The top ten: Worst rhyming couplets in pop songs


In the course of praising Spandau Ballet, Patrick Hennessy, the political editor of 'The Sunday Telegraph', mentioned the first couplet on this list as a "contender for the worst of all time". I thought that a little broad, not wanting to bring Shakespeare or, worse, Milton into it. So I decided to keep it to popular music after 'Lady Chatterley's Lover'.

1. "She used to be a diplomat/ But now she's down the Laundromat." Spandau Ballet, "Highly Strung".

2. "Generals gathered in their masses/ Just like witches at black masses." Black Sabbath, "War Pigs". As Martyn Jackson says, "Rightfully been the subject of ridicule over the years, even from die-hard rock fans."

3. "To buy a drink that is so much more reasonable/ I think I'll go there when it gets seasonable." New Order, "Sooner Than You Think". Thanks to Warren Peace.

4. "I smoked my first cigarette at 10/ And for girls, I had a bad yen." The Animals, "When I was Young". Thanks to Roger Stevenson.

5. "Never been a fake and I'm never phony/ I got more flavour than a packet of macaroni." Bomb the Bass, sampled by the Prodigy, nominated by Mark Lott and Christopher Parkman.

6. "With a Smith & Wesson 38/ John Lennon's life was no longer a debate." The Cranberries, "I Just Shot John Lennon", nominated by Michael Deacon.

7. "Sip a glass of cold champagne wine/ The rug that we lie on feels divine." Nominated by Simmy Richman, who says it is "made more irritating by being in a song I rather like": Omar's "There's Nothing Like This".

8. "We spent the night in 'Frisco/ At every kind of disco." The Jacksons, "Blame it on the Boogie". Thanks to Andy Derya.

9. "I guess I'm something of a ne'er-do-well/ Even though that's something I could never do well." The Decemberists, "Oceanside".

10. "Abra, abra-cadabra/ I want to reach out and grab ya." Steve Miller Band, "Abracadabra". Thanks to Leyla Sanai.

Next week: Words that ought to be used more often.

Coming soon: Unsung villains: historical figures who don't get nearly as bad a press as they should. Send suggestions (by Tuesday 30 July), and ideas for future Top 10s, to