Misheard song lyrics

Shappi Khorsandi, comedian and previous president of the British Humanists, tweeted some misheard lyrics:

I suspect that the lyric she was thinking of, which appears in the very long and hilarious thread after her tweet was, “It’s hip to be square” by Huey Lewis and the News. Before you read all of the comments on Shappi’s post, put down your own misheard lyric, and I’ll give one of mine.

For years I listened to the song “Proud Mary” as done by Creedence Clearwater Revival and, not knowing the title (or ignoring it), I thought the lyrics were:

Big wheel keep on turnin’;
Primary keep on burning’
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river.

I was a bit puzzled at what “primary” meant, but I thought it must have been some kind of arcane fuel for steamboats, or a form of wood. Only in the last decade did I realize that “primary” is “Proud Mary”. To be fair, John Fogarty’s diction isn’t the clearest.

Okay, I know you all have some misheard lyrics, so put them below.

 

h/t: Grania

178 Comments

  1. Posted December 20, 2018 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    There’s a bathroom on the right. Not mine but a funny alternative when our jam gang plays Bad Moon on the Rise.

    • Posted December 20, 2018 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I remember that one!

      • Lurker111
        Posted December 21, 2018 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

        K-tel Records actually released a collection of deliberately mondegreened songs, of which that one was included.

        Been trying to find a Youtube of that collection but haven’t had luck yet.

        • Merilee
          Posted December 21, 2018 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

          K-tel is still around??

  2. Posted December 20, 2018 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    I suspect Tina Turner’s pronunciation of “Proud Mary” was better than John Fogerty’s attempt at sounding like he is from the bayou. (He’s a Californian.) Many certainly prefer her version of the song but I like both versions.

    BTW, he spells his name “Fogerty” based on Wikipedia.

    • Posted December 20, 2018 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      I believe Fogerty may be the only artist whom his publishers tried to sue for plagiarizing himself.

      In a shameless plug I’ll mention my complete incomprehension of my mate’s lyric in “The Superimposed Man” which we just recorded in a live sesh for BBC6: we holiday together, he wrote it 30 years ago and I’ve never bothered to ask him. Long may my ignorance last.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted December 20, 2018 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

        I recall that when Linda Ronstadt wanted to cover “Tumbling Dice,” she had to corner Mick in a bathroom at a party and make him write down the lyrics, since, like everyone else in the world, she had no earthly idea what the words actually were.

        • Posted December 22, 2018 at 4:06 am | Permalink

          Come to think of it, I’ve actually composed a mondegreen.

          Writing a song which bore a passing resemblance to “Spacer”, Derek, my co-writer and I, thought we’d nick a line from it. So, “Always quick with a kiss to the hand” it was. Years later, I found out that the line is “Always greets with a kiss on the hand”. I blame Sheila B. Devotion and her dodgy pronunciation.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted December 20, 2018 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

        Hare & Hounds!

  3. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    “S’cuse me while I kiss this guy” by Hendrix. That is a well known one.

    • mikeyc
      Posted December 20, 2018 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      “Picture yourself in a boat on a river
      With tangerine trees and marmalade skies
      Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly
      A girl with colitis goes by”

      – John Lennon

    • Posted December 21, 2018 at 7:34 am | Permalink

      An ambiguity that I think he deliberately cultivated.

  4. Posted December 20, 2018 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    A famous mishearing is:

    “Davy’s on the road again
    Wearin’ women’s clothes again”

    which is actually:

    “Davy’s on the road again
    Wearin’ different clothes again
    Davy’s turnin’ handouts down
    To keep his pockets clean”

  5. Steve Pollard
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    For years I heard ‘With every Christmas card I write’ from ‘White Christmas’ (Bing Crosnby, natch) as ‘With every Christmas God I ride’.

  6. Posted December 20, 2018 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Sublime, re-do of Summertime. I always thought he said:

    “Me and my GOD we got this relationship
    I love her so bad but she treats me like…”

    It’s a fun song with God replacing girl.

  7. Steve Pollard
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    For years I heard ‘With every Christmas card I write’ from ‘White Christmas’ (Bing Crosby, natch) as ‘With every Christmas God I ride’.

    And ‘Let me hear your balaliakas ringing out’ from ‘Back in the USSR’ as ‘Let me hear you bellow “life is ringing out”‘.

    Dumb, huh?

  8. Steve Pollard
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Whoops, semi-double post; sorry.

  9. Larry Smith
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    There are so many to choose from, but most that I know of are second-hand, meaning I didn’t start hearing them in the wrong way until I had heard that others had done so.

    Famous examples are Jimi Hendrix’s “‘Scuse me, while I kiss this guy” (Purple Haze – in fact http://www.kissthisguy.com is a compendium of mondegreens)

    “Secret Asian Man” – Johnny Rivers’ “Secret Agent Man” It really sounds like that if you listen for it!

    I liked the story (apocryphal?) that Go-Gos fans in Sweden thought “Our Lips Are Sealed” was actually “Alex The Seal,” and that they would bark like seals when the song was played in concert.

    One lyric I misheard for many years was Joni Mitchell’s from “A Case of You” (one of the ten best songs ever written, IMHO). I thought she was saying “I met a woman, she had a love like yours” for decades. It sort of made sense in the song’s context, after all. Finally, I realized that she was saying “I met a woman, she had a mouth like yours.” For some reason, knowing the right words re-introduced me to the song, bringing a slightly new angle that was like looking at a restored, crisper painting.

    • Lurker111
      Posted December 21, 2018 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      The Capitol Steps actually had a parody of the Secret Agent theme called, exactly, “Secret Asian Man,” about a cabinet officer of some president who happened to be Asian (forget which prez & which official).

  10. Michael B
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Years ago, my Elton John record album developed a skip, so that “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me,” became:

    Sun…

    Go Down On Me —

    Sun . . .

    Go Down On Me —

    Think about it. “Sun” is a homophone. Weird.

    • BJ
      Posted December 20, 2018 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      Yikes!

  11. BJ
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    This must be one of the most common, but Blinded by the Light:

    Blinded by the light
    Revved up like a douche
    Another rudder in the night

    • yazikus
      Posted December 20, 2018 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      Is that not what it actually says? lol. I learn something every day!

    • Posted December 20, 2018 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      I was going to post that! For me it is:

      Blinded by the light
      Wrapped up like a douche
      You know the roaner in the night

      • Posted December 20, 2018 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

        That’s what I heard too except it was “roamer”.

    • Laurance
      Posted December 20, 2018 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

      Blinded by the light
      Blew up like a douche bag
      in the middle of the night

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted December 20, 2018 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

      I always thought the silicone sister was with “the man they call ‘mister'” tellin’ Bruce he’s got what it takes.

    • Christopher
      Posted December 20, 2018 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      As a Springsteen fan, this lyric has always pissed me off. The hacks who covered it and for no damn reason whatsoever gained a great deal of airplay screwed up the lyric which is:

      “Cut loose like a deuce, another runner in the night”

      Nothing about being revved up or wrapped up like a douche.
      Oh how I hate Manfred Mann! Douche indeed!

      As for my favorite misheard lyrics, which I’ve shared before:
      “Are you reelin’ In the cheese, throwin’ Away the rind, are you gathering up the cheese, have you had enough of mine”

      And of course, once heard cannot be forgotten:

      “Hold me closer Tony Danza”

      • Liz
        Posted December 20, 2018 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

        Thought it was, “Are you reelin’ in the East?”

      • Posted December 20, 2018 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

        Made me chuckle out loud!

      • BJ
        Posted December 20, 2018 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

        Love that last one!

        I always wondered if Rocket Man was about being gay. You know, he likes “rockets,” but he’s in the closet, so he’s “burnin’ out his ‘fuse'” all alone. He’s “not the man they think I am at home.”

      • BJ
        Posted December 20, 2018 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

        I mean, from the rest of the lyrics, I’m 99.9% sure Rocket Man isn’t about that, but one can definitely interpret the chorus that way.

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted December 20, 2018 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

      Bingo

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted December 20, 2018 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

        Actually my friends elucidated me on that, so not misheard.

  12. Liz
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Four Tops – Reach Out. I thought they were saying, “I’ll be damned” instead of “I’ll be there.” There are a couple of other songs where I have misheard but can’t think of them now.

  13. GBJames
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    sub

  14. Jamie
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Beatles, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds…instead of “A girl with kaleidoscope eyes” I thought it was “A girl with colitis goes by.”

    • mikeyc
      Posted December 20, 2018 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      JINX!

    • JezGrove
      Posted December 20, 2018 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      That’s wonderful – laughed my socks off!

  15. Jamie
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    My wife thought Falco was singing ‘hot potatoes” rather than “Amadeus.”

  16. Ray Little
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Quoted by my son,
    “I shot the sheriff,
    But I swear it was in silky pants.”

    • Posted December 20, 2018 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      😄

    • Posted December 20, 2018 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

      Now *that* is great. And such an improvement.

    • Serendipitydawg
      Posted December 20, 2018 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

      😀 😀 😀

    • Diane G
      Posted December 22, 2018 at 3:30 am | Permalink

      Lol!

  17. yazikus
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Groovin!

    You and me and Leslie.

    • Merilee
      Posted December 20, 2018 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

      What is the actual?

      • yazikus
        Posted December 20, 2018 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

        You and me endlessly- I believe.

    • Posted December 20, 2018 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

      That’s the way I heard it, too!

      • Merilee
        Posted December 20, 2018 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

        Me, too, for years. Who the hell’s Leslie?

    • Posted December 20, 2018 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

      That’s what I always heard.

  18. Posted December 20, 2018 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Re Toto’s “Africa”, as teenagers my wife and I independently misheard:

    As sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti

    as:

    As sure as Kilimanjaro rises like a Memphis above the Serengeti

    It was only when we were married and heard the song on digital radio that the penny dropped for both of us in the same moment.

    /@

    • Liz
      Posted December 20, 2018 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

      This is another one. I thought it was, “I miss the rains down in Africa” instead of “I bless the rains down in Africa.”

    • Posted December 20, 2018 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

      Writing that one mountain rises like another one is not the most inspired line I have ever heard.

      • Posted December 20, 2018 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

        But it makes sense!

        I take it that they were thinking about the mythical home of the gods, rather then the mundane peak.

        /@

        • Posted December 20, 2018 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

          Have you seen how far Kilimanjaro is from Serengeti? You’d have to be Pete Townshend, who apparently could see for miles, to catch a glimpse.

          God, I love crap lyrics.

          • Doug
            Posted December 21, 2018 at 12:13 am | Permalink

            “More than a million men on Mars could ever do” instead of “a million men or more,” also from “Africa.”

            Speaking of Olympus, I heard the line “I was born on Olympus” in Kiss’s “God of Thunder” as “I was born on a wind horse.” I didn’t know what a wind horse was, but it sounded cool, like something out of mythology.

            When I was a little kid, the song “Let the Sunshine In” was popular. One line was “Smilers never lose, and frowners never win.” I used to sing “Fathers never win.” My father would pretend to cry when he heard me sing that line.

            My mother thought that the line in the Pina Colada song was “If you like cheese enchiladas.” We had never heard of Pina Coladas until this song.

  19. mikeyc
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    “Coming at you on a dusty road
    Good loving, I got a truck load
    And when you get it, you got something
    Don’t worry, ’cause I’m coming

    I was so mad…”

    -Sam & Dave

  20. Merilee
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    ✔️✔️

  21. Lee Roseberry
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    As a child I attended an evangelical church where the hymn “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” was often sung. I don’t know if anyone ever noticed, but one young voice was loudly singing “a mighty forest is our God”. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest and it made sense to me.

    • yazikus
      Posted December 20, 2018 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      I love this. Mighty Forests are mighty indeed! WA’s Capitol has some bronze doors with different images depicted – they were made in New Jersey by folks who had never been to WA – back in the early twentieth century. Apparently, when they arrived they caused quite the scandal. The trees on the panels were far too small! The Washingtonians were duly outraged at the Eastern ignorance of our mighty trees.

  22. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    “Let’s pee in the corner, let’s pee in the spotlight” from R.E.M.’s ‘Losing my religion’.

    • Christopher
      Posted December 20, 2018 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

      Inspired by his cat, no doubt.

      • Merilee
        Posted December 20, 2018 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

        +1

  23. Posted December 20, 2018 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    My favorite was Michael Jackson’s shouting out to John Moore, which made no sense, so I looked up the lyrics and the word being sung was “c’mon.” For the life of me I cannot hear c’mon when he sings those songs (yes, multiple songs).

  24. Lin Westler
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    “Snow-covered horses”

    instead of “Smoke on the water”

  25. Posted December 20, 2018 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    I have 3:
    1) my mom was going around the house singing “she’s got a chicken to ride” wait, what? Mom replied “you know she’s got a chicken to ride and she don’t care and why would she”?
    2) Flashdance. What a Feeling. I heard “Take your pants off and make it happen”
    3) I’m your Venus. I heard “I’m your penis I’m your fire at your desire”

  26. Sastra
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    I used to wonder why “the heart of Rock ‘n Roll is Dubuque.”

    Probably something about it being centrally located, I figured.

  27. Rick Harty
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    An elementary school kid drew a nativity scene showing a very fat person standing over the manger, and explained it was “Round John Virgin.”

  28. rickflick
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    I’ve heard many songs in the rock genre that I couldn’t make out a single word(just me?). I rarely pay much attention to lyrics, except for Paul Simon’s stuff. I find I just go with the overall sound of pop music. I enjoy it that way.
    I do remember the Frankie Valley song – Big Girls Don’t Cry – which baffled me for a long time –
    “My girl says cry,…
    Chili bowl, we had to break up.
    Chili bowl, thought that she would call my bluff.
    Chili bowl, then she said, to my surprise:
    Big girls don’t cry…

  29. Tom
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    All the single eggs

  30. Posted December 20, 2018 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    “I still see you, brown skin shining in the sun
    You got your hair slicked back, and sunglasses on
    I can tell you, my love for you will still be strong,
    After the poison summer has gone.”

    I thought it was about a guy in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, scavenging in his jury-rigged sealed vehicle, remembering a girl, and waiting till the toxin clouds clear so he can go find her.

    I don’t care what Don Henley meant, I think my version’s more interesting (and sad)

    • Jan Looman
      Posted December 20, 2018 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

      I have to say, your version is more interesting if a little less romantic

  31. mrclaw69
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Beelzebub has a devil for a sideboard

  32. Ken Kukec
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    I thought the lyric in Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain” was “you had one eye on the mirror and watched yourself go by” — having no idea there was an 18th century French dance called the “gavotte” she was talking about.

    • Posted December 20, 2018 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      I’ve thought the same for the last few decades. Always learn something new in the comment section of this place.

      • Jan Looman
        Posted December 20, 2018 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

        i thought the same until just this second.

        As my daughter says “I’m shook”

    • Posted December 21, 2018 at 8:16 am | Permalink

      Me too! Had to look it up to check.

    • Lurker111
      Posted December 21, 2018 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

      I thought it was “cavort”! :-S

      • Merilee
        Posted December 21, 2018 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

        Cavort would be a great sub!

  33. jacques Hausser
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    With all the examples provided here, I hope you’ll understand why we, french speaking people, have some problems to understand spoken english…

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted December 20, 2018 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

      Hell, I’m not sure I’ve ever sung the lyrics to “Frère Jacques” correctly, so let’s call it even. 🙂

      • Merilee
        Posted December 20, 2018 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

        I’m sure there a ton of versions of “sonnez les matines” out there🎶

    • Posted December 20, 2018 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

      Don’t French songs have similar problems? I would be surprised if they don’t.

  34. Jenny Haniver
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Last night on the radio I heard a song I’d never heard before, and was convinced that I was mis-hearing the lyrics, which went something like “Mamamamamama chicken pot pie” until part the recipe was included in the lyrics. Twas no mondegreen, but a R&B song extolling chicken pot pie. I can dig into that. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61T_Vsz3f2g “Mah Mah Chicken Pot Pie”

  35. Laurance
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    When my mother was a little girl in church (she became a radical atheist when she was a teenager) she thought they were singing,
    “A constipated cross-eyed bear” rather than “a consecrated cross I’d bear.”

    If I were a constipated bear, I think I’d be cross-eyed, too.

    • rickflick
      Posted December 20, 2018 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      A Catholic told me – Hail Mary full of grapes, Blessed is the fruit of thy womb,…

      • JJH
        Posted December 20, 2018 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

        No, it was “…and blessed is the fruit of the loom…”

    • JD Anderson
      Posted December 20, 2018 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

      That reminds me of Alanis Morissette’s lyric in You Oughta Know:

      “It’s not fair, to deny me of the cross I bear that you gave to me, you, you, you oughta know”

      Which I always heard as:

      “It’s not fair, to deny me of the cross-eyed baby you gave to me. You, you, you oughta know.”

      What a rude man, leaving a woman alone with a cross-eyed baby!

    • Posted December 20, 2018 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

      I’ve heard of someone mishearing “Gladly the cross I’d bear” as if it were a funny animal: “Gladly, the Cross-Eyed Bear.”

  36. Barbara Radcliff
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps not a mis-hearing, but a misspelling: the hymn ‘Gladly, the cross-eyed bear’

    • Larry Smith
      Posted December 20, 2018 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      Another cross-eyed bear may show up in Alanis Morrisette’s “You Oughta Know”: “the cross-eyed bear that you gave to me” which I assume is actually “cross I bear that you gave to me”

    • Serendipitydawg
      Posted December 20, 2018 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

      This is why my teddy bear was called “Gladly” … well, one of them, the other was called “Isiah”.

      I’ll get mmy coat…

  37. Posted December 20, 2018 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Excuse me while I kiss this guy.

  38. Posted December 20, 2018 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Pretty much anything by Elvis Costello.

    Which is good for him, as at least one of his lyrics would’ve gotten him banned from Patreon.

    • mikeyc
      Posted December 20, 2018 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      Oliver’s Army?

  39. Posted December 20, 2018 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Depeche Mode had a huge hit with ‘I just can’t get it up’. I never understood why they seemed so happy about it.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted December 20, 2018 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

      We used to change that lyric to just that. It actually makes sense “when I see you baby, I go out of head and I just can’t get it up.”

  40. Joe Dickinson
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    When I was a kid I was puzzled by “donserly light” in the Star Spangled Banner”.

  41. Roger
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    There are many in “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” by Elton John. Except they sound like gobbledygook words that have no meaning. Not sure if that counts as misheard.

  42. Marta
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    The Pretenders Brass in Pocket:

    Got brass in pocket
    Got bottle I’m gonna use it
    Intention I feel inventive
    Gonna make you, make you, make you muffins . .

    For years, “gonna make you muffins” was my go to invitation.

    • Posted December 20, 2018 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

      I thought she sang ‘dieter leaning’ in that song, which I imagined was some sort of mountaineering maneuvre.

      • Posted December 20, 2018 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

        Yes! ‘dieter leaning’ What was it really?

        “Make you muffins” was “Make you notice”, wasn’t it? Perhaps making him muffins would have made him notice. Mmmm, muffins!

        • Posted December 20, 2018 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

          Detroit leaning, which makes a lot more sense in the line.

        • Mark Ayling
          Posted December 20, 2018 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

          I always heard it as “detour”, but Bing say:

          “Been driving Detroit leaning”.

  43. Mark Reaume
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    My favourite one of mine was:

    “Slow moving Walter, fire engine guy”

    instead of:

    “Smoke on the water, fire in the sky”

    My friend wasn’t a smart man 🙂

  44. Diana MacPherson
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Kiss: i want to rock and roll all night and PART of every day. (I stead of the actual lyric “party every day”). It makes sense. You got to reapply your kiss make up and wash your demon outfit some time.

    • Liz
      Posted December 20, 2018 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

      I thought the same thing.

      Rock and Roll All Night…and Part of Every Day – from the movie Role Models
      https://bit.ly/2R8Q0XX

      “I usually have errands.”

  45. Graham Martin-Royle
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    The bee geeks “how deep is your love “ has the line “she came to me in a submarine “.

    Then there’s “save the whales” in Enya’s Orinoco Flow.

  46. Posted December 20, 2018 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    I have never understood a word Bob Dylan ever sang.

  47. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    I love misheard lyrics

    “Primary” is very funny – I suspect, PCC(E), your scientific intuition formed it.

    Too many to list for me… hmmmm….

    Sometimes it’s so bad it runs an entire sentence together…

    Lemmee read some replies…

  48. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    I think the Sex Pistols deliberately pronounced “pretty vacant” so it sounds like the C-word.

    • JezGrove
      Posted December 20, 2018 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      I always assumed that to be the case and was amazed it got played by the BBC. (They banned “God Save the Queen” of course, but it still very nearly made it to No. 1 in the UK Singles Charts during Liz’s 1977 Silver Jubilee – some conspiracy theorists believe it actually DID make the top spot.)

      • Posted December 21, 2018 at 7:58 am | Permalink

        My memory is that it was at Number One for several weeks. Wikipedia tells me my memory is fickle.

    • Posted December 20, 2018 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

      Some years ago an album was released of Sex Pistols recording session outtakes. Doping that with Hendrix or Led Zepp might be understandable, but a friend of mine said at the time, “What are they going to call it, Never Mind the Sex Pistols Here’s the Bollocks”?

  49. JD Anderson
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Billie Jean is not my lover. She’s just a girl who claims that I am the one, but the chair is not my size.

  50. bugfolder
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    My favorite hymn is “Lead on, oh kinky turtle.”

    • Posted December 20, 2018 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

      That’s now my favourite too. I don#t want to know what the original is.

      • Diane G
        Posted December 22, 2018 at 3:41 am | Permalink

        😀

  51. JezGrove
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    A friend’s mother misheard the lyrics from Supertramp’s “Breakfast in America” as “… take a jumbo across the water / I can see an elephant” (instead of the actual “Take a jumbo across the water / Like to see America”). I guess it was the jumbo jet reference that threw her…

  52. Posted December 20, 2018 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    It’s a relief to hear that natives struggle, too. My brain is typically busy with processing the music, and I have usually no idea what they say. But when I pay attention to the lyrics, I often don’t totally understand them, either, and thought that’s the highest level of understanding a language (I am pretty good otherwise). But sometimes mumbling is just mumbling, I guess.

  53. Dean Reimer
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    When I was a kid my mom had several 8-tracks that were in rotation on road trips, one of which was a Neil Diamond album containing the song “The Boat That I Row.” I always heard the lyric as “The polka-dot road.”

    I like my version better.

  54. Posted December 20, 2018 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been listening to Your Song pretty much since it came out, and for years was puzzled by this misheard couplet:

    I wonder for what life is
    Now you’re in the world

    Only Moulin Rouge fixed this for me.

  55. Steve
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    The classic: “Louie, Louie”
    Nuff said!

    • Posted December 20, 2018 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

      Saw the Kingsmen live at the Kosciusko County Fair [IN] and couldn’t understand them there either 🙂 So, we just went with our own crude lyrics.

    • Lurker111
      Posted December 21, 2018 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

      Hey, J. Edgar Hoover misheard those lyrics, too!

  56. Posted December 20, 2018 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    Stop me if you’ve heard this one, but the reason we call misheard lyrics “mondegreens” is that in the traditional Scottish song “The Bonnie Earl of Moray” people hear:

    Ye highland and ye lowlands,
    Where hae ye been?
    They hae slain the Earl of Moray,
    And Lady Mondegreen

    when the actual last line is

    And laid him on the green

    The name for the general phenemenon was coined by Sylvia Wright in a piece in Harper’s Magazine in 1954.

    • Roger
      Posted December 20, 2018 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

      Thank you!

    • rickflick
      Posted December 20, 2018 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

      I thought I had misread it. 😎

      Thanks for the revelation.

    • Lurker111
      Posted December 21, 2018 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for posting this. I would have if no one else did.

  57. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    Yes, she left you
    And you know you should be glad

    by Beatles.

    A song heard on a crappy radio when I was six years old, and could not understand why boys would fancy girls.

    • Posted December 20, 2018 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

      That lyric works fine for me at the moment….

  58. Jim Swetnam
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    I always thought it was “brown berries keep on burning,” and brown berries was a type of coal.

    • rickflick
      Posted December 20, 2018 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

      I think bituminous coal has brownish hues.

  59. Michael Porter
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    Tom Petty, “Barney Rubble”

  60. Michael Porter
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    From Grease:
    “I got shoes, they’re multiplyin'”

  61. Posted December 20, 2018 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    I always wondered as a kid why those AC/DC guys were singing a song about “Dirty deeds and the dunder Jeep.”

    • Posted December 20, 2018 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

      It has been changed into “Dirty deeds/ Done with sheep”

  62. Bert Rand
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    Bob Dylan’s Stuck inside of Mobile with the Memphis blues again. I always heard:

    With 20 pounds of headlights stapled to his chest…

    Then I read the lyrics:

    With twenty pounds of headlines. Stapled to his chest…

  63. Posted December 20, 2018 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    Mine was also a CCR song, Lodi

    Here is what I heard:

    Just about a year ago
    I set out on the road
    Seekin’ my fame and fortune
    Lookin’ for a pot of gold
    Things got bad and things got worse
    I guess you know the tune
    Oh Lord, suckin’ on a old diaphragm.

    The real last line is:

    Oh Lord, stuck in old Lodi again.

  64. Lisa Kirkman
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    Like a weirdo, I can’t dance – Steveie Nicks, “Stand Back”

  65. Posted December 20, 2018 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    When I was growing up in Australia, the national anthem was ‘God Saaaaaa—aaaaaave —theeerrr– Kweeen’. A completely and utterly stupid song. But I always thought it was ‘God Saved the Queen’ — which I found quite remarkable. When, and how exactly did God save the queen? What kind of danger was she in, and how did God rescue her from it? Were her captors surprised?

    No one ever gave me a satisfying answer to these important questions.

    Then some sensible person decided to change the national anthem to ‘Advance Australia Fair’, which contained the line ‘Our lands is girt by sea’, which many children heard as ‘Our land is dirt by sea’ — which is far less pretentious and far more accurate.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted December 20, 2018 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

      I found O Canada baffling. The now removed, “in all thy sons command” I thought was about the “sun” not “sons” as that made more sense to me. Who would argue with the sun?

      I also though the Lord’s Prayer line “our father who art in heaven” was “our fathers who aren’t in heaven” so it was about our dads who were still alive (I wasn’t religious so the thought of them being in hell never crossed my mind).

      • Posted December 20, 2018 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

        I like the version of O Canada done by a comedian: “Our home on Native land”.
        For the benefit of non-Canadians, this should be “Our home and native land”.

      • Colin Mierowsky
        Posted December 20, 2018 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

        As new immigrants, we did not know the words to the Australian anthem, and my 3 year old daughter sang “Willforjoy” instead of “Wealth for toil”, and was adamant that this was correct.

        Some 25 years later, I still cannot hear (nor indeed sing) the correct words at this point.

  66. Dragon
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    My ex sang Hotel California starting:

    ‘On a dark desert highway, cool whip in my hair’

    When I pointed out it might be ‘cool wind’, she agreed that made more sense.

    • rickflick
      Posted December 20, 2018 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

      But cool whip would make a better music video.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted December 20, 2018 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

        Some talented people should do a medley of misheard lyrics as videos. Cool whip in my hair Is a guaranteed laugh.

  67. Posted December 20, 2018 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    From Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer:

    “Olive the other reindeer
    Used to laugh and call him names..”

    There was an old folk/love song that contained the word ‘millennium” that I misheard for many years. Could never make out anything that made sense, and now I can’t even remember the song.

    • Posted December 20, 2018 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

      Oh, oh, my friends made up words for the love song “Diary’ sung by Bread.

      “I had diarrhoea underneath a tree,
      and now the smell is killing me…..”

      (Actual lyrics:
      I found her diary underneath a tree.
      And started reading about me
      The words she’s written took me by surprise
      You’d never read them in her eyes.
      They said that she had found the love she waited for.
      Wouldn’t you know it, she wouldn’t show it.”

    • Posted December 20, 2018 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

      See, I remembered it incorrectly again! We as kids used to think it was “I’m not talking ’bout millennium” but it was actually “I’m not talking bout moving in”

      https://genius.com/England-dan-and-john-ford-coley-id-really-love-to-see-you-tonight-lyrics

  68. JJH
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    Led Zeppelin – “There’s a wino down the road.”

  69. Sarah
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

    Well, my Scottish father-in-law once told me that as a boy he misheard the line in “The Messiah”, “Comfort ye my people”, as “Come for tea, my people.”

    • Posted December 21, 2018 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

      Mine was, I will make you fishers of men, which became “ I will make you vicious old men”
      Probably more appropriate?

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted December 21, 2018 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

        I like “vicious old men”. I’d rather be that then “fishers of men”.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted December 21, 2018 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

          than. Dammit

  70. Posted December 20, 2018 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

    For a 5yr old church kid, “Jesus’ blood can make the vilest sinner clean” became, “… can make the vacuum cleaner clean.”

  71. Gareth Price
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

    For a long time I was puzzled why the Band Aid song “Do they know it’s christmas?” has the line “At Christmas time we let in light and we banish aid”. Turns out we “banish shade”.

  72. houstonavenuemarchin
    Posted December 21, 2018 at 12:46 am | Permalink

    from a Sam Cooke song (What a Wonderful World):

    Don’t know much about a science book,
    Don’t know much about the French eyed cook . . .

    Say what?

  73. Posted December 21, 2018 at 2:13 am | Permalink

    I think this is a good summary:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMYorpYNMKc

  74. adamj777
    Posted December 21, 2018 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    As a child of 6 or 7, I was unfamiliar with the saying “Only the good die young.” So, when Billy Joel’s song came on the radio, I would sing along heartily: “Only the good tie-ums!” (“Only the good times!”) 😀

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted December 21, 2018 at 7:58 am | Permalink

      Ah! That one!

      I thought it was “only the good Dionne”, because Dionne Warwick (spelled ok?) was also on the radio at the time. Again perhaps a case of deliberate tuning of pronunciation- Billy giving a shout out to Dionne.

      I am Gandalf-level old.

  75. PeteT
    Posted December 21, 2018 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    There is a song called ‘Song 2’ by Blur which has the repeated lyric “Pleased to meet you” which bizarrely can be misheard as “Is there any jam?”. I can now hear either at will though it has rather spoilt the song for me. I humbly submit this as the mishearing which is furthest from the true line.

  76. Posted December 21, 2018 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    Beelzebub has a devil for a sideboard.

  77. Posted December 21, 2018 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    Not a song lyric but, Mark Kermode from the Radio 5 Live Film Review Show (Hello to Jason Isaacs) had a thing that until fairly recently, i.e. for a lot of his adult life, he thought that there was a thing called a “crowf” that was known for lying in straight lines, as in “it’s ten mies from here to there as the crowf lies”.

  78. Mike
    Posted December 21, 2018 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Heres a whole routine on misheard Song lyrics
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u97o1dN4KvA

  79. Lurker111
    Posted December 21, 2018 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    And one of my favorites, as I heard it on the radio:

    Oh, Lord–stuck here in low tide again.

    🙂
    Shows what happens when you use an odd word in a set of lyrics.

    • Merilee
      Posted December 21, 2018 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

      Lodi ain’t so odd. I have good friends who live in Lodi🤓

      • Posted December 21, 2018 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, but are they stuck there? 😉

        • Merilee
          Posted December 21, 2018 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

          🤓They seem to like it. He used to work for Gallo. I only visited once, many moons ago. Most likely not my cupcake.

          • Posted December 21, 2018 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

            I don’t know if I’ve been to Lodi. I expect I’ve driven through it or near it. It gets pretty hot there and everywhere in the Central Valley. Glancing at its Wikipedia page, I learned that it’s the birthplace of A&W Root Beer, which I like best of the root beers I’ve tasted.

            • GBJames
              Posted December 21, 2018 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

              I’ve been to Lodi, Wisconsin, several times.

        • Merilee
          Posted December 21, 2018 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

          My cuppa! 🤬autocorrect.
          I do kinda like the stuck at low tide version.

  80. Andrea Kenner
    Posted December 24, 2018 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    In the Aerosmith song “Dream On,” I always thought Steven Tyler was saying “Sing women.” It was actually “Sing with me.”

    • Merilee
      Posted December 24, 2018 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      I still thought it was sing women…


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