As promised almost a year ago, here is installment number two of my collection of mondegreens, i.e., misheard lyrics. Finally! I trust you have been waiting with bated breath for this. You may now, devoted reader, breathe a sigh of relief. I have come to deliver on that promise. Incidentally, Microsoft Word does not recognize the term, so my vision is currently being assaulted with the underlined red squiggle under “mondegreens.” There it is again. How dare these miscreant software developers offend my sensibilities so? Even the paperclip seems to be looking at me disapprovingly. Smug bastard.
As last time, I am following the same format as in the famous books: misheard lyric; performer; song title; correct lyric.
Tell them all hookah, is smoking character . . . One man on the chessboard . . . and your mind is moving all . . . Have fallen softly dead . . . And the requiem’s offed his head. Remember, what the doormouth said.
Jefferson Airplane “White Rabbit”
Tell ‘em a hookah smoking catepillar . . . When men on the chessboard . . . and your mind is moving slow . . . Have fallen sloppy dead . . . And the Red Queen’s “Off with her head!” Remember, what the dormouse said.
That’s right. I butchered the crap out of these lyrics. I was reminded of that when I got the urge to sing it in the shower recently. I drew a complete blank on the correct lyrics, so sang what I thought they sounded like. Yes, I read Lewis Carroll’s classic. So, I should know better, right? Besides, I’ve heard it a bazillion times, since Grace Slick’s opus is ubiquitous as a soundtrack to let the audience know that something trippy is going on. Incidentally, I always thought this song was about drugs. “Go Ask Alice” is a famous diary from a drug-user, and there was some kind of mushroom involved. What other conclusion could I draw from that? Besides the time it was released, the lyrics sound like they were inspired by an acid trip. I suppose by association it is about drugs. Do you have a better explanation for how LC came up with that psychedelic imagery? It was like H.R. Pufnstuf in lit-form. Certainly, it wouldn’t pass for children’s fiction today. Oh wait—then how does one explain the Teletubbies? I digress.
Where is my job today?
Paula Cole “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?”
Where is my John Wayne?
I don’t mean to be such a downer, but in this economy, this one isn’t such a stretch.
Been through the desert on a horse with no brain
America “Horse With no Name”
Been through the desert on a horse with no name
This might have been the product of the listener smoking pot while listening to this song, which, pretty much, is the best way to enjoy this tune.
If the horse had no brain, but did have a name, would he know? I might be able to ponder that philosophically if I wasn’t so baked.
What if I’m a mummy in these jeans of his?
Tori Amos “Crucify”
What if I’m a mermaid in these jeans of his?
Pfft. Mermaids are so 80’s. Mummies are the “it” mythical creature du jour. They are like caterpillars emerging from their cocoons into beautiful . . . zombies.
Run amok that ill
Kate Bush “Running Up That Hill”
Running up that hill
This is just stupid. It is beneath my intellect to even formulate a response. Puh!
He got a raisin in his shoe
Jim Croce “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown”
He got a razor in his shoe
What up, bitch? I’m walkin’ on nature’s sunshine fruit. That’s right. I’m bad.
As an aside, is it just me or does the new version of the Sun-Maid girl look like she would spread her legs for anyone who found his or her way into that vineyard? Just curious.
Kiss your soul heart. I’ll take your breast away
Sarah McLachlan “Possession”
Kiss you so hard. I’ll take your breath away
Wow. That is . . . awful. As if the song wasn’t creepy enough, that crosses the line from stalker to serial killer. Thanks for tonight’s nightmare.
I believe I saw La Bamba (jet planes)
I believe I saw the bombers (jet planes)
It was a passenger plane in which the music died, not to get technical.
Watch the freakers eat Kenneth is your, Benzedrine all wet?
R.E.M. “What’s the Frequency, Kenneth”
What’s the frequency, Kenneth, is your Benzedrine, uh-huh.
Um . . . what? It sounds like their Benzedrine did get all wet, with some unforseen side-effects. Either that, or they got hit harder than Dan Rather did by the lunatic who attacked him screaming that question.
We are the priests of the temple with earrings
Rush “The Temples of Syrinx”
We are the priests of the temples of Syrinx
Since most priests are closet homosexuals, that doesn’t surprise me. I know I know. It’s wrong. Sick and wrong!
And you steal rat meat in your Jesus Christ pose
Soundgarden “Jesus Christ Pose”
And you stare at me in your Jesus Christ pose
Maybe that’s why communion wafers taste like crap?
Bunnies on the table, the fire is cooking
Temple of the Dog “Hunger Strike”
But it’s on the table, the fire is cooking
That doesn’t sound like much of a hunger strike to me. Don’t get me started on the fluffy bunnies.
If there’s a barstool and your head rolls, don’t be alarmed now
Led Zeppelin “Stairway to Heaven”
If there’s a bustle in your hedge row, don’t be alarmed now
No chance of being alarmed, of course, considering my head inexplicably became detached from my body at the mere presence of a barstool. At most, my last sentient thought would be trying to connect the dots on that non sequiter.
You can tell by the way that I use my wok, that I’m a wooden man
Bee Gees “Staying Alive”
You can tell by the way that I use my walk, that I’m a woman’s man
You get a hard-on while making kung pao chicken? Kinky.
Grab your teeth I’ve come to take you home
Peter Gabriel “Salisbury Hill”
Grab your things I’ve come to take you home
Said the man to his grandfather in Salisbury Hill nursing home. Totally plausible.
The pinball wizard’s got such a super ass
The Who “Pinball Wizard”
The pinball wizard got such a supple wrist
I bet Elton John made that very observation.
Leaping lost anus
Sheryl Crow “Leaving Las Vegas”
Leaving Las Vegas
Since a lot of people have had their asses beaten in Vegas, it is apt, albeit a bizarre way to put it.
My dad lay and poohed on my room below
Pearl Jam “Jeremy”
The dead lay in pools of maroon below
No wonder that kid lost his shit.
Hey Joe, where you goin’ with that gum in your hair?
Jimi Hendrix “Hey Joe”
Hey Joe, where you going with that gun in your hand
To add insult to injury, the cheating bitch spat her Wrigley Spearmint into Jimi’s fro? Damn right she deserved to get shot!
In Nam’ bodies float
Jimmy Buffet “Margaritaville”
It’s nobody’s fault
And napalm sticks to kids.
Woman shits on the water, very queer
Crosby, Stills and Nash “Wooden Ships”
Wooden ships on the water, very clear
A floating version of a Boston plate job; that’s definitely some kinky shit.
They come to pluck the rooster
Alice in Chains “Rooster”
They come to snuff the rooster
Is plucking the rooster foreplay for choking the chicken? Me torture you long time, Yankee!
Feelin’ like a ham and mustard shake
Stone Temple Pilots “Interstate Love Song”
Feelin’ like a hand in rusted shame
Huh. Oddly specific, but I suppose it would suck to feel that way. Or at least you’d feel like Hell after you drank that!
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.