I Mishear Lyrics

‘Scuse me while I kiss this guy

not-JD-on-headphones.jpg

One day, Dave and I were driving home from a trip, and I was suffering the effects of what must’ve been a food-poisoned Burger King shake (so delicious . . . so deadly). I lay fully reclined in my seat, rubbing my grumbling belly and praying for a quick death.

“What a Wonderful World” came on the radio. Now, that’s a beautiful song with lovely lyrics. But whenever I hear Louis Armstrong sing, I just want him to clear his damn throat already. You know, go “EEEEhhhemmmggggg.” Thinking about throat-clearing is unwise when you’re already overly conscious of your gag reflex, but I soon forgot all my gastric misery when Dave asked, “Did he just sing ‘Dogs say good-night’”?

HA!

The lyrics are actually “Dark, sacred night,” but isn’t the idea of dogs saying good-night even better and somehow more fitting with the song’s message?

I see skies of blue . . . clouds of white
Bright blessed days . . . dogs say good-night
And I think to myself . . . what a wonderful world

Sigh. Indeed. What a wonderful world it would be if dogs actually said good-night to each other at the end of the day.

Usually with misheard lyrics, you know the version you’re hearing doesn’t make any sense, but once that version gets stuck in your head, that’s the way you hear it forever, leading to such ridiculous mishearings as

Mirrors on the ceiling
Pictures of Jim Rice

instead of

Mirrors on the ceiling.
Pink champagne on ice
(“Hotel California”)

Or

And it’s holy moley in the deep dark night

instead of

Though it’s cold and lonely in the deep, dark night
(“Paradise by the Dashboard Light”)

Then there are those nonsense songs. When you’re dealing with lyrics like this:

Revved up like a deuce, another runner in the night

you can’t blame people for hearing this:

Ripped up like a douche, another roamer in the night
(“Blinded by the Light”)

These are the actual lyrics:

A mulatto, an albino, a mosquito, my libido

But these make as much sense:

I’m a lotto, I’m a find-o, I’m a skater, I’m a beetle!
(“Smells Like Teen Spirit”)

I can’t figure out how people mishear lyrics in songs that are just so obvious. Take the Commodores’ “Brick House,” for example. Who would hear

She’s been pricked
Owww!

instead of

She’s a brick
House!

and why, in a song titled “Little Red Corvette,” would you hear these lyrics:

Dear Aunt Colette
Why do you move so fast?

instead of these:

Little red Corvette
Baby, you’re much too fast

???

But my favorite mishearings are those that do kind of make sense in the context of the song—like dogs saying good-night in “What a Wonderful World.” For example. Chrissie Hynde sings in kind of a weird accent. I can’t describe it; you either know or you don’t. Anyway, given her strange way of pronounciating, you can’t blame me for thinking that this line from “Don’t Get Me Wrong”:

Don’t get me wrong
If I split like I defected

sounds more like

Don’t get me wrong
If I spit like a defective

And it kind of makes sense, too, in the context of the song, even tho it’s not terribly politically correct. (Sorry, any defectives out there! I know you don’t all spit!)

More of JD’s Misheard Lyrics

Instead of

The tomahawk and the bow and knife

I hear

The tomahawk and the bowie knife
(“Cherokee People”)

Instead of

All the way the paper bag was on my knee

I hear

All the way the paperback was on my knee
(“Back in the USSR”)

Instead of

No dark sarcasm in the classroom

I hear

No dogs of hazard in the classroom
(“Another Brick in the Wall”)

Instead of

Mountains come out of the sky and they stand there

I hear

Mamas come out of the sky and they stand there
(“Roundabout”)


More of Dave’s Misheard Lyrics

Instead of

I blew out my flip flop
Stepped on a pop top

he hears

I blew out my flip flop
Stepped on a Pop Tart
(“Margaritaville”)

Instead of

If everybody had an ocean
Across the USA

he hears

If everybody had a notion
Across the USA
(“Surfin’ USA”)

What are some of your favorite misheard lyrics?


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22 Comments


22 Responses to “I Mishear Lyrics”

  1. 1 Jeff

    Before the days of Google, when you couldn’t’ just look up the right words to a song (aw, the end of an era at last) I could NEVER understand this line from Brick House: “…built like a amazon”

    The best I could come up with phonetically was “…built like a wreck-i-ma-zow” which I thought was a poorly-pronounced version of “…built like a wrecking ball”

    Of course the fact that I was listening to it on 2″ AM radio speakers probably didn’t help much either.

  2. 2 Kathy

    Since I read this post, I’ve been singing “Another Brick in the Wall” over and over again. But at least it’s better than that OTHER song you made me sing for two days.

    I can’t think of any songs I’ve misheard, off the top of my head. Lemme keep thinking and I’ll get back.

    For the record, I agree dogs should say goodnight to each other. It’s the polite thing to do.

  3. 3 JD

    Jeff: that’s a pretty funny interpretation of “amazon”! Still, what woman doesn’t want to be built like a wrecking ball?

    And I have to say, after much research, even the lyrics sites that Google now points us to with such ease are hardly reliable. I think some of the people who maintain these sites are listening to 2-inch AM radios too!

  4. 4 JD

    Kathy: I bet that OTHER song has had some misinterpreted lyrics…but I won’t torture you by listing them here.

  5. 5 Contamination

    JD, I just gave you (and others) a little link love.

    http://misdolinklove.blogspot.com/2007/11/share-love.html

  6. 6 JD

    Thanks, Contamination!

  7. 7 cyberpunk

    “dogs say goodnight” leaves such a warm and happy feeling. I can’t remember my misheard lyrics, but this favorite popular misheard lyrics makes me laugh every time i remember it:

    every time you go away
    you take a piece of meat with you

    instead of:
    every time you go away
    you take a piece of me with you

    from paul young’s every time you go away…

  8. 8 JD

    cyberpunk: HA! That’s a good one. I don’t think I’ve heard of that one. It really creates a funny mental image–someone sneaking out the back door with a T-bone under their arm…

  9. 9 Tim

    My dogs say goodnight to me, every night! They don’t really talk to each other too much.

  10. 10 JD

    Tim: you are one of the lucky ones. I think all dogs say good-night, but not everyone can hear them.

  11. 11 Elle

    Okay, I’m busted, for actually admitting that I listened (and sang along) to Neil Diamond. Yes, I’m old and uncool (but also listened to Roundabout and thought the Mamas coming out of the sky wasn’t a bad idea…) oops, I digress. Ahem. I thought ND’s “Forever In Blue Jeans” was a fundraiser kind of a song for an evangelist and his Baby.. Instead of

    “forever in blue jeans, baby,”

    I heard:

    “For Reverend Blue Jean’s Baby…”

    Yah. Well.

  12. 12 Cancuklehead

    One of the ones I will never forget, is the often noted Jimi Hendrix classic ‘Scuse me While I Kiss this Guy!”
    You are certainly not alone …

  13. 13 JD

    Elle: Oh, my gosh, that is hilarious! Who is this Reverend Blue Jean, and why does his baby need help?!!! That would make a great song on its own–actually, that line makes more sense than “forever in blue jeans,” which is kind of dumb.

    Thanks for stopping by. I see you’re a friend of Cardiogirl’s, which means you’re a friend of mine.

  14. 14 JD

    Canucklehead: Indeed, that is a classic. And, as with Elle’s example, I’d much rather hear the song with the misheard lyric rather than the original.

  15. 15 Ernie

    Funny coinidence; earlier today I heard The Talking Heads “Burning Down the House” on the radio. I can never seem to really hear any lyrics in that song. Just gibberish like, “agappatoopa”.

  16. 16 JD

    Ernie: Yeah, that song does have kind of gibberish-like lyrics. You can find at least one line here, if that helps.

  17. 17 kelly

    The one that makes me laugh every time is my friend singing along to the Killers ‘When you were young’. She sings:
    “Waiting on some beautiful boy
    to touch you in your cold place”

    The lyric is:
    “Waiting on some beautiful boy
    to save you from your old ways”

    I wanna know where my cold place is!

  18. 18 JD

    kelly: Yeah, me too! And can that beautiful boy make it turn to a hot place? Brrrrr!

  19. 19 Natalie

    Backstreet Boy’s “I’ll Never Break Your Heart”

    I ALWAYS hear,
    “When you walked in, you were soaked with Dijon.”

    Actual lyrics,
    “When you walked in, you were so quick to judge.”

    I never got why someone would be covered in mustard…

    Also, Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”

    I hear,
    “The algebra! Has the devil put a sac on me?”

    Actual lyrics:
    “Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me”

  20. 20 JD

    Natalie: I love how it’s “sac” and not “sack.” And I MUCH prefer the Dijon interpretation. It makes his declaration of love so much more meaningful.

  21. 21 Katie

    Oh my word – I love this post. I was thinking about this today – and I remembered a lyrical mistake that I SHOULD have shared on my blog last night. Growing up, one of my best friends always thought that

    They paved paradise to put up a parking lot…

    was really:

    They paved paradise, and put up a f*cking lock…

    I liked his version so much better, and it kind of made sense!!

  22. 22 JD

    Katie: Hey, I’m glad you stopped by this post!

    The reimagined lyrics by your friend are HILARIOUS! I’d love to hear Joni Mitchell singing that version. And it does kind of make sense. Those are always the funniest ones.


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