Top 10 Songs that Have a Pre-Chorus

Pre-choruses are optional parts in a song and not all songs have pre-choruses. Songs with no pre-chorus are fine but some songwriters decide to put more efforts.

A pre-chorus is that bit of music immediately preceeding the chorus - it's between the verse and the chorus. It's a transitional section preparing the listener for the "hook" of the chorus.

Pre-chorus is usually considered as part of the verse - its last part. It's really a transitional section and you can feel that when you listen to a song with a pre-chorus for the first time. What happens is that when the pre-chorus starts, you may conclude that the chorus starts... until you hear the real chorus. This happened to me many times and it proves the pre-chorus has a "transitional" function.

Pre-choruses can be long or short and are used in many genres - pop, rock, metal, etc (hypothetically, they can be used in every genre).

The Top Ten

1 Master of Puppets - Metallica

Pre-chorus starts with "Taste me you will see..."
Chorus starts with "Master of puppets, I'm pulling your strings..." - Metal_Treasure

2 Enter Sandman - Metallica

It's one of the shortest pre-choruses ever! But it's cool too. - Userguy44

Sleep with one eye open
Gripping your pillow tight
Exit light
Enter night
Take my hand
We're off to Never Never-land - Metal_Treasure

3 Proud Mary - Creedence Clearwater Revival

"Big wheel keep on turning, Proud Mary keep on burning."
It's short but very effective. - Gg2000

4 The Throne - Blind Guardian

Similarly to Master of Puppets by Metallica, this song is also long (similar length - about 8 minutes) and pre-choruses work very good.
Moreover, the verses to 'The Throne' aren't exactly the same - they have different structures and aren't typical verses, and adding a pre-chorus is a good idea.
There are the 3 pre-choruses before every chorus (lyrics are not absolutely the same but music is):
The pre-chorus starts with "I've come to tell you once more..."
The chorus starts with "We must serve the fire...". - Metal_Treasure

5 Uprising - Muse

[Pre-Chorus 1]
Another promise, another seed
Another packaged lie to keep us trapped in greed
And all the green belts wrapped around our minds
And endless red tape to keep the truth confined
(So come on)

[Pre-Chorus 2]
Rise up and take the power back
It's time the fat cats had a heart attack
You know that their time's coming to an end
We have to unify and watch our flag ascend
(So come on)
They will not force us
They will stop degrading us
They will not control us
We will be victorious
(So come on) - Metal_Treasure

6 Ride the Sky - Helloween

Pre-chorus starts with: "Send me a sign,..." (play the sample to hear the entire pre-chorus)
Chorus starts with: " Ride the sky,..." - Metal_Treasure

7 Stormbringer - Deep Purple

Ride the rainbow
Crack the sky
Stormbringer coming
Time to die
Got to keep running
Stormbringer coming
He's got nothing you need
He's gonna make you bleed - Metal_Treasure

8 Living on a Prayer - Bon Jovi

She says, we've got to hold on to what we've got
It doesn't make a difference if we make it or not
We've got each other and that's a lot for love
We'll give it a shot - Userguy44

9 Ballroom Blitz - Sweet

Steve Priest:
"Oh, Oh, I see a man at the back as a matter of fact
His eyes are as red as the sun
And the girl in the corner let no one ignore her
Cause she thinks she's the passionate one"
Brian Connolly:
"Oh yeah! It was like lightning
Everybody was fighting
And the music was soothing
And they all started grooving"
(and then comes the chorus: "Yeah, yeah, yeah-yeah-yeah, And the man in the back said everyone attack,...") - Metal_Treasure

10 Imagine - John Lennon

The Contenders

11 Judas - Helloween

Very strong pre-chorus, starts with: "Fight for freedom, fight for rights,..."
chorus starts with: "Judas - rulin' with an iron hand,..."
(play the sample to hear them both) - Metal_Treasure

12 The Holy Grail - Blind Guardian

Blind Guardian songwriting is widely appreciated for being different, complex and experimental in terms of song structures. In this song they used the pre-chorus in a non-standard way but the pre-chorus is my favorite part of this song:
1) they put the pre-chorus in the middle of the verse and not at the end! Surprise!
2) they put a long section between the pre-chorus and chorus, so the pre-chorus sounds like a fake chorus when you first listen to this song
3) the chorus appears 3 times whereas the pre-chorus only twice
4) the pre-chorus comes with different lyrics
All 3 choruses start with "There on the battlefield she sings Praise, hallelujah,..."
pre-chorus 1 (in the middle of verse 1) - you can hear it on the sample:
"Don't call it hopelessly insane Oh Oh Oh
I go and grasp the grail Oh Oh Oh
But in a graceful way Oh Oh Oh
Illegally, my aim
The grail will cross the border now"
pre-chorus 2 (in the middle of verse 2):
"So after ...more - Metal_Treasure

13 Love's Tragedy Asunder - Demons & Wizards

A very strong pre-chorus, you may think it's the chorus when you hear this song for the first time.
Pre-chorus 1 starts with "She still has sunshine in her weary eyes,..." (it's in the end of the song sample);
Pre-chorus 2 starts with "I've buried sunlight when I shut her eyes,...";
Chorus starts with " Love's tragedy asunder,..."
The pre-chorus appears twice but with different lyrics: Hansi lyrics are great because only some keywords are repeated - sunshine/sunlight, eyes; also, some words from the 1st pre-chorus rhyme with the respective words from the 2nd pre-chorus, ex. try/cry. - Metal_Treasure

14 Emergent Evolution - Obscura

[Pre-Chorus 1]
Arise nocturnal star, into the void of eternal light
From brume into renascence, emergent evolution
Perennial aeonic divine eclipse
[Pre-Chorus 2]
Arise celestial bliss, into the void of divine essence
As a swarm into renascence, emergent evolution
Concentric primordial subsistence reborn
[Pre-Chorus 3] = [Pre-Chorus 1] - Metal_Treasure

15 White Skies - Moonspell

Interestingly, the pre-chorus here is much longer than the chorus (part of it is in the end of the sample):
"By these hands - untouched
By these lips - unspoken
Every heart - a jewel
Every heart - a stronghold
Skies come down! Come down"
"White skies roar with battle cries
Haters meet, lovers die") - Metal_Treasure

16 Firework - Katy Perry

I can believe I put in one list Metallica, Blind Guardian and Katy Perry, but this isn't a metal list and I wanted to give an example from pop music and also to create variety:
Pre-chorus starts with: "You just gotta ignite the light,..."
Chorus starts with: " 'Cause baby, you're a firework,..." - Metal_Treasure

17 Slide Away - Oasis

"Slide in baby, together we'll find. I've tried praying but I know just what you're saying to me."
Not the only example from Oasis. Don't Look Back In Anger, D'You Know What I Mean, Wonderwall, All Around the World, Going Nowhere, Rock 'N' Roll Star, and many others have prechoruses. That's part of what makes their music appealing. - Gg2000

18 Nightcrawler - Judas Priest
19 Search and Destroy - Iggy & the Stooges

"Honey gotta strike me blind. Somebody gotta save my soul! Baby don't ya take my mind! "
Iggy once said that he put a Pre-chorus in there to stretch the composition a little, saying that it was the poppiest that the Stooges ever got. - Gg2000

20 Bitch - The Rolling Stones

"Yeah, when you call my name, I salivate like a Pavlov dog.
Yeah, when you lay me out, my heart beating louder than a big bass drum, all right! ".
The actual chorus only appears once in the song. They sing the pre-chorus one more time before going into the outro, which is basically a guitar solo. - Gg2000

21 Life on Mars? - David Bowie

"But the film is a saddening bore/ Cause she's lived it ten times or more/ She could spit in the eyes of fools/ as they ask her to focus on...". He changes the words in the second pre-chorus, but the function is still the same; it sets up the chorus. - Gg2000

22 Just So You Know - American Head Charge
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