song rhymes

The featured image in this post shows the most common rhymes in pop music from 1960 to 2013, according to a study carried by Billboard, with the pair do/you topping the list. Can you guess the highly common rhymes for the words in bold in these songs?

“Beat of my Heart” by Hilary Duff: “So I’m saying to you / I’ll always be …”.

“Anytime You Need a Friend” by Mariah Carey: “If you’re lonely and need a friend / And troubles seem like they never …”

“It’s Getting Better,” by the Beatles: “I used to get mad at my school / All the teachers that taught me weren’t …”

“The Power of Love” by Huey Lewis and the News: “And with a little help from above / You feel the power of …”

Answers are true, end, cool and love

So here is a minimal preparation teaching idea that deals with looking for rhymes in songs and having fun around it. It requires use of Internet connecting devices. Ideally, the students are allowed to use their mobile phones in class. Otherwise, they would be doing Step 1 at home.

Step 1

Provide this link for the the BBC Radio 1 Top 40 Singles Chart:

And now assign each student in your class a number from 1 to 40 (hopefully you won’t have over 40 students). The students will go on the site and find the song at their number in the chart. They will have to select 2,3 or 4 lines from the song that contain an evident rhyme at the end of the second, third or fourth line. They will write this on a small piece of paper (the size of an index card is ideal or an index card itself). They will write one of the rhyming words with capital letters and they will use dotted lines for the other rhyming words, as in the examples below for the top 4 songs as I’m writing this on December 19th. Can you guess these ones?

At number 1. Perfect Duet, Ed Sheeran and Beyonce

Well, I found a man/Stronger than anyone I KNOW/He shares my dreams/I hope someday we’ll share a …

At number 2. All I want for Christmas is You, Mariah Carey

I don’t want a lot for Christmas/There is just one thing I NEED/I don’t care about the presents/Underneath the Christmas …

At number 3. Last Christmas. Wham!

Once bitten and twice SHY/I keep my distance/But you still catch my …


At number 4. Havana Camila Cabello

Fresh out East Atlanta with no manner, DAMN/Fresh out East Atlanta/Bump on her bumper like a traffic …


Answers are home, tree, eye, and jam

Step 2

Have the students read out their cards in turns and see if they can guess. You could probably use this material for a competition and set up teams.

Step 3 (for the adventurous kind, like myself)

Go on Youtube or Spotify and look for “free style rap instrumental” tunes. Here is one for you.

Tell the students that you will be playing some free style rap instrumental music and they will have to read out their lines with the music beat. You can show them by doing it yourself first. The students can come up one at a time to the front. If you have shy students who are not very keen on the idea, then have as many as possible. If you are enthusiastic about it and “sell your product” well, your students won’t mind at all. Here is an example for the top four songs. Good luck!

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