When I was a teenager, radio stations would often have “Name That Tune” contests – they would play a series of ten short song excerpts, and encourage their listeners to call the station and identify as many titles (and artists) as they could, in order to win concert tickets or some other prize. Although I listened to the radio as much as any other teenager, I found these sound clips to be frustratingly short – often less than a second each – and I had great difficulty identifying even one or two songs, much less the ten required to win a prize.
Last year, I wrote a blog post called Name That Drumbeat. It was an experiment to determine what exactly was triggering our audio memory. The radio contest sound clips were far too brief for us to recognize a melody, so we must have been memorizing the raw audio itself. Therefore, we should be able to identify a song from a couple of bars of drumbeats as easily as we could after hearing a sequence of notes.
This is a continuation of that musical memory experiment. You may have noticed that some pop songs are “counted in” – the singer counts to four before the musicians begin playing. This is the foundation of the following “musical” challenge. How sharp is your auditory memory? Can you recognize a song without even hearing a single note? That is, can you identify the song title and artist after hearing only a band member counting it in?
As it turns out, compiling a list of counting intros was fiendishly difficult. Very few musicians actually include the counting the commercial release of their songs. After weeks of wracking my brain, I still couldn’t come up with of ten songs. I then asked some of my musician friends, and their minds also went blank. Apparently, our brains don’t seem to be wired this way – unlike an Excel spreadsheet where you can sort on any column of data, we (or at least I) can’t easily organize and isolate songs based on a “singer counting it in” criterion. So I decided to expand my search and group the songs into two categories: counted intros and songs with counting in the lyrics.
Therefore, by necessity, the following audio montage will include both counted introductions and counting in the lyrics. It contains ten short snippets, extracted from well-known popular songs (from the 1960s to the present day). There are two versions of the montage: the second one contains one second of silence between each audio sample, and the first version doesn’t, which makes it a little more challenging, but a lot more fun!
Please enter your guesses (artist and title) in the Comments section below, and let me know how easy or difficult you found this musical experiment. If you can think of any other songs that are counted in, please list them in the Comments section as well.
Counting Montage (with gaps):