Of all the odd symbols on the periodic table of elements, I have always found the one for potassium the strangest. I often sat in chemistry class trying to make the connection between that element and its symbol, the letter K.
During my year in chemistry I learned the importance of potassium, including the fact that a lack of it could cause serious damage to the heart. I also learned of its link with sodium and salt, and many other details I have long forgotten.
What I most longed to learn about potassium, which the teacher failed to address, was why its symbol was K. After all, there is not a single K in the entire word.
With the advent of the internet, perhaps I can at last discover the reason. While I am surfing for the origin of the K for potassium, I suppose it would be appropriate to listen to these songs. All of them have “K” girls in their titles.
“Kathy’s Song” by Simon and Garfunkel: This beautiful ballad from Sounds of Silence showed the world that Paul Simon could pen more than just anti-establishment songs and poetry of isolation.
“Karen” by The National: The indie band from Ohio garnered its first national recognition on Alligator, which contained this tune.
“Katie’s Been Gone” by the Band: This track is one of the many gems from the folk-rock group’s smash album, Music from the Big Pink.
“Katie” by Barenaked Ladies: The Ladies remain one of the biggest attractions of the 90s bands, primarily because they continue to make creative and fun albums, such as Everything to Everyone. It includes this “K” track, an ode to one of the most popular girl name of the last decade.
“Kim & Jessie” by Tokyo Police Club: The indie band has built a huge following since its inception in the 00s, blending great guitar work with wonderfully enigmatic lyrics. This song, from the album 10 X 10 X 10, is typical of the group’s brand of pop-rock.
“Kasey” by Jet Set Pilots: From the Ready for Takeoff album, this acoustic track features catchy guitar work and an obviously heart-felt vocal performance.
“Katrina” by The Marvelous 3: This track from Math and Other Problems features the punky indie rock fans of the group have come to expect.
“Katalina” by the Ethels: This surreal tune from Field Trip to Cakeland has an acoustic quality and, combined with its vocals, gives it a Coldplay-like sound.
“Kerry” by Hall and Oates: “Rich Girl” prompted people to buy the album, and this track helped keep Bigger than Both of Us on their turntables.
“Kelly” by Del Shannon: Though not quite as enduring (or endearing) as “Runaway,” this minor hit can still be found on any of the early pop star’s anthologies.