Man Listens to ABBA's 'Dancing Queen' for 5 Hours, Survives

Vimeo / Coudal Partners
Vimeo / Coudal Partners / Vimeo / Coudal Partners

In 2007, filmmaker Steve Delahoyde drove from Iowa City to Chicago and decided to try an experiment: He'd play one song on repeat the whole time. It being 2007, he burned the song a bunch of times to a CD-R and started driving while a video camera recorded his face.

At the beginning, Delahoyde is having fun, and seems somewhat excited by the prospect of so many hours of ABBA. But by three hours into the drive, he's already breaking his own rules, stopping the song for food, gas, and delighting in the moments when the song stops itself. As time goes on, you can see his concentration crumble as ABBA croons, "You can dance! You can jive! Having the time of your life!" He is not having the time of his life.

Four hours into the drive (two minutes into the video) is my favorite moment. Delahoyde says: "I find myself really longing for this section when the song ends and when it starts again—there's about, like, a ten-second gap where there's no sound, and then there's that piano part that comes in and ruins everything again. [Song starts.] Right there." The inevitability of defeat is palpable. Enjoy:

238 Miles from Coudal Partners on Vimeo.

So What About You?

What's the longest you've listened to a single song on repeat? Comments, everybody!

(Note: A version of this story first appeared in September 2007, before we could even embed videos.)