Great Rhymes in Pop Music

Moon/June and groovy/movie are solid rhymes, but they're hardly "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 Li
    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
    Oh, baby

  • "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,
    California baseball,

    Starkweather homicide,
    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.
    (towel on)
    I could tell she likes me from the way she'd stare 
    (way she'd stare)
    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
    Everybody has a mania
    to do the polka from Pennsylvania.

  • "Eight Ball Blues," Steve Goodman, 1971
    I wish I was an Opry star 
       or had me a PhD.
    I wish I had the common sense 
       to be satisfied with me.
  • "IANHYPNB " (complete song below), 
     Steve Goodman, 1972

    My baby came to me this morning.
    She said, "I'm kinda confused." 
    She said, "If me and B.B. King was both drownin',
       which one would you choose?"
    I said, "Whoa, baby."
    I said, "Whoa, baby."
    I said, "Whoa, oh, baby . . . .
    Babe, I ain't never heard you play no blues!"

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Awful Rhymes in Pop Music

On the other hand, let's see if we can find some truly awkward, clumsy, and wince-worthy examples. Feel free to send me your dorky discoveries.

  • "A Well Respected Man," Kinks, 1965
    And he goes to the Regatta.
    He adores the girl next door,
    'Cause he's dying to get at her.

  • "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.
  • (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 chart.)

  • "Darlin' Companion," Lovin' Spoonful, 1966
    Darlin' companion,
    Come on and give me understandin'
    and let me be your champion,
    the hand to hold your pretty hand in.
  • "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
    Abra, abracadabra,
    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