Words: Priya Elan, Dan Martin, Ailbhe Malone, Rebecca Schiller. Spotify playlist
The band called this a ‘one riff song’. Yet ‘Enter Sandman’’s chorus provided a thrilling release from all that chugging, and focused the song around the creepy protagonist, while James Hetfield channeled a mood of cackling, demonic grandeur. The most anthemic chorus in all metal?
9Livin' On A Prayer
From the wub-wub-wub intro to Jon’s raspy tenor, the chorus to ‘Livin' On A Prayer’ is the musical equivalent of a fist of pure emotion. Tommy and Gina are forgotten in the moment, it’s all about us now. Pro tip for singalongs: don’t start too high, the second "woah-oh" has been known to rupture diaphragms.
8She Bangs The Drums
A Brown/Squire classic, bursting forth with euphoria. “Fill my guts and ease me head” sang Ian Brown against cascading guitar lines. It was a track which was wide eyed with the wonder of new love, and found its fans wide eyed in love with them.
7I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor
A debut single for the ages. Scowling above a brash backing of guitars and drums, Alex Turner walks a line between contempt and interest as he comments on a dirty dancefloor with "dreams of naughtiness" - but lets his imagination run wild in the refrain, shouting with teenage glee: "I bet you look good on the dancefloor!".
An over-caffeinated buzzsaw screwball of a thing that is physically impossible not to put you in a good mood. Having teased us from the outset with the musical bones of the chorus, Blur dial it down for a sparse few bars before setting it off yet again, this time with added lyrical nonsense. “Well I feel heavy metal!” We've all been there.
5Plug In Baby
A riff that wouldn’t quit (and, allegedly, inspired by Bach’s ‘Toccata And Fugue’) and a chorus that would follow the band for their entire career. It's all about Bellamy finding solace in his guitar (his ‘Plug In Baby’), and comes equipped with a chorus so vast it would have fans singing along for years to come.
4Sex On Fire
With a propulsive bass line and a yearning chord sequence, ‘Sex On Fire’ is a song in heat. Like Frankie Cocozza fuelled by WKD Blue, Caleb Followill’s vocals make no bones about what he’s looking for. When the chorus kicks in, the demands are made explicit, though as we all know sex on fire is a health and safety nightmare. Still, ten points for use of "transpire" in a rock chorus.
The song that launched a million spilled pints, as punters slosh their drinks while running to the dancefloor. ‘Mr. Brightside’ touches all the bases - sex, revenge, jealousy and a chorus that incites listeners to pump their fists. The opaque lyrics about "Jealousy turning saints into the sea" are made to be mouthed at friends across a grubby room.
2Be My Baby
Not so much a chorus, more a thunderous torrent of joy. Brian Wilson calls it the greatest pop record ever made, and he's well qualified to judge. As vocal harmonies overlap across each other with an irresistible come-to-bed charm, the only rational response is, "you had me at the bridge".
1Don’t Look Back in Anger
Legend has it that Noel used ‘Wonderwall’ as a bargaining chip to get Liam to give him lead vocals on this track. It’s not hard to see why. Heroic, Beatles-y and poignant, the elder Gallagher smashes it out of the park. Sally’s not a real person - just a name that fit in the chorus. Like so many songs in this list, it's a special kind of nonsense that somehow means everything.