These have been bothering me for ages. They are, to put it whimsically, songs that sacrifice grammar or meaning at the altar of rhyme.
I’m not talking stupid or nonsensical lyrics here – these are lines that have SOLD OUT just in order to rhyme. Here are a few to be getting on with.
Imagine - John Lennon
"Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too."
Why? Once voted "Britain's favourite poem", the rubbishness of Imagine's lyrics is frequently overlooked. To prove the point, one of my English professors once read the whole thing out during a lecture in a witheringly sarcastic voice. He singled out this bit - with its "there's no countries" and "no religion too" - as truly unforgivable. Rightly so.
Cats in the Cradle - Harry Chapin / Ugly Kid Joe
"'What I'd really like, Dad, is to borrow the car keys.
See you later. Can I have them please?'"
Why? Because the kid says "see you later" to his father before he's even asked for the car keys. Why would he do that? (A: to make it rhyme.)
Don't Know How to Say Goodbye - The Pigeon Detectives
"I don't know how to say goodbye
And if I did I'd surely cry
If it's a choice between you and me I'd go for I."
Why? I do expect rubbish lyrics from the PDs, but this is just terrible. What's wrong with: "I'd go for the latter"?
I Get Around - The Beach Boys
"We always take my car cos it's never been beat
And we've never missed yet with the girls we meet."
Why? Beaten. We always take my car cause it's never been beaten.
(What's The Story) Morning Glory - Oasis
"Another sunny afternoon,
Walking to the sound of my favourite tune.
Tomorrow never knows what it doesn't know too soon."
Why? Er... what? "Tomorrow never knows what it doesn't know, you goon," would've been better. The goon in question being Noel Gallagher, the man responsible for this crime against meaning.
Regulate - Warren G and Nate Dog
Why? Thanks for bringing melody and that Messrs G and Dog, but that won't excuse your ill piece of conjugation.
Whole Lotta Love - Led Zeppelin
"You need coolin', baby, I'm not foolin'
I'm gonna send you back to schoolin.'"
Why? Led Zeppelin are the ones who should be sent "back to schoolin'" if they think this is grammatically correct. And I'm not foolin'.