Music is an integral part of life. For some, it’s an occasional thing, for others, it’s constant. Some prefer strictly religious music (I know some families like that—they only allow their kids to listen to church music🤮). Then there are those who listen to other music. Some classic, some modern. All different genres, as well. I’ve always preferred the “classic” stuff, from the 70s-90s. Then there’s my daughter, who listens to everything from pop to metalcore to rock to Blue’s Clues songs (in fact, her playlist once had “Middle Fingers Up” by screamo band Atilla, immediately followed by “Puttin’ it Together” from the Blue’s Clues Musical Nickelodeon episode).
With the internet today, people can search for the lyrics to any song. Prior to the internet, we had to suffer and learn the lyrics listening to the song. Sometimes we got them wrong, singing incorrectly for years, then feeling like an idiot when we found out the real lyrics. Many songs have become known for their famous (or infamous) misheard lyrics. For this week’s post, I’ll have some fun going through some of these wrong words. I’ve included some clips of the parts of the songs referred to. Click play to hear it. You might hear it, you might not.
Starting with a famous one. Creedence Clearwater Revival had a hit in “Bad Moon Rising”. Little did they know when they wrote it that it would be giving directions. The lyric “there’s a bad moon on the rise” is misheard to say there’s a bathroom on the right.
Elton John had a couple of silly ones, as well. For one, in “Tiny Dancer”, rather than wanting to “hold me closer, tiny dancer” one could hear the incorrect hold me closer, Tony Danza. The song “Bennie and the Jets” doesn’t escape, either. The lyric “she’s got electric moves” sounds a lot like she’s got electric boobs. Hmm. Shocking?🤔🌩
For as amazing as some of Queen’s music was, “Bohemian Rhapsody” can be misunderstood. Where in the rock-opera “Beelzebub has a devil put aside” sounds a lot like the horrific (and kind of disgusting) the elder poop has a devil motorcycle.
I’m not sure which sounds worse. Pat Benatar is either asking for someone to “hit me with your best shot”, or possibly hit me with your pet shark. I’ve always wondered, why have a pet shark? They’re dangerous and eat way too much. And why would you hit someone with it? Isn’t that a form of animal cruelty?
AC/DC had a lot of good songs, like Thunderstruck, Moneytalks, Highway to Hell and many others. There’s another song that’s supposed to be about killers for hire, but the chorus sounds a little like a rancher who’s a little on the nasty side. Sure, those Aussies are singing about “Dirty deeds done dirt cheap”. But, if you’re not paying a whole lot of attention, it sounds like dirty deeds done with sheep. As they say in Spanish, “¡Órale! ¡Pinche cochino, guey!” Okay, I don’t know if they really would, but that dude doing dirty deeds with sheep is fucking nasty, in my opinion.
Italian group Eiffel 65 is most known for their catchy, obnoxious tune that says “I’m blue, da ba dee, da ba daa”. But is that what they really say? Perhaps, they’re being belligerent, and it’s I’m blue, I would beat up a guy.
Alanis Morissette sang in “You Oughta Know” either about a burden or a beast with bad vision. The song really says “it’s not fair to deny me of the cross I bear”. However when not heard correctly, it goes it’s not fair to deny me of the cross-eyed bear. I guess it the bear is cross-eyed, it’s less likely it’ll kill you if it tries to attack.
The late Kurt Cobain’s group Nirvana was an interesting band. It’s really hard to sing along with “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, for example, because the words sung are almost unintelligible. As such, this song has multiple misheard lyrics. Listing just a couple here, starting with “with the lights out, it’s less dangerous / here we are now, entertain us” sounding like with the lights out, sex is dangerous / here we are now, in containers! A little later on, it goes “a mulatto, an albino, a mosquito, my libido” could be understood as saying I’m a lion, I’m a vinyl, I’m a skittle, I’m a beatle, among several other possibilities.
Even the modern group Panic! At the Disco is a victim of semi-incoherent song wording. In their song “LA Devotee” they are all about Los Angeles. In the chorus of the song, they sing about “black magic on Mulholland Drive, swimming pools in the desert skies…” but the untrained ear could hear, sweaty balls under desert skies. Well, I guess if it’s hot enough in the desert, a guy could suffer that way.
I think I’m going to round out the silly, weird and otherwise misunderstood songs with a couple by Taylor Swift. Gone from country to pop, there’s a couple of her tunes that have misheard lyrics. In “Our Song”, though she sings “our song is the way you laugh / The first date man, I didn’t kiss her and I should have”, where the misheard version talks about a different place: I didn’t kiss her in the shit house. Umm, okaaay, you want to kiss a girl in the outhouse? More power to ya, buddy!
Swift’s later hit “Blank Space” sounds like she works as a barista where names are constantly misspelled. The actual lyric says “Got a long list of ex-lovers” but, fittingly, it could be gotta love these Starbucks lovers. After all, even at Starbucks they have a blank space (on the cup), and they’ll write your name (even if it is misspelled).
Now that you’ve read some of these songs gone awry, next time the songs come on the radio, you won’t be able to un-hear the incorrect lyrics! If you want to entertain yourself with many more wrong song words, go on YouTube and there’ll be a plethora of videos dedicated to these (and many other) misheard lyrics. Enjoy your musical preferences, whether or not you sing them right. Don’t text and drive (or otherwise drive distracted)—I want you to be here for next week’s post, as well! As always, remember to like my posts—here, on Facebook and on Instagram (username raysrantsoftheweek on both), and share with whomever you think might enjoy reading my stuff. Of course, never forget to be safe and be well.