The Beatles Song ‘Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da’ Is ‘The Perfect Pop Song’

This is not a hot take, this is science.

A new study published by researchers at the Max Planck Institute in Germany has crowned The Beatles as the owners of “the perfect pop song.” The song in question is “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” from the band’s 1968 hit from The White Album.

Ringo Starr, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison. Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Ringo Starr, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison. Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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Researchers analyzed 80,000 different chord progressions from 700 songs recorded between 1958 and 1991, according to NME. Chords were subsequently assigned a score for how “surprising” it was compared to the chord preceding it.

A group of volunteers was then invited to listen to and rate how enjoyable chord sequences from 30 songs were. The songs were stripped of lyrics and melodies so that the original song was unrecognizable.

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“It is fascinating that humans derive pleasure from a piece of music just by how sounds are ordered over time,” Ph.D. student Vincent Cheung told The Times. “Songs that we find pleasant strike a good balance between us knowing what is going to happen next and surprising us with something we did not expect.”

Other high-ranking songs include: “Invisible Touch” by Genesis, “Hooked on a Feeling” by BJ Thomas, “I Want You Back” by The Jackson 5, “There She Goes” by The La’s, “When It’s Love” by Van Halen and “Red Red Wine” by UB40.

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