... whose axe was so light he could chuck it...
March 3, 2011 7:11 PM   Subscribe

Poems or songs where you anticipate the next rhyme to be a naughty word, but it isn't... is there a term for this kind of implied-but-denied rhyme scheme, and what are some more examples?

The best example I can think of is the old Doctor Demento song "Polka Dot Undies", but there's also "Shaving Cream", and I'm sure I've heard others before.

I'm wondering if this kind of tricky make-you-guess-the-next-word-then-fail-to-provide-it kind of lyric has a special term, and also looking for more fun snicker-worthy songs or poems ! Thanks!
posted by The otter lady to Writing & Language (63 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
This is the one I grew up on:

Susie had a steamboat, the steamboat had a bell
Susie went to heaven, the steamboat went to
Hello operator, gimme number nine,
And if you disconnect me, I'll chop off your
Behind the refrigerator, there is a piece of glass,
And if you slip upon it, you'll fall upon your
Ask me no more questions, I'll tell you no more lies,
The cows are in the pasture, making chocolate pies!
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:15 PM on March 3, 2011 [5 favorites]

"Miss Susie (also Miss Suzy, Miss Lucy, Miss Molly or Miss Mary, Miss Cassima, "Helen") is the name of a schoolyard rhyme and clapping game in which almost each verse leads up to a rude word or profanity which is elided into the next verse as part of an innocuous word or phrase."

"Miss Suzie had a steamboat
The steamboat had a bell
The steamboat went to Heaven
Miss Suzie went to...

Hello operator
Please give me number 9
And if you disconnect me
I'll chop off your...

Behind the fridgerator
There lay a piece of glass
Miss Suzie fell upon it
And it went straight up her..."
posted by MonkeyToes at 7:16 PM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yeah I think Stickycarpet has the classic of the genre. There was also a bit on Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist where he did one of these with his son. Unfortunately I don't know the name of this type of song, but I want to!
posted by drjimmy11 at 7:17 PM on March 3, 2011

Spider, spider, on the wall.
Ain't you got no brains at all?
Can't you see it's just been plastered?
Get off the wall, you dirty spider.

Rah, rah, ree! Kick 'em in the knee!
Rah, rah, rass! Kick 'em in the other knee!
posted by Bruce H. at 7:19 PM on March 3, 2011

Another Dr. Demento staple: I Wanna Kiss Her ... But She Won't Let Me...
posted by Melismata at 7:24 PM on March 3, 2011

Best answer: Subverted Rhyme, Mind Rhyme.
posted by zamboni at 7:26 PM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

The "Miss Lucy" version I grew up with went on a bit longer (continuing from StickyCarpet's version)

Ask me no more questions, I'll tell you no more lies
The boys are in the bathroom, pulling down their
Flies are in the meadow, the bees are in the park
Miss Lucy and her boyfriend are kissing in the dark
posted by sparrow89 at 7:26 PM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

There's the Welcome to Duloc song from Shrek

Welcome to Duloc, such a perfect town
Here we have some rules, let us lay them down
Don't make waves, stay in line
And we'll get along fine
Duloc is a perfect place
Please keep off of the grass,
Shine your shoes, wipe your... face
Duloc is, Duloc is, Duloc is a perfect plaaaaaace!
posted by wabbittwax at 7:29 PM on March 3, 2011

Beat 'em!
Beat 'em!
Buck 'em!
Buck 'em!
Lay 'em down and really...

(Found here.)
posted by MonkeyToes at 7:30 PM on March 3, 2011

Not necessarily the subverting the rhyme, but in the same ballpark is the Count censored.
posted by bfranklin at 7:30 PM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Jason Mraz likes doing these. From "Geek in the Pink":

Hey baby look at me go
From zero to hero
You better take it from a geek like me
Well I can save you from unoriginal dum-dums
Who wouldn't care if you com....plete them or not

And "Butterfly" (which admittedly is a sexy song):

Bend your back and ask those hips if I can touch
Cause they're the perfect jumping off point
Getting closer to your
You float on by
posted by yawper at 7:30 PM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Charlie Robison's Life of the Party does this as well
posted by titus n. owl at 7:30 PM on March 3, 2011

In sixth grade, my best friend taught me:

In the springtime, the springtime, the springtime of yore,
There was a young lady who looked like a -
beautiful lady. She sat on the grass, and
when she rolled over she went on her
ruffles and tuffles and sometimes a tuck.
She promised to teach us a new way to -
bring up the children to sew and to knit.
The boys in the barnyard were shoveling -
hay for the horses and using a pitch,
and calling each other a son of a -
mother and a father, with a sisster and all,
in the springtime, the springtime, the springtime of yore.

And also,

A little miss
went out to pi- ck
some flowers.
She stepped in grass
up to her a- nkles high.
A little bird
sat on a tur-
key flower.
With a broken heart,
she let a far -
mer take her home.
posted by Ery at 7:31 PM on March 3, 2011 [4 favorites]

Here's a couple of others:

Ikey and Mikey

and of course Chuck Berry's only number one hit, My Ding-a-Ling
posted by wabbittwax at 7:32 PM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

"Two Irishmen, two Irishmen were digging a ditch
One called the other one a dirty son of a...
Peter Murphy had a dog, a very fine dog was he,
He gave it to his lady friend to keep her company,
She fed it, she taught it, she taught it how to jump,
It jumped right up her petty coat and bit her on the
Country boy, country boy sitting on a rock
Along came a bumblebee and stung him on his...
Cocktail, ginger ale, five cents a glass...
If you don't like my story you can shove it up your...
Ask me no questions, tell me no lies
If you ever get hit with a bucket of shit,
Be sure to close your eyes."
posted by MonkeyToes at 7:32 PM on March 3, 2011

... listening to it now though, I guess Chuck isn't quite doing the double-entendre/implied-but-denied-rhyme thing
posted by wabbittwax at 7:33 PM on March 3, 2011

I can't remember the whole bit, but in regards to baseball

We played the Red Sox and beat their socks off
We played the Astros.....but it rained that day.
posted by effluvia at 7:33 PM on March 3, 2011

An alternate second verse to "Happy Birthday":

May you live a thousand years
May you drink a thousand beers
Get plastered, you ba-a-a-a-ad boy
Happy birthday to you!
posted by Balonious Assault at 7:36 PM on March 3, 2011

Well - known pop version from the Killers' Mr. Brightside:

They're going to bed
and my stomach is sick
And it's all in my head
but she's touching his
- Chest now
He takes off her dress now...

Sadly I don't know what it's called, but I was wondering the other day when I was listening to that song.
posted by frobozz at 7:36 PM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

Mary had a little lamb, she thought it rather silly.
She threw it up in the air and caught it by its...
Willy was a watch dog lying in the grass,
Along came a bee and stung him on the...
Ask no questions, tell no lies,
I saw a policemen doing up his...
Flies are pests, bees are worse,
That's the end of my little verse.
posted by arha at 7:38 PM on March 3, 2011

There's also the arsehole song, but I don't know if it quite qualifies.
posted by arha at 7:39 PM on March 3, 2011

Response by poster: I think zamboni's got it with "Mind Rhyme" or "teasing rhyme" as the wiki has it, and these are all great examples!! Keep 'em coming! :D
posted by The otter lady at 7:39 PM on March 3, 2011

For bawdy high school football games...

Ice cold beer, makes me wanna cheer!
Ice cold wine, makes me feel fine!
Ice cold duck, makes me wanna ... fight, fight, fight!
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:42 PM on March 3, 2011

This on'es old... and fairly chaste...

There once was a farmer who took a young miss
In back of the barn where he gave her a -
Lecture on horses and chickens and eggs
And told her that she had such beautiful -
Manners that suited a girl of her charms,
A girl that he wanted to take in his -
Washing and ironing and then if she did
They could get married and raise lots of --

CHORUS: Sweet violets, sweeter than the roses
Covered all over from head to toe
Covered all over with sweet violets.

The girl told the farmer that he'd better stop
And she called her father and he called a -
Taxi and got there before very long
'Cause someone was doing his little girl -
Right for a change and so that's why he said
If you marry her, son, you're better off -
Single 'cause its always been my belief
Marriage will bring a man nothing but--

Sweet violets ...

The farmer decided he'd wed anyway
And started in planning for his wedding -
Suit which he purchased for only one buck
But then he found out he was just out of -
Money and so he got left in a lurch
Standing and waiting in front of the -
End of this story which just goes to show
All a girl wants from a man is his --

Sweet Violets ...
posted by prettypretty at 7:44 PM on March 3, 2011 [3 favorites]

Charlie had a pigeon, a pigeon a pigeon
Charlie had a pigeon, a pigeon he had.
It flew in the morning, it flew in the night,
And when it came back it was covered in-
Chaaaaarlie had a pigeon...
posted by holgate at 7:44 PM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Mary had a little lamb, she thought it rather silly.
She threw it up in the air and caught it by its...

Heh heh... you reminded me of a similar one:

Only costs a sixpence to see the tall giraffe,
With pimples on his hind legs and pimples on his-

Aunty Mary had a canary she also had a duck,
Took it behind the kitchen door and taught it how to-

Fried eggs for breakfast, fried eggs for tea,
The more you eat the more you drink,
The more you want to-

Peter had a boat, the boat began to rock,
up came Jaws and bit off his-

Cocktail, ginger ale, forty cents a glass,
if you don't like it, shove it up your-

Ask no questions, tell no lies,
I saw a [insert name/nationality here] doing up his-

Flies are bad, mosquitoes are worse
and that is the end of my dirty little verse.
posted by prettypretty at 7:49 PM on March 3, 2011

High school cheer:

Strawberry shortcake, banana split!
We think your team plays like
SHIFT to the left, shift to the right
Stand up, sit down, fight fight fight!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:51 PM on March 3, 2011

There is a great Brazilian song called Pelas Tabelas by Chico Buarque that does this in Portuguese.
posted by umbú at 8:11 PM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

There's also the Magnetic Fields' "Fido, Your Leash is Too Long."
Fido, your leash is too long
I don’t know where I went wrong
You scare me out of my wits
When you do that Shih Tzu
Fido, your leash is too long

Fido, you’ve gone far enough
I must have all of your love
You just run out of luck
I don’t care what you foxhounds
Do, but your leash is too long
posted by hydrophonic at 8:16 PM on March 3, 2011

There were two fair young maids,
Redheaded lasses,
Who admired in all men,
Their cute little...

Oh redheads they say,
Have all the luck,
And it is said that they like to get...
Roses and daises and tulips and posies.

Their talents are refined,
Some say they are the best.
They'll make you lose your mind
When you squeeze them in the...

Oh redheads they say,
Have all the luck,
And it is said that they like to get
Roses and daises and tulips and posies.

With red hair blazing like fire,
No ordinary maids.
With men that they desire,
They like to get...

Oh redheads they say,
Have all the luck,
And it is said that they like to get...
Roses and daises and tulips and posies.

This is from an artist at a renaissance festival whose name has unfortunately escaped me. I was there with my Mormon family and my very sheltered best friend at the age of 13 or 14. One of my defining characteristics was my long, long red hair. My mother heard some of the artist's other songs (Celtic Folk kind of stuff), saw that there was a song on her CD called "The Redhead Song" and bought the thing unheard. My sheltered friend and I were...astonished, when we got the CD home. And somehow I still remember the song.
posted by ZeroDivides at 8:16 PM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

In the grand tradition of the Carnegie Mellon "Standing Band", the Kilties, the subverted-rhyme cheer has a place of honor.

Here is the first one that comes to mind:
Mercury Mars Jupiter Venus
Grab that quarterback by his--
posted by that girl at 8:20 PM on March 3, 2011

I'm a little embarrassed that this was the first thing that came to mind (MC Lars, "Space Game"):

Yo Morpheus, look, you're a real cyber punk
But your friend Trinity has junk in the trunk
And I'm from Mars, and she's from Venus
She has ovaries and I have a light saber
posted by Serf at 8:21 PM on March 3, 2011

There Once Was a Farmer
there once was a farmer who lived by a crick
and every morning he played with his--
banjo in the moonlight for the lady next door
you could tell just by lookin' that she was a--
decent young lady who laid in the grass
and when she rolled over you could see her bare--
legs in the moonlight she quacked like a duck
she promised the farmer a new way to--
raise a young family the girls would all knit
the boys in the backyard be shoveling--
acorns and hayseeds they grow mighty well
if you don't like my story you can go straight to--
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 8:27 PM on March 3, 2011

This one was popular when I was at summer camp. I'll write it out the polite way, but you'll hear it when you say it out loud :)

A sol, a sol, a soldier I will be
Two pis, two pis, two pistols on my knee
For cu, for cu, for curiosity
To fight for the old coun, fight for the old coun, fight for the old country
posted by JoannaC at 8:27 PM on March 3, 2011

two bits, four bits, six bits, a buck
c'mon cheerleaders, give us a .... cartwheel! (courtesy(?) of the MTU PepBand)
posted by jlkr at 8:36 PM on March 3, 2011

I used to hear the following on Dr. Demento as a kid in the early 80s. Apparently, it was a remake of a "party" record from the late 40s, and there's a bunch of versions posted on YouTube.

I have a sad story to tell you
It may hurt your feelings a bit
Last night when I walked into my bathroom
I stepped in a big pile of

...shhhhh ...aving cream, be nice and clean
Shave ev'ry day and you'll always look keen.

The other verses:

I think I’ll break off with my girlfriend
Her antics are queer, I’ll admit
Each time I say, “Darling, I love you”
She tells me that I’m full of


Our baby fell out of the window
You’d think that her head would be split
But good luck was with her that morning
She fell in a barrel of


An old lady died in a bathtub
She died from a terrible fit
In order to fulfill her wishes
She was buried in six feet of


When I was in France with the army
One day I looked into my kit
I thought I would find me a sandwich
But the darn thing was loaded with


And now, folks, my story is ended
I think it is time I should quit
If any of you feel offended
Stick your head in a barrel of...

posted by droplet at 8:39 PM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Well, there's Wendy's audition song from the Fingerbang episode of South Park.
posted by Joey Joe Joe Junior Shabadoo at 8:43 PM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

I love making these up! I sent this one in an email to my honey on a Monday after waking him up in the middle of the night for some...uh...affection:

Weekends are great
But Mondays just suck
Sorry I disturbed your sleep last night
Just so we could ... have insomnia together.
posted by in the methow at 8:46 PM on March 3, 2011

The song droplet refers to is Shaving Cream, by Benny Bell.
posted by mosk at 9:01 PM on March 3, 2011

I present to you The Lemon Sisters with "In My Country"
posted by kkokkodalk at 9:32 PM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh, and who can forget the classic "Big 10 Inch" by Bull Moose Jackson
posted by kkokkodalk at 9:35 PM on March 3, 2011

Bob Saget doing a version of There was an Old Farmer. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Os_mCU8uRiA
posted by JackarypQQ at 9:38 PM on March 3, 2011

Ugh, sorry for the string of posts, but the related vids from the Bull Moose Jackson video has a couple of related videos reminds me of songs from around then and older in a similar vein. Like "Big Sliding Thing" by Dinah Washington. As you can tell if you poke around (heh) there are some interesting "dirty" songs that don't explicitly state the obvious, even if it's not exactly the type of thing you're looking for.
posted by kkokkodalk at 9:41 PM on March 3, 2011

"And when it came home it was covered in shh...ine up your buttons with Brasso, it's only three ha'pence a tin. You can buy it or nick it from Woolies, provided there's nobody in. Charlie had a pigeon ..."
posted by galaksit at 9:55 PM on March 3, 2011

The Killers' Mr. Brightside:

Now I'm falling asleep
And she's calling a cab
While he's having a smoke
And she's taking a drag
Now they're going to bed
And my stomach is sick
And it's all in my head but
She's touching his
Chest, now, let me go...
posted by restless_nomad at 10:17 PM on March 3, 2011

Ode to the El Camino:

The front is like a car
The back is like a truck
The front is where you sit
The back is where you... haul cargo
posted by amyms at 10:47 PM on March 3, 2011

There was a snippet in The Cure's "Doing the Unstuck," which began:

It's a perfect day for doing the unstuck,
For dancing like you can't hear the beat
And you don't give a ffff
urther thought, to things like feet.
Let's get happy!
posted by CancerMan at 11:04 PM on March 3, 2011

There are many variations on the Giraffe ?chant/song

Ask your mother for sixpence
to see the big giraffe
With pimples on his hind legs
and pimples on his asssssk your mother for sixpence...(repeat)
posted by Trivia Newton John at 11:32 PM on March 3, 2011

Doug Clark and the Hot Nuts practically made a career of this.

Bang Bang Lulu [YouTube].
A Soldier [mp3]
posted by toxic at 11:32 PM on March 3, 2011

When records started getting labels saying "Parental advisory: explicit lyrics", it occurred to me that implied swear words could be accurately described as implicit lyrics.
posted by baf at 12:53 AM on March 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Nearly Rude Song
posted by jonesor at 1:32 AM on March 4, 2011

The last verse of Christine Lavin's "What Was I Thinking":

It was late, I had insomnia,
The TV stair-stepper started to look good,
I thought to myself, "Should I buy it?"
And I heard Bruce Jenner's voice say, "Yes, you should."
And that Snack Master, and that Bedazzler,
And that Victoria Jackson makeup kit.
Now I can barely get around my apartment,
It's so full of all this stupid stuff.
posted by Daily Alice at 2:25 AM on March 4, 2011

posted by speicus at 4:28 AM on March 4, 2011

The Clean Song!

There was a young sailor who looked through the glass
And spied a fair mermaid with scales on her island

Where seagulls fly over their nests
She combed the long hair that hung over her shoulders

And caused her to tickle and itch.
The sailor cried out "There's a beautiful mermaid,"

A-sitting out there on the rocks,
The crew came around a-grabbing their glasses

And crowded four deep to the rail,
All eager to share in this fine piece of news.

Which the captain soon heard from the watch.
He tied down the wheel and he reached for his crackers

And cheese which he kept near the door.
In case he might someday encounter a mermaid.

He knew he must use all his wits
Crying "Throw out a line, we'll lasso her flippers."

And then we will certainly find
If mermaids are better before or be brave

my good fellows." The captain then said.
"With fortune we'll break through her mermaiden head-

-ing to starboard they tacked with dispatch.
And caught that fair mermaid just under her elbows

And hustled her down below decks,
And each took a turn at her feminine setting

Her free at the end of the farce,
She splashed in the waves, falling flat on her after

A while one man noticed some scabs,
Soon they broke out with the pox and the scratching

With fury, cursing with spleen,
This song may be dull but it's certainly clean.
posted by miagaille at 4:52 AM on March 4, 2011

Go Ahead Buddy by Casey Will Weldon (1937)
posted by Pallas Athena at 8:17 AM on March 4, 2011

Took me forever to dig this out of my mental files...
Tim Cavanagh's song "I wanna kiss her (but...)"

I wanna kiss her but, she won't let me.
I wanna whisper sweet nothin's in her(r)ear.
I wanna hold her behind...closed doors and more.
I wanna kiss her but, she won't let me.
posted by aimedwander at 10:57 AM on March 4, 2011

Me father's a lavatory cleaner
He works in the sewers all night
And when he comes home in the evening
His clothes are all covered in...

Shine your buttons with Brasso
It's only three ha'pence a tin
You buy it or nick it off Woolworths
I doubt if they've got any in.
posted by tangerine at 11:29 AM on March 4, 2011

Fred Wedlock's Handier Household Help.
posted by Solomon at 11:33 AM on March 4, 2011

I consider them a sort of garden-path-type thing.

John Prine's "Other Side of Town" has an example that always makes me giggle:

My body's in this room with you just catching hell
While my soul is drinking beer down the road a spell
You might think I'm listening to your grocery list
But I'm leaning on the jukebox, and I'm about half...way there.

And here's another MC Lars one, from "Internet Relationships (Are Not Real Relationships)":

You must be 18, how could you not?
You can't be in high school you're just too hot
Let me send you pics for your personal collection
I hope they inspire you and give you a smile
posted by rhiannonstone at 2:51 PM on March 5, 2011

"The Freckle Song"
She's got freckles on her but... she is nice!
posted by bink at 12:28 AM on March 6, 2011

Since this thread is still open, I would like to add The Assumption Song.
posted by CancerMan at 2:54 PM on October 19, 2011

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