As I said in the first edition of Earworms, the songs that get stuck in your head are usually not those that were big hits. Or to put it another way, the biggest sellers are already pretty familiar so it seems to me that they’d pop into your head once in a while anyway. But when a lesser-known song seems to show up and run endlessly through your thoughts, that’s an earworm. And I’d go so far as to say that even though I think that it’s possible to have shared earworms, it’s usually just your personal one.
But here’s a new wrinkle. Today I found myself inexplicably trapped in the midst of Pat Boone‘s “Bernardine” and I can’t for the life of me figure out why. I’m pretty sure I haven’t recently heard the song or thought about the movie it came from, and I definitely don’t remember meeting anyone named Bernardine. And yet it appeared — a one of a kind occurrence. Could we call it the immaculate exception?
Not one of Pat Boone’s biggest hits, it had a brief flurry in record stores when the movie of the same name came out in the Summer of 1957, and it then settled into #14 on the charts. It did have the distinction of having both words and music written by the legendary Johnny Mercer, who was more often just a lyricist. As for the movie, it was pretty forgettable — something about some teenagers inventing a fictional girl named Bernardine Mudd. But somehow it all came together to create an earworm for this particular geezer.