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Second Verse Curse

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"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. Has nothing to do with swearing in the second verse of a song.

Contrast Single Stanza Song, where there's no second verse to be forgotten.


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    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.
  • "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 stanza, beginning with "Deutschland, Deutschland über Alles" (Germany, Germany Above All), is possibly the most widely known, and was discarded both due to its association with the Nazis (who used only this stanza in their version of the national anthem, along with the Nazi-written Horst-Wessel Lied) and 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. The second stanza, beginning with "Deutsche Fraue, Deutsche Treue" (German Women, German Loyalty) 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 — though it's common for fans to continue singing even after the music stops.)
    • Even worse: the intro has lyrics. Few people know it, and even fewer know said lyrics.
    • Second half is somewhat an aversion for the opening line, "Deitado eternamente em berço esplêndido" (something like "Lying down forever on a splendid cradle") which has, along the centuries, being well known as a complaint about passivity or inertia, from moms scolding lazy kids to politic criticism.
  • 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, and some people would probably be surprised to learn there are other verses (or that the very seldom-heard English version is the original). Legally speaking, only the chorus is actually the national anthem, because the Army (who adopted it first) saw this trope coming early on.
  • The Greek national anthem "Hymn to Freedom" (or "Hymn to Liberty") is 158 stanzas long but only two are commonly known. This is perhaps justified, as the full anthem would take over one and a half hours to sing (making the full version the longest national anthem in the world.)
  • 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."
  • The French national anthem La Marseillaise has many stanzas. Most French people only know 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.
  • 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. This was a plot point in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.
  • Downplayed with "Deck the Halls". Most people know only the first stanza, though a considerable population knows the second. You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who's heard of the third which is about New Year's.
    • 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 four stanzas, including one in which the narrator is mocked after he falls out of his sleigh.
    • This is joked about in Patent Pending's version of Jingle Bells where the following replaces the second verse:
    Now did you ever know/there were more words to this song?/ I thought it was just the first part but it turns out I was wrong!/I do not know this verse/cuz no one on earth does/so let's all sing the melody and pretend just because (chorus)
  • 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, or they just want to get to the cake and presents. The later-added "Are you one? Are you two?" and so on almost never get sung beyond a child's third or fourth birthday, unless the singers like messing with their family.
  • 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. note  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 the 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 a strange subversion occurs with the end of the song. The original ending stanza was "In the meadow, we can build a snowman / And pretend that he is Parson Brown / He'll say 'Are you married?', we'll say 'No, man / But you can do the job while you're in town' / Later on, we'll conspire / As we dream by the fire / To face unafraid / The plans that we made / Walkin' in a winter wonderland". However, the reference to an itinerant preacher was already somewhat dated at the time, so a later rewrite changed it to the following: "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." Although the latter was intended as a replacement for the former, most renditions that include "circus clown" will also include "Parson Brown" before it — and even then, half of the versions that include "circus clown" revert back to "Later on, we'll conspire..." halfway through.
    • Eurythmics' cover from 1987 is one of the few well-known renditions of "Winter Wonderland" to include the intro. It also includes both the "Parson Brown" and "circus clown" verses like other modern covers.
  • "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 lovely 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
    • Many versions also omit the second verse, which begins "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 laud / 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.
  • 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.
    No more let sins and sorrows grow,
    Nor thorns infest the ground;
    He comes to make His blessings flow,
    Far as the curse is found,
    Far as the curse is found,
    Far as, far as, the curse is found.
  • "Home For The Holidays"'s orginal version possesses a bridge that is significantly faster and more uptempo than the rest of the song, and also so catchy that it's really a shame how often it gets left out:
    Take a bus, take a train
    Go and hop an aeroplane
    Put the wife and kiddies in the family car
    For the pleasure that you bring
    When you make that doorbell ring
    No trip could be too far
  • "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.
  • 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 nobnote 
    With vinegar and brown paper.
  • "O Holy Night" is rarely recorded or performed with the original third verse, which contains a powerful, if very much dated, abolitionist message:
    Truly, He taught us to love one another
    His law is love, and His Gospel is peace.
    Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother,
    and in His name, all oppression shall cease!
  • Many renditions of "Oats, Peas, Beans, and Barley Grow", including Raffi's recording on Baby Beluga, omit the bridge ("Waiting for a partner...") and/or the third verse ("Now you're married you must obey... and help your wife to chop the wood").
  • Most people only know the first verse to "Daisy Bell". You know, the song that ends with, "but you'll look sweet upon the seat of a bicycle built for two." There's actually a chorus/bridge where the narrator expounds on the romantic times they'll have together on their bicycle - and a second verse wherein Daisy gives her rebuttal. She tells the narrator (whose name is "Michael", by the way) that there will be no wedding if he cheaps out on it like that, concluding with, "and I'll be switched before I'm hitched on a bicycle built for two."

    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. Curiously, the Episcopalians split it into two different hymns, using four verses under the original title and the other three under the title "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 or the Gaithers. A few earlier 20th century compositions such as "Fill My Cup, Lord" or "Turn Your Eyes upon Jesus" may also get similar treatment This is particularly common in praise songbooks that are intended for more informal congregations or gatherings that may not have the musical training necessary to carry the entire song.
    • Andraé Crouch's "My Tribute" is an unusual example. The song consists of one verse, a four-line refrain, a bridge, then a repeat of the second half of the refrain. Many versions in hymnals omit the verse so it's just refrain-bridge-second half of refrain, and the United Methodist Hymnal bafflingly trims 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 the chants of Jacques Berthier and the Taizé Community, and in some modern compositions found in contemporary Catholic hymnals.
  • 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 will either omit this verse entirely, or 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 contemporary adaptations, "Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)" by Chris Tomlin, retains 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", being an African-American spiritual, can have a myriad of verses due to it being adapted and passed down like many other spirituals of its ilk. The United Methodist Hymnal features eleven.
  • 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" can vary. The more familiar melody, composed by William G. Tomer has a refrain ("Till we meet, till we meet / Till we meet at Jesus' feet…") that is cut out of some hymnals. A later melody, composed by Ralph Vaughan Williams, does not include a refrain. Both can be heard here.
  • Awake, My Soul, And With The Sun and All Praise To Thee, My God, This Night are virtually forgotten today, except for their final verse (which they share). That final verse is now known as the Doxology.

    Other Music 
  • "Home on the Range" has seven verses. Most people would be hard pressed to name any after the 1st verse and chorus.
  • 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.
  • "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.
    • The existence of the other stanzas, of which few people have ever heard, becomes a minor plot point in The Westing Game.
  • Many songs will cut a verse from the radio edit if the original version is particularly long. Sometimes this includes skipping over parts of the lyrics, which can lead to them being obscure outside of dyed-in-the-wool fans of the respective artists. 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…"). This is most likely due to the full version being over five minutes long.
    • 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 due to the song's length — which is somewhat unusual, since the only verse that repeats ("Shot of tequila, beer on tap...") was not one of the ones taken out. 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. There's also a "US remix" by François Kevorkian with an introductory stanza and an alternate first verse. At least one bootleg 12" mix includes the intro and all four verses.
    • The single edit of Chicago's "25 Or 6 To 4" omits the second verse plus about half of the guitar solo (and "Beginnings" was chopped by well over half, from 7:56 to 2:47).
    • Don McLean's "American Pie" has six verses, but infamously had to be split across two sides on the 7" 45 rpm single, so many DJs only played the first half. The official radio edit also skips a couple verses and fades out before the Last Verse Slowdown.
    • "Roots" by Zac Brown Band inexplicably had a lot of its verses removed for the radio edit, which is even more head-scratching since the omissions left the song very incomplete and the uncut version is only a very reasonable 3:51.
    • Third Eye Blind's "Semi-Charmed Life" frequently has its final verse severely truncated, skipping from "and that would be alright, alright" to the line that immediately follows "but nothing is alright, alright".
    • The single version of David Bowie's "'Heroes'" cuts out an opening chorus, a verse and a refrain, and starts a full two minutes into the six-minute song. Many covers, such as The Wallflowers' hit version, also follow this edit and start with the "I wish I could swim" verse. In live performances, Bowie would frequently jump from the first verse all the way to the "I wish I could swim" one to save time.
    • Eminem:
    • The radio edit of BT's "Remember"(f/Jan Johnston) cuts the third verse as well as two lines of the second verse.
    • Olive's "You're Not Alone" has a Lyrical Cold Open that is absent from its radio edit.
    • The commonly-heard edit of Kristine W.'s "Land Of The Living" skips the introductory verse(though it is sung in the video) and starts at the first chorus.
  • 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...
  • 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. Also, the music video cuts the bridge.
    • 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
  • "It's All Too Much," a song by The Beatles 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.
  • 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.
  • Deliberately invoked with anthem of Polish Scouting Association: after WWII, a new stanza was added at the Party's behest. The fact that it mostly invoked scout's service to the People's Republic of Poland and socialism didn't sit well with many people, who — in turn — tend to conveniently "forgot" about it whenever they can.
  • Lee Ann Womack's cover of Rodney Crowell's "Ashes by Now" omits the second verse: "The second street beggars alone in their life / Drunk on a sidewalk to hide from the night / Like I am / They're just like I am". As Womack's version is the newer and more familiar version, most people may not even be aware of this verse.
  • Darius Rucker's cover of Drivin N Cryin's "Straight to Hell" cuts out most of the first verse and a portion of the second.
  • The original version of the Pet Shop Boys' "West End Girls" began the penultimate verse with "I've said it all before, I'll say it all again / Where are modern men?" and ended the last verse with "All your stopping, stalling and starting / Who do you think you are, Joe Stalin?" The re-recording cut the latter and moved the preceding line "You've got a heart of glass or a heart of stone / Just you wait till I get you home" to the position of the former. On the other hand, "One More Chance", originally released as a B-Side to "Girls", had a bridge verse ("You're so extreme, I want to take you home with me...") added when they remixed it for Actually.
  • The liner notes for Judy Crystal's English Translated Cover Version of Kohmi Hirose's "God of Romance" have two additional refrain stanzas that were translated from the Japanese original but left unused on the recording, even its extended mix. In fact, quite a few Eurobeat songs have second or third verses in their printed lyrics that are either completely omitted, as in "Welcome To The Moon" by Space Girls, whose released recording just repeats its first verse, or only used in their hard-to-find extended versions, as in "Sex on the Beach" by Cindy and "I Wanna Be Fat" by Go-Go Girls.
  • Zigzagged by Lolita's "Listen To My Heart", which on the nonstop mix albums Super Eurobeat Presents Super GT 2006 and Super Eurobeat Presents Initial D Dream Collection, includes an instrumental middle-8 section absent from its Super Eurobeat 167 edit, but at the same time omits said version's second verse. The complete song has never been released to the public.

    Other Media 


  • In the mid-1970s, McDonald's had a series of child-oriented commercials featuring a song about Ronald McDonald being the "McFriendliest fellow in town". The jingle had a B-verse beginning "With a smile on his face and yellow shoelace..." An extended version of the song was released on a vinyl record promo, which repeats the B-verse with different lyrics.
He's the funniest guy with the twinkliest eye, he never wears a frown...

Anime and Manga

  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure mostly plays this straight, with longer versions of the opening that can generally only be heard in live shows or the OSTs. However, Part 4's anime averts it with its final opening. The intro does only use the first verse, sure... except that the Bites the Dust version starts with the second verse. So if you watch the normal and Bites the Dust versions of the opening, you will have heard the complete song.
  • 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.


  • "I'm Late" has eight verses, but thanks to the film it is from, most people only know two.
  • "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.
  • 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 12" single version of Irene Cara's "Flashdance (What a Feeling)" from Flashdance has an extra stanza that was omitted in the album and 7" versions:
    If I only could take
    All the love that you give
    And escape to a world
    Crystal clear


Live Action TV

  • 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, but has been increasingly phased out since 2010 or so for time constraints, 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 2009 film series, making the melody actually sound incomplete as a result.
  • Similarly to the above, the instrumental theme to Family Feud has a B-section that was almost never heard on-air, including a Truck Driver's Gear Change. However, the very ending bars of the B-section are used as a fanfare for Grand Game on The Price Is Right.
  • 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 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.
    • Nevertheless, the song in its lyrical entirety can be heard in various albums as well as the un-aired pilot originally sung by Bob McGrath.
  • "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.
  • BJ Thomas's solo extended version of "As Long As We Got Each Other" from Growing Pains has a bridge that is absent from the later duet version, which replaced it with the "Promise me here and now..." third verse:
    It's all to easy to lose track of each other
    When you're busy trying to get ahead
    If I didn't stop and say "I love you", lady
    Just look in my eyes, and consider it said
  • Boomerang, when Edited for Syndication, had Marni Nixon's part of the ending theme ("Our time is gone, where did it go?") chopped off.
  • DJ Encore's original instrumental version of "I See Right Through To You", used for the first season of Big Brother (Denmark), includes a B-section that was dropped from the vocal mix featuring Engelina, though there is a bootleg remix combining the two versions.


  • 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:
      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!
  • 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.
  • "Bianca" from Kiss Me, Kate, besides the verse sung in the show, has a second verse exclusive to the sheet music, which is entirely superfluous and was obviously written as a joke:
    In the street called Tin Pan Alley
    I have suffered endless wrongs,
    For I'm the dog
    Who writes incog.
    All of Cole Porter's Broadway songs.
    Here's a new one to Bianca,
    Bless her heart and bless her soul.
    I'll sing it through
    For all of you
    Then take it away, Cole.
  • "The Lady is a Tramp" from Babes In Arms has lyrics for four choruses, but only the first was originally published, so most recordings that aren't cast albums don't include the rest.

Video Games

  • The Toho Eurobeat song "Savior of the Sky", a vocal arrangement of the final boss theme from Touhou Seirensen ~ 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
  • "Elegy for Hallownest", the in-universe poem used as an Epigraph for Hollow Knight, only has 4 lines in the finished game, but has another 12 that are Dummied Out.
  • On Sonic & Knuckles's hard-to-find OST, nearly every track has a bridge section or extension added to flesh out the songs, unheard in the game versions. Lava Reef and Sky Sanctuary stand out by having entire second verses worth of music that have gone unused in any versions of the songs produced since.
    • The Sonic CD/Sonic Spinball combo OST Sonic Boom also has a version of Toxic Caves with an extended breakdown and bridge before the song loops.
    • Look Alike, the vocal theme from Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie is pretty infamous for this. The soundtrack version consists of a verse, a chorus, a bridge and then a final runthrough of the chorus but in the movie itself there are several moments where the theme is heard in the background with completely different lyrics. It wouldn't be until decades later that a complete version of the song would be uncovered, revealing that there's an entire second verse missing and several cuts and shaves from the chorus, bridge and various instrumental sections, resulting in a song that's almost twice a long as the current, officially released version.
  • Haven (2020)'s intro theme, "Still Free", has a B-section on the OST that is unused in the game's actual intro sequence.
  • In the original arcade version of Bionic Commando, "The Forefront" (Stage 2), which became the Bootstrapped Theme of the series, has a whole second movement that is missing from the NES version and all arrangements of the song since.

Web Original

  • 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.
  • On the Dream SMP, the L'Manburg National Anthem is usually only known by its first verse, which was sung throughout the Pogtopia arc and written on the walls of the Button Room. The later verses, forming the "Completed Symphony", was completed by Ghostbur at the start of Season 2, and is known to relatively few in the fandom outside of the odd cover version and the Wiki. Even In-Universe, the only ones who knew of the later verses were Ghostbur and Quackity, and even then, the Minecraft-book containing the original lyrics of the "Completed Symphony" was destroyed in the Doomsday War, forcing the two to improvise verses.

Western Animation

  • Iron Man: Armored Adventures' opening lasts thirty seconds. The complete version has around two minutes and includes a sick guitar solo.
  • The Spectacular Spider-Man has a second verse to its opening that also includes a sick guitar solo.
  • Transformers:
    • Transformers: Animated:
      • Its version of the Transformers opening theme is actually the only version to contain extra lyrics
        More than they appear
        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 (1987) 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
  • 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.
  • 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
    • Likewise for the middle verse of "(I've Got To) Find a Way" from "Magical Mystery Cure":
      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 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.
  • 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.
  • "The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down" is best known as the Looney Tunes theme from 1938 onwards. Almost nobody alive today remembers the introductory verse, in which a man tells of his date with a woman at an amusement park, where they find time to "spark" while riding the titular merry-go-round. There's also a B-section that is unused in the LT version.