Katie Casey was baseball-mad, Had the fever and had it bad, Just to root for the hometown crew, Every sou Casey blew. On a Saturday her young beau Called to see if she'd like to go To see a show, but Miss Kate said, "No, I'll tell you what you can do:"
—The first verse of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game"
The song is known only by its chorus. Few know of the existence
of verses. If a verse is known, it's the related trope of the Second Verse Curse
. If the Chorus is really it for lyrics, it becomes a Single Stanza Song
. If it extends to the title, goes into Refrain from Assuming
. If the title is all people get in the chorus, can get into Something Something Leonard Bernstein
This is true of many songs from Tin Pan Alley days, which have verses which have been long forgotten by everybody but music geeks. It doesn't help that publishers often remove the verses of these songs to save pages.
See also Title Only Chorus
, compare with Something Something Leonard Bernstein
- "Song 2" by blur. This example might be this trope squared. How many people know words to the chorus other than "WOO HOO"?
- Basshunter does this many times with his own songs, with examples ranging from the chorus-only "Vi Sitter I Ventrilo Och Spelar DotA" to not realizing "Jingle Bells" has more than one verse.
- "Take Me Out To The Ball Game." The verses, as it happens, are actually quite interesting, centering as they do on a Tomboy who loves baseball.
- Several hymns suffer from this.
- So do national anthems.
- That mainstay of the Last Night of the Proms, "Rule Britannia" has verses that no one knows, but they do know the chorus.
- "Give Peace a Chance" by John Lennon. Since the chorus is only one couplet, repeated as necessary, that takes this trope near the limit. But it's understandable: the chorus is simple and timeless; the verses are tonguetwisters, and they are less timeless.
- The "forgotten verses" effect is perhaps heightened by the fact that current live concert performances of the song by Paul McCartney as a tribute to his former bandmate include only the familiar refrain, usually as part of a medley with another song. (For example, since at least 2009, The Beatles' "A Day in the Life" has been the song that segues into the refrain of "Give Peace a Chance".)
- "Hey Jude" is much the same...
- "Yankee Doodle", of all things, has quite a few verses (specific regions and regiments came up with their own additional verses during The American Revolution), but nobody today remembers any more than the chorus.
- "Crawling" by Linkin Park is infamous for its angsty chorus and little else; in fact most only ever know the first line, the second is brought up occasionally, and almost never the 3rd or 4th.
- The theme song for The Jeffersons.
- "Daisy Bell", the song that HAL sings in 2001: A Space Odyssey, has verses. Nobody remembers it under that title, either (HAL calls it "Daisy," but most people remember it as "A Bicycle Built For Two"), since only the verses mention a bell.
- As do "Oh I do like to be beside the seaside" and "Where did you get that hat?".
- "Closer" by Nine Inch Nails, to the point where most people refer to it as the fuck-you-like-an-animal song, which completely misses the point.
- Several of the songs from The Wizard of Oz have verses not used in the movie, including "Over The Rainbow", "Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead", "If I Only Had a Brain/Heart/Nerve", and "The Merry Old Land Of Oz".
- Even more surprising are songs that got cut out of the film entirely, including "The Jitter Bug", "Happy Glow", and "The Ozphabet". (The musical stage version retains many of them.)
- Many many folksongs and shanties and their ilk suffer from either this or the Second Verse Curse. "Blackfly", "Canning Salmon", and "Northwest Passage" are three.
- "Tubthumping" by Chumbawamba. Best known for "I get knocked down, but I get up again". That song. It's a shame, because the verses would make the most awesome drinking game ever. I drink a whiskey drink, I drink a vodka drink...
- Of course, "Tubthumping" (and the entire album it's on) is an extended rant about how Tony Blair and Labour betrayed the British Left, and now ordinary people are screwed...
- It's a bit of an in-joke in the Goth fandom that nobody remembers the lyrics of The Sisters Of Mercy's "This Corrosion" other than the "Hey now, hey now now now, sing this corrosion to me" chorus.
- Hey, you know Gary Glitter's "Rock And Roll (Part 2)"? You know, The Hey Song? Yeah, there's also a Part 1. Our European tropers are already going "WELL, NO SHIT" but they need to remember, only Part 2 got popular over in America!
- God Bless America. (The verse begins "While the storm clouds gather / Far across the sea," which reflects on the song having been first published in 1938.) Let Kate Smith show you how it goes.
- Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA" — double the fun in that without the verses the meaning of the song changes completely. Occasionally leads to research failure when people neglect to listen to the song before using it.
- An inversion of sorts: the Standard Snippet version of "The Streets of Cairo" uses the tune of the verse, not the chorus.
- "I'm Henry the Eighth, I Am"; largely the fault of Herman's Hermits, who only sung the chorus in their (very popular) version. "Second verse, same as the first!" Apparently they performed only the chorus because that was the only part they knew. So it could have been a Chorus-Only Song before they recorded it.
- Nobody cares about the verses to Kiss's "Rock and Roll All Nite". Nobody.
- See, that's the kind of talk makes people get wild. But that's okay - "you drive us wild, we'll drive you crazy..."
- This is a particularly odd case in that it's not unusual for casual listeners to know both (some of) the verse and the chorus, but think they're different songs.
- This page on ParlorSongs.com details the process in which verses of Tin Pan Alley songs became obscure.
- Many songs from Tin Pan Alley days have verses which have been long forgotten by everybody but music geeks—so much so that guessing the song from its first verse became a parlor game.
- "Give My Regards To Broadway" is a good example of this.
- As are most songs written by the Gershwins.
- You're unlikely to hear the (unmelodic) verse of "As Time Goes By" because it wasn't used in Casablanca.
- The melody is all right; it's the lyric that's the problem. Listen here. Needs no introduction, indeed.
- Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes! David Bowie.
- For many, "We Will Rock You".
- And its near companion "We Are The Champions".
- "When The Saints Go Marching In"
- War! Huh! Good god! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing! Everyone knows that, barely anyone knows the verses.
- "Rock The Casbah" by The Clash. How many people (especially outside Britain) even understand the words, let alone know the verses well enough to sing them? And yet, every time the chorus comes back we're all reciting: "Something something something...Rock the Casbah! Rock the Casbah!"
- "It's the End of the World as We Know It" narrowly avoids because people get one or other line of the verses (mostly "LEONARD BERNSTEIN!").
- "This is not a love song" by Public Image Ltd. (PIL, not Public Image).
- "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye" by Steam. It does have two verses, which may not have been remembered, partially because the first verse sounds too much like the chorus to Jerry Butler's "He Will Break Your Heart", but moreso because of its chorus immortalized as a sports anthem.
- Deep Purple's "Smoke On The Water". Some only stay for the guitar riff (which is outlawed now in most music shops), some stay a little longer for the pretty memorable chorus, but rarely does anyone know the verses. As one friend remarked: "There are verses?" Furthermore, just ask the nearest guitar player in your vicinity to play "Smoke on the Water". Safe to say at least 95% of people will know the "main" riff, less than 4% will have bothered to learn the verses and chorus, and maybe 1% will know the solo.
- "There She Goes" by The La's (later covered by Sixpence None The Richer) is this, since it doesn't have any verses.
- "Wild Thing/You make my heart sing"...
- Wild Thing, I think there are verses/But I wanna know for sure...
- A scene in Canadian Bacon has John Candy and the other two guys singing the chorus of "Born in the USA" and "Oklahoma!!" over and over again because they don't know the rest of the lyrics.
- An odd example of this is "Ohio" by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. It consists of a chorus, a bridge, the same bridge repeated, then the chorus repeated again.
- The opening theme of Princess Tutu, "Morning Grace".
- "When You Wish Upon a Star", as heard in Pinocchio.
- "It's a Long Way To Tipperary"
"Up to mighty London came an Irishman one day —
- "Hello, My Baby!"
- Oddly averted by Ivor Bigguns, normally known for his terribly bawdy songs.
- "Ta-rar-a Boom-de-ay!" (Although a lot of people know the melody of the verses as "Lizzie Borden took an axe...")
- KC and the Sunshine Band's "That's the Way (I Like It)".
- Not many people know that "You Are My Sunshine" has verses, since they're nearly never sung.
- Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land", which could be why everyone believes it to be such a patriotic song.
- It's a protest song - it's the essence of patriotism!
- TO make things worse, when the song's verses are included, they are often limited to the first three—while the protest elements are present, they become more clear in the two later verses (the very last one ending in "Is this land made for you and me?").
- "Gasolina" by Daddy Yankee has this taken to an extreme - people only know the chorus, and they do so as "something something Gasolina" repeated 8 times.
- For some, "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" are just those five words.
- Prince's "Batdance" has got to qualify. While it is admittedly far more of a dance number than a "sing-along" song, most people are unlikely to remember more than about 10 percent of the lyrics at best (assuming they can remember it at all). In fact, the one line (besides the chorus) that everyone seems to remember is the very first one ("Oh, I got a live one here!") - and that's only because radio deejays loved to play it as an out-of-context gag soundbite for years afterward.
- Rising rapper B.O.B's first album had a lot of songs like this. Higher is a perfect example, and plays out like this: Verse 1->Chorus->long instrumental->Chorus again. His songs had short verses with long choruses. A song that worked with it was Ghost in the Machine, however, because it's an absolutely epic tearjerker, which is hard to find in Hi-Hop nowadays.
- "Anything You Can Do" has a short verse, but it's not used in Annie Get Your Gun.
- Assuming they've never heard the Cluster F-Bomb bridge to Disturbed's "Down with the Sickness", most people will probably know "Get up! C'mon, get down with the sickness! Get up! C'mon, get down with the sickness! Get up! C'mon, get down with the sickness!". They may even forgo the rest for the title alone.
- Well, they know that part and "a-wah-ah-ah-ah."
- If you've ever heard "Waltzing Matilda" chances are you've only ever heard not only the first verse and the chorus, but you'll also hear them misquoted. The song itself is about a swagman who steals a "jumbuck" (sheep), then drowns instead of letting the police take him. And everyone misquotes the line as "You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda with me" (The swagman sings "Who'll come...", while the troopers sing "You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda with we".)
- Not to mention, the original lyrics for the chorus were set to a different tune.
"Who'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, my darling?
Who'll come a-Waltzing Matilda with me?
Waltzing Matilda and leading a water-bag
Who'll come a-Waltzing Matilda with me?"
- Interestingly, some people were introduced to the original, full version as children thanks to Shining Time Station.
- "Firework" by Katy Perry, to some.
- "The Great Escape" by Boys Like Girls, to most. (Blame Disney)
- "I Feel Good" by James Brown.
- The verse to the title song of Of Thee I Sing was printed in the vocal score, but with a note saying that it is not used. Few recordings include it.
- The chorus of the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers theme song is iconic, but few people actually remember the opening verse—likely because only the chorus was in the opening of the show.
"They've got a power and a force that you've never seen before.
They've got the ability to morph and to even up the score.
No one can ever take them down.
The power lies on their side!"
- Power Rangers Samurai reuses the theme, but gets rid of everything but the chorus and changes the lyrics slightly. The only lyrics are "Go go, Power Rangers," and "Rangers together, samurai forever" (in place of "you Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers.")
- "Paradise City" by Guns N' Roses: it has verses, sung more or less clearly (though really fast), but everybody remembers only the lyrics of the chorus: "Take me down to the paradise city, where the grass is green and the girls are pretty. TAKE ME HOME!".
- Transformers: The Movie appears resigned to this. It adds completely forgettable lyrics around the already well-known "Transformers, more than meets the eye" Expository Theme Song, then removes them when the song is sung at the beginning of the movie, only playing them during the credits.
- One Week by Barenaked Ladies gets this somewhat. Each chorus is slightly varied, but the verses are not nearly as well known, not helped by being somewhat disconnected from the chorus, and generally sung very fast.
- How many people watching the Indianapolis 500 each year know that "Back Home Again in Indiana" has verses to go with the single chorus sung by Jim Nabors?
- "Boss of Me", the title song for Malcolm in the Middle by They Might Be Giants, was only used in full once on the show: an extended music-video-like opening for season 2's "Old Mrs. Old".
- "Wooly Bully" by Sam the Sham & the Pharoahs.
- The infamous "Who Let the Dogs Out?" by Baha Men. The verses sound quite different from that chorus, to say the least.
- For some reason, most hymnals print only the chorus of Andraé Crouch's "My Tribute" (which begins "To God be the glory, To God be the glory / To God be the glory for the things He has done…") and omit the verse (which begins "How can I say thanks for the things You have done for me?"). Some go even further and lop off the end of the song ("Just let me live my life / Let it be pleasing, Lord, to thee…") followed by the last half of the chorus a second time.
- Other hymnals subvert this, since some hymns are written with verses sung by a song leader and/or choir, and the congregation joining in on the refrain. As a result, the hymnals in the pews have only the refrain printed, while the song leader/choir versions contain the entire song.
- "The Bad Touch" by The Bloodhound Gang: "You and me, baby ain't nothin' but mammals/So let's do it like they do on the Discovery Channel."
- Not uncommon in America with hit songs recorded in other languages.
- "Macarena" by Los Del Rio, with many Americans only knowing the "HEEEEEEEEEEEY Macarena!" bit.
- "99 Luftballoons" outside of "something, something, Captain Kirk" most Yanks only know "99 luftballoons, blahblahblahblahblahblahblah, 99 luftballoons".
- "Du Hast" by Rammstein. Though it's actually the repeated lines of the verse most people in the US Know.
- "La Bamba" by Richie Valens (and later covered by Los Lobos for the soundtrack of Valens' biopic starring Lou Diamond Phillips).
- "Gangnam Style" by PSY. The only words people know are "Oppan Gangnam Style" and "HEEEEY!!! Sexy LADY!" because everything else is in Korean. Also applies to "Gentleman" to a lesser extent.
- Meatloaf's "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)" is infamous for supposedly not specifying just what the singer wouldn't do. In fact, it mentions four such things, one in each... verse. (The confusion can be blamed on a combination of two things: this trope and the use of the word "but" instead of "and", since each of the mentioned actions is not a "good" thing one would do "for love.")
- ♪Oo-hoo DREEEEEEAM WEAVER! I believe you can get me through the NI-IIIIIGHT!♪
- In the Star Trek episode Plato's Stepchildren, the song "Maiden Wine" sung by Leonard Nimoy actually has two verses. It is usually cut for length on television. This song also suffers from I Am Not Shazam since the name of the song is usually called "Bitter Dregs" and the mistaken assumption that those words are the chorus of the song but they only appear in the first verse.