The Top Ten: Best rhymes in songs
John Rentoul is chief political commentator for The Independent on Sunday, and visiting professor at King's College, London, and at Queen Mary University of London. Previously he was chief leader writer for The Independent. He has written a biography of Tony Blair, whom he admired more at the end of his time in office than he did at the beginning.
Sunday 08 June 2014
We did worst rhyming couplets last year, but recently I had a nostalgic Spotify session rediscovering Squeeze, which reminded me of the genius of Chris Difford's lyrics. A lot of nominations this week, but I was looking for more than 'clever lines in a song I like that also rhyme'...
1. 'You told me love was too plebeian/ Told me you were through with me and…'
Arthur Hamilton, "Cry Me a River", sung most memorably by Julie London. From Solly and Ben Ross.
2. 'My pulse will be quickenin'/ With each drop of strychnine/ We feed to a pigeon/ It just takes a smidgen'
Tom Lehrer, "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park", from Francis Wheen.
3. 'I saw two shooting stars last night/ I wished on them but they were only satellites'
Billy Bragg, "A New England". Issy Flamel and Anthony Wells.
4. 'Shetland pony/ Extra pepperoni'
Motorhead, "Eat the Rich", from Martyn Jackson.
5. 'Tempted by the fruit of another/ Tempted, but the truth is discovered'
Squeeze, "Tempted". Unusual whole-phrase rhyme.
6. 'People laughed and called it folly/ But we connected like a Yeboah volley'
Los Campesinos, "Glue Me", from Tim Miller.
7. 'Was it a millionaire who said "Imagine no possessions"?/ A poor little schoolboy who said "We don't need no lessons"?'
Elvis Costello, "The Other Side of Summer", from Richard T Kelly.
8. 'Richard got married to a figure skater/ And he bought her a dishwasher and a coffee percolator'
Joni Mitchell, "The Last Time I Saw Richard", from Donald Macintyre.
9. 'She said she'd seen a doctor/ And nothing now could stop her'
Squeeze, "Up the Junction", from Lesley Smith.
10. 'If I rhyme about home and got descriptive/ I'd make 50 Cent look like Limp Bizkit'
K'naan, Somalian rapper, from Ian Birrell.
Next week: Underrated family films (such as 'Atlantis: The Lost Empire')
Coming soon: Recurring news stories (such as 'Leaked details of new "Star Wars" film anger fans'). Send ideas for future Top 10s, to firstname.lastname@example.org
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