Proclaimers’ hit ‘500 Miles’ voted UK’s top ‘earworm’

The Proclaimers' 1988 hit is officially the UK's number one earworm. Picture: Greg Macvean
The Proclaimers' 1988 hit is officially the UK's number one earworm. Picture: Greg Macvean
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It might take 500 miles to get it out of your head, but The Proclaimers’ hit song is officially the UK’s number one ‘earworm’, according to a study.

The phenomenon is described by the Oxford English Dictionary as ‘a catchy tune, piece of music or (occasionally) phrase which persistently stays in a person’s mind, especially to the point of irritation’.

And the Scottish twins’ 1988 smash ‘I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)’ has topped a chart of the most difficult tunes to dislodge.

Classic rock band Queen took second and third place with Bohemian Rhapsody and We Are the Champions in the survey by online market research company OnePoll.

Other contagious tunes to land in the top 10 were Bon Jovi’s ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’ and Dolly Parton’s ‘9 to 5’.

But the chart was dominated by TV theme tunes - including the Benny Hill Show, The Monkees and Friends.

In the last month, the typical Brit has had five songs stuck in their head and usually it’s there for over an hour before they can forget about it.

This would include anything from ‘YMCA’ by The Village People and the more recent tune, ‘Shake it Off’ by Taylor Swift.

And it’s not just your usual chart hit that you’ll find in the Top 50 Earworms poll, theme tunes for Friends, Match of the Day and The Monkees also featured.

Overall, the band or artist to appear the most frequently in the poll were The Beatles, with ‘Hey Jude’, ‘When I’m 64’ and ‘Yellow Submarine’ all sitting in the top half of the list.

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