Intended for healthcare professionals

Observations Reality Check

Times like these you need some “One Four Five”

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 28 March 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e2342
  1. Ray Moynihan, author, journalist and conjoint lecturer, University of Newcastle, Australia
  1. Ray.Moynihan{at}

We should celebrate the magic of song and music therapy’s power to heal

A little known gem from the band Cat Empire is a song called One Four Five. It’s about someone visiting a doctor, complaining of aches and pains in body and soul, desperate about the pollution and stress of the modern world. With a grin, the doctor reaches into his bag, but “instead of an injection got a record with a tag” that says, “Listen to this daily with hip-shaking and such things.” Then he puts the record on, grabs a mike, and starts to sing … “you need some One Four Five.”

One Four Five is a simple reference to a common progression of chords, but, more deeply, it’s a call to celebrate the power of music. After taking the recommended dose the song’s narrator soon feels better in bone and spirit, as the doctor continues to extol the virtues of harmony: breeding positivity, and helping protect against insanity and insecurity. The lyrical musings seem whimsical, but they resonate through a small though growing evidence base, confirming our intuitive sense of the …

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