Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Hallelujah! The Songs We Should Retire

Note: This episode ofAll Songs Consideredoriginally ran on Oct. 11, 2017.

I was at a restaurant recently when "Cats In The Cradle," a mid-'70s song by Harry Chapin, came on. It's the one about a dad too busy for his son, and ends with the son growing up to be too busy for his dad. Anyway, the thought hit me, "Do I really ever have to hear this song again?" It's a well-crafted tune, but please: can't we just retire it?!

And so a show is born. On this edition of All Songs Considered, "Hallelujah! The Songs We Should Retire."

Robin Hilton, Stephen Thompson and I picked out some classic songs, and a few more recent tunes, to debate longevity and overstayed welcomes in modern music history. Should "American Pie" be put out to pasture? Has John Lennon's "Imagine" been imagined one too many times? Does Pharrell's "Happy" still make us happy, or should we, as Stephen Thompson suggests, cryogenically freeze it so we never have to hear it again in our lifetimes?

(P.S. — Do you have an idea for a song we should retire? Add your song and take our poll here.)

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit