How many times have you wanted to tell your mates about songs you’re thinking of, only to be stumped when it came to their titles? At best, you can hum the songs, but then once your mate recognises it, you’re both stuck knowing the tune, but not the title.
It’s okay, it’s a common occurrence, and it happens to all of us. These days, things are a bit easier thanks to audio recognition programs like Shazam and Soundhound, but the problem still persists: sometimes we can’t figure out the name of some songs.
To knock a few titles off the frustrating list, here are ten songs we pretty much know by heart at this point, but couldn’t name for the life of us.
‘Rock & Roll, Part 2’ – Gary Glitter
A long-time staple of sporting events, TV, and movies, Gary Glitter’s ‘Rock & Roll, Part 2’ is incredibly well-known. Better known to some as ‘The ‘Hey’ Song’ due to its relatively instrumental nature, there’s a pretty strong chance you’ve heard this one a few times over the years.
These days, the song’s prevalence in pop culture is a bit lesser, mainly due to Gary Glitter’s criminal convictions and the the fact that his public image has been tarnished somewhat. Nevertheless, this song still makes its appearance here and there, and it still gets a mighty big reaction.
‘Lux Aeterna’ – Clint Mansell
Following his departure from alternative sample-heavy funsters Pop Will Eat Itself, Clint Mansell took up a career in doing film scores. As well as other big-name films like The Wrestler, Black Swan, and Moon, Mansell’s best known work comes from the final scene’s of Darren Aronofsky’s confronting Requiem For A Dream.
Its popularity grew, and you’ll now find it all over, featuring in movie trailers, dramatic amateur web videos, and podcasts everywhere.
‘Sirius’ – The Alan Parsons Project
While the Australian cricket team are synonymous with Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s ‘Fanfare For The Common Man’, the NBA’s Chicago Bulls are synonymous with The Alan Parsons Project’s ‘Sirius’. Proving that they’re more than just a throwaway joke in a comedy movie, The Alan Parsons project were an English progressive rock group whose music is either well loved, or very obscure, depending who you ask.
While it might not be terribly well known to a lot of Australian sports fans, you’ll see this tune pop up in almost every American sporting event and movie you can find.
‘Dragostea Din Tei’ – O-Zone
The early days of internet memes and viral videos was a crazy time. After the world had gotten over ‘the dancing baby’ and its oh-so-’90s appearance on Ally McBeal, Gary Brolsma’s ‘Numa Numa’ video hit the web. The video consisted of a webcam recording of Brolsma dancing to ‘Dragostea Din Tei’ by Moldovan group O-Zone.
It spread like wildfire, sending both the video and song into the minds of millions of people worldwide. The group were never really commercially succesful outside of their home country, and the ‘Numa Numa’ video is pretty much where their fame ends. However, you might also recognise the tune from Rihanna’s contribution to T.I.’s ‘Live Your Life’.
‘Peter And The Wolf’ – Sergei Prokofiev
Bringing it back to the orchestral side of music here, we’ve got Sergei Prokofiev’s ‘Peter And The Wolf’. Written with the intention of being accompanied by a narrator reading off a children’s story about animals and life lessons, the song itself took on a life of its own. These days, you’ll find the songs used in many places, including The Muppets, hold music, and plenty of movies here and there.
‘For What It’s Worth’ – Buffalo Springfield
Movies have had a way of making us associate songs with certain time periods. In fact, you can most famously see Buffalo Springfield’s ‘For What It’s Worth’ used in Forrest Gump, as it’s used to set the scene of American life in the 1960s and invoke images of the Vietnam War.
While Buffalo Springfield are predominantly known for giving Neil Young his musical start, we’re pretty sure this song is something that will be known for years, even if its title isn’t.
‘Clubbed To Death’ – Rob Dougan
In much the same way that Clint Mansell’s ‘Lux Aeterna’ is known for its appearance in movies and the like, the same can be said for Australian musician Rob Dougan’s ‘Clubbed To Death’.
Best known known for its appearance in the famous ‘red dress’ scene in The Matrix, Rob Dougan’s track took on a life of its own after it was in the movie. In fact, if you ever tuned in to triple j’s Super Request back in the day, you just might have heard this one, played to death.
‘Baker Street’ – Gerry Rafferty
Alright, pop quiz, hotshot. Name a famous saxophone riff, right now. Well, while I’m sure George Michael would’ve been flattered that you thought of ‘Careless Whisper’, it’s Gerry Rafferty we’re giving some kudos to today. Five years after he hit the big time as part of Stealers Wheel and ‘Stuck In The Middle With You’, Gerry Rafferty’s ‘Baker Street’ was released, taking the world by storm.
Not only was the song a huge hit in its time, it shows up frequently these days thanks to that awesome saxophone riff. You’ll probably see it everywhere, from movies like Good Will Hunting, a pretty famous scene from The Simpsons, or even in that awesome cover that the Foo Fighters performed back in 1998.
‘Battle Without Honor Or Humanity’ – Tomoyasu Hotei
Back in 2000, Japanese composer Tomoyasu Hotei wrote this song for the movie New Battles Without Honor And Humanity. Three years later, old mate Quentin Tarantino decided to throw this song on the soundtrack for his movie Kill Bill, introducing it to a much wider audience.
Not only does it prove to be a completely badass song, but these days, you’ll hear it in plenty of movie trailers, action movies, TV shows, commercials, radio shows… the list goes on.
‘Eine Kleine Nachtmusik’ – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
This is one of those tunes that is supposed to invoke images of class and high society. Thanks to movies though, we’re conditioned to recognise this tune as a precursor to mayhem. How many times have you watched a movie with a bunch of upper-class snobs as this song plays, only for a kooky loudmouth in a Hawaiian shirt to burst in the doors and wreak havoc everywhere?
Well, quite a lot, since it’s a pretty common trope in movies and TV. Just think of Jim Carrey’s Ace Ventura: Pet Detective movies, and you’ll have a pretty good idea of where you’ve heard this tune before.