TikTok has given new life to many previously forgotten songs, with creators taking out-of-context samples and giving them a whole new meaning. One such song is the “Oh No” song, but the actual track has a fascinating history.
In the world of TikTok, the “Oh No” song trend sees people laying the track and its many remixes and edits over moments when things are either about to or are in the process of going horribly wrong. Other users use the song to react to both social and professional red flags.
Even famous chef Gordon Ramsay has gotten involved, as one video created by his daughter, Tilly Ramsay, uses the song to soundtrack a prank she plays on her father.
Despite what some TikTokers might think, the song isn’t actually called the “Oh No” song. The sound clip comes from the song “Remember (Walking in the Sand),” specifically a transition segment just before the first chorus. This song was written by legendary musician George “Shadow” Morton and was first recorded by the girl group The Shangri-Las in 1964.
This track did really well at the time, becoming a top-five hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and even reaching #14 on the UK singles chart. Many critics and radio hosts praised the band’s vocal range and unique delivery of the lyrics, something that makes the song stand out even to this day. In fact, their unusual delivery of the “Oh No” is why the tune has become such a viral hit.
The song has been covered and re-released several times over the years. Singer-songwriter Louise Goffin included a cover of the track on her debut album Kid Blue. Famously, Aerosmith recorded a rock cover of the song in 1979 as part of their Night in the Ruts album. This version featured new backing vocals performed by former Shangri-Las member Mary Weiss. Alas, this role was uncredited.
In 2005, Capone sampled part of the track and raised the pitch as part of his song “Streets Favorite.” This song was released on his album Pain, Time, & Glory. More recently, rapper Kreepa has used the track as the basis for their own song fittingly titled “Oh No.” This song has quickly gone viral and has been listened to millions of times across several platforms. TikTok users use both the original version, the Capone sample, and the Kreepa single interchangeably, so it isn’t uncommon to see people mislabeling or misattributing the track on videos.
The popularity of “Remember (Walking in the Sand)” shows how the internet can cause the most unexpected content to go viral. It’s also a great example of how the internet can take something and make it into something else via cultural osmosis, as when most people hear “Oh No” and think of comical pratfalls and not The Shangri-Las.