Scientists discover Spice Girls' anthem Wannabe is the catchiest song of all time

It takes the average person just over two seconds to recognise the song

Heather Saul
Saturday 01 November 2014 14:31
Comments
The Spice Girls' feminism consisted of shouting 'girl power' and doing peace signs in latex catsuits
The Spice Girls' feminism consisted of shouting 'girl power' and doing peace signs in latex catsuits

Scientists have discovered the Spice Girls' anthem ‘Wannabe’ is the catchiest hit single in the UK.

Manchester's Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) published the results of a year-long study into what makes a song particularly memorable – and Wannabe was at number one.

To collect data, researchers developed a ‘Hooked on Music’ test that asked people to name a song randomly selected from over 1,000 best-selling tunes when it began playing from the hook.

Lou Bega’s Mambo No.5 was the second most recognisable song in the list, with the average person recognising it at 2.48 seconds in.

Lady Gaga had two songs on the list, as did Elvis Presley.

Ashley Burgoyne, a computational musicologist from the University of Amsterdam, Netherlands who came up with the concept, told BBC News there is “very little” scientific literature on whether the most memorable pieces of music shared particular characteristics.

“You may only hear something a couple of times yet 10 years later you immediately realise that you have heard it before,” he said.

”Yet other songs, even if you have heard them a lot, do not have this effect.“

Here is the list in full:

1. Spice Girls - Wannabe - 2.29 s (0:45)

2. Lou Bega - Mambo No. 5 - 2.48 s (0:50)

3. Survivor - Eye of the Tiger - 2.62 s (2:04)

4. Lady Gaga - Just Dance - 2.66 s (1:39)

5. ABBA - SOS - 2.73 s (2:25)

6. Roy Orbison - Pretty Woman - 2.73 s (1:07)

7. Michael Jackson - Beat It - 2.80 s (0:38)

8. Whitney Houston - I Will Always Love You - 2.83 s (3:09)

9. The Human League - Don't You Want Me - 2.83 s (3:05)

10. Aerosmith - I Don't Want to Miss a Thing - 2.84 s (2:22)

11. Lady Gaga - Poker Face - 2.88 s (0:57)

12. Hanson - Mmmmbop - 2.89 s (1:44)

13. Elvis Presley - It's Now Or Never - 2.91 s (2:14)

14. Bachman-Turner Overdrive - You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet - 2.94 s (1:48)

15. Michael Jackson - Billie Jean - 2.97 s (1:25)

16. Culture Club - Karma Chameleon - 2.99 s (0:41)

17. Britney Spears - Baby One More Time - 2.99 s (0:33)

18. Elvis Presley - Devil in Disguise - 3.01 s (1:21)

19. Boney M. - Rivers of Babylon - 3.03 s (0:23)

20. Elton John - Candle in the Wind - 3.04 s (0:39)

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in