Earworm, a loan translation of the German Ohrwurm, is a term for a portion of a song or other musical material that becomes "stuck" in a person's "head" or repeats against one's will within one's mind. Use of the English translation was popularized by James Kellaris and Daniel Levitin. Kellaris' studies demonstrated that different people have varying susceptibilities to earworms, but that almost everybody has been afflicted with one at some time or another.I am especially prone to this phenomenon, as is Delusional Precious, my daughter. This makes me think it's actually physiological. For some of us, there is always an earworm, at any given time.
Earworms may be songs or tunes that become stuck in the phonological loop, the part of the brain that rehearses verbal information in Baddeley's model of working memory. This usually happens when a person sings the song or hums the tune once and then repeats it in his or her mind.
This is the overwhelming earworm, right now. The theme to Midnight Cowboy, titled "Everybody's Talking," originally recorded by Harry Nilsson. If you remember a medley of movie-songs several years ago at the Oscars, you may recall Garth Brooks singing one verse, just like an angel. I wish he had recorded the song in its entirety.
I also love the movie Midnight Cowboy, and so I've chosen the opening credits (the song is played throughout the film), because I totally swoon over the antiquated signs, the old cars, the general appearance of the 60s; my childhood. Aside: Notice how much Angelina Jolie looks exactly like her father, Jon Voight... since he has aged, it is much less apparent. But in this clip, he is closer to the age she is now and the resemblance is striking.
The novel Midnight Cowboy was a work of art, written by James Leo Herlihy, who committed suicide in 1993. It has never surprised me that someone with such a sad, wistful sensibility would take his own life. I am grateful he left us his art, and such a powerful story of love between poor men.
The song fits the story perfectly.