In its entirety anyway. It’s hard to explain. I mean songs where a part of the song is well-known for whatever reason, sometimes commented on (very often in a jokey or derisive way) but where the song in its entirety is unknown except by big fans.
I recently found a couple by accident when I discovered a bunch of videos of the Australian group The Seekers. Even at their corniest, I’ve always liked the voice of their lead singer Judith Durham, but I’d forgotten about them. They’re best known (to us old farts anyway) for their hits “Georgy Girl,” “A World Of Our Own,” and “I’ll Never Find Another You” but I hadn’t heard much else. I was listening to their version of “Waltzing Matilda” and, while familiar with the existence of the song and the general chorus, I realized that I’d never actually heard the whole thing, let alone knew what it was about.
So, how many non-Australians have ever heard the song in its entirety?
“Waltzing Matilda” (I never knew how crushingly sad it was until I looked it up on Wikipedia, which includes the lyrics and glossary.)
I’ve heard the title/chorus of this song regularly referenced as a snaky joke, but I’d never heard the whole thing until just a few minutes ago. I know it’s been covered a lot but I don’t follow the artists who’ve covered it. I don’t care about the lyrics, but melodically it’s really quite a beautiful song. Or maybe I just really like her voice.
I’m trying to think of other examples.
“Tubular Bells” by Mike Oldfield - Just about everyone has heard the creepy musical motif from The Exorcist at one time or another, but I’ll bet most people have never heard the entire songpiece. Maybe there’s a good reason why most people have never heard it (for one, you had to have had the album), but still, it’s a good example of how a part of a song is familiar but the rest isn’t.
“In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” was at one time famous for being a DJ’s “bowel movement” song, and a lot of (older) people can still hum the “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” part, but the whole 17 minute version is rarely if ever played anymore.