Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: As you may know, one of the tracks on Ray LaMontagne's “Trouble” LP is titled “Hannah.”

Only recently did I notice that “Hannah” is a palindrome.

Now I'm wondering if you know of any other palindrome song titles that exist, especially any that actually became Pop hits.
—Mel Henderson, West Allis, Wisc.

DEAR MEL: Impressive challenge you've provided. Now let's look at the results of this investigation.

But before we look at the results, let's remind everyone that a palindrome is a word, phrase, number, or any other sequence of units that are read the same forward or backward, character for character without regard for punctuation.

I have found and personally verified 22 palindrome song titles, all listed below in alphabetical order by title followed by the artist's name and year of issue.

Though only one artist is named here, some of these tunes exist by more than one person or group:

“Aha Aha” (Serk, She-Raw, Bass Sultan Hengzt, Panik45, Godsilla) 2009
“Bob” (Weird Al Yankovic) 2003
“Flee to Me, Remote Elf” (Badger King) 2003
“Hannah” (Ray LaMontagne) 2004
“If I Had a Hi-Fi” (William Bottin) 2004
“Level” (Shootyz Groove) 1994
“Madam, I'm Adam” (Dan Crow) 2000
“Malayalam” (Rudresh Mahanthappa) 2004
“No Lemon No Melon” (William Bottin) 2004
“Party Trap” (William Bottin) (2004)
“Pull Up” (Mr. Vegas) 2004
“Racecar” (Addictions) 2007
“Radar” (Morphine) 1995
“Rats Live on No Evil Star” (Ookla the Mok) 2009
“Rio Noir” (William Bottin) (2004)
“Rotator” (Stickleback) 2007
“Rotor” (Phasers) 2003
“SOS” (Abba) 1976 (Both title and artist are palindromes)
“Solos” (Yuri) 2008
“Somos” (Julio Iglesias) 1992
“UFO Tofu” (Bela Fleck and the Flecktones) 1996
“Xanax” (Not Breathing) 1997

Most intriguing is that all but six are from the 2000s.

Other palindromic observations:

William Bottin is the only performer with more than one title, and he provides four. All are instrumentals taken from the same album the title of which is also a palindrome: “I Love Me, Vol. I” (Tudor B000CA8302).

Other instrumentals on the list: “Malayalam” (Rudresh Mahanthappa), Jazz from India; “UFO Tofu” (Bela Fleck and the Flecktones), traditional Bluegrass; and “Xanax” (Not Breathing), a New Age track.

A dreary vocal of “Xanax” exists, by a group named Elephant Parade (2008). “Rotator” (Stickleback) is mostly instrumental, but includes a few scattered vocal interludes. Oh yes, a Stickleback is a fish.

The lyrics of “Bob” (Weird Al Yankovic) and “Madam, I'm Adam” (Dan Crow) are made up of other palindromes.

“Flee to Me, Remote Elf” (Badger King) and “Solos” (Yuri) are the only ones by female singers.

“Solos” (Yuri) and “Somos” (Julio Iglesias) are both sung in Spanish, with “Solos” being my favorite of these palindrome titles.

While none of these specific tracks, most of which are album cuts, reached anything close to Pop hit status, Ray LaMontagne's “Trouble” album is approaching 500,000 units sold. Ray is a singer-songwriter, who accompanies himself on acoustic guitar and evokes flattering comparisons to guys like Van Morrison and Stephen Stills.

DEAR JERRY: Around the same time as “Indian Reservation” became a huge hit there was another song I liked very much, the latter being one no one else but me seems to know.

Other than the approximate time of release, the only other clue I have is a girl's name: Eydie. She is mentioned in a sad way (i.e., “you're so right for me, Eydie, but I'm all wrong for you”).

Can you identify this record with so little info?
—Gigi Lister, New Orleans

DEAR GIGI: You've provided just enough, but you're not the only one on the trail of Eydie … or is it Evie?

Wayne A. Lela, of Woodridge, Ill., thinks it might be:

“A song about a woman named Evie received some air play in the early '70s. I remember only the melody, but no one I ask knows the title or and artist.

Do you?”

Evie and Eydie sound very much alike, but Wayne is correct. The lady's name, as well as the title, is indeed “Evie.” It is a May 1971 45 rpm release by Johnny Mathis (Columbia 45371).

“Evie” is backed with “Think About Things,” though neither side charted nationally.

That very month, Paul Revere and the Raiders' “Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indians)” entered the Top 40 en route to No. 1.

IZ ZAT SO? While researching palindromes in preparation for this week's column, I came across 10 that could easily be picked as song titles — especially since instrumentals can have any moniker. Each must have at least five characters:

“Dammit, I'm Mad”; “Dennis and Edna Sinned”; “No Stetson”; “Oh No, Don Ho” “Sex at Noon Taxes”; “So Many Dynamos”; “Solo Gigolos”; “Too Hot to Hoot”; “Top Spot”; and “We Few.”

Return to "Mr. Music" Home Page