Excuse Me While I Kiss This Guy

We all do it. Singing along to some song on the radio, we reach a section of lyrics we don’t know and keep right on singing anyway, slipping in there whatever we’ve got that sounds even remotely close to what’s actually being sung by the artist. Many of the results are humorous; most are horrendous. The actual words of the songwriter, which are invariably better than anything we come up with, are resigned to a CD sleeve that lies crumpled somewhere under the back seat.

Just for grins, I’d like to share a few misheard lyrics that I have enjoyed over the years. I’m starting with some older songs and working my way up to the present. So, if you’re under the age of 30, maybe skip down a few.

Song: Bad Moon Rising, by Creedence Clearwater Revival

Correct Lyric: “There’s a bad moon on the rise.”

Corrupted Lyric: “There’s a bathroom on the right.”

I suppose John Fogerty could be said to have some sort of accent, but if he does, it’s nowhere near strong enough to account for this. Seriously. Here he is singing about earthquakes and lightning, hurricanes a-blowin’ and rivers over-flowin’, and we’re supposed to believe he suddenly feels the need to inform us where the crapper is?

Song: Blinded By the Light, by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band

Correct Lyric: “Wrapped up like a deuce.”

Corrupted Lyric: “Wrapped up like a douche.”

A lot of people don’t know that Bruce Springsteen wrote this song. If they did, they might seek out his original version, which was done without all the candy-glossed production that went into Manfred Mann’s version and thus contains vocals which, while raspy, are easy to understand. Bruce clearly sings the word “deuce”. He also says “cut loose” instead of “wrapped up”, but that slight lyrical modification by Manfred Mann hardly serves as an excuse for accepting a feminine hygiene product as a valid metaphor in a popular rock song. But maybe I’m wrong. Is “wrapping up douches” a common practice somewhere? Maybe it is. I don’t know.

Song: Twilight Zone, by Golden Earring

Correct Lyric: “This is a madhouse; feels like being cloned.”

Corrupted Lyric: “This isn’t bad now; penis like King Kong.”

Um… yeah. He’s sitting in a hotel room at two in the morning with a smoking gun in his hand and tells himself what he’s done isn’t completely terrible because he’s so well-endowed. It’s not tough to figure out why this type of lyrical error was made when you consider that the person I heard sing this beauty was a guy in high school who drove a BMW and always had a fake tan. Dude like that can’t go ten minutes without referring to something as large and phallic.

Song: Give It Away, by The Red Hot Chili Peppers

Correct Lyric: “What I got, you gotta get it, put it in you.”

Corrupted Lyric: “What I gotta get to getta put it in you?”

Here we have Anthony Kiedis rattling off syllables at a highly inefficient rate of speed. When you try to cram too many words into such a small space, you’re bound to be misquoted. And as the above example shows, you can quickly go from singing about generosity and how others should take up your philanthropic attitude to bitching about how difficult it is to get in some girl’s pants. Gives new meaning to “How come everybody gotta keep it like a Kaiser?”

Song: Smells Like Teen Spirit, by Nirvana

Correct Lyric: “With the lights out, it’s less dangerous. Here we are, now entertain us.”

Corrupted Lyric: “Look what I’ve found! This is dangerous! Here we are now, in containers.”

What can I say, Kurt Cobain was an immensely talented young man, but he screamed this song as if he was having a cathartic breakdown and being stung by wasps at the same time. I suppose we’re lucky we were able to find any words in there at all, correct or not.

Song: My Doorbell, by The White Stripes

Correct Lyric: “When you gonna ring it? When you gonna ring it?”

Corrupted Lyric: “When ya gonna reggae? When ya gonna reggae?”

Look, I know Jack White sounds like he’s followed a pint of Tanqueray with a few speedballs during this number, but come on. It’s a tune about a dude’s doorbell, not his bongos! Song's not called My Waterpipe. Sheesh.

There are a lot more, but I have other things I have to get done this evening. I'm about half way through the final season of Buffy and it's all I can do to limit it to one episode* a night. Feel free to add your own favorite botched lyrics to the comments. I’m sure you guys can think up a bunch that are way more humorous than my examples.

*Okay, sometimes two. Three or four on weekends. I have a problem, I know.

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About kirkstarr

I draw pictures for a living.
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23 Responses to Excuse Me While I Kiss This Guy

  1. Red Pen says:

    While I've heard mondegreens before, I've never heard them explained in such a humorous way. Thanks! Here's one in honor of the holidays: "Olive the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names."

  2. Kirk says:

    "…mondegreens…"Oooooo, excellent word, Red Pen!

  3. Budd says:

    My dad, whose name was Dolan, would sing Proud Mary as Dolan on the river.It seems a sure fire way to get misquoted is to insert another language into the song. Take Beck's Loser:I have no idea what the actual lyrics are but they are in Spanish. I do know that we argued about this in high school and came to the conclusion that he was saying "So help me Lord."

  4. Essy says:

    This reminds me of a website where they have an archive of this stuff. http://www.kissthisguy.com/

  5. Essy says:

    oops, I just noticed your post title. Perhaps you've heard of the site?

  6. The Artist D says:

    Jessica Simpson's "Public Affair" was playing in my house for weeks on end. It was just so addictive. I knew the lyrics and I knew what I was hearing was wrong, but I could never help hearing "all the camera's come out for a public affair" as "all the camels come out on a public affair." And don't doubt that I envisioned camels walking down the red carpet either!

  7. Kirk says:

    "Take Beck's Loser:
    I have no idea what the actual lyrics are but they are in Spanish."Oo! Oo! I know this one! He's saying "I'm a loser" in Spanish, which is "Soy un perdedor."

  8. Kirk says:

    "Perhaps you've heard of the site?"Now that I look at it, yeah, I think so. I think it looked different when I saw it some time ago, though.

  9. Amanda says:

    Kirk…your Buffy addiction is nowhere near as bad as mine. Trust me. The first time, I went through all seven seasons in less than 2 months.

  10. Marque says:

    [this was excellent] That wrapped up like a deuce song….what is the rest of it. I get "reved up lacatution of the rorder in the night"

  11. Cortadito says:

    The Bee Gee's "More Than A Woman" was always "Bald-headed woman" to my mother. Simply Red's "If You Don't Know Me By Now" contains the line "we only act like children when we argue, fuss and fight" which was translated "we only have black children when we argue, fuss and fight" by a friend of mine.

  12. Kirk says:

    "This reminds me of a website where they have an archive of this stuff.
    http://www.kissthisguy.com/"Hmm, it appears the botched lyrics I have listed for Smells Like Teen Spirit are covered at that site, albeit spread across a couple different entries. Cool!

  13. I did the same mistake with Blinded by the Light.Also, name this botched tune:"Carrying a laser down the road that I must travel, carrying a laser down the highway in the night.."

  14. Kirk says:

    Another example of non-English being the culprit, lexcorpninja. Mr. Mister's Kyrie, if I'm not mistaken."Kyrie eleison down the road that I must travel…"I believe "kyrie eleison" is Greek for "Lord have mercy" or somesuch.

  15. Yep yep. I always though he was like some action hero. 😉

  16. I've also heard Beck's Loser misquoted as "Soy on my candycorn"

    Another favourite is Boney M's Rasputin:
    Correct lyric: "Ra Ra Rasputin, lover of the Russian queen"
    Corrupted lyric: "Ra Ra Rasputin, lather up the Russian queen"

  17. Kiss Me Cate says:

    This is a great post. Reminds me of that new Cingular commercial.
    Lock the Cashbox. Isn't it stop the catbox?
    As for Blinded by the light, that whole song confuses me. What the hell are they talking about?

  18. Anna says:

    Hilarious! Even though I know the words to "Bad Moon Rising," it still sounds to me like he's singing "there's a bad moon in the rye." Red Hot Chili Peppers songs are ridiculously easy to mishear. My family and I once spent part of a road trip coming up with different lyrics to "Scar Tissue." I still don't know what the real words are.Some songs I have no problems hearing correctly, but always get warped when they get stuck in my head: Nirvana's "Heart Shaped Box," for example, went from "Hey! Wait! I've got a new complaint!" to "Hey! Great! I've got a new toupee!"

  19. Kirk says:

    tankyouverymuch: I sort of like the "lather up" version. Or "leather of" would be nice as well.Cate: Speaking of Cingular. And I believe it's "Hop in the catbox." :)Anna: Had I taken a sip of my coffee, it would have been coming out my nose at the word toupee. Nice one.

  20. Not sure if you've seen this:Fallout Boy (don't worry, it's funny! there is some pathetic adult humor though)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQJIhynBC2IThere are some other ones, but they didn't pop up on you tube right away, so I can't be bothered.

  21. Dancing Bear says:

    "She's got a tick in her eye" by the Beatles. "and she don't care". Kyrie is latin for Christ. I sang High Mass in a Professional Boy's Choir until my voice changed.

  22. Just saw this post, but I can remember laughing my ass off when my friend would sing "Now I come to you with broken arms." But then anything about Journey is HI-laroious!

  23. Jenn F. says:

    hehehehe…. thank you for the Manford Mann bit. I could never figure out why they were talking feminine hygiene products, and the first time I heard the Springsteen version it was a bit of a revelation.

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