Earworms – The Immaculate Exception?

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.worm-pat

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.

patcdPat Boone – “Bernardine”

7 thoughts on “Earworms – The Immaculate Exception?

  1. Mr. White Bucks shoes himself. Actually, I liked some of Pat Boone’s songs. I just came across a pile of transcriptions of a 15 minute shows he did for the Navy back in the early 60’s. (They are now gone) Thanks for the post.


  2. Yeah, I’ve pretty much been on board with him through the years too. In fact, one of the oldest posts on the GMC (it’s linked to his name above) was a defense of him and his music.

    As always, thanks for writing…


  3. When Pat sang “Pat Boone” songs he was terrific – “Love Letters in the Sand”, “Moody River” and so on. He really had (has) a fine voice. However, when he tackled songs by Little Richard, Fats Domino and the like he was truly awful.
    I seem to have earworms all the time, and as you said, sometimes they pop into the brain quite unbidden. Strange thing that.


  4. Long running debate – did guys like him bring more people to R&B (or at least his version of it) and lead them to later appreciate the real thing? I think it did for me.

    Thanks for the comment.


  5. Here in Australia (well, Melbourne anyway) we had a great D.J. in the fifties and sixties (name Stan Rofe) who only played the originals of R&B and such music. It wasn’t until later I discovered that Pat (and other such artists) had covered this music.


  6. No wonder Pat Boone sounded strange to you! It was the opposite for me, growing up in small-town middle America. I know the bigger cities had DJs like yours, but out in the sticks* where I lived they were in short supply at first. However, it didn’t take too long for them to arrive on our radios.

    *Does ‘in the sticks’ have an Australian equivalent? 😉


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