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‘I want to scream when I hear The Specials’: readers on the songs they can’t listen to any more

Following Guardian writers on the songs they can no longer listen to, here are some of the soundtracks you mentioned

The flatmate’s alarm …
The Specials – Ghost Town

Third year at university, the bloke I was flat sharing with played Ghost Town by The Specials every morning as his alarm. Every morning for a damn year. I used to like Ghost Town, it’s one of the great protest songs (and its appearance on Father Ted is sublime). Now I want to scream whenever I hear it. It was like torture. Melvazord

The sound of my terminally ill mum letting us know she could still hear us …
Billy Ocean – Red Light Spells Danger

A few years back, my mum was terminally ill. One small mercy was that she was allowed to spend the remainder of her days at home, among her loved ones. The nature of her illness meant that she gradually lost control of her major functions: mobility, eyesight, the power of speech. But her hearing remained, right to the very last. One morning, a parcel arrived: it was a CD mix of some of mum’s favourite songs from the 70s, lovingly made by one of her nieces. I put the CD on and a song came on that I recognised immediately, because it transported me right back to my childhood: it was Red Light Spells Danger by Billy Ocean, and me, my mum and my dad must have danced around to that song a million times when I was kid. The emotion was too much for my dad: he got choked up and had to leave the room, for fear of bursting into tears.

That was a real pity, because he missed the most extraordinary thing: my mum, who hadn’t moved or spoken for over a week, suddenly started to bop her head in time to the music. They were just small, fragile nods of the head, but they meant the absolute world. They meant that she could still hear, that she was still aware that people were always around her and that she wasn’t alone, she could still hear what was being said to her and she could hear us when we told her, over and over, that we loved her and were there with her. My mum always loved to dance, and I will forever treasure the extraordinary memory of seeing her gather up the strength she had, illness be damned, and dance, in the best way she could. As you might imagine, since then it hasn’t been easy to listen to that song (luckily it’s not one that comes onto the radio very often, so I’m unlikely to be caught unawares by it). TevaToday

The most awkward karaoke anybody has ever witnessed …
Nelly featuring Kelly Rowland – Dilemma

It was the favourite song of a girl I was far too in to. I was starting to get stuck in friend zone though so needed a big gesture to get me out of there and into the romance zone. I thought that signing us up to duet to this at our uni karaoke night would do the trick. The most awkward karaoke anybody has ever witnessed then followed. I hadn’t realised how hard rapping is, especially when you don’t already know the words. She sang Kelly’s bits with all the enthusiasm of an animal that needs to be put down for its own good. A hundred students watched awkwardly as we struggled through the first half before she walked off during the second verse. Still cringe whenever I hear even a millisecond of it. GatehouseAmi

The soundtrack to the dance with the girl I thought I loved at 15 …
Phyllis Nelson – Move Closer

The soundtrack to the dance with the girl I thought I loved when I was 15. She broke my heart. I did get to ride on her dad’s motorbike when he dropped me back at the station to go home though, that was pretty good. MiamiJim

The sound of that sickly feeling when you’re really tired …
Oasis – Roll With It

In the summer of 1995 I worked on the night shift of a 24-hour petrol station in Oldham (next to Park Cakes Bakeries) for the princely pre-minimum wage of £3.24 an hour. I got to know the police and the local taxi drivers very well, and things got a bit lively after midnight till about 3am, and then it got quiet. Then fatigue set in, desperately trying to keep my eyes open as I fought that sickly feeling you get when you are really tired and desperate for 7am to arrive so I could go home. And Roll With It by Oasis had just been released and on permanent loop on every radio station. Every time I hear Roll With It it reminds me of that tired, nauseating feeling. allyouneediscash

The song where my crush left me on the dancefloor …
Earth, Wind & Fire – Boogie Wonderland

After weeks of dithering, I finally plucked up courage to pull this fit bloke onto the dance floor in a near empty club (I think around 1980). I was so nervous, that I was giving it my all with my eyes closed only to open them halfway through to realise that he had walked off leaving me alone. To this day, the horror and humiliation of that moment means that I have to switch off the radio when the song gets played. clashmach

The song I couldn’t purge while on my first solo hike …
DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince – Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme

For me it’s the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song. Not a bad tune. But I was on my first solo hike, three days in central Kyrgyzstan, and within the first hour the song popped into my head. Nothing would purge it. I tried humming other songs, trying to rerun films I’d seen in my mind, fantasising about hot meals and showers … I’d think it was gone, and I’d reach the top of a climb, with views of a beautiful golden alpine valley, when fucking Will Smith would kick off. panasonicyouth

The time I got a good kicking by a gang from another school …
Toy Dolls – Nellie the Elephant

There was a rumour a gang from another school was on the prowl at one of our school discos. A lot of the other lads decided to give it a miss, but I’d been told by one of her friends that a girl called Cath was definitely up for a snog, so I hedged my bets, pulled on my skin-tight bleached jeans and Frankie T-shirt and went for it. Instead of getting it on to the sounds of Careless Whisper, I was dragged outside and got a good kicking to the sound of lots of girls screaming and Nellie the Elephant by Toy Dolls. Fortunately, it doesn’t get played much at all otherwise I’d just picture my blood-stained and ripped Frankie Say War! Hide Yourself T-shirt. CaptainGreige

The ringtone I had when job hunting …
Pixies – Debaser

I had one of my fave songs as my ringtone for about a year when I was job hunting and now whenever I hear Debaser I feel in the pit of my stomach like I am about to have a phone interview. I think I’ll regret that decision for the rest of my life. VoiceoverIP

The soundtrack to an unrequited crush …
Mel C featuring Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes – Never Be The Same Again

Had a massive unrequited crush on a lass (who looked a bit like Mel C) around the turn of the century for a year or more. It then turned into a bit of thing between us for six months, but fizzled out horribly as we both brought the absolute worst out in each other. And I mean the worst. The song was the soundtrack to the unrequited bit, but now I can’t abide it. Fortunately, it’s never played anywhere by anyone any more! By the way I’m sad for anyone who has had Atomic ruined for them. I’d hate to hate that song, because it’s bloody brilliant. FlightGuileAndPies

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