he could check on our progress and answer any questions, and I asked him what I should do about a song stuck in my head.
He told me there is nothing you can do about it, and he has been meditating for 20+ years.
I often got songs out of my head by doing things that required full resources of my brain. That has actually worked. ALso, driving I think has gotten songs out of my head because I listen to other songs.
I read somewhere that, when you can’t get a song out of your head, it’s because your brain is confused because it can’t find the end of the song (or something like that). It was recommended that you either skip to the end of the song or, if you don’t know the end of the song, make up an ending for it.