We’ve all got our favourite songwriters and I can hold my own for a couple of rounds in name-that-Dylan-couplet competition, but there’s few better sounds in music than a brilliantly delivered “woah oh oh”. It’s the great musical democratiser, where the musos and the Kings Of Leon brigade can all get along, have a sing-song and forget they think the other one is a bit of a numpty.
Such is the ubiquity of the “woah oh oh” that it's a list destined to be added to until the end of time and I’m sure there’s loads I’ve missed. Let me know the error of my way in the comments.
Wake Up- Arcade Fire
If one songs defines the “woah oh oh” it is surely this from the hurdy-gurdy loving Montrealians. The emotional centre-point of one of the best albums of the last decade/ever, and instigator of a million spilt pints from Glasto to Mexico City.
Genuinely one of the most communal live tunes you’ll ever see, it gets top billing for opening with the “woah oh oh oh”, and still sets the standard for every folk-pop tune that your 15 year old niece posts as her Facebook status.
The Cribs- Martell
Indie-pop perfection, this isn’t one of the most revered songs by the brothers Jarman but I always considered it definitive of everything they're about; short, cynical, with a hulking pop melody underneath the tin-shed sonics. Every indie disco DJ should have this on his save-a-dead-dancefloor list.
Beyonce- All The Single Ladies
Forget the leotard, the most memorable part of Queenie’s hit is the “woah oh oh” that forms of the backbone of this song. It’s been played in every Luminar club in the country at least once a week for the last three years, and seen approximately 3,440,021 shocking attempts at the dance.
Livin’ On A Prayer
You can say what you like, I don’t care. It’s awful and ridiculous and fucking brilliant and I will fight anyone that says otherwise (and is smaller than me).
The House That Heaven Built- Japandroids
The misfit cousin to Livin’ On A Prayer, this sounds like Springsteen, The Hold Steady and The Gaslight Anthem being played together in a cement mixer. The album it’s on, Celebration Rock, has a fair few similarly rousing moments (see The Nights Of Wine And Roses) and really can’t be recommended enough.
If further proof were needed of its powers, the Vancouver Canucks ice hockey team selected it as their entrance music over U2, Guns N Roses and Lavigne-meddlers Nickleback.
Sweet Child ‘O Mine- Guns N’ Roses
Vying with Livin’ On A Prayer for the most recognisable tune on the list, and without doubt one of the great silly rock songs of all time. I’m still not sure whether it’s the riff or the chorus that comes to mind when you first think of the tune (don’t say that to Axl), and yes you’ve heard it a thousand times, but if you say that at some point in your life you’ve not been smashed in a bar and done a piss-poor high pitched “waaah, oh oh oh” then you’re lying and not impressing anyone.
Hall And Oates- Man Eater
Surely the sleaziest song on this list, with the sort of bass-line that has had lesser men than I shuffling crotch-first across a dancefloor. With their oversized polyester suits and questionable facial hair, they set the sartorial standard for every Dalston band playing vaguely-catchy art-punk a couple of years ago.
The Futureheads- The Hounds Of Love
The purists among you may say this lacks the “woah” to justify its place on a list such as this, but it surely makes up for it in the volume of its “ohs”. And anyway, it’s brilliant. If ever a band has been defined by a sharply delivered vocal exhalation it is these Mackems that have managed to spin out a pretty good career and solidify their status as the probably the best mob to ever come from their bit of the North East. They’re probably even better than Kenickie.
The Hold Steady- Massive Nights
This is really an excellent song, and not just ‘cos of “we had some massive highs/we had some crushing lows” lyric, which in the hands of lesser mortals could sound like the spaff from your sixth-form poetry book (the bit underlined with GOOD written in red next to it). One of the greatest odes to girls, boys and going out ever written; listen to it, listen to it a bunch of other times then go and get gloriously drunk.
Rainbow- Since You’ve Been Gone
This weaves the “woah oh oh” into perhaps its optimum position; just after the first rings of a chorus that you can sing back the first time you hear it. Dreadfully silly, and if possible comes just above Jovi in the actually-bad stakes. Still…I get the same old dreams, same time every night…