Well-known songs that many people have never heard

And how many people have heard the full version of the Barenaked Ladies’ Big Bang Theory theme?

I knew the song in its entirety when I was a kid, but never thought of it as crushingly sad. We had a 45 of this version. Same words, different arrangement.

An instrumental-only edit of Teardrop has been used in a lot of movies and TV. It seems to be/have been especially popular for movie trailers. I am watching Prison Break on Netflix and it was prominently featured in a season 1 episode.

The first part of “Sirius/Eye in the Sky” by Alan Parsons Project is probably better known today, due in part to the Chicago Bulls.

Some politician who only knew the title line of Born In The USA used it at campaign rallies. Springsteen complained, mocking the pol.

At least two brands of mini-van have used Fountains Of Wayne’s Stacy’s Mom in TV commercials, apparently not noticing the rather kinky story (a teenage boy/MILF fantasy) in the song.

The Disneyland barbershop quartet once would do a cute version of “a song everybody knows…” that starts, “when Irish eyes are smiling, dai dum da dai da dum…” and proceeds with nonsense words for a verse and chorus. Usually they’d follow it up with the real words.

Amen. “The Band…” makes me cry, and on the whole I reckon myself a callous bastard. Nonetheless, am not able to wish I’d never heard the song.

As far as classical music goes, I’d also suggest “Carmina Burana” by Carl Orff. Most people are familiar with the first section, “O Fortuna” without being aware that it’s just the beginning of a much longer piece.

Several pro wrestlers, including Bill Watts, Ted Dibiase, Steve “Dr. Death” Williams, and “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan thought it was a “Rah Rah America” type song, and used it for entrance music. Often against Russian or other foreign heels.

Everyone knows the first few lines of Auld Lang Syne, but the poem, and song, are quite a bit longer. Here are the original words by Burns, and the English translation.

English translation:

Many people are familiar with the chorus of the 1912 song “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling” but most people wouldn’t know it if you only played one of the verses for them.

Everybody knows the bass motif from Schubert’s “Der Erlkönig” which first appears in the opening bars of the song, but very few people know the song’s name.


It occurs in 1 or 2 Bugs Bunny cartoons, and it’s hummed in a couple of Dick Van Dyke episodes.

I didn’t realize that the song Farmer Hogget sings to Babe is from a classical symphony until a couple of weeks ago when I heard St. Saens’ Symphony No.3.

That’s the one I was going to mention. While many Americans know the first stanza, very few know the other three. The ironic thing is that the first stanza only asks if the flag is still flying. It’s not revealed until the latter stanzas that the flag did survive the fight and still flies.


Tubular Bells received a bunch of airtime (full version, or at least the same version as on the CD).

And you can’t mention Bells without its forever-welded (at least in my mind) companion
White Bird by It’s a Beautiful Day. “White bird must fly, or she will die…”

There’s also the original version of “That '70s Show” theme, In The Street by Big Star

This is a bit off-topic, but in terms of depressing songs, I nominate two Irish folk songs: “The Green Fields of France” and “Kilkelly”. Kilkelly was actually written from a real series of letters, and it can honestly bring me close to tears.

How many people have heard more than the first two minutes of Richard Strauss’ Also Sprach Zarathusthra? I used to play it in grad school (I had the whole thing on tape). It’s completely different after that 2001-excerpted opening.

Besides the misguided use of the Springsteen song, a blue jean company used a clip from “Fortunate Son” and tried to make it all patriotic. It was "Some folks are born to wave the flag, Ooh, they’re red, white and blue. " Of course, no other lines from that song were used.

This weekend I watched Here Comes Mr. Jordan on TCM again and looked it up on Wikipedia to see if there was any good trivia. It said that racket Robert Montgomery is playing on the saxophone is “The Last Rose of Summer,” which has its own Wikipedia page. I am extremely well versed in old-timey songs, and I couldn’t make anything out of that mess, nor do I know “The Last Rose of Summer.”

Unless you are from one of the regions of the World where for some reason (rights issues?) they couldn’t use “Teardrop” and so tried to fake it. There’s three different openings:

Although weirdly here in Sweden we got the one that video classes as the "Singapore" variant. Anyway, the other two, including the original, just look wrong to me.