There's something very rock 'n' roll about nongrammatical lyrics. However, sometimes, songwriters weren't trying to stick their noses up at grammar. They needed to rhyme with another lyric, and it just came out grammatically incorrect. It was just more satisfying. Here are nine examples of classic rock lyrics that don't quite make sense in the world of grammar but make total sense in rock 'n' roll.
'My Love' - Paul McCartney and Wings
In his book, The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present, Paul McCartney wrote that the lyric "My love does it good" in his and Wings' song, "My Love," has "a lot of music history" lying behind it. It's a classic case of the nongrammatical "somehow being the perfect choice." Paul says it's always satisfying to "subvert the rules of grammar."
"Instead of writing 'my love does it well' or 'my love does it marvelously' or 'my love does it with panache' or even 'my love's a good shag,' we have her do it 'good.' It leaves a lot to the imagination," Paul wrote.
'Hound Dog' - Elvis Presley
Paul thinks nongrammtical lyrics became popular in blues music first. He's not wrong. Elvis Presley was one of the first rock 'n' roll stars to do it with his song "Hound Dog." There's a double negative in the lyrics, "You ain't nothing but a hound dog." Paul says those lyrics are extremely effective because they sound just like how people spoke then in their day-to-day lives.
'Getting Better'- The Beatles
Paul says The Beatles were proud of themselves for coming up with the lyric, "It can't get no worse," for their Sgt. Pepper track, "Getting Better." They were proud of it because the song was set partly in a classroom.
'(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction' - The Rolling Stones
The nongrammatical lyric in The Rolling Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" is in the title. Any writer or English lover would recognize that those lyrics don't exactly go together. Like "My Love" and "Hound Dog," the tune has a double negative. The correct way would be: "I can't get any satisfaction." But what fun would it be to say it the right way? Also, it would kind of be a tongue twister.
'Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2)' - Pink Floyd
In "Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2)," Pink Floyd sings, "We don't need no education" and "We don't need no thought control." The correct way of singing that would be, "We don't need any education" and "We don't need any thought control." Like "Getting Better," the nongrammatical lyrics poke fun at the song's meaning, schools churning out children.
'Let There Be Rock' - AC/DC
You can't exactly criticize AC/DC for having nongrammatical lyrics. The band would obviously have a couple of grammatical errors, including in the lyric "Let there be drums, and there was drums," in their tune, "Let There Be Rock."
'Ain't No Sunshine' - Bill Withers
Who cares that Bill Withers' song, "Ain't No Sunshine," contains a double negative? He's singing about having a broken heart. We doubt he cared about being grammatically correct. The song just wouldn't have meshed well if he'd sung, "There ain’t sunshine when she's gone."
'Ticket To Ride' - The Beatles
In The Beatles' "Ticket To Ride," John Lennon sings, "She's got a ticket to ride/ But she don't care." What he should've sung was, "But she doesn't care." However, it would've put an extra syllable in the line and thrown off the entire song.
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