I get such a kick out of misheard song lyrics, otherwise known as mondegreens. I remember years ago when I picked up Gavin Edwards Excuse Me While I Kiss This Guy when I was out of town on business. I went back to my hotel room and laughed until tears streamed down my face while the misinterpretations became more ridiculous, but still plausible, as I turned the pages. The accompanying illustrations only added to my mirth. It is the hardest I have ever laughed without someone else present in the room. I couldn’t wait for the next book to come out, which there were three others. Occasionally, I check the humor section of bookstores, hoping to find a fifth installment in the series. Sadly, Mr. Edwards either tired of the concept, or ran out of material. Nonsense, I say!
In lieu of that, I will reminisce on a few of my own, as well as ones Mr. Pedant accumulated over the years. I displayed them in the same format as in the books: misheard lyric; performer; song title; correct lyric.
The wreck of Ella Fitzgerald
Gordon Lightfoot “The Wreck of Edmund Fitzgerald”
The wreck of Edmund Fitzgerald
What can I say? The queen of scat was the only E. Fitzgerald I knew of when I was a teen. I even had the piano sheet music of the classic folk tune, but for whatever reason, my mind chose to interpret and remember it within the context of its existing knowledge, and stay that way well into adulthood. Good excuse, eh? Years later, I saw part of a documentary about the famous freighter, and the twenty-nine lives that were taken down with it. Hmm, I guess that makes more sense. At least, more than a wrecking ball swinging toward Ella as she breaks glass when she hits her high note. Ah, the warped logic of youth.
Hey old lady you’re gonna die!
Patty LaBelle “Creole Lady Marmalade”
Creole lady marmalade!
Really, what is a more logical exclamation, I ask ye?
I scream my balls off
No Doubt “Spider Webs”
I screen my phone calls
I actually developed a dislike of this song because I thought it was stupid that a woman would say that she screams her balls off. Women don’t have balls! Anyway, I still can’t shake my disdain.
I’m a speed travelin’ hombre
Lynyrd Skynyrd “Freebird”
I must be travelin’ on now
This was my brother-in-law’s creation, and it makes me giggle every time. Oddly, it could fit.
I wanna be, your clamdigger
Peter Gabriel “Sledgehammer”
I wanna be, your sledgehammer
“What the hell is a clamdigger?” At the time, I didn’t know it was a real profession. I guess my friend thought clams were an appropriate token of love. I suppose it is just as useful as a gaggle of swans a’simmin, or a bunch of maids a’milking.
Hail to the flutter kick, same old chicken washed my brain. So I ate a pigeon steak, try to sneeze your blood my way.
Alice in Chains “Would”
Into the flood again, same old trip it was back then. So I made a big mistake, try to see it once my way.
This was heard in the back of a Bradley armored personnel carrier, in the middle of combat during Desert Storm. The gunner started singing this at the top of his lungs, with a Brooklyn accent, no less. Mr. Pedant, I’ve got nothing to add.
Turn your feet around
Vickie Sue Robinson “Turn the Beat Around”
Turn the beat around
A sensible, albeit pointless, request.
Why do we, cutsie-pie ourselves?
Tori Amos “Crucify”
Why do we, crucify ourselves?
This was just too funny to omit. Oddly, the misinterpretation is the polar opposite of what Tori asked. The real lyric is more poignant, but the other really gets my imagination brewing. I picture a bunch of furry kittens tied with lilac ribbons to pink crosses, as they mew in harmony to this song. Oh yeah, and bunnies are hopping around them. Why? Because cute spectacles must contain at least one bunny. All together, now. AWWWWW!!!
A-chin bubbly-bubbly Top Dog
Kula Shaker “Tattva”
Acintya bheda bheda Tattva
What else is there to say about carbonated dogs with chins that hasn’t already been said?
You don’t have to sell your potty to the night
The Police “Roxanne”
You don’t have to sell your body to the night
When you think about it, both lyrics are essentially saying the same thing, one less eloquently than the other.
Do you need a Wal-Mart to look after you?
Tori Amos “God”
Do you need a woman to look after you?
Sorry, Tori. I’ll stop picking on you.
Jesus is just a rat-wheeled freak
Doobie Brothers “Jesus is Just Alright”
Jesus is just alright with me
It is amazing the things that run through the brain during the descent into the fiery pits of Hell.
I don’t know, but I’ve been told, a peg leg woman ain’t got to sew
Led Zepplin “Black Dog”
I don’t know, but I’ve been told, a big legged woman ain’t got no soul
Personally, I’d be too busy trying to move around with a peg-leg to make time for sewing.
Now I pooh hard eggs
The Police “Every Breath You Take”
How my poor heart aches
This lyric was misheard and published as “I’m a pool hall ace.” But really, who wouldn’t wail like Sting if he crapped stony eggs, if you let yourself contemplate such an unfortunate ignominy?
Barefoot ghouls, dancin’ in the moonlight
Credence Clearwater Revival “Green River”
Barefoot girls, dancin’ in the moonlight
One is sexy, the other frightening. I’m good with it.
The beagle flies with the duck
Crosby, Stills, and Nash “Love the One You’re With”
The eagle flies with the dove
Mr. Stills, I love you, but you’re a mumble-ass.
Oh, there’s more. But, in an effort to keep this post from getting too long, I must split this up. Tune in later for the second installment.