Ear Worm / Gilbert and Sullivan

Gilbert and Sullivan wrote fourteen operas together, and there's at least one Ear Worm in every one of them. For instance:

  • "Olympus is now in a terrible muddle/The deputy deities all are at fault..." sticks in one's head even with the music lost.
  • "Climbing Over Rocky Mountain" was later recycled from this show for The Pirates of Penzance, and suggests that the score would have indeed been full of Ear Worms.

Trial By Jury
  • "For I am a judge/And a good judge too..."

The Sorcerer
  • "Ring forth, ye bells/With clarion sound/Forget your knells/For joys abound..."
  • "My name is John Wellington Wells/I'm a dealer of magic and spells..."
  • "Thou hast the power thy vaunted love/To sanctify all vows above..."
  • "Oh, I have wrought/Much evil with my spells/And ill I-I can't undo..."
  • "Oh, joyous boon! oh, mad delight!/Oh, sun and moon! oh, day and night!"
    • "Alas, that lovers thus should meet/Oh, pity, pity me!"

H.M.S. Pinafore
  • "I am the monarch of the sea/The ruler of the Queen's Na-vee/Whose praise Great Britain loudly chants"/"And we are his sisters and his cousins and his aunts!"
  • "When I was a lad I served a term/As office boy to an attorney's firm..."
  • "A British tar is a soaring soul..."
  • "Never mind the why and wherefore/Love can level ranks, and therefore/Though his lordship's station's mighty/Though stupendous be his brain..."
  • "For he is an Englishman!"

The Pirates of Penzance
  • "Oh, better far to live and die/ Under the brave black flag I fly/ Than play a sanctimonious part/ With a pirate head and a pirate heart..."
  • "How beautifully blue the sky, the glass is rising very high..."
  • "I am the very model of a modern major general..."
  • "When the foeman bares his steel" ("Tarantara, tarantara!")/ "We uncomfortable feel" ("Tarantara!")
  • "When you had left our pirate fold/ We tried to raise our spirits faint/ According to our custom old/ With quips and quibbles quaint..."
  • "When a felon's not engaged in his employment (his employment) or maturing his felonious little plans (little plans)"
  • "Climbing over rocky mountain, skipping rivulet and fountain, passing over where the willows quiver!"
  • "Oh, false one, you have deceived me!"
    • "You told me you were fair as gold!"
  • "Hail, poetry! Thou heav'n-born maid! / Thou gildest e'en the Pirates' trade!"

  • "If you want a receipt [sic] for that popular mystery/Known to the world as the Heavy Dragoon..."
  • "In a doleful train/Two and two we walk all day..."
  • "If you're anxious for to shine/In the high aesthetic line/As a man of culture rare..."
  • "Come walk up and purchase with avidity/Overcome your diffidence and natural timidity..."
  • "It's clear that mediaeval art/Alone retains its zest..."
  • "If Saphir I choose to marry/I shall be fixed up for life..."
  • "So go to him and say to him with compliment ironical..."

  • "Go away madam/I should say madam/You display madam/Shocking taste..."
    • Really, the entire Act I Finale.
  • "When you're lying awake/With a dismal headache/And repose is tabooed by anxiety..."
    • Be sure to check out the Todd Rundgren version.
  • "When Britain really ruled the waves..."
  • "Soon as we may/Off and away/We'll commence our journey airy/Happy are we/As you can see/Everyone is now a fairy!"

Princess Ida
  • "Search throughout the panorama / For a sign of royal Gama / Who today shall cross the water / With his fascinating daughter / Ida is her name!"
  • "If you give me your attention I will tell you what I am/I'm a genuine philanthropist all other kinds are sham."
  • "Gently gently evidently we are safe so far/After scaling fence and paling here at last we are"
  • "This helmet, I suppose / Was meant to ward off blows..."
  • "Kiss me, kiss me, kiss me, kiss me, tho' I die of shame-a!"
  • "Sing hoity-toity, sorry for some! / Sing marry come up, and her day will come!"
  • "The maiden fair, whom the monkey craved, was a radiant being with a brain far-seeing!"
  • "To yield at once to such a foe with shame were rife! / So quick away with him, although he saved my life!"

The Mikado
  • "If you want to know who we are, / We are gentlemen of Japan..."
  • "A wandering minstrel, I/A thing of shreds and patches..."
  • "As someday it may happen that a victim must be found/I've got a little list/I've got a little list..."
  • "To sit in solemn silence in a dull dark dock / In a pestilential prison with a life long lock / Awaiting the sensation of a short sharp shock / From a cheap and chippy chopper on a big black block!" So earwormy, Pink Floyd just had to sample it.
  • "A more humane Mikado never did in Japan exist/To nobody second/I'm certainly reckoned/A true philanthropist."
    • "My object all sublime / I shall achieve in time; / To let the punishment fit the crime, / The punishment fit the crime!"
  • "Three little maids from school are we/ Pert as a school-girl well can be/ Filled to the brim with girlish glee/ Three little maids from school..."
  • "Here's a how-de-do / If I marry you / When your time has come to perish / Then the maiden whom you cherish / must be slaughtered too / Here's a how-de-do / Here's a how-de-do"

  • "If somebody there chanced to be/Who loved me in a manner true..."
  • "Welcome, gentry/For your entry/Sets our tender hearts a-beating..."
  • "You understand/I think I do/With vigor unshaken/This step shall be taken..."
  • "When I'm a bad Bart. I will tell taradiddles/He'll tell taradiddles when he's a bad Bart..."
  • "When the night wind howls/In the chimney cowls/And the bat in the moonlight flies..."
  • "Henceforth all the crimes/That I find in the Times/I've promised to perpetrate daily..."
  • "My eyes are fully open to my awful situation/I must go at once to Roderic and make him an oration..." So wonderful, the melody reappears in Thoroughly Modern Millie and even in some modern productions of The Pirates of Penzance.
  • "I shipped, d'ye see, on a Revenue sloop..."

The Yeomen of the Guard
  • "When jealous torments rack my soul/My agonies I can't control/Oh, better sit on red hot coal/Than love a heartless jade."
  • "Oh a private buffoon is a lighthearted loon/If you listen to popular rumor..."
  • "Tower warders, under orders, gallant pikemen, valiant sworders!"
  • "I have a song to sing, O!" "Sing me a song, O!"
    • "Heighdy, heighdy, miserey me, lackadaydee!"
  • "From morn to afternoon~/From afternoon till night~"
  • "Like a ghost his vigil keeping" ("Or a spectre all appalling")/ "I beheld a figure creeping" ("I should rather call it crawling")...
  • "It is purely a matter of skill/Which all may attain if they will"
    • "But every Jack he must study the knack/If he wants to make sure of his Jill!"

The Gondoliers
  • "There lived a king as I've been told/In the wonder-working days of old/When hearts were twice as good as gold/And twenty times as mellow..."
  • "Then one of us will be a queen and sit on a golden throne..."
  • "I am a courtier, grave and serious..."
  • "On the day when I was wedded / To your admirable sire / I acknowledge that I dreaded / An explosion of his ire..."

Utopia, Limited
  • "In every mental lore/'Tal lore/The statement smacks of vanity..."
  • "Society has quite forsaken all her wicked courses, / Which empties our police courts and abolishes divorces. / (Divorce is nearly obsolete in England!)"

The Grand Duke
  • "By the mystic regulation/Of our dark Association/Ere you open conversation/With another kindred soul/You must eat a sausage-roll!"
  • "When you find you're a broken-down critter/Who is all of a trimmle and twitter/With your palette exceedingly bitter/As if you've just bitten a pill..."
  • "Big bombs/Small bombs/Great guns and little ones/Put him in a pillory/Rack him with artillery..."
  • "Take my advice - when deep in debt/Set up a bank, and play Roulette!"
  • "Oh, the man who can rule a theatrical crew / Each member a genius and some of 'em two..."