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Songs with repeated lines of lyrics but one word changes each time

Discussion in 'Music to Your Ears' started by Honga Man, Jan 21, 2021.

  1. Honga Man

    Honga Man Tele-Afflicted

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    I thought this topic might make a good discussion here, after hearing "Both Sides Now" by Joni Mitchell recently. I know I've heard other songs that do this, but I can't think of any right now.

    In "Both Sides Now", this line comes around at the end of each chorus, but the object changes three out of four times.

    I really don't know clouds at all

    Later in the song...

    I really don't know love at all

    And later (twice)...

    I really don't know life at all



    Any other examples? And is there a name for this?
     
  2. johnny k

    johnny k Poster Extraordinaire

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  3. Brillig

    Brillig TDPRI Member

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    100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall. ;)
     
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  4. johnny k

    johnny k Poster Extraordinaire

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    Baby shark doo doo doo doo doo doo
    Mommy shark....
    Granma shark...

    And i have got it stuck in my head.

    You can add surfin bird to the list. It qualifies. Probably the greatest song ever.
     
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  5. Brillig

    Brillig TDPRI Member

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    Crazy by Gnarls Barkley popped into my mind, but that's almost the opposite, where the main word stays the same and they change the helper words around it each time.
     
  6. hepular

    hepular Tele-Holic

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    well, there's Lovett's LA County, where the phrase stays the same, but the referent shifts
     
  7. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Poster Extraordinaire

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    I Dig A Pony? Although that's more about repeating phrases rather than single words. Dig It, same story.

    Don't Think Twice, It's Alright sorta fits as well.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2021
  8. nobis17

    nobis17 Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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  9. Bob Womack

    Bob Womack Tele-Afflicted

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    I did this with a song about meeting and marrying my wife forty years ago. The first chorus ends with "The smile in her eyes said it all" and the last chorus shifts to "The smile in her eyes SAYS it all" to bring it into the present. Nifty twist.

    Bob
     
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  10. dkmw

    dkmw Poster Extraordinaire

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    Let It Bleed.
     
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  11. suave eddie

    suave eddie Friend of Leo's

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    MY HUMAN GETS ME BLUES by Captain Beefheart

    ..."I saw you baby dancin' in your x-ray gingham dress
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  12. teletimetx

    teletimetx Doctor of Teleocity

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    a repetitive line in a poem or a song can be referred to as a refrain. Classic examples in poetry would be Edgar Allan Poe's "Annabel Lee" or Octavio Paz, "Wind Water Stone", where Paz ends each stanza with a refrain that is the three words in the Title - but in each stanza, he changes the order of the words Wind, water, stone.

    Historically, a refrain and a chorus were used interchangeably, but from what I've read, a refrain is now used to refer to one or two repeating lines, whereas a chorus, we usually think of as repeating the whole 4 lines or however long it might be.

    Altering the refrain slightly throughout a song is a device to keep a listener interested, IMO, because it works on changing your expectations. Lots of songwriters have used it - pick a genre or a writer and you can find examples, if you look for it.

    for example:

    Beatles - in Day Tripper:
    In the chorus, for the first two times it appears:
    She was a day tripper
    One way ticket, yeah

    but in the last chorus:
    She was a day tripper
    Sunday driver, yeah


    James Taylor, Copperline:
    in the pre-chorus, first time
    Half a mile down to Morgan Creek
    Leaning heavy on the end of the week

    and in the last pre-chorus
    Half a mile down to Morgan Creek
    I'm only living for the end of the week
     
  13. dkmw

    dkmw Poster Extraordinaire

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    Gimme Shelter too.
     
  14. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Poster Extraordinaire

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    Lyle Lovett had a Jazzy little number that is built around the idea the OP is talking about. Although the repeating phrase is at the end of the stanzas rather than the beginning and that repeating idea is the hook of the song. It's more of a narrative form with the repeats being the punchline.

     
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  15. Knowcaster

    Knowcaster Tele-Holic

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    R.E.M. - The One I Love

    ...a simple prop to occupy my time...another prop has occupied my time...
     
  16. 4 Cat Slim

    4 Cat Slim Friend of Leo's

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    If I Had a Hammer/Bell.Song to Sing...
     
  17. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    A variation on that: Amy Winehouse's Rehab:

    They tried to make me go to Rehab
    But I said no, no, no
    Yes I've been black but when I come back
    You'll know, know, know
     
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  18. Knowcaster

    Knowcaster Tele-Holic

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    Beatles - Here Comes the Sun here/clear
     
  19. tery

    tery Doctor of Teleocity

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  20. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

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  21. That Cal Webway

    That Cal Webway Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    A variation on aha's Take On Me:


    Each time they sing the chorus Take On Me,
    The next line is Take Me On,
    back and forth
     
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