We've been discussing made-up and just plain bad lyrics, death songs, and more, but one topic that keeps cropping up is the lair of the misheard lyric (as in "wrapped up like a douche," discussed here). From the numerous versions of popular songs that exist only in our heads, you'd think we were all half-deaf.
The most popular ones are chronicled so well on great Web sites such as KissThisGuy.com, named for the famous misheard Hendrix lyric, which is really "kiss the sky." The site asks lyric submitters fun questions, such as how old they were when they found out they were wrong ("I'm WRONG?") and whether they think their lyric is better than the original ("Damn straight!") I also love AmIRight.com, a similar site.
San Francisco Chronicle columnist Jon Carroll, one of my favorite columnists writing today, refers to misheard lyrics as "Mondegreens." It comes from an old Scottish lyric, "they have slain the Earl of Murray, and laid him on the green," which was misheard as "they have slain the Earl of Murray, and Lady Mondegreen."
Carroll believes the most misheard lyric is "Gladly, the cross-eyed bear," as opposed to the real lyric, "Gladly, the cross I'd bear." Hmm. Funny, but that hymn's not in too many of our daily radio rotations.
But he admits that "There's a bathroom on the right," as misheard for CCR's "There's a bad moon on the rise," is a close second. Numerous readers have submitted "bathroom on the right" in our comments, despite admitting with embarrassment that, well, the song's title should perhaps have tipped them off.
Here are just a few of those other most-misheard lyrics, as compiled most unscientifically by me, poking around those sites:
• "The girl with colitis goes by." (Real lyric: "The girl with kaleidoscope eyes," Beatles)
• "Olive, the other reindeer." (Real lyric: "All of the other reindeer.")
• "The ants are my friends, they're blowing in the wind." (Real lyric: "The answer is blowing in the wind," Bob Dylan.)
• "There's a wino down the road." (Real lyric: "And as we wind on down the road," Led Zeppelin.)
• "In a glob of Velveeta, honey." (Real lyric: "In-A-Gadda Da Vida," a.k.a., "In the garden of Eden," Iron Butterfly.)
Here are some of the misheard lyrics that I confess I've gotten wrong all by myself:
• "How's about a date?" (Real lyric: Billy Idol's "Eyes without a face.")
• "It means so much to me, like a birthday, or a preview." (Real lyric: Duran Duran's "A birthday, or a pretty view," from "Rio.")
• "Hello, hello! I'm in a place called Oregon!" (Real lyric: U2's "Hello, hello! I'm at a place called Vertigo.")
• "Even Dallas games, people play." (Real lyric: "In the jealous games people play," Go-Gos "Our Lips Are Sealed.")
• "Sure as Kilimanjaro rises up like Memphis, above the Serengeti." (Real lyric: "Rises like Olympus," from Toto's "Africa.")
• "Go hippie, go hippie, go." (Real lyric: "Go ahead, be gone with it," from Justin Timberlake's "SexyBack.")
Here are some of the misheard lyrics that are so out there it's hard to believe anyone thought they were true. (Some of these gained fame from being used in commercials or TV shows.)
• "The sheep don't like it, rockin' the cat box." (Real lyric: "Shareef don't like it, rock the Casbah," The Clash.)
• "Pour some shook-up Ramen." (Real lyric: "Pour some sugar on me," Def Leppard.)
• "Hold me close, young Tony Danza." (Real lyric: "Hold me closer, tiny dancer," Elton John.)
• "Round John Virgin." (Real lyric: "Round yon virgin," from "Silent Night.")
• "Bald headed woman." ("More than a woman," Bee Gees.)
And here are five misheard lyrics from those sites that just made me crack up. Many of these are ones I've never heard before, but you can bet I'm singing the songs that way from now on.
• "Here we are now, in containers." (Real lyric: "Here we are now, entertain us," Nirvana.)
• "Lucy's in a fight, with Linus." (Real lyric: "Lucy in the sky with diamonds," Beatles.)
• "Who you gonna call? Those bastards!" (Real lyric: "Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!")
• "Desperado, you've been outright offensive, for so long now" (Real lyric: "You've been out riding fences," The Eagles.)
• "If you change your mind (Jackie Chan), I'm the first in line (Jackie Chan)." (Real lyric: "If you change your mind (take a chance)," from Abba.)
We can't possibly compete with KissThisGuy, AmIRight, and Jon Carroll, but bring out your best misheard lyrics and share them in the comments.