Give ’em the Hook

Pop songs usually have a hook, a lyrical or musical phrase that catches the listener’s ear and draws her into the song.  But some artists and producers don’t know when enough is enough and repeat the hook way way too many times.  Here is a partial list of those songs, including the number of times the hook appears* along with YouTube links.  (Use an ad-blocker when you listen.)  Feel free to add more nominees for the Too Many Hooks Award.

 Walk Away, Renee (4 times, feels like 8) by The Left Banke

√  Morning Train (6 times, feels like 12) by Sheena Easton

√  Werewolves of London (7) by Warren Zevon

  The Weight (“Take a load off Fanny”) (10) by The Band

√  We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together (10) by Taylor Swift

√  All I Wanna Do (10), A Change Would Do You Good (12) and practically every other song by Sheryl Crow

√  Still the One (14**) by Orleans

√  Can’t You See (16) by The Marshall Tucker Band

√  My Sharona (16) by The Knack

√  Blinded by the Light (19!) by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band

√  Taking Care 0f Business (26!) by Bachman Turner Overdrive

√  U Can’t Touch This (26) by MC Hammer

Some might say that “Hey Jude” by the Beatles, whose nah-nah-nah-nahs repeat 18 times, deserves to be included in this list, but those people would be wrong.  Eighteen wasn’t too many times then and isn’t too many times now.


* I did the task of listening and counting so that you don’t have to.  You’re welcome.
** Orleans sings the words “still the one” a total of 22 times during the song but not always in the distinctive style of the hook.
Share your thoughts about this post (below).
More in Life | Subscribe.

3 Responses to Give ’em the Hook

  1. Rob says:

    Big agreement on about four of these. I’m on a renewed Left Banke kick.
    “Renee” and “Pretty Ballerina” are AM gold. And the trick with The Beatles is that they crammed hook after different hook into so many of their songs. A song like “Day Tripper” has them everywhere.

  2. Eric says:

    Gotta agree with Rob about Left Banke – and maybe he’d go along with me about Werewolves? ;~)

    P.S. – I hope that “Elenore” qualifies as being spared the hook!

    • Craig says:

      With all due respect to Left Banke (and to you gentlemen), it seems to me that the entire song is built around that eight-beat bass drum crescendo and the Don’t Walk Away refrain. The rest is filler, there mainly to build up anticipation for the next appearance of the hook. That’s why this song is on my list, even though the hook is repeated relatively few times. With regards to “Elenore, gee I think you’re swell” (4 times), the less said the better! But thank you both for your loyal and I hope continued readership.

      PS You should really check out the Morning Train link, it’s a hoot.

Leave a Reply