Friday, September 28, 2007


Misheard lyrics (also called mondegreens) occur when people misunderstand the lyrics in a song; e.g. Hold me closer, Tony Danza from Elton John's "Tiny Dancer". I've been emailing some of these to my family, but they are so funny that I feel compelled to post about it. You can tell I really have way too much time on my hands at work right now.

This one of the well known song "Another One Bites the Dust" by Queen was so funny that I started crying because I was having to stifle the laughter in my office. I actually laughed so hard (or actually kept myself from laughing so hard) that I wet myself a little. Especially when I actually put the song on my iPod and found out they are right! So I had to take off my panties and seal them in a Ziploc bag and put it in my purse. Now I'm thinking that if I get stopped by the subway cops and searched, they're going to think I'm carrying around a lesbian sex trophy or something...

Queen's, "Another One Bites The Dust"
Misheard Lyrics:
Ah, take it!
Right in the nuts!
Call a doctor!

Original Lyrics:
Ah, take it!
Bite the dust!
Bite the dust, yeah!

If you liked that one, here are some more, gathered from various places around the Web.

"Born to Run," Bruce Springsteen
Truly a classic, but it's got some awesomely misunderstood lines . "Wrap your hands 'round my INCHES?" "The highway's jammed with broken GYROS?" "CHUMPS like us, baby we were born to run?"

"We Didn't Start the Fire," Billy Joel
Like all list songs, "Fire" trips listeners up with its sheer torrent of names and phrases, especially when the age groups singing it aren't familiar with topics such as Dien Bien Phu and children of Thalidomide. A few choice mishearings include: "Chocolate in the sewers" ("Trouble in the Suez"), "Gretchen's in Afghanistan" ("Russians in Afghanistan"), and "British beat Romania" ("British Beatlemania").

"Smells Like Teen Spirit," Nirvana
Kurt Cobain could be difficult to understand on his best days. But "Teen Spirit" is probably the song that most people get wrong. The title was sparked when Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill wrote "Kurt smells like Teen Spirit" on a wall, referring to Teen Spirit deodorant. And as for the lyrics, well, I don't think I understood them until I heard the Tori Amos cover. On the misheard-lyrics site, "Teen Spirit" has the second-largest number of misheard lyrics submitted, behind only "Blinded by the Light." And I'd say it might have some of the funniest ones ever. Here we are now, in containers! A mosquito, ate my Cheetos! Amaretto, in a needle! I'm with Kato, in a Beetle!

Manfred Mann's Earth Band 's, "Blinded By The Light "
Misheard Lyrics:
Wrapped up like a douche and then I rode her in the night.

Original Lyrics:
Revved up like a deuce, another runner in the night.

The Toto song is even more fun. I confessed that, in Toto's "Africa," I always heard a certain lyric wrong. The actual line, according to Toto's own Web site, is "Sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti." I always heard it as "Sure as Kilimanjaro rises up like Memphis above the Serengeti" (or even the nonsensical, "rises like a membrus," whatever a "membrus" sounds kinda sexual to me).

Happily, I was not the only confused listener. From your comments:

• "Whoa, all this time I thought it was 'rises like an empress....' Hmmm." --Kristen
• "Oh my God. Kilimanjaro rises 'like Olympus'? I always thought it rose 'like a leopard!' What a disappointment." --Lori
• "I always thought it was 'like a leopress'... isn't that a female leopard, and doesn't that make more sense?" --Rick
• And from a different part of the song, Sue confesses "Growing up my sister and I always sang Toto's "Africa" as ' I left my brains down in Africa,' rather than 'I bless the rains down in Africa.'"

Another song that came up often: Prince's "Little Red Corvette." Now for this one, I thought the title alone would give it away, but here are some of the versions you heard:

• "My sister used to sing 'Pay the rent, Colette' instead of 'Little Red Corvette' whenever the Prince song came on the radio. She's grown now, with daughters of her own, and they think that is the funniest thing in the world!" -- Jen
• "My brother swore it was 'pay the rent collect' which even he admitted didn't make sense." --Rob
• My mom, when she was young, used to think 'Little Red Corvette" was 'pay the rent or else.' " --Des
• When I was a kid, I always thought Prince's 'Little Red Corvette' was 'Live in Corvette.' " --Julie
• "When Prince would sing 'Little Red Corvette,' I always thought it was 'Livin' in Quebec.' I think I was around 19 when I realized I was wrong." --Tiffany

My daughter has always had a problem with the chorus of "Africa" by Toto. Instead of "There's nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do" she hears "There's nothing that a hundred men FROM MARS can ever do."

When I was I kid I thought the line from Nine Inch Nails "Down in It" was "I was a muppet now I'm doubted". The line is really "I was up above it now I'm down in it". Yeah, I know. At the time it made sense.

For years I thought it was "Secret Asian Man" until a few of my friends laughed outloud when they heard me singing it!!! I still think it sounds more like that than "Secret Agent Man." He slurrs.

Here's one that made me cry laughing... I remember sitting listening to Elton John's new album and wondering how in the world someone could get away with singing "Someone saved my life tonight.. s**t the bed". We STILL sing it that way and it never ceases to make me howl.

I was married to a musician and he continually got angry over my misheard lyrics. The one that sticks into my head to this day is from The Eagles Hotel California when the "warm smell of policemen, rise up in the air."

My sister always thought "Rock the Casbah" was "F**K the Catwalk" she used to sing it as a kid and got in big trouble at school!