What was Queen's Freddie Mercury singing in We Will Rock You? Picture: GARY MERRIN
Almost everyone has done it at some time or another. Whether in your car, in a nightclub or possibly one of the most embarrassing scenarios on a karaoke stage, chances are you have messed up some song lyrics.
There is a whole history of misheard song lyrics books have been devoted to them, as have several websites chronicling the stupid, the lame and the bizarre.
A special phrase has even been coined... they're known as "mondegreens", simply because someone in the 1950s explored this phenomenon after hearing "laid him on the green" as "Lady Mondegreen" in a folk song.
So, in tribute to all those mondegreen muffins out there, here's a list of top 10 misheard song lyrics:
1. Mondegreen experts (yes, there are people with too much time on their hands) tend to agree the most famous one comes from Jimi Hendrix's Purple Haze where many have thought he sings "'Scuse me while I kiss this guy" instead of "kiss the sky".
2. A close second is Bob Dylan's Blowin' In The Wind the line "The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind" has been mistakenly heard as "The ants are my friends. They're blowing in the wind."
Even AC/DC are not immune to misheard song lyrics. Picture: GARY MERRIN
3. One poor chap thought he knew the words when he got up to sing AC/DC's You Shook Me All Night Long but instead of singing "She had the sightless eyes" he was adamant it was "She had me circumcised."
4. Technically, this is more than one but since they're all from the same band, we're grouping them all together. The Rolling Stones have caused some confusion over the years... could the way ol' Mick flaps his lips be the key? Or is he strutting his stuff to draw attention away from what he's singing? Whatever the case, "I'll never be your beast of burden" has been heard as "I'll never leave your pizza burnin'", "I'll never be your beef of bourbon" and "I'll never be your pizza burger". "Hey, you, get off of my cloud" became "Hey, Hugh, get off of McCloud" and "Hey, you, the top of my blouse" while the line "Who could hang a name on you?" from Ruby Tuesday became a Dr Seuss-flavoured mondegreen "Who put ham and eggs on you?"
The Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger has caused plenty of people to be confused by the group's lyrics. Picture: GARY MERRIN
5. Madonna's La Isla Bonita has caused some confusion when she sings "last night I dreamt of San Pedro" and it's been misheard as "last night I dreamt of some bagels".
6. Mistaking lyrics for something sexual seems to be a recurring theme in many mondegreens. In Bryan Adams' Summer of '69 someone thought the line "I got my first real six-string" was actually "I got my first real sex dream."
7. So it goes on.... The line "Take your passion and make it happen" from Irene Cara's Flashdance was amusingly misheard as "Take your pants down..."
8. "You've got mud on your face, front disc brakes." It's from Queen's We Will Rock You but Freddie Mercury was singing "a big disgrace." [Someone also thought Mercury was singing "Flash a-ahhh... he's a billy-goat" instead of "a miracle" in Flash Gordon].
You'd think the tittle of The Prodigy's Breathe might give a clue to the correct lyrics. Picture: GARY MERRIN
9. And there are mondegreens that can be described as quickies: "Exhale! Exhale!" from the Prodigy's Breathe was heard as "Bake Sale! Bake Sale!"
10. And to finish: "Clown control to Mao Tse-Tung." Should be "Ground control to Major Tom" from David Bowie's Space Oddity.
Many mondegreens speak for themselves and are known to cause giggles, snorts or just wry smiles whether you agree with this top 10 or not, take heart there are plenty more to be discovered, heard or misheard.
David Bowie's Space Oddity has certainly provided some odd interpretations of the lyrics. Picture: GARY MERRIN
AC/DC: 'Dirty Deeds' song. I know I heard, although it did not make any sense!!! and I needed my dictionary: "Dirty deeds and the dunder chief!"!!! About 3 decades later a friend informed me it was:"Dirty deeds and they're done dirt cheap!"
Hope you are collecting these 'groover' and will bless us with a publication!
Just Hilarious, thank you. Julia
What about "She's a Must to Avoid" by Hermans Hermits, ok it is an oldie...? I have never met anyone who gets that first time, most (me included) are convinced the words are "She's a Muscular Boy".