Earworm: Don’t Say It’s Love

Don't Say It's Love Johnny Hates Jazz

Name five famous Johnny Hates Jazz tunes. Shattered Dreams, Turn Back the Clock, I Don’t Want to be a Hero, Heart of Gold. The 12-inch version of Shattered Dreams.

Unless you’re a connoisseur of 1980s pop, it’s a bit of a struggle, isn’t it? The fact is, Johnny Hates Jazz had three, possibly four, big hits, so remembering five tunes is going to be tough. Even if you could turn back the clock.

So why does my daily routine start with the opening verse of Don’t Say It’s Love? The ‘big four’ from the 1998 album Turn Back the Clock, I could understand, but why this relatively obscure track?

I’m actually surprised to discover that it reached number 48 in the UK pop charts. I thought it was just a slightly more uptempo album track, sandwiched between the mellow Turn Back the Clock and What Other Reason.

It’s the same every morning. “We’ve had it good for years now, don’t let that change. We’ve never needed answers, to find the way.” That’s it. No second versus. No chorus. Just the first four lines. On repeat. Every. Single. Morning.

Is there a deep and spiritual reason for this song to work its way out from the depths of my memory bank? Probably not – I’m just pleased that it’s not Holly Johnson and his bloody blue jeans and chinos.

Turn Back the Clock was one of the first albums I bought. I had it on cassette – still do – and I purchased it from Woolworths because Jeremy Hoyle bought it a day earlier. Jeremy was much cooler than me. I’m certain he went on to better things.

I guarantee he doesn’t wake up to the first verse of Don’t Say It’s Love. I bet he hasn’t spent the past 32 years in the mistaken belief that Johnny Hates Jazz originated from Denmark. Everyday’s a school day, right?

To borrow a line from my current earworm, the truth has been lost and found. Now if this bleeding earworm could get lost.

Further reading (if you’re bored)