On Music: 7 Songs with Fewer Than 35 Words


I love me a song with a lot of words in it. For example, Genesis wrote one in the 1970s called "Supper's Ready" that has a whopping 997 words - that's a whole lotta lyric. At the other end of the spectrum are the ones with supper minimalistic lyrics. Also from the "˜70s, for example, how about that Pink Floyd song from The Wall called "Is There Anybody Out There?" "“ a nearly three minute-long number with only 4 unique words in it: is, there anybody, out.

Discounting songs like those, that tell a larger story, The Wall-style, here are 7 stand-alone songs I love, each composed with fewer than 35 unique words. Let's get a list going. What are some of your favorites?

1. You Are So Beautiful

Whether we're talking Joe Cocker, Ray Charles, or Kenny Rogers, this simple lyric, penned by Billy Preston, Dennis Wilson and Bruce Fisher, only has 31 unique words in it.

2. Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometimes
Made popular by Beck in the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, this Korgis song only has 20 unique words in it.

3. Fly, Robin, Fly

According to Wiki, the German band Silver Convention wrote this one with only 6 unique words "due to the group not being able to speak English, and therefore unable to memorize a page of lyrics in a language unfamiliar to them."

4. Her Majesty
The Beatles were masters when it comes to packing in a lot of song with as few words as possible. This one, which appeared as a hidden track at the end of their Abbey Road album and only has 34 unique words in it.

5. Hava Nagila
This traditional Jewish melody recorded by many, including Ben Folds Five and Bob Dylan (and heard round the country at sporting events) has only 10 unique words in it. Translated from the Hebrew, they mostly mean "Let's rejoice and be happy!"

6. In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida

Despite being more than 17 minutes long, this Iron Butterfly classic only has 30 unique words in it. (I'm counting In-a-gadda-da-vida as one word, otherwise you can say it has 34 unique words I guess—even though they are slurred, drunken words.)

7. It's a Beautiful Day

Not to be confused with U2's #1 hit, the Queen song of the same name has only 28 unique words.

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