Reading Rainbow, Steely Dan, and the definition of torture

Earlier this week, a passing mention of LeVar Burton speaking at a Twitter conference in LA launched me into hours of anguish, as I compulsively sang the theme song to the PBS classic, “Reading Rainbow.” You know the song, right? “Butterfly in the sky, I can go twice as high. Take a look, it’s in a book, a reading rainbow…”

Needless to say, my coworkers now hate me.

The “Reading Rainbow” theme is one of those catchy songs that is impossible to forget. We all have a few that get us going. Here are some of mine:

• “Copa Cabana” by Barry Manilow: “Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl…” I sometimes modify the lyrics of this classic to “His name was Barley, he was a schnauzer” to give my poor dog a thrill…because, of course, he understands English. This tune is painfully addictive and the lyrics are pure cornball. Just like Barry, actually.

• The “WKRP in Cincinnati” theme: I never actually watched the show, but the song is one of my all-time favorites. It’s a great song, but once it settles into my brain, it could be days or weeks before it moves on. “Baby, if you’ve ever wondered, wondered whatever became of me, I’m living on the air in Cincinnati, Cincinnati WKRP…” It’s gold!

• “Dirty Work” by Steely Dan: I blame this song for ruining at least one long-term romantic relationship. Love cannot survive when one person is shuffling about the house singing, in a bad falsetto, “I’m a fool to do your dirty work, oh yeah. I don’t want to do your dirty work, no more.” I blame myself for that one. I know almost none of the lyrics outside the ridiculous chorus, but once it goes on repeat, it can’t be stopped.

What songs drive you to madness? Please share in the comments section. Share the pain!