There is certainly a special place in music for mishearing song lyrics. What your ear perceives in a verse or chorus may completely change your estimation of the artist or your interpretation of the song, for better or worse. For instance, a good friend of mine thought, and is still convinced, the chorus in Warren Zevon’s 1978 hit single “Werewolves of London” is “aaaoooooo, there was thunder.” And when it’s played, he’ll say, “Come on! Tell me you don’t hear it!” It can be an extreme let down, like when you find out Elton John isn’t singing “Hold me close, I’m tired of dancing” or when the guys from Creedence Clearwater Revival aren’t actually informing you “There’s a bathroom on the right.” But you know what? Stick to your lyrical convictions like I do. It’s much more fun that way.
Counting Crows—“Mr. Jones”
Actual Lyric: “I wanna be a lion, yeah! Everybody wants to pass as cats.”
My perceived lyric: “I wanna bring in a line, ehh! Everybody wants to pat his castle.”
Madonna—“Ray of Light”
Actual lyric: “And I feel like I just got home.”
My perceived lyric: “And I feel like a disco woman.”
Third Eye Blind—“Semi-Charmed Life”
Actual lyric: “Those days you were wearing that velvet dress. You’re the priestess, I must confess. Those little red panties they pass the test. Slides up around the belly, face down on the mattress.”
My perceived lyric: “Those days you were there when I barely dreamt. You’re the greasiest, I must confess. Those littered granny panties, they passed the test. So some one put the pillowcase down on the mattress.”
Actual lyric: “She moves in mysterious ways.”
My perceived lyric: “She moves in Cheerio ways.”
Hey, I was six years old. Maybe it was just what I wanted the song to be about.
Actual lyric: “The gal dem Schillati, Sean da Paul. Saw me give it to, saw me give it to, saw me give it to, to all girls. Five million and forty naughty shorty, baby girl. All my girls, all my girls, Sean de Paul say.”
My perceived lyric: “The girl don’ steal your chick, from the bar. Summon give to, summon give it to, summon give it to, to all girls. Fight Milan and for thee not show teeth, baby girl. On my grass, on my grass, from the bar say.”
Sean de Paul meets Shakespeare? A far cry, I suppose.
Pearl Jam—“Yellow Ledbetter”
Actual lyric: “And the reason oughta leave her calm I know, I said I know what I wear not the boxer or the bag.”
My perceived lyric: “Andreweesad on a levawagano, I said I dowanawethaboxcaraura bag.”
Electric Light Orchestra—“Evil Woman”
Actual lyric: “Eeeeeeevil woman”
My perceived lyric: “Medieval woman”
Sadly, this one is 100 percent true. It was only a couple of years ago when I found out this song was simply about a downright, mean woman and not about a woman from the Middle Ages. “Evil Woman” came on the car radio as my family and I were going out to dinner. When it got to the chorus, we all sung along. My mom, dad, and sister harmonized the “eeeeevil woman” while I, without skipping a beat, simultaneously sung “medieval woman.” Directly after I uttered those two words, it was as if my dad had suddenly put the car to a screeching halt on the highway. Laughter and finger pointing animatedly ensued. And does every time this song comes on when we are together.
And yes, this is my come on, tell me you don’t hear it song. Play it, and tell me it’s not a better song with that extra syllable.