published Friday, May 4th, 2012

Twisted tunes: The weird and wacky ways we mishear song lyrics


Share your twisted lyrics on our Facebook page or below in the comments section.


Song: "I'd Really Love to See You Tonight," by England Dan and John Ford Coley

Mistaken lyrics:

"I'm not talking about the millennium."

"I'm not talking about religion."

"I'm not talking about the linen."

Actual lyric:

"I'm not talking about moving in."

Song: "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap," by AC/DC

Mistaken lyrics:

"Dirty deeds and the thunder chief."

"Dirty tees, I like cheese."

"Dirty cheese under meat."

Actual lyric:

"Dirty deeds done dirt cheap."

Song: "Voices Carry, by 'Til Tuesday

Mistaken lyrics:

"Hush, hush. Even downtown, it's so scary."

"Hush, keep it down now, this is Kerri."

"Oh, Josh, keep it down, this is Carrie."

Actual lyric:

"Hush, hush, keep it down now, voices carry."

Ever sing along to a song and think, "Hmmm, those are some strange lyrics"?

Could there be the slightest possibility you might have those words just the slightest bit wrong? After all, why would Sir Elton John have written his 1971 song about wanting to be held closer by Tony Danza when Danza didn't actually debut on television until "Taxi" in 1978?

Such a mistake, a malapropism in spoken language, is often referred to as a mondegreen in song or verse. The term was coined by American writer Sylvia Wright, who came to realize that the Scottish ballad "The Bonny Earl o'Moray," referred to slaying the earl and that the lyric was "laid him on the green," rather than "Lady Mondegreen."

The "Tiny Dancer/Tony Danza" mondegreen was spoofed on the television show "Friends," and several Times Free Press readers admitted to having made the same mistake.

There are some other rather common ones as well: " 'Scuse me while I kiss this guy," instead of "kiss the sky," from Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze" is often cited. So is "there's a bathroom on the right" for Creedence Clearwater Revival's "there's a bad moon on the rise."

And lest anyone wonder further, Bruce Springstein, or in the more well-known incarnation, Mannfred Mann, was singing about being 'cut loose/revved up like a deuce,' in the song "Blinded by the Light." He was not, in fact, "wrapped up like" a feminine hygiene product.

We asked Times Free Press readers to tell us their twisted song lyrics, and here's what they said.


Mistaken lyric: "B-B-B-Bunny in a dress."

Actual lyric: "B-B-B-Bennie and the jets."

Song: "Bennie and the Jets," by Elton John

-- Melissa Hartung, Chattanooga, on behalf of her 5-year-old daughter

Mistaken lyric: "Every little fish does its magic."

Actual lyric: "Every little thing she does is magic."

Song: "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic," by The Police

-- Chris Ratliff, via Times Free Press Facebook page

Mistaken lyric: "I got to move my jacket, I got to move my jacket, I got to mooooooooooove my jacket."

Actual lyric: "I've got the moves like Jagger" (repeat three times)

Song: "Moves Like Jagger," by Maroon 5 (featuring Christina Aguilera)

-- Lauren Knight, Ringgold, Ga.

Mistaken lyric: "And we will lie on each other."

Actual lyric: "And we rely on each other."

Song: "Islands in the Stream," by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton

-- Melissa Sherlin, Cleveland, Tenn.

Mistaken lyric: "It's not fair to deny me of the cross-eyed bear that you gave to me."

Actual lyric: "It's not fair to deny me of the cross I bear that you gave to me."

Song: "You Oughta Know," by Alanis Morrisette

-- Jennifer Martin, Cleveland, Tenn.

Mistaken lyric: "Take your pants down and make it happen."

Actual lyric: "Take your passion and make it happen."

Song: "What a Feeling," by Irene Cara

-- Kerri Ellis, via email

Mistaken lyric: "Give me The Beach Boys and save my soul, I want to get lost in your rock 'n' roll."

Actual lyric: "Give me the beat, boys, and free my soul ..."

Song: "Drift Away," by Dobie Gray

-- Dale Huffstetler, via the Times Free Press Facebook page

Mistaken lyric: "I learned my lesson in Lester's car."

Actual lyric: "I learned my lesson, it left a scar."

Song: "You're No Good," by Linda Ronstadt

-- Dan Alderman, North Chattanooga

Mistaken lyric: "I got my brown paper bag and my pickled egg."

Actual lyric: "I got my brown paper bag and my take-home pay."

Song: "Waitin' for the Bus," by ZZ Top

-- Robert Smith, via the Times Free Press Facebook page

Mistaken lyric: "Living on a prairie."

Actual lyric: "Livin' on a prayer."

Song: "Livin' on a Prayer," by Bon Jovi

-- Nanci Holden, Chattanooga, on behalf of her 11-year-old daughter

Mistaken lyric: "Carry a laser down the road that I must travel."

Actual lyric: Kyrie eleison (Greek for "Lord have mercy") down the road that I must travel."

Song: "Kyrie," by Mr. Mister

-- Billy Faires, Chattanooga

Mistaken lyric: "Can't find the buttermilk."

Actual lyric: "Can't find a better man."

Song: "Better Man," by Pearl Jam

-- Kate Burkhalter, Chattanooga State alumna

Mistaken lyric: "Little miss, little miss, little miss candy bra."

Actual lyric: "Little miss, little miss, little miss can't be wrong."

Song: "Little Miss Can't Be Wrong," by Spin Doctors

-- Kim Stock, Dunlap, Tenn.

Mistaken lyric: "Werewolves on fire and no one can save me, not you."

Actual lyric: "World was on fire and no one can save me but you."

Song: "Wicked Game," by Chris Isaak

-- Sarah Hatfield, Hixson

Mistaken lyric: "Why can't I pee whenever I think about you."

Actual lyric: "Why can't I breathe whenever I think about you."

Song: "Why Can't I," by Liz Phair

-- Amanda Bagley, Cleveland, Tenn.

Mistaken lyric: "I'll never leave your pizza burnin'."

Actual lyric: "I'll never be your beast of burden."

Song: "Beast of Burden," by The Rolling Stones

-- Cathy Pierce, Signal Mountain

Mistaken lyric: "Streetlights, people, heaven just defined a moose."

Actual lyric: "Streetlights, people, living just to find emotion."

Song: Don't Stop Believin', by Journey

-- Jared Butler, Chattanooga

Mistaken lyric: "Otters and seals."

Actual lyric: "Our lips are sealed."

Song: "Our Lips Are Sealed," by The Go-Go's

-- Kelle Bennefield, Nashville

Mistaken lyric: "I'd give up my light, my car, my comb."

Actual lyric: "I'd give up my life, my heart, my home."

Song: "Everything I Own," by Bread

-- Rene Magee, Asheville, N.C., on behalf of her cousin

Mistaken lyric: "I've got two chickens to paralyze."

Actual lyric: "I've got two tickets to Paradise."

Song: "Two Tickets to Paradise," by Eddie Money

-- Sue Beasley, Mobile, Ala.

Mistaken lyric: "Rocket man, burning down the field with camel bones."

Actual lyric: "Rocket man, burning out his fuse up here alone."

Song: "Rocket Man, by Elton John

-- Bob Bevan, Lee University alumnus

Mistaken lyrics: "I'm not big on sausage gravy."

Actual lyric: "I'm not big on social graces."

Song: "Friends in Low Places," by Garth Brooks

-- Cindy Taylor, Georgia, on behalf of her daughter, Sarah

about Holly Leber ...

Holly Leber is a reporter and columnist for the Life section. She has worked at the Times Free Press since March 2008. Holly covers “everything but the kitchen sink" when it comes to features: the arts, young adults, classical music, art, fitness, home, gardening and food. She writes the popular and sometimes-controversial column Love and Other Indoor Sports. Holly calls both New York City and Saratoga Springs, NY home. She earned a bachelor of arts ...

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
JT2018 said...

Mistaken Lyric: Do the Funky Lady

Actual Lyric: Dude Looks Like a Lady

Song: Dude Looks Like a Lady by Aerosmith

fight at an old hobby shop over this song between me and someone else

May 4, 2012 at 1:06 a.m.
carainbow said...

Mistaken Lyric: Have you heard about the long legged rooster, beaten by the queen of hearts every time? Actual Lyric: Have you heard about the lonesome loser, beaten by the queen of hearts every time? Song: Lonesome Loser by Little River Band ~my brother Jimmy would always swear this was what they were singing ~Cindy Alexander ~ Rock Spring, Ga

May 4, 2012 at 2:12 p.m.
hcirehttae said...

"Londonderry Air" is often heard as "London Derriere," especially by Frenchies...

May 4, 2012 at 3:07 p.m.
druuly said...

The group INXS (in excess) had a song titled "Suicide Blonde"............I misheard the lyric as "Soup and Salad Bar"......Andy Allison~ Chattanooga, TN

May 18, 2012 at 1:10 a.m.
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