Second Verse Curse

"On the shore, dimly seen
Thro' the mists of the deep"
— First phrase of "The Star-Spangled Banner"'s second stanza

The fate of a song when the general public knows only its first verse. In some cases, like "The Star-Spangled Banner", most audiences are aware that it is a longer work with multiple verses but few can say that they know the words. In other cases, most audiences are unaware that the song has more than one verse, which can be a surprise when, as in Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land," the second verse takes the song in a much different direction than the first.

It can be difficult to distinguish this trope from the similar Chorus-Only Song; the difference is that in the Chorus-Only Song the chorus is known but no one remembers the verse, while in this trope the first verse is known but no one remembers the others.

Sheet music publishers who print only the familiar stanzas can be blamed for this. Theme Tunes also tend to be subject to this.

Compare Chorus-Only Song. Contrast Single Stanza Song. Not to be confused with when the singer begins swearing later on in the song.

Examples:

National Anthems
  • "O Canada" has four stanzas in both the English and French versions, although the commonly-known first verse in each language are the only official lyrics. The later verses are too overtly Christian to be comfortably sung anywhere outside of church.
    • On some occasions, a mixture of the English and French lyrics is sung. However, this doesn't mean one stanza is sung in English and one in French; instead, it switches between the two languages mid-stanza. Since the French version and the English say completely different things, this makes the bilingual version Phrase Salad Lyrics for those who are English/French bilingual and Word Puree Lyrics for those that aren't. It's common for crowds to belt out the lyrics in one language and go completely silent at the other.
  • "The Star-Spangled Banner" also has four stanzas. You'd think the second one would be more popular, as it answers the question asked in the first ("O, say, can you see?" Yes, he can see.) The third one, on the other hand, is often left out even by those who know it for being blatantly anti-British. "Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution" indeed.
    "Somebody started the Star Spangled banner, and we sang the first verse - which is all that most people know..."
    • In a short story by Isaac Asimov, the protagonist caught a German spy by tricking him into revealing that he knew the whole thing, as presumably only a spy extensively coached on the culture he's infiltrating would have bothered to learn anything aside from the first verse.
    • Among the latter three verses, the fourth is the most well known, often mistaken for being the second verse. It's the only verse that doesn't specifically refer to the War of 1812, but rather to all wars that America will ever fight to preserve freedom, and the aftermath thereof.
  • "God Save The King/Queen" has five, with only the first usually sung. Occasionally the third one shows up at sporting events, confusing everybody. The second is a request for the politics of Britain's enemies to be confused, among other things and turns up on occasions. Urban Legends abound that the latter verses are Canon Discontinuity due to being anti-Scottish; these are largely bogus - the anti-Scottish verse did exist but was largely just a piece of propaganda and had fallen out of use long before the song was adopted as the official national anthem.
    • The remaining two original verses referred to specific historical events and figures that stopped being relevant within a generation of writing it - one anti-Scottish one and one anti-Catholic one. There are also, apparently, another five unofficial verses found in virtually unknown alternative versions.
    • The Canadian version of "God Save The Queen" has its own stanza; it's never sung these days.
  • The current national anthem of Germany avoids it by having only one stanza, being the third/last stanza of the 1841 poem "Das Lied der Deutschen" (also known as "Deutschlandlied"), whose three stanzas have been used in various constellations as national anthem since 1922. The Deutschlandlied's first verse, possibly the most widely known, was discarded due to its naming of borders which were never accurate to begin withnote  and are now - due to geographical shrinkage and migration after each of the World Wars - just blatantly irredentist and potentially aggressive towards those countries owning the territory in question, while the second one praised the country's culture, women, wine and song. The third stanza, which begins with "Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit" (Unity and Justice and Freedom, lyrics much more palatable to modern ears) is now the official national anthem. And there's also the melody's origin as the Austro-Hungarian imperial anthem, which most people are unaware of.
    • Gott erhalte Franz den Kaiser ("God preserve Franz the emperor")? The original lyric was, of course, quickly outdated by Francis' death in 1835. Hoffman von Fallersleben's words were often banned in the various German states, as it preached Pan-Germanism to replace the various autonomous (and later semi-autonomous) kingdoms, Prussia, Bavaria, Saxony, and the like. It was usually avoided in Imperial Germany exactly for its Hapsburg connotations, and replaced with the Prussian royal anthem Heil dir im Siegerskranz ("Hail to thee in the victor's wreath") — which had its own complications. In the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the anthem was kept, but this time as Gott behalte, Gott beschütze unsern Kaiser, unser Land ("May God keep, may God protect our emperor and our country"), which is directly referenced/satirized in Elisabeth.
  • The Dutch national anthem has 15 verses. Most people have trouble producing the first. Occasionally the sixth verse is added, most often by university students.
  • "Advance Australia Fair", in its original form as a poem, has five verses. Its adoption as the official national anthem in the 1970s cherry-picked the first and third verses as the official lyrics, as the other three verses were all quite imperialist and Anglophilic. In addition to that, only the first verse is usually sung, but most schools have the students sing both verses.
    • Though the oft-claimed unofficial national anthem is the one about the suicidal sheep thief. Which also suffers from Second Verse Curse.
    • Inverted in the case of "My Country" by Dorothea Mackeller, which is generally only remembered for its second verse, beginning with "I love a sunburnt country."
  • The Mexican anthem has 10 stanzas, yet only the first and the last ones are usually sung. If you really go overboard and sing the "long" version - the one sung in national anthem singing contests - you'll be singing only the first, the fifth, the sixth, and the last stanzas. Another standard cut is to sing the first two of the "short" official version. Oddly enough, the version used by schools cuts off before the one about washing church bells with the blood of the enemy and making sure to leave very big ruins for the future to marvel at when we get wiped out... (All of the odd stuff in the Mexican anthem can be Handwaved by the fact that it was written by a romantic poet locked in his room by his fiancee, though.)
  • The Brazilian anthem has fourteen, with the latter half (identical in melody to the first) being often omitted outside government/school settings. In fact, the instrumental rendition officially must feature only the first half. (And many sports events don't even play that half entirely, choosing to cut the last stanzas to play the intro entirely.)
    • Even worse: the intro has lyrics. Few people know it, and even fewer know said lyrics.
  • In some Irish classrooms, there's a small poster detailing the full lyrics to the national anthem, Amhrán na bhFiann in both Irish and English. Nobody ever sings any verse other than the first one.
    • It doesn't help that the national anthem is in a different language (Irish) to the language spoken every day (English) by most of the population.
  • The Greek national anthem "Hymn to Freedom" (or "Hymn to Liberty") is 158 stanzas long but only two are commonly known.
  • There's also a state song with several little-known stanzas—"Maryland, My Maryland." Only one of its nine stanzas is commonly sung today, for good reason—it was originally a pro-Confederate rally cry that referred to "Northern scum" and called Lincoln a "Yankee despot."
  • Parodied in the Discworld novels, where Ankh-Morpork's civic anthem "We Can Rule You Wholesale" was written with this in mind: the second verse purposefully consists mostly of incomprehensible mumbling on the grounds that no one will remember it anyway.
    • Also parodied in Monstrous Regiment where a character deliberately sings the second verse which no-one ever remembers and is then described as having a I'm-more-patriotic-that-you grin.
  • The French national anthem La Marseillaise has, in the mind of most French, only one stanza and the chorus.
    • Though interestingly, the chorus has a nice Christmasy bit about "let the tainted blood [of the invader] fertilize our soil," which can give all the above neglected verses a run for their money.
  • Polish national anthem has 5 stanzas, and a chorus. Most people know the first stanza and the chorus. Some also know the second and the third, though it is common for people not to know which is which. Almost nobody knows the fourth stanza, and the fifth one is practically forgotten (not to even mention the fact that there is no chorus after it).
  • The Swedish national anthem is an odd case. It's a straight example in that it has four verses, of which only the first two are ever sung. However, when sung at sporting events and the like, it's often cut down to one verse. But since the only line everyone knows is the last line of the second verse ("I want to live, I want to die in the North") it's then often inserted into the first verse instead.
    • Further played around with in that there is a very good explanation for why only the first two verses are ever sung: the third and fourth verses were written by another person over sixty years after the first two, after the song had already made significant progress in becoming a de-facto national anthem. Not only are they unknown to most Swedes, but even amongst those that do know about them, they often aren't recognised as actual third and fourth verses for Thou ancient, Thou free (since, well, they are basically a Fan Fic continuation).
  • The Norwegian national anthem, in its final form (written in two versions between 1859 and 1864), has eight stanzas, of which most Norwegians use the first, the seventh and the eight. As a rule, all the people of Norway are able to remember those verses by heart. The entire song is a different matter. Author Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson intended for the song to fast-track Norwegian history up to the point of writing (1864). The penultimate verse, beginning with the words: "Norwegian in house and hut, give your great God thanks", might seem a little out of the blue, when considering what the people is supposed to be thanking for. A motivational campaign for getting the entire song sung, with leaflets and everything, was set about, and it actually worked to a certain degree (among the things the campaigner did, was contacting the minister of culture at the time, and make an overly large book containing all the verses for regular people to see at a distance and sing along). No other country seems to have bothered that much about their national anthem.
  • Parodied in Molvanîa: A Land Untouched by Modern Dentistry, where the national anthem (composed in 1987, to the tune of the Flashdance theme) has an egregiously racist third verse which is "generally considered optional."
  • Italian national Anthem has 5 verses and a chorus, but only the first one and the chorus are usually sung.
  • Denmark is unique in that the country has two anthems, both with status of national anthem, and that both suffers from this trope. The standard anthem Der er et yndigt land started out with 12 stanzas, over time was cut down to 4, and by general agreement (because no one can remember the 4 stanzas anyway) the standard rendition is the first stanza and the latter half of the fourth. And then there's the Royal anthem Kong Christian stod ved højen mast, usually played at military events or when members of the royal family is present. Despite this only consisting of 4 stanzas, the standard rendition is simply to sing the first verse.
  • "God Defend New Zealand", New Zealand's national anthem, has 10 verses in total (5 each in English and Te Reo Maori). Only the first verses from the English and Te Reo versions are ever sung. Third English verse ("Peace, not war, shall be our boast/but, should foes assail our coast...") is slightly more recognisable than others thanks to its use in recruitment ads for the New Zealand Defence Force.
  • "İstiklâl Marşı", the Turkish national anthem has 10 stanzas in total, of which only the first two are designated for official use. Reasons include that beyond the first two, the anthem is rather militaristic and anti-West in nature (it was composed during the War of Independence, when Turkey had to defend itself against no less than five foreign armies), not to mention that later verses, particularly the eighth one, explicitly talk about religion (specifically, Islam), which clash with the official policy of secularism. The full anthem used to be recited in its entirety during the early years of its adoption, mostly as a rallying jargon for the Turkish National Movement, and it continues to be featured in student classrooms.
  • "Himni i Flamurit" has six stanzas, the first two of which are generally known, the third less so, and beyond is almost never used. Albanians usually repeat the last two lines of the second stanza to make up for the rest.
  • Indonesia's "Indonesia Raya" features three stanzas and a chorus, but outside of educated circles, scholars, and official records, the second and third verses have been completely forgotten. Even the most patriotic nationalists would give you very strange looks when you manage to recite the entire lyrics. The government did designate only the first stanza as the sole anthem, but it's astonishing that not even civic education classes (which students are required to take up to high school level) talk a single bit about them, as unlike other examples in this page, they're 100% controversy-free.
  • "Hatikva" (The Hope), the anthem of Israel, is based on a ten stanza poem called "Tikvatenu" (Our Hope), but only the first stanza and a modified refrain were adapted in the first place.

Folk songs and Christmas carols
  • "Molly Malone" ends with a Family-Unfriendly Death.
  • Most people know only the first stanza of "Deck the Halls".
    • The Pogo parody "Deck Us All with Boston Charlie" only has one verse, but few know more than the first half of it, because the rest was rarely (if ever) used in the strip itself.
      • Kelly did eventually write more verses. A "compleat" lyric sheet can be found here.
  • Hardly anyone is aware that "Jingle Bells" has 4 stanzas, including one in which the narrator is mocked after he falls out of his sleigh.
  • Most people sing only the first stanza to "Happy Birthday to You!". Probably because the second verse is "How old are you now?", which can be seen as offensive or simply blunt.
  • The Dutch birthday song, "Lang Zal Hij Leven": The first verse translates innocuously as "Long shall he live, long shall he live in glory!" The rarely-sung second verse translates as "In a hundred years, we'll all be dead in glory!"
  • Even "I'm a little Teapot" has a second verse.
    I am very special pot, that's true
    Here, let me show you what I can do
    I can change my handle and my spout
    Now (or just) tip me over and pour me out
  • The second through fifth verses of "Dixie's Land."
  • "When the Saints Go Marching In" can have up to a dozen verses. Odds are, the only one known to or used by most people is this one:
    Oh when the saints
    Go marching in
    Oh when the saints go marching in
    Lord, I want to be in that number
    Where the saints go marching in.
  • "This Land Is Your Land," by Woody Guthrie, as noted above.
    • It was, in fact, written as a rebuttal to "God Bless America" and intended as a "worker's national anthem." When Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen performed it at President Obama's inaugural celebration, they included the missing verse.
  • "Auld Lang Syne" actually has four verses, but most people only know the first (and the chorus). It doesn't help that the first verse is the only one that makes any kind of sense in English.
    • And even then most people probably don't know what "auld lang syne" refers to. note 
  • "Yankee Doodle" has some 16 verses. Most people only know the first verse (the one with the "macaroni") along with the refrain, though the verses starting with "Father and I went down to camp" and "And there was Captain Washington" seem to be popular.
  • "Winter Wonderland" has a lesser-known intro before the famous "Sleigh bells ring, are you list'nin'?":
    Over the ground lies a mantle of white
    A heaven of diamonds shine down through the night
    Two hearts are thrillin’ in spite of the chill in weather
    Love knows no season
    Love knows no clime
    Romance can blossom any old time
    Here in the open
    We’re walkin’ and hopin’ together
    • And the verse about Parson Brown and getting married? By 1953, that was already considered archaic, so this verse was written in its place.
      In the meadow, we can build a snowman
      And pretend that he's a circus clown
      We'll have lots of fun with Mr. Snowman
      Until the other kiddies knock him down
      When it snows, ain't it thrillin'
      Though your nose gets a-chillin'
      We'll frolic and play the Eskimo way
      Walkin' in a winter wonderland
    • Strangely, even though the "circus clown" was intended as a replacement for the "Parson Brown" verse, any rendition that includes it will also include Parson Brown.
  • "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" has an intro that is left out of almost all renditions of the song. Although originally intended to be sung, it's usually spoken in versions that do keep it.
    I just came back from a trip along the Milky Way
    I stopped off at the North Pole to spend the holiday
    I called on old dear Santa Claus to see what I could see
    He took me to his workshop and told his plans to me
    Now Santa is a busy man he has no time to play
    He's got millions of stockings to fill on Christmas Day
    You better write your letter now and mail it right away
    Because he's getting ready his reindeers and his sleigh
    • There are also later verses that many versions omit. The one that is omitted least frequently begins with "With little tin horns and little toy drums…"
  • Many renditions of "Sleigh Ride", including The Marvelettes, leave out the entire B-section (the part that begins "There's a birthday party at the home of Farm—" [whip] "—er Gray...").
  • Most renditions of "What Child Is This?" omit the second half of the second and third verses, instead using the last half of the first verse as a refrain ("This, this is Christ the King / Whom shepherds guard and angels sing / Haste, haste to bring him laudnote  / The Babe, the son of Mary!") The missing halves of each verse are: "Nails, spear shall pierce him through / The Cross be borne for me, for you / Hail, hail the Word Made Flesh / The babe, the son of Mary!" and "Raise, raise the song on high / The virgin sings her lullaby / Joy! joy! for Christ is born / The babe, the son of Mary!" Some renditions, including Carrie Underwood's, include the latter but not the former.
  • Similarly, there are five verses to "It Came upon the Midnight Clear", but most hymnals only use four. The third verse (which begins "Yet with the woes of sin and strife / The world has suffered long...") is typically the omitted verse, while the Episcopalian Hymnal 1982 omits verse four ("And ye, beneath life's crushing load / Whose forms are bending low…") instead.
  • Inverted by "White Christmas" whose first stanza was removed by composer Irving Berlin for its first wide release in 1942:
    The sun is shining.
    The grass is green.
    The orange and palm trees sway.
    There's never been such a day
    In Beverly Hills, L.A.
    But it's December the twenty-fourth,
    And I'm longing to be up north.
  • The rarely-seen final verse to "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing", probably because it's just not as Christmas-y as the rest of the song.
    Come, Desire of nations come,
    Fix in us Thy humble home;
    Rise, the Woman's conquering Seed,
    Bruise in us the Serpent's head.
    Adam's likeness now efface:
    Stamp Thine image in its place;
    Second Adam, from above,
    Reinstate us in thy love.
    • On top of that, the original version, written by Charles Wesley, underwent several rewrites to gain its most familiar lyrics. Early on, the fourth verse above was actually a composite of fourth and fifth verses. See more info. here.
    • The third verse also may be omitted, often because of the lyrics' Unfortunate Implication that Christ came to give eternal life to men, but not to women: "Born that man no more may die / Born to raise the sons of earth / Born to give them second birth." (The more politically correct version substitutes "we" for "man", "us from the earth" for "the sons of earth", and "us" for "them" - which incidentally makes the hymn a lot more personal and poignant as well.)
    • And in a curious subversion, the Episcopalian Hymnal 1982 does just three verses like nearly everyone else, but inexplicably switches around parts of the third.
  • "Joy to the World" has four verses, but most renditions will skip the third. In fact, those four come from a poem (based on Psalm 98) that originally had three more stanzas before even getting to the familiar "Christmas" portion of the song.
  • "Silent Night" has six verses in the original German. Most English translations use only verses 1, 6, and 2 in that order.
  • "We Three Kings" has five verses: the well-known introduction, one verse for each king about the symbolism of his gift, and a fifth verse concluding the song. The fourth verse is frequently omitted, either for length or because of its content: "Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume/ Breathes a life of gathering gloom/ Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying/ Sealed in the stone cold tomb." The final verse is sometimes cut as well, but occasionally it's included even when the fourth verse isn't.
  • Most takes on "Silver Bells" omit this intro:
    Christmas makes you feel emotional
    It may bring parties or thoughts devotional
    Whatever happens or what may be
    Here is what Christmas time means to me
  • "In the Bleak Midwinter" is a case where almost everyone knows the first verse, and most people in the western world would at least recognise verses 2, 4 and 5, but the third verse is pretty-much only known by diehard fans of Christina Rossetti (or people who are acquainted with Harold Edwin Darke's setting of the text, which doesn't work without it. It's not as well-known as the more famous tune by Gustav Holst, but the Darke version does get performed/recorded reasonably frequently).
    Enough for him whom cherubim
    Worship night and day:
    A breastful of milk
    And a mangerful of hay.
    Enough for him whom angels
    Fall down before:
    The ox and ass and camel
    Which adore.
  • "O Come, All Ye Faithful", in its original Latin version as "Adeste Fideles", was written with four verses in 1740-43, but expanded to eight verses within a century. Only the original four verses are performed in most carol services - and the fourth verse ("Yea, Lord, we greet Thee") is only performed on Christmas Day in some countries.

Hymns and Christian songs
  • The final verse to "Brightest and Best", which totally changes the meaning of the song to an anti-consumerist message, is often omitted.
    Vainly we offer each ample oblation
    Vainly with gifts would His favor secure
    Richer by far is the heart's adoration
    Dearer to God are the prayers of the poor
  • "The Church's One Foundation" was written with seven verses. Most versions skip verse 3, and end on a verse that is a composite of the first halves each of 6 and 7, leaving the second halves of each unaccounted for. Some also omit verse 4.
  • Charles Wesley's "O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing" was written with seventeen verses. Most versions snip out the first six (the Title Drop occurs in verse 7), typically using 7-12 and sometimes 17. Others also omit verse 12 because of the line "his praise, ye dumb, your loosened tongues employ".
  • Similarly, Wesley's "Come Thou, O Traveler Unknown" had fourteen verses but is pared down to 1, 2, 9 and 10.
  • "Here, O My Lord, I See Thee Face to Face" originally had seven verses. The United Methodist Hymnal has it with five; the Episcopalians actually use four verses as one hymn and the other three as another hymn, titled "This Is the Hour of Banquet and of Song".
  • Most 20th century praise songs are published in hymnals with only the refrain. Examples include Amy Grant's "El Shaddai" and "Thy Word", Rich Mullins' "Awesome God", Michael Joncas' "On Eagle's Wings", and just about anything by Andraé Crouch. Older examples include "Fill My Cup, Lord" and "Turn Your Eyes upon Jesus".
    • Andraé Crouch's "My Tribute" is an unusual example. The song consists of one verse ("How can I say thanks…"), a four-line refrain ("To God be the glory…"), a bridge ("Just let me live my life…"), then a repeat of the last two lines of the refrain. Many versions in hymnals omit the verse so it's just refrain-bridge-second half of refrain, and some trim it even further to just the refrain.
    • For gay-friendly Christian congregations, the second verse's "Judgment and wrath He poured out on Sodom" in "Awesome God" would not sit very well with the congregants.
    • Sometimes, this trope is subverted by printing the verses only in the song leader's or choir edition of the hymnal, so that the song leader and/or choir sings the verses, and the congregation joins on just the refrain. This style is particularly common in songs of Catholic origin, and the chants of Jacques Berthier and the Taizé Community.
  • Everyone knows the first verse and chorus of "Jesus Loves Me", but do you know any of the next six verses? Most hymnals stop at three or four.
  • Amazing Freaking Grace, in its original form, had five verses as originally written by John Newton. The original final verse was:
    The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
    The sun forbear to shine;
    But God, who call'd me here below,
    Will be forever mine.
    • Most versions omit the above verse, leaving only four. Some replace it with a verse of African American origin:
      When we've been therenote  ten thousand years,
      Bright shining as the sun,
      We've no less days to sing God's praise,
      Than when we first begun.
    • Interestingly, one of the most popular adaptations, "Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)" by Chris Tomlin, uses the original final verse.
  • Some versions of "What Wondrous Love Is This" have only three verses, with the first being a composite of the first two verses. To be fair, the first halves of these verses are very similar.
  • "Go Down, Moses" can have as many as eleven verses.
  • Most versions of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" omit Verse 3:
    I have read a fiery gospel writ in burnished rows of steel:
    "As ye deal with my contemners, so with you my grace shall deal;
    Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel,
    Since God is marching on."
    • And almost as many also omit Verse 6:
      He is coming like the glory of the morning on the wave,
      He is Wisdom to the mighty, He is Succournote  to the brave,
      So the world shall be His footstool, and the soul of Time His slave,
      Our God is marching on.
  • Unique Jewish example: The song Ma'oz Tzur is sung on Hanukkah. The poem is six verses long, but most people only know and sing the first verse. Some also sing the fifth verse, which directly relates the the holiday of Hanukkah itself.
  • Another Jewish example is the Passover song "Dayenu." The whole version of the song is remarkably long: it has a lot of verses, but the real problem is that the traditional tune involves repeating words over and over again and then going back and repeating the same phrase over and over again. ("If-you-had-brought-brought-brought-brought-brought-us-brought-us-brought-us-out-of-Egypt-if-you-had-brought-us-out-of-Egypt..."). It's like the holiday song that Gertrude Stein would write. Singing the whole song to that tune would take half an hour, if you were sober (which you are not). Most families get about a sentence and a half into the lyrics before giving up.
  • "God Be with You Till We Meet Again" is an interesting case. The tune was originally composed by William G. Tomer with a refrain ("Till we meet, till we meet / Till we meet at Jesus' feet…") that is cut out of some hymnals. A later melody, by Ralph Vaughan Williams, does not include a refrain. Both can be heard here.

Other
  • "Home on the Range" has seven verses. Most people would be hard pressed to name any after the 1st verse and chorus.
  • Transformers:
    • Transformers Animated:
      • Its version of the Transformers opening theme is actually the only version to contain extra lyrics
        Transformers!
        More than they appear
        Transformers!
        Justice, bolts, and gears!
      • The show's second Japanese opening actually uses the second verse of their version of the show's opening theme, as well as a completely new animation for Megatron.
    • The ending theme from The Transformers: The Movie has a full set of verses.
  • These often-forgotten lyrics to the DuckTales opening theme:
    When it seems to be heading for
    The final curtain
    Cool deduction never fails
    Well, that's for certain
    The worst of messes
    Can become successes
    (chorus)
  • "Arabian Nights" from Aladdin originally had three verses (four if you count the B-section), in addition to four reprises at various points in the story, but was cut down to a single stanza for the film. Some of the cut verses and reprises later appeared in the sequels, and more recently, all were restored in the stage musical.
  • Scott Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag" has a rarely-heard second interlude (around 2:00) that sounds very different from the main piece. There's also a version with lyrics. Similarly, the first section of Joplin's "The Entertainer" is well known, the second section a little less, and the third and fourth sections rarely heard.
  • Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah", as originally written, is several dozen verses in length, which, according to John Cale, took up fifteen pages when Cohen faxed them to him. Cohen's original recording of it featured four of them; Cale's cover, and the subsequent covers of his cover, used the first two verses of Cohen's recording and three others that he had left out.
  • Almost everybody in Catalonia can sing by head the first stanza of the hymn of the FC Barcelona. Only true fans know the lyrics to the second stanza, though.
  • The Norwegian birthday song by Margrethe Munthe, 'Hurra for deg som fyller ditt år'. Sometimes, people will begin singing the second verse for the lols, even though everyone else are already applauding after the first.
  • The full version of The Angry Video Game Nerd's theme has only been used once so far.
  • The theme to Atop the Fourth Wall has a second verse not usually used in-show. At live shows, where Linkara encourages the audience to sing along to the theme, he once caught an audience off-guard by playing the long version.
  • "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" has five stanzas, but most people are only familiar with the first.
  • "America, the Beautiful" has four stanzas, of which most people only know the first.
  • A tremendous number of television theme songs have additional verses that are almost never heard unless the show does a "milestone" episode — examples include the themes from Cheers and Friends.
  • Although they are not technically "verses", many themes also have instrumental "B-section" stanzas that are rarely if ever actually broadcast. Doctor Who has a segment known as the "middle 8" that is sometimes heard as a regular part of the theme, and sometimes is ignored completely, to the chagrin of die-hard fans. The theme for Star Trek: The Original Series likewise has a "middle 8" section that is heard throughout the original TV broadcasts, but is omitted in the recent (2009-) film series, making the melody actually sound incomplete as a result.
  • The Family Guy theme song has two stanzas, but the opening sequence only plays the first. The full song is heard on the Live in Vegas album.
  • Many songs will cut a verse from the radio edit if the original version is particularly long. For instance:
    • Reba McEntire's cover of Bobbie Gentry's "Fancy" lost the fourth verse (which begins "It wasn't long after that benevolent man took me off the street…"). The album version is 5 minutes long, which is abnormal for a country song, hence the lost verse.
    • Kenny Chesney's "When I See This Bar", which is 6 minutes long on the album, lost its last verse (which begins "A few have moved on back to Maine / Jacksonville and Key Biscayne…") and a few lines from the coda.
    • Keith Urban's "Once in a Lifetime" had a repeat of the chorus with different words edited out of the radio version. Interestingly, most lyric sites don't even reflect the album version's additional lyrics.
    • Ray Stevens' "Ahab the Arab" had the final verses (beginning with "All of a sudden, the Sultan walked in / Ahab knew that this was the end…") excised from the radio edit, and most circulating versions follow suit. Likewise, lyric sites cut it off where the single edit does.
    • Alabama's "Dancin', Shaggin' on the Boulevard" had the fourth of its five verses ("Well the Embers singin' up on Ocean Drive…") removed from the radio edit.
    • Alan Jackson's "Good Time" had two verses and some solos cut from the radio edit. Considering the repetition in the remaining verses (most notably, the entire verse that begins "Shot of tequila, beer on tap..." is sung twice), you'd think they'd have cut some of that instead. A "Too Hot to Fish" remix was also sent to radio, which had one of the two missing verses restored.
    • An older example is "Lyin' Eyes" by the Eagles. The entire second verse and a few later lines got cut for the radio edit, since the album version is a staggering 6:22.
    • Garth Brooks' "Mom" cuts the second verse from the radio edit — strange, as the album version is only 4 minutes, and could've fared just fine without a cut.
    • The hard-to-find extended version of Vicious Pink's "C-c-can't You See?" has two additional stanzas:
      Baby please, can't you see
      I think you know I want you here with me
      Baby please, set me free
      I'm calling you why don't you answer me
      I'll make it up, to you somehow
      I only wish that things could be the same
      I'll make you feel, like you used to
      Why don't you take me in your arms again
    • Sara Bareilles' "Love Song" often gets its bridge completely obliterated in radio play.
    • The radio edit of U2's "New Year's Day" cuts the second bridge("Maybe the time is right...") and final verse ("So we're told this is the golden age..."), ending with the fadeout of "I will be with you again" instead.
    • The single edit of Chicago's "25 Or 6 To 4" omits the second verse plus about half of the guitar solo.
    • Don McLean's "American Pie" has six verses, but infamously had to be split across two sides on the 45 rpm single, so many DJ's only played the first half. The official radio edit also skips a couple verses and fades out before the Last Verse Slowdown.
  • Played with on Garth Brooks' "Friends in Low Places". He decided to write a more cheeky third verse, and would often sing it in concert. A live recording was sent out as a promo single, and appeared on at least one concert VHS. Come 1998's Double Live, a live album recorded in Central Park, he reached the point where the third verse would normally go, vamped for a few minutes, and then quipped that "the friends in low places" should sing the third verse. Cue an entire audience singing said verse, which they probably only ever heard in other concerts, by themselves.
  • Inverted: very few people know the introduction to Pinocchio's "When You Wish Upon A Star" (especially since it has a different melody).
    When a star is born
    They possess a gift or two
    One of them is this:
    They have the power
    To make a wish come true...
  • Referenced to in Satou Kashi no Dangan wa Uchinukenai. Umino's father was once a well-known celebrity and he sung a popular song. Few remember the final verse and it has a peppy tune. It seems like a peaceful, romantic song about a mermaid and man however in the end he kills her and makes her into sashimi
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • The extended theme song, which was released on the Songs of Ponyville album and Friendship Express DVD, but never used on the show itself(aside from the credits of later Japanese episodes), has three entirely new verses.
    • "Love is In Bloom" from "A Canterlot Wedding, Part 2" has a second verse that is absent from the show, but present in the music video and on the OST:
    Your special day
    We celebrate now, the pony way
    Your friends are all right here
    Won't let these moments disappear
    Something is wrong, it's plain to see
    This isn't how it's meant to be
    And you can't see it like I do
    It's not the life that's meant for you
    • Ditto "Make a Wish" ("Starting out great and it just got better...") and "Let The Rainbow Remind You" ("Each one of us will sometimes falter...").
    • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks intentionally invokes this with "Awesome As I Wanna Be", where the band is interrupted before the second verse. The soundtrack includes the full version.
  • The Toho Eurobeat song "Savior of the Sky", a vocal arrangement of the final boss theme from Undefined Fantastic Object, has two verses in the liner notes, but according to vocalist Travis Stebbins AKA Odyssey, the audio for the second verse was lost or corrupted, forcing Sugano to settle for a repeat of the first verse.
    Years in the future I still linger at your side
    I wouldn't dream to have more
    (Tonight I'm) eagerly waiting your decision to keep me
    Or to leave me as before
  • Goldfinger's cover of Nena's "99 Luftballons/Red Balloons", due to the English fourth verse having an unauthorized reference to Captain Kirk, instead uses the German fourth verse, which was the basis for the English third verse.
  • Michael Jackson:
    • The spoken-word coda of "Thriller" was supposed to have three stanzas, but the middle one ("The demons squeal in sheer delight...") was deleted. Worse, the radio edit omits the rap altogether.
    • The Moonwalker version of "Smooth Criminal" adds two lines to the second verse between the previously-existing lines:
      Everytime they try to find him
      He's leaving no clues left behind him
      And they have no way of knowing
      Of the suspect, or what to expect
  • The Beagles had an additional verse to its theme not used on the show but was featured on a Columbia LP of songs from the show:
    Looking for the Beagles,
    Not where rich men go.
    Rich is for the regal,
    Woe is all the Beagles know.
  • "It's All Too Much," a Beatles song that was recorded during the Sgt. Pepper sessions, was featured in the film Yellow Submarine with only two verses and two refrains. It appeared on the soundtrack album in a six-minute edition with three verses and an additional refrain but it did not use a verse from the movie. The original 8:08 session used this verse and an additional refrain, which is on YouTube. The missing refrain and verse used in the movie:
    It's all too much for me to take,
    There's plenty there for everybody.
    The more you give, the more you get,
    The more it is, and it's too much.

    Nice to have the time to take
    This opportunity,
    Time for me to look at you
    And you to look at me.
  • Barnes & Barnes, makers of the song "Fish Heads", appeared on the Dr. Demento radio show in 1980 and added three additional verses to the song on the spot:
    Fish heads never vaccinate their children,
    They don't take medicine when they get sick.

    Slimy silly fish heads never tell the time,
    When they ride mopeds they go real slow.

    Never tell a fish head what to eat for breakfast,
    They just sit around and mope all day.
  • Matilda: The Musical:
    • The West End version of "Miracle" gives Mr. Wormwood a singing part that is absent from the Broadway version:
      Why do bad things always happen to good people?
      Fine upstanding citizens like you and me?
      Why when we've done nothing wrong,
      Should this disaster come along?
      This horrible, weird looking
      Hairy little stinky thing
      With no sign of a winky-ding at all
    • "Naughty"'s second verse was dropped after the tryouts at Stratford upon Avon, due to time restrictions. The missing verse appears on the London cast album, but not the Broadway album:
      Cinderella, in the cellar
      Didn't have to do much as far as I can tell
      Her Godmother, was two thirds fairy
      Suddenly her lot was a lot less scary
      But what if you haven't got a fairy to fix it?
      Sometimes you have to make a little bit of mischief
    • The London cast recording of "Bruce" has an extra stanza preceding the chorus:
      Bruce,
      The time has come to put that tumbly tum to use.
      You produce, Bruce,
      Fantastically enthusiastic gastric juice! Oh ...
      Eat it up! Lick it up! Suck it up!
      Whatever you do, don't chuck it up and muck it up!
      Come on Bruce, be our hero,
      Cover yourself in Chocolate Glory!
  • "I'm Late" has eight verses, but thanks to the film it is from, most people only know two.
  • On the second episode of Saturday Night Live, Simon & Garfunkel performed "The Boxer," featuring a verse not featured on the version on Bridge Over Troubled Water.
  • The title sequence for The Loud House uses the first stanza and chorus of the theme song. A music video with the full theme can be seen online.
  • In the stage version of The Little Mermaid, Triton's verse of "If Only" originally had a second phrase rhyming with the first("I'm just getting over having lost her dear sweet mother, If I lose her too I don't know how I can go on"), but it was cut after the pre-Broadway tryout and is absent from the original cast album, though post-Broadway productions sometimes reinstate it. Similarly, "Human Stuff"(later dropped completely) had lyrics about an "ottoman"(hat), "boa"(concertina), and necklace in addition to the "dinglehopper" and "snarfblatt". Conversely, like the Aladdin example above, a few imported songs, e.g. "Fathoms Below", "Daughters of Triton", and "Part of Your World (Finale)" have additional lyrics that weren't used in the film.
  • The chorus of "Gaston (Reprise)" from Beauty and the Beast has a second stanza ("Yes I'm endlessly, wildly resourceful...") unheard in the film, but inserted in the stage adaptation. "Be Our Guest" also has an extra verse ("Get your worries off your chest...").
  • The B-section lyrics ("It's a magic carpet ride, every door is open wide...") of Sesame Street's theme tune have only been sung once on the show, as part of a pledge drive special featuring Gladys Knight & The Pips.
  • The Johnny Cash classic "Big River" has an entire verse that was omitted when it was recorded for Sun Records, though its present in the demo. Cash later performed the song with the extra verse for the first time on his early-70s variety series (but cut another verse, so it wasn't a complete performance of the lyrics). In the 1980s, the verse was fully restored when Cash's supergroup The Highwaymen recorded it, allowing each member to get his own solo verse.
  • "Those Were the Days", the theme song to All in the Family have two additional verses that stars Carroll O'Connor and Jean Stapleton did perform at least once. The "unheard" lyrics end with Archie Bunker singing "I don't know just what went wrong," setting out his character's ongoing struggle with modern-day attitudes which is at the heart of the series.
  • The Mother Goose poem "Jack and Jill" has a second verse that is far more obscure than the first:
    Up Jack got, and home did trot,
    As fast as he could caper,
    To old Dame Dob, who patched his nob
    With vinegar and brown paper.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SecondVerseCurse