Overlapped Choruses (chori?)

I’ve been trying to decipher the background chorus buried under the main chorus of Delerium’s Truly. As an afterthought I started wondering how many songs actually do this: have a strong main chorus with other words sung underneath.

Off hand I can think of two:

Sting’s St. Augustine in Hell
and Delerium’s Truly

Do you have any other examples?

And if anyone has figured out what’s buried in Truly, (and if the mods have no objection to the posting of the lyrics to the sub chorus) can you please put me out of my misery?


No idea about the music in question, but the adjective you want is ‘bitextual’. It’s a centuries-old technique, juxtaposing one set of words against another.

The commendatore scene of Don Giovanni (it’s the last bit). If you haven’t heard it, go get a recording and put it on. It’s brilliant stuff.

Weezer - Undone, Simple Pages
Promise Ring - Become One Anything One Time
there was a fair amount of it in Simon & Garfunkel’s Scarborough Fair, but I don’t recall if it was in the chorus or not.
The Police - Every Breath you Take

It makes for pretty cool endings, as you can see.

Savatage’s “Morphine Child” and Solefald’s “Christiania (Edvard Munch Commemoration)” are both bitextual.

If I understand this properly; - does Abba’s ‘Name of the Game’ qualify? Or Steely Dan’s ‘Peg’?


Meat Loaf’s Paradise by the Dashboard Light:
It was long ago, and it was far away,
And it was so much better than it is today

at the same time as
It never felt so good, it never felt so right,
And we were glowing like the metal on the edge of a knife.

R.E.M.'s It’s the End of the World as We Know It and Phish’s Bouncing Around the Room also have choruses like this, but I can’t seem to remember the words to those at the moment.

Name of the Game doesn’t qualify in my books, because it is structured with alternating Foreground line and back ground line. The two presented in the OP have two choruses (with different lyrics) sung exactly overlapping. If you’ve seen the Buffy Musical it is much like the reprise of “Under Your Spell/Standing In the Way” that Tara and Giles sing, where each is singing different lyrics simultaneously.
Example is:

So truly, if there’s light then I want to see it
All the world is calling loud, saying “It won’t be the same”
Now that I know what I am looking for
All the world is calling out “It’s time to try my luck again”
Truly, if there’s joy then I want to feel it
All the sky is showing how It won’t be like before
Here in this world is where I want to be
Though I’m weak and like a child.
'Cause I can’t cry anymore
I can’t cry anymore

where the paired lyrics are sung together/simultaneously with the Black Text at a slightly higher sound level than the Dark Gray Text.

Cat Stevens’s “Father and Son.”

“An Old Fashioned Wedding” by Irving Berlin from Annie Get Your Gun. Annie and Frank both sing separate verses with different tunes and then sing them together. What’s especially interesting is that Annie’s part is sung at a faster tempo than Franks, so she sings two lines while he sings one. I suspect anyone hearing the song for the first time is amazed that the two songs can be sung together, though I hear Berlin did this trick more than once.