Songs That Succeed In Spite of Seven Word Titles

While playing an online game similar to Jeopardy, I became intrigued with one of the categories. It was titled “Seven Letters, One Syllable,” a word category at which an English teacher like me should have excelled.

Alas, I managed to get just three of the six questions, even though all of the words were familiar to me. Two of the ones I answered correctly were “stretch” and “straight,” both of which were accompanied by relatively easy clues.

That category is limited to just a couple of dozen words, discounting regular verbs that simply add -ed to form the past tense. I never realized just how rare it is for a one-syllable word to consist of as many as seven letters.

That realization, for some reason, brought to mind song titles that feature seven words. This category is also quite rare, for most tunes have just two or three words in their titles. Billy Joel actually hit number one with a seven word title, “It’s Still a rock and Roll to Me” from his Glass Houses album.

Here is a list of fifteen other titles that do indeed contain seven words.

“You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away” by The Beatles

John Lennon’s acoustic tune endures as one of the highlights from the Help! movie and soundtrack.

“Don’t Expect Me to Be Your Friend” by Lobo

Among the folk singer’s biggest hits, including “Me and You and Dog Named Boo” and “I’d Love You to Want Me,” this heartbreaker resonates as his best.

“Is She Really Going Out with Him?” by Joe Jackson

The British new waver burst upon the late 70s scene with this smash hit from Look Sharp!, thereby drawing comparisons to fellow Brit Elvis Costello.

“You Didn’t Have to Be So Nice” by the Lovin’ Spoonful

John Anderson me his late 60s folk rock group scored many hits, but this love tune was by far the longest title in their discography.

“Waiting for the End of the World” by Elvis Costello

About the time Joe Jackson was questioning female taste in men, fellow Brit Declan McManus was using this tune to close out My Aim Is True, one of the best albums in rock history.

“The People Who Grinned Themselves to Death” by the Housemartins

These contemporaries of the Smiths and Aztec Camera released just two albums, and this title track is a delicious taste of the excellent sound they managed to create.

“Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll” by Ian Drury and the Blockheads

Nearly half the words consist of the most common conjunction, but the four nouns exude the vibrancy of the late 70s British New Wave.

“White Boots Marching in a Yellow Land” by Phil Ochs

The folk legend’s objection to the Vietnam War continued throughout the sixties, but none of the protest songs were as blatant as this long-titled tune.

“The Town that Lost Its Groove Supply” by the Minus Five

One of the finest albums released in this century’s first decade was called Down with Wilco, which featured Jeff Tweedy himself on this track and others.

“When You Dance I Can Really Love” by Neil Young

This tune was the perfect way to close out After the Gold Rush, the album that featured the classic title track along with “Tell Me Why” and “Southern Man.”

“I Am Trying to Break Your Heart” by Wilco

Jeff Tweedy hit a creative peak Al with tunes like this one and others from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.

“Lily, Rosemary, and the Jack of Hearts” by Bob Dylan

The long title sits the eleven minute tale about murder and betrayal, two themes that pervade the iconic Blood on the Tracks album.

“I Saw a Stranger with Your Hair” by John Gorka

The pioneer of the new folk of the late 80’s burst on the scene with this tragi-comic ballad, one of the many highlights of the debut album I Know.

“Can’t Get It Out of My Head” by the Electric Light Orchestra

Jeff Lynne finally hit the Top Ten with this track from El Dorado, which would soon be followed by a plethora of others throughout the seventies and eighties.

“You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by the Rolling Stones

It is a long title befitting a long tune, the most enduring song from the group’s Let It Bleed album.

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