Great Rhymes in Pop Music
Moon/June and groovy/movie are solid rhymes, but they're not "great" as defined for this page. "Lame," "cliched," and "predictable" maybe. But certainly nothing close to the beauties below.
Feel free to send me your favorites. Include title, artist, year if known, and at your discretion, your name or nickname, and city.
- "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover," Paul Simon, 1975
She said, It's really not my habit to intrude.
Furthermore, I hope my meaning
won't be lost or misconstrued.
But I'll repeat myself at the risk of being crude:
There must be fifty ways to leave your lover.
(The coy/Roy, bus/Gus chorus isn't bad either.)
- Subterranean Homesick Blues," Bob Dylan, 1965
Better jump down a manhole.
light yourself a candle.
Don't wear sandals. . . .
The pump don't work
'cause the vandals took the handles.
- "Rocky Raccoon," Beatles, 1968
His rival, it seems,
had broken his dreams
by stealing the girl of his fancy.
Her name was Magil
and she called herself Lil,
but everyone knew her as Nancy.
- "All Sold Out," Rolling Stones, 1967
All sold out,
I'd never seen
a mind so tangled,
a girl so strangled .
All sold out,
well I felt so green
It was just like that
was put down flat
I was sold out just like that
- "I Spy (for the FBI)," John Hiatt, 1980
I got an X-ray camera hidden in your house
that sees what I can't see.
And that man you were kissin' last night
definitely was not me.
Just because he's wearin' shades,
you thought he didn't leave a clue.
I got his name; I know his game.
He's Double-O You-Know-Who.
- "Promised Land," Chuck Berry, 1964
Swing low, sweet chariot,
come down easy,
taxi to the terminal zone.
Cut your engines and cool your wings
and let me make it to the telephone.
Los Angeles, give me Norfolk, Virginia,
Tidewater four ten-oh-nine.
Tell the folks back home,
this is the Promised Land calling,
and the poor boy is on the line.
- "Big Yellow Taxi," Joni Mitchell, 1970
They took all the trees
and put them in a tree museum.
Then they charged the people
a dollar and a half just to see 'em.
- "Taxman," Beatles, 1966
If you drive a car,
I'll tax the street.
If you try to sit,
I'll tax your seat.
If you get too cold,
I'll tax the heat.
If you take a walk,
I'll tax your feet.
- "She's a Woman," Beatles, 1964
She will never make me jealous.
Gives me all her time
as well as
Loving; don't ask me why
(Go to Bad Rhymes, below, for other lines in this song.)
- "Helter Skelter," Beatles, 1968
Do you, don't you, want me to love you?
I'm comin' down fast, but I'm miles above you.
Tell me, tell me, tell me your answer.
Well, you may be a lover, but you ain't no dancer.
- "Fortunate Son," Creedence Clearwater Revival, 1969
Some folks inherit star-spangled eyes.
Ooh, they send you down to war.
And when you ask them
"How much should we give?"
Ooh, the only answer's
"More! More! More!
- "I Can't Take it No More," John Fogerty, 2004
I bet you never saw the ol' school yard.
I bet you never saw the National Guard.
Your daddy wrote a check and there you are:
Another fortunate son.
- "Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind?" Lovin' Spoonful, 1966
Sometimes you really dig a girl
the moment you kissed her,
and then you get distracted
by her older sister.
- "Jug Band Music," Lovin' Spoonful, 1966
I was down in Savannah,
eatin' cream and bananas,
when the heat just made me faint.
I began to get cross-eyed.
I thought I was lost.
I began to see things as they ain't.
As the relatives gathered
to see what's the matter,
the doctor came to see was I dyin'.
But the doctor said,
"Give him jug band music:
It seems to make him feel just fine."
- "The Ballad of Charles Whitman," Kinky Friedman, 1973
There was a rumor
about a tumor,
nestled at the base of his brain.
He was sittin' up there with his .36 Magnum,
laughin' wildly as he bagged 'em.
Who are we to say the boy's insane?
- "We Didn't Start the Fire," Billy Joel, 1989
Little Rock, Pasternak,
Mickey Mantle, Kerouac,
Sputnik, Chou En-Lai,
Bridge on the River Kwai,
Lebanon, Charles DeGaulle,
children of Thalidomide
- "Stacy's Mom," Fountains of Wayne, 2003
Stacy, do you remember when I mowed your lawn? (mowed your lawn)
Your mom came out with just a towel o-o-o-o-on.
I could tell she likes me from the way she stared
(way she stared)
and the way she said,
You missed a spot over there-e-e-e-ere."
(spot over there)
- "Pencil Thin Mustache," Jimmy Buffett, 1974
And Rama of the Jungle was everyone's Bawana,
but only jazz musicians were smoking marijauna,
- "Good Morning, Good Morning," Beatles, 1967
Everybody knows there's nothing doin'.
Everything is closed; it's like a ruin.
- "I Was Made to Love Her," Stevie Wonder, 1967
You know, my papa disapproved it,
my mama bo-oo-hooed it.
(. . . proving that rhymes don't have to be perfect to click)
- "Pennsylvania Polka," Andrews Sisters*, 1942
It started in Scranton, it’s now No 1.
It’s bound to entertain you.
Everybody has a mania
to do the polka from Pennsylvania.* = and many others
Awful Rhymes in Pop Music
Just as on the Good Rhymes sections, I'm not looking here for predictable pairings such as me/free and love/dove/above. Let's see if we can find some truly awkward, clumsy, and wince-worthy examples. Feel free to send me your dorky discoveries.
- "Imagine," John Lennon, 1971
Imagine there's no countries.
It isn't hard to do.
Nothing to kill or die for
and no religion too.
- "She's a Woman," Beatles, 1964
My love don't give me presents.
I know that she's no peasant.
(Go to Good Rhymes, above, for other lines in this song.)
- "It Don't Come Easy," Ringo Starr, 1971
I don't ask for much;
I only want trust.
- "Eleanore," Turtles, 1968
You're my pride and joy et cet'ra.
Tell me that you love me better.
- "Darlin' Companion," Lovin' Spoonful, 1966
Come on and give me understandin'
and let me be your champion,
the hand to hold your pretty hand in.
(Disclaimer: The Turtles wrote this as a spoof of their own "Happy Together" hit. They tried to write a bad song and failed. It shot up to #6 on the Billboard Hot 100.)
- "Fort Worth, Dallas or Houston ," George Hamilton IV, 1964
I don't care if she is pretty or sexy,
as long as she comes from deep in the heart of Texas.
- "Abracadabra," Steve Miller Band, 1982
I wanna reach out and grab ya.
- "I'm in the Mood," John Lee Hooker, 1951
Every time I see you, baby,
walking down the street,
know I get a thrill now,
from my head down to my toes