Stuttering in Music

"K-K-K-Katy" was published in 1918 by Geoffrey O'Hara and became a huge hit in wartime America, referred to as "The Sensational Stammering Song Success Sung by the Soldiers and Sailors". Anyone who had either a stutter or a lisp was covered. The song uses stuttered lyrics in every line of the chorus, and refers to the stuttering of a stereotypically bashful suitor.

A stylized form of stuttering has frequently appeared in popular music over the past few decades. In some songs from the 1960s and 1970s the vocalist would rapidly repeat the first syllable of a word. An early example is The Who's 1965 song "My Generation", in which Roger Daltrey sings the line "Just talkin' 'bout my G-g-g-generation". In that particular case, the song's stuttering style provides a framework leading up to the sly lyric, "Why don't you just fu.. fu.. fade away!" Another example was the effected stuttering by the Bachman Turner Overdrive in their 1974 hit song "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet". By the early 1980s producers were creating the same effect synthetically using tape editing and digital sampling of lyrics. Paul Hardcastle's 1985 song "19" features it throughout in both the spoken word and vocal segments. Remixes of songs very frequently employed the effect. Starting in the 1990s stuttering effects fell out of popular use in music.

In 1995, stutterer Scatman John turned his problem into his asset and wrote the hit song "Scatman". Stuttering assisted him to scat sing and create incredible sounds. The lyrics are inspirational and directed at stutterers:

Everybody stutters one way or the other so check out my message to you
As a matter of fact, don't let nothin' hold you back
If the Scatman can do it, so can you.

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