You've seen our 50 most explosive choruses of all time. But what about songs that do just fine without any kind of chorus at all?


[subhead number="10"]Squeeze - 'Up The Junction'[/subhead]
Glenn Tilbrook’s tale of the rise and fall of a relationship takes in a party, pregnancy, marriage, cheating and divorce - all within three minutes. So it’s hardly surprising that they decided to chuck the chorus - how else would they fit everything else in?

[subhead number="9"]Neutral Milk Hotel - 'In The Airplane Over the Sea'[/subhead]
Fittingly for an album about a fictionalized relationship with Anne Frank, the title track dispenses with a chorus. And it’s glorious. Jeff Mangum’s vocals are sweet and nostalgic. When you’ve got lyrics like "What a beautiful face I have found in this place/That is circling all around the sun", who needs a chorus?

[subhead number="8"]Queen - 'Bohemian Rhapsody'[/subhead]
Good old Bo-Rap. Instead of having one chorus, it has six. Which one do you want to focus on? The opening Mama, just killed a man"? Or how about "Figaro"? Or "Nothing really matters"? Or how about all of them? Whatever your preference, Mercury, Taylor and co proved that a track didn’t need to be linear to be a hit.

[subhead number="7"]The Verve - 'Bittersweet Symphony'[/subhead]
The driving force behind this track is the strings (sampled from an orchestral version of the Rolling Stones’ ‘The Last Time’). Omnipresent, they push the track forward. To add a refrain would only detract from that sense of surging momentum.

[subhead number="6"]The Who - 'Pinball Wizard'[/subhead]
The Who were never a group to do things by halves. ‘Pinball Wizard’ comes from the soundtrack to Tommy, a rock opera about a deaf, dumb and blind boy who excels at pinball, so they were hardly going to do something so mundane as include a chorus, were they?

[subhead number="5"]The Streets - 'Turn The Page'[/subhead]
Inspired by ‘Gladiator’, Mike Skinner layered up some strings and opened ‘Original Pirate Material’. Rapping over tense violins, he alludes to his ancestors, noting "There’s sense in what I say, because I’m 45th generation Roman". Sure ‘Fit But You Know It’'s got a chorus, but this is the real deal.

[subhead number="4"]REM - 'Losing My Religion'[/subhead]
Not only a No.1 that featured a stealth mandolin, but also a No.1 that tricked listeners into thinking it had a chorus. Though there’s a refrain of "I’ve said too much/I haven’t said enough", there’s no chorus proper. Not that it needs one, thank you very much.

[subhead number="3"]Bruce Springsteen - 'Thunder Road'[/subhead]
‘Thunder Road’ is an incitement to lead a dead-end town in search of adventure. It’s a track about not looking back, or always facing forward. It makes sense then that’d there’d be nothing to hold the protagonist back, nothing to tie him to a format. No regrets, no choruses.

[subhead number="2"]Radiohead - 'Pyramid Song'[/subhead]
From ‘Everything In Its Right Place’ to ‘Fitter Happier’, uncommon song forms aren’t unfamiliar to the Oxford quartet. ‘Pyramid Song'’s unsettling rhythm combines with a slurred melody, and lyrics that change slightly but not enough. To add a comforting chorus to the track would have diminished its impact - there can be nothing familiar here.

[subhead number="1"]Bob Dylan - 'Subterranean Homesick Blues'[/subhead]
Though most of Dylan’s tracks dispense with choruses (see also ‘All Around The Watchtower’), ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’ ups the ante by instead having every couplet be as hooky as a chorus ever could be. Add that to an iconic video and who needs repetition?


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