Wannabe by the Spice Girls is the catchiest hit ever, according to science

Researchers announce that the Girl Power anthem is most recognisable UK hit

imagenotavailable1

I’ll tell you what you want, want you really really want. You want to listen to Wannabe over and over again, according to new research.

Advertisement

The Spice Girls’ debut single took people just 2.3 seconds to recognise in an experiment developed by the Museum of Science and Industry (Mosi).

To find the result, researchers designed a game that’s even more addictive than Wannabe. Hooked on Music randomly plays clips from more than 1,000 best-selling songs and measures how long it takes you to recognise the tune. More than 12,000 people played the game and contributed to the results, but it’s well worth playing even if you don’t care a jot for statistical analysis. 

Wannabe topped the UK charts for seven weeks back in 1996, quickly becoming the rallying cry of a generation. In the Mosi data, the second most recognised song was Lou Bega’s Mambo No 5, which was identified in an average of 2.48 seconds and proves catchiness does not equal quality. In at three was Eye of the Tiger by Survivor, the theme from Rocky III, which took just 2.62 seconds to recognise.

The full list is below. Good luck getting all of these ear-worms out of your head.

Top 20 Catchiest Songs:

1. Spice Girls – Wannabe – 2.29 seconds

2. Lou Bega – Mambo No. 5 – 2.48 seconds

3. Survivor – Eye of the Tiger – 2.62 seconds

4. Lady Gaga – Just Dance – 2.66 seconds

5. ABBA – SOS – 2.73 seconds

6. Roy Orbison – Pretty Woman – 2.73 seconds

7. Michael Jackson – Beat It – 2.80 seconds

8. Whitney Houston – I Will Always Love You – 2.83 seconds

9. The Human League – Don’t You Want Me – 2.83 seconds

10. Aerosmith – I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing – 2.84 seconds

11. Lady Gaga – Poker Face – 2.88 seconds

12. Hanson – Mmmmbop – 2.89 seconds

13. Elvis Presley – It’s Now Or Never – 2.91 seconds

14. Bachman-Turner Overdrive – You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet – 2.94 seconds

15. Michael Jackson – Billie Jean – 2.97 seconds

16. Culture Club – Karma Chameleon – 2.99 seconds

17. Britney Spears – Baby One More Time – 2.99 seconds

18. Elvis Presley – Devil in Disguise – 3.01 seconds

19. Boney M. – Rivers of Babylon – 3.03 seconds

20. Elton John – Candle in the Wind – 3.04 seconds

Advertisement

http://www.youtube.com/v/gJLIiF15wjQ&hl=en&fs=1