I hope no one mistakes this post as a countdown of La La Land songs because there aren’t even twelve to pick from. No, this long overdue list is a follow-up to my old Top Twelve list of Na Na Na Songs, which still gets a good number of views to this day. I love how na nas can so easily take the place of actual lyrics, but la las are even more common, to the point that some songs just use them in place of a chorus. Not that I’m complaining, since it’s easier to learn that way.
After much exhaustive research, I have compiled a very long list of songs featuring the “La La La” and picked out my absolute favorites. There are so many that this kind of list is truly a matter of opinion. If you like hard rock, you might include “Dead!” by My Chemical Romance. If you’re into reggae, you might pick “Sweat (A La La La La Long)” by Inner Circle. And don’t get me started on how many are titled simply “La La La,” sometimes with commas or hyphens to tell them apart. So this list is strictly my personal preference, but I tried to include a good mix of genres and styles. Thus, here are my Top Twelve La La La Songs!
- “Those Were the Days” by Mary Hopkin
To start things off, let’s go back to 1968, when Mary Hopkin repopularized a Russian folk tune as a chart-topping ballad with more than a few la las in the chorus. I first heard this song at the grocery store recently, and it quickly got stuck in my head, as la las tend to do. Since I always incorporate movie references in my lists, I must mention that the tune was used in the score for the anime drama Giovanni’s Island, giving it a wistful Russian flavor.
- “My Cherie Amour” by Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder’s 1969 hit definitely features one of the more iconic la la sections out there, which I hear all the time at work. Right from the beginning, the Motown legend lets the la las bookend his R&B favorite. It’s an easy song to sing along to, isn’t it?
- “Sleep When We’re Dead” by ItaloBrothers (Nightcore)
When it comes to club music, the German ItaloBrothers may be mainly known in Europe, but they’ve got some good stuff, such as this electronic jammer from 2015. The original is a little too slow for me, so I prefer the sped-up nightcore version, which makes it more of a head-banger and still retains the la las that earn “Sleep When We’re Dead” a place on the list.
- “Brown-Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison
You could say I’m getting the older songs out of the way early, but I had to include this classic from 1967. “Brown-Eyed Girl” was a breakout hit for Van Morrison and remains popular as an often-covered golden oldie of rock. Oh, and it’s been in several movies, such as Sleeping with the Enemy.
- “Crocodile Rock” by Elton John
A retrospective on the days of classic rock, “Crocodile Rock” was a huge 1972 hit for Elton John and his first #1 single in the United States. John’s falsetto la las in the chorus especially stick out, and a cover was used prominently in the film Gnomeo and Juliet.
- “Y Brawd Houdini” by Meic Stevens
Unless you’re from Wales, you’ve probably never heard of this song or Meic Stevens, but neither had I till in my research I stumbled upon this earworm, which would be a perfect drinking song if I had any idea what the man was saying. Luckily, there are plenty of la las to sing along to as you clap and sway to this hidden gem.
- “Deck the Halls”
I went back and forth about whether to include this perennial Christmas favorite since it seems like it’s in a separate category than these other songs, but no list of la la la songs would be complete without “Deck the Halls.” It’s the main reason I’m doing this list so close to Christmas, and who hasn’t sung along to “fa la la la la, la la la la”? Here’s the new version from Pentatonix:
- “The Passenger” by Iggy Pop
This is another song I only discovered while researching this list, but how am I just now hearing this awesome 1977 tune, which has supposedly been used in several movies? Maybe I just never paid much attention to Iggy Pop, but “The Passenger” is a brilliantly catchy single that, like #7, is a song that had me swaying along with the la las.
- “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult
Blue Oyster Cult’s biggest hit may not have as many la las as its competition, but I’ve always loved this rock classic from 1976. The la las still stand out to complement the memorably haunting guitar riff, and the song has appeared in the film Scream and the miniseries The Stand.
- “Kiss the Girl” from The Little Mermaid
Now for the only song here to appear solely in a movie. “Kiss the Girl” doesn’t get as much attention as the more show-stopping tunes delivered by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, but it’s oh so romantic for Ariel and Eric’s near-kiss. The “sha la la” part just adds to the mood set by Sebastian and his singing menagerie.
- Around the World (La La La La La)” by ATC / “Pesenka” by Ruki Vverh! / “Magic Melody” by beFour
Time for the song with more la las than any other in the top twelve. (I’m just guessing.) I don’t get how, but this song’s indelible melody has been recycled numerous times. It was originally a 1998 song called “Pesenka” by Russian band Ruki Vverh!, then became more famous internationally in 2000 as “Around the World” by Eurodance band ATC (or A Touch of Class). Yet my favorite iteration is probably 2007’s “Magic Melody” by German group beFour, and it’s not just because the two female members are gorgeous. There are many many others, as you can see here. The words may change, but this is one la-la-filled song that seems designed to get stuck in your head.
- “Don’t You (Forget about Me)” by Simple Minds
It’s been really hard ranking these songs, but I knew what #1 would be from the very beginning. The Breakfast Club made this 1985 chart-topper iconic, which is acknowledged in Pitch Perfect as well. Simple Minds is an often overlooked ‘80s band, but this is one hit that will live on for as long as brains, athletes, basket cases, princesses, and criminals watch movies.
And here is the ENORMOUS list of runners-up, or rather every la la song I could find, listed alphabetically by artist. I know it’s far from complete, so feel free to suggest any I missed. I’ve added a double star after the songs I actually like enough to consider true runners-up.
“If It Means a Lot to You” by A Day to Remember
“Pyramania” by The Alan Parsons Project**
“Potential Breakup Song” by Aly and AJ
“A Horse with No Name” by America**
“This Is My Time” by Amy Stroup**
“La, La, La” by Auburn (feat. Iyaz)
“La La La La” by Baby Rasta y Gringo
“I Can Walk on Water, I Can Fly” by Basshunter**
“I Care” by Beyonce
“The Man in Me” by Bob Dylan**
“Lala Song” by Bob Sinclar and Sugarhill Gang**
“If U Seek Amy” by Britney Spears
“Sing La La La” by Carolina Marquez (feat. Flo Rida and Dale Saunders)
“La La La” by Chris Webby
“You Make Me Feel…” by Cobra Starship & Sabi**
“Dreams” by Cranberries**
“Little Lies” by Dave Barnes**
“Hot Summer Night” by David Tavare
“I’m Leavin’” by Elvis Presley
“Ooh La La” by The Faces
“L.A. Love (La La)” by Fergie
“Killing Me Softly with His Song” (the Fugees version)
“Ooh La La” by Goldfrapp
“Paris (Ooh La La)” by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals**
“La La La I Love You” by Gummibär
“Venus in Flares” by Half Man Half Biscuit
“Carolina” by Harry Styles**
“All We Ever Knew” by The Head and the Heart**
“Tonight Tonight” by Hot Chelle Rae**
“Sweat (A La La La La Long)” by Inner Circle
“La La Love” by Ivi Adamou**
“That’s Entertainment,” “Going Underground,” “The Man in the Corner Shop” by The Jam**
“La-La-La” by Jay-Z (from Bad Boys II)
“On the Floor” by Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull
“Sing” by Joe Raposo **
“Fa La La” by Justin Bieber
“Can’t Get You Out of My Head” by Kylie Minogue
“La La La” by Lil Wayne
“Children” by Listenbee, feat. Cosmos & Creature
“La La La” by LMFAO
“Share My World” by Mary J. Blige
“He Gives Me Love (La La La)” by Massiel
“Teddy Bear” by Melanie Martinez
“Lovin’ You” by Minnie Riperton
“Dead!” and “Boy Division” (barely) by My Chemical Romance
“Kind & Generous” by Natalie Merchant**
“La La La” by Naughty Boy**
“I Drive Myself Crazy” by N’Sync**
“Mountain Sound” by Of Monsters and Men**
“Freedom” by Pharrell Williams**
“Russian Roulette” by Red Velvet**
“Only Girl (In the World)” by Rihanna
“La La La” by Shakira
“The Boxer” by Simon and Garfunkel (sort of)
“Sheila Take a Bow” by The Smiths
“Spice Up Your Life” by Spice Girls
“Stand Back” by Stevie Nicks**
“La La-La” by Sukshinder Shinda
“Head over Heels” by Tears for Fears**
“Ooh La La La” by Teena Marie**
“Freedom” by Tyrone Wells**
“Shalala Lala” by Vengaboys
“Himmelblau” by Wolfgang Riechmann
Wow, that was tiring! What could I do next? A list of “da da da” songs or maybe “whoo” or “oh oh oh”? That would probably take even longer so not for a while. As one last movie inclusion, I’ll end this list with the opening credits to The Big Lebowski, with Bob Dylan’s “The Man in Me.” And a Merry Christmas to everyone who got this far. Thanks for reading (and listening)!