A memorable song, with memorable lyrics, is supposed to evoke some kind of special memory or elicit something profound in a person’s life — most of them do others drive you insane because you can’t get them out of your head no matter how hard you try. We put together a list of the 10 most memorable song lyrics that surely invoke or elicit something from everybody and will keep you humming until your brain explodes. Enjoy…
10. Louie Louie – The Kingsmen
Before the invention of the internet, nobody in their right mind knew the words to this song. The confusion surrounding it is nothing short of legendary, which is why it’s so damn memorable. It’s mostly unintelligible except for the ‘Louie Louie’. How unintelligible? The FBI couldn’t even crack it when they decided to investigate the lyrics to see if they were obscene. These lyrics were specifically written so drunks could sing to it.
9. Hotel California – The Eagles
Like Louie Louie, a lot of people have their own interpretation about what this song means. Drummer Don Henley and guitarist Glenn Frey wrote this Eagles mega-hit describing the 1970s LA rock scene—excessive, dirty, and delectable. ‘You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave’. True dat.
8. Walk This Way – Aerosmith
The crème de la crème of songs about losing one’s virginity: ‘I met a cheer leader was a real young bleeder/ Oh the times I could reminisce’. Steven Tyler’s rapid-fire delivery, emphasis on rhyming, and playfully salacious content make this the unofficial first rap song ever recorded, which then became an official rap song a little over a decade later with Run – DMC.
7. Imagine – John Lennon
Imagine—which is ranked #3 on Rolling Stone Magazine’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list—has an undeniable legacy. Also undeniable are its communistic overtones. Among the things Lennon asks us to ‘imagine’ are no heaven, no religion, and no possessions.
6. Big Balls – AC/DC
A simple, and hilarious double-entendre. Officially, Big Balls is about a cocktail balls: I’ve got big balls/ Oh I’ve got big balls/ And they’re such big balls/ dirty big balls/ And he’s got big balls/ And she’s got big balls/ (But we’ve got the biggest balls of them all!). Challenge: if you’ve never heard this song before, give it a spin, and try not to laugh. Can’t be done. The kicker is at the end, where the chorus ‘Ball—sucker!’ fades out without a hint of sarcasm.
5. Fuck tha Police – N.W.A.
Ice Cube. Dr. Dre. So young, so angry. Ah memories. This song’s one of the main reasons people understatedly called N.W.A. things like ‘inflammatory’, and ‘controversial’. Racism? Check: ‘The jury has found you guilty of being a redneck, white bread, chickenshit motherfucker—you!’ Homophobia? Check: ‘I don’t know if they fags or what/ Search a nigga down grabbin his nuts’. If you ever need a trip down Rodney King memory lane, look no further than this song’s lyric sheet.
4. Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Theme Song – Will Smith
The criterion for this list is most memorable—as in ‘worthy of being remembered’. Throw a bucket of bird seed in any bar, barbershop, or diner in America and you’ll hit 10 people who know the entire jingle once they get reminded of it. ‘Now this is a story all about how…’—see? Nowhere is it written that song lyrics have to be political, or deep, or preachy to be memorable.
3. Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen
Queen probably owes Mike Meyers and Dana Carvey a solid for bringing this song back and permanently etching it into the national pop-culture conscience. No other lyrics on the list are more operatic and zany. Also probably qualifies as the song mostly likely to be busted out during a drunk karaoke session.
2. Like a Rolling Stone - Bob Dylan
This brilliant scene from Walk Hard pretty much sums up what everybody secretly thinks about Bob Dylan vs. what they’re obliged to think because of rock critics. Like a Rolling Stone epitomizes Dylan’s essence—nobody can really explain in depth what the hell Dylan is talking about when he sings ‘You used to ride on the chrome horse with your diplomat/ Who carried on his shoulder a Siamese cat’. But it sounds good, and vaguely political. And that’s all that matters.
1. Stairway to Heaven - Led Zeppelin
Supposedly inspired by the works of British writer Lewis Spence, whom Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant was reading at the time he wrote it, Stairway to Heaven is probably the most popular rock song of all time. Its mystical, primeval lyrics have prompted backlashes, parodies, and endless speculation. ‘In a tree by the brook, there’s a songbird who sings/ sometimes all of are thoughts are misgiven’. Yep, our thoughts are misgiven, just like the true nature of this song.
So many songs, only 10 spots. Did we miss any song lyrics that haven’t already been praised nine ways of Sunday?