Wednesday, April 1, 2009

On and On


I always thought it strange that two of Marvin Gaye's biggest hits, and arguably his two signature hits, both end with that little dangling preposition "on." How many song titles even end with "on"?

In fact, there are only three songs that have gotten to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 that ended that way. They are:

"You Keep Me Hangin' On," by the Supremes
"Let's Get It On," by Marvin Gaye
"My Heart Will Go On," by Celine Dion

And "What's Going On"? It got stuck at Number Two for three weeks, but never ascended into the top spot, depriving Marvin Gaye of the honor of having fully half the Number One hits that end in "on."

14 comments:

Kinky Paprika said...

How many song titles end with "on"?
There's "Still ... You Turn Me On," by ELP.

I was gonna suggest "You Turn Me On (I'm A Radio)" by Joni Mitchell, but Wiki tells me that there are not actually parentheses in the song title.

(How many song titles end with "radio"?)

T. Nawrocki said...

"What Goes On," by the Beatles.

MJN said...

There's "On," by Bloc Party. And, as your heading alludes to, "On and On," by Stephen Bishop.

MJN said...

"Rave On," Buddy Holly.

Dan F said...

Preposition dangling is a pretty serious charge, Tom, and I'd say "going on" and "hanging on" are phrasal verbs. Bryan Garner supports Marvin Gaye here.

MJN said...

"Walk On," Neil Young.
"Walk On," John Hiatt.
"Walk On," U2.

Mark Lerner said...

There's Chuck Berry's "Come On."

Which reminds me of another stupid music game, first played (I believe) on Echo, the NY-based BBS system where I spent many happy hours. The game was called "A song, a singer, a sentence," the the rules also allowed for "A singer, a song, a sentence."

Dull examples would be "ELO don't bring me down." or "Let me be Britney Spears."

Much better is "Come on Chuck Berry" and "Blow away George Harrison."

T. Nawrocki said...

Catching up here: "Let's Get It On" is, I believe, undiagrammable.

David Crosby almost cut my hair.
I forgot to remember to forget Elvis Presley.

"I Didn't Mean to Turn You On," by Robert Palmer.
"Ramble On," by Led Zeppelin.

MJN said...

The Who Had Enough.

MJN said...

"You Can Leave Your Hat On," Randy Newman.

There are probably a lot fewer song titles the end with the word "off." All I've got so far are "Rocks Off," by the Rolling Stones, and "Take Off," by Bob & Doug McKenzie feat. Geddy Lee.

T. Nawrocki said...

I Can't Explain the Who.

Kinky Paprika said...

Rock on, David Essex.

The Raspberries go all the way.

God only knows the Beach Boys.

MJN said...

Another "off" song: "One Month Off," Bloc Party.

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