Words you can’t help but sing

3 min read

Certain songs seem designed to get lodged in our brains forever. It's not uncommon to be mindlessly doing the dishes only to start up with the chorus of a song you haven't heard in ages. This isn't always a bad thing, however. If you can’t remember how to spell a certain word, try putting it to a little melody.


Possibly the most infamous example of a sung word, Aretha Franklin’s 1967 Motown hit of the same name is spelled out just twice — but it makes a lasting impact. The first two letters of the word are also sung by background vocalists throughout, further driving home the theme, as in:

(Re, re, re, re,) when you come home
(Re, re, re, re,) ‘spect!


Given that love is the subject of countless of songs, it’s no surprise that it’s been spelled out in multiple tunes. The most famous is Nat King Cole’s wedding standard, “L.O.V.E.,” which breaks the word up across multiple lines:

L is for the way you look at me
O is for the only one I see
V is very, very extraordinary
E is even more than anyone you adore

However, other artists have also adopted the word, such as in Ashlee Simpson’s 2009 hit also titled “L.O.V.E.” which singsongs “L-O-L-O-L-O-L-O-V-E” throughout the chorus. In a weird micro trend that same year, Katy Perry also spelled out the word as, “L-o-v-e’s just another word I never learned to pronounce.”


It’s the song that launched a little animated mouse into the hearts and minds of generations to follow. Originally published in the 1950s, the song was designed to introduce The Mickey Mouse Club TV show and is officially titled “Mickey Mouse March.” While many of the lyrics aren’t commonly known anymore, the core singing of Mickey’s name is trilled by children around the world to this day.


Cool kids in the 1970s likely pumped themselves up before a night on the town by blasting this Bay City Rollers hit. Kicking off with a shout of “S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y night!” on repeat, the song also spells out “S-S-S-Saturday” at multiple points throughout the lyrics. We get it. You love Saturday — and really, who doesn’t?


Fergie scored a Billboard #1 hit single with the song “Glamorous” off her debut solo album back in 2007. Credit is due to Fergie for teaching us there’s no extra “U” in Glamorous. Fergie pulled the ol’ spell out a word trick in another hit, “Fergalicious,” when she spells out her name, “I’m the F to the E, R, G, the I the E,” the word tasty, “T to the A to the S T Y,” and delicious as, “D to the E to the L I C I O U S.”


We're not trying to steal credit from ABBA, but you would pronounce all three letters in the acronym S.O.S. anyway. Released in 1975, the acronym – which stems from a nautical call for help due to extreme distress – is used to great echoing effect in the chipper, yet heartbroken, chorus.

So when you're near me, darling can't you hear me
S. O. S.
The love you gave me, nothing else can save me
S. O. S.


Proof this is one musical trend that’s here to stay? Marshmello’s 2018 hit about ending up in the friend zone, “FRIENDS,” spells out your friendly relationship status over and over again … just in case you didn’t get it the first time. The music video has racked up over 670M views since its debut, in part thanks to the catchy declaration of purely platonic love.

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