'Simply irresistible': Recurring accent patterns as hooks in mainstream 1980s music

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27 Scopus citations


This essay explores connections between the notion of 'hook' and several recurring accent patterns found in rock music from the 1980s. It begins by identifying seven syncopated accent patterns and presents a list of over 150 songs from the 1980s that use one or more of these patterns. It then presents three main ways that the accent patterns help create 'hooks'. First, several songs use one of the patterns to create a strong title hook, as in Rick Springfield's hit, 'I've Done Everything for You', the title of which is set with a syncopated and distinct rhythmic pattern. A second type of 'hook' comes in the form of a 'significant gesture' that usually precedes the chorus. The pre-chorus 'My-my-my-my, ah, woo!' gesture from The Knack's 'My Sharona' is an excellent example. Finally, a third type of 'hook' involves the combination of a repeated accent pattern with a recurring pitch pattern, as in the guitar introduction to AC/DC's 'For Those About to Rock'. By realising that these three examples all use the same accent pattern in significant, but different, ways, we acknowledge the prominence of this and other patterns while furthering the discourse on the notion of the 'hook'.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-77
Number of pages21
JournalPopular Music
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Music


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