You know the feeling: you’re driving along, jamming to your favorite tunes, and just as the next song fades out, you audibly groan, “Not this song again!” Yes, there are definitely a bank of songs that warrant a channel-flip. And then there are those that, no matter how many times they takeover a playlist block, you can’t help but crank the volume. These are six of our favorite radio darlings that will never, ever get old.
1) “Build Me Up Buttercup,” The Foundations (1969)
Picked by: Rick
As one of the greatest sing-alongs ever written and performed, this song has always been pretty popular, but when it was featured in the 1998 film There’s Something About Mary, it was introduced to a whole new generation of listeners. I hear it on the radio, at sporting events, in films and on television, but I never, ever get sick of it, and there are very few songs I can say that about. It’s an all-time classic.
2) “Hooked On A Feeling,” Blue Swede (1974)
Picked by: David
This is far from the only version of this song — there’s BJ Thomas’ original, Jonathan King’s original “hoogah chacka” version, and most importantly, David Hasselhoff’s definitive take on it — but odds are when you see the words “Hooked On A Feeling,” you think of Blue Swede’s cover. It reached #1 in the US in its day, but has become better known for its use in numerous major media properties since the ’90s. Between Reservoir Dogs, Ally McBeal, and Guardians Of The Galaxy, it’s nearly impossible not to know this song by heart. Normally this would be a recipe for me yelling “enough already!” but this song always brings a smile to my face. Maybe it’s because of the catchy beat. Maybe it’s because GOTG was the most fun I had in a movie theater in 2014. Maybe it’s because of David Hasselhoff. Whatever it is, I don’t know if I’ll ever get sick of this song.
3) “Break On Through (To the Other Side),” The Doors (1967)
Picked by: Gretchen
There are surprisingly a lot of songs that fit this bill for me, from “Sweet Caroline” to “Centerfold.” But while many tunes tend to get phased out of classic rock and oldies stations’ libraries as they age, this one has stuck around for a long time. And as long as they keep playing it, I’ll probably never complain. My everlasting love for this song might have to do with the fact that it was the first Doors song I ever heard, thereby introducing me to one of my all-time favorite bands. Maybe it’s because that catchy riff was one of the first I learned to play on the guitar. Maybe it’s because this song reminds me of summers in high school, when all I would do was sit on the swing in the back yard and listen to the radio. Or maybe it’s just because this tune is a solid classic that never gets old. Whatever the reason (trust me, there are even more), I always get really excited whenever it comes on, and I can’t help blasting it and singing/screaming along with Jim. Sadly, this seems to be one of the last ’60s songs still in heavy rotation on the radio, and I really do hope it never goes away.
4) “Let it Be,” The Beatles (1970)
Picked by: Erika
If there’s any song I hear on nearly every radio station I listen to, it’s “Let it Be,” and I’m not surprised: it’s one of the most widely-acclaimed songs in the Beatles’ catalog and is often cited as one of the top songs of all time. But I’ll never get tired of it. Not only is it beautiful, there’s so much meaning and feeling packed into that those four minutes. Paul McCartney’s dream about his mother Mary’s guidance to him during hard times (Mary McCartney died of cancer when McCartney was 14) inspired a song with a universal message that can’t help but touch the soul.
5) “Jack & Diane,” John Cougar [Mellencamp] (1982)
Picked by: Jim
What constitutes “overplayed”? I’m not sure there’s an algorithm that could ever succinctly state the saturation point of a song, so I have to go with a personal anecdote:
I was on a family vacation that involved crossing multiple state lines back in 1982, before John Cougar put his real name on his records, during the days when most cars relied on over-the-air radio stations. The first station on the trip played this song once an hour. As did the second, and the third, and every damn one after that; in some cases, when we had to switch stations as he moved between coverage zones, the hourly assaults in the new market were scheduled 10 minutes after the last market’s, so we’d get multiple hits in some hours on the Interstate. Nice a piece as “Jack & Diane” is, you get real tired of it when it’s on for the 24th time in three days.
Business practices at the time suggest that I was just the victim of too many people calling in to the station to hear the song, in all those radio markets I ended up buzzing through those days. It gave me a window into how music moves through the population at large, and a determination to make sure all cars I was in from then on had a working tape deck!
6) “Do You Believe in Magic?” The Lovin’ Spoonful (1965)
Picked by: Allison
As far as songs on “oldies” radio go (in the traditional sense, anyway), there are an elite few songs that actually deserve the copious amounts of airplay they receive. One of these is, without a doubt, John Sebastian’s ode to a young girl who spontaneously began dancing at a Lovin’ Spoonful gig at the Night Owl Cafe in Greenwich Village. For me, there’s no song in existence that better captures the excitement and energy of music. I suppose that’s the point. I proudly call “DYBiM” my very favorite song of all time, and no matter how often it’s on the radio, I’ll never, ever turn it off.