It’s been a while since I posted a blog and honestly, there just wasn’t any time. I have however found something that made me laugh when I read it and it made me wonder how many times I did it. We listen to music every day and either we aren’t listening or we mis-hear it but there are more song lyrics mispronounced and many of us do it every time we sing along with the song.
One of the most prolific song writers and guitar player of the 60′s was Jimi Hendrix. He was well known for his hard rocking riffs and songs about drug use. One of the head liners of Woodstock, Hendrix drew mixed reviews when he turned the National Anthem into a wailing guitar solo. Many thought it was disrespectful but those fighting the establishment thought it was great. One of Jimi’s songs lead some of us to question his sexual orientation when we first heard the lyrics. Purple Haze had all of us rocking and writhing to it’s melodic beat. When he got to the chorus there was a pause from some. While the written lyrics were “Scuse me while I kiss the sky…” many people thought he said “Scuse me while I kiss this guy.” Listen to song Hendrix will always be remembered as one of the best. Many didn’t know he served in 187th infantry regiment out of Fort Campbell KY and bought one of his first guitars in a local music shop in Clarksville Tn.
Nirvana, the grunge band from Seattle, was at their peak when they released “Smells like Teen Spirit”. Many youngsters thought it was their anthem of anarchy and danced in huge mosh pits to the grinding lyrics. I’m sure there was a small amount of mind altering substances at use there, too. (Wink, wink, nudge nudge.) As far as that goes I’m sure it led to a lot of misinterpretation of song lyrics. In the song “Smells like teen Spirit” one of the verses was written “Here we are now, entertain us…” but it was misheard as “Here we are now, in containers…” It’s not a huge thing but when I listened to the song after reading this I laughed out loud because I could hear those lyrics in the song. Listen to the song Tragically lead singer Kurt Cobain took his own life in a suicide shortly after this song was released.
The Rollings Stones have been around for ever and have released many great songs over the years. One of the top bands in the 60′s and 70′s they were always pace setters in music. Many of their songs have been sung by cover bands for years and will continue to be. “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” is one as well as “Angie” and “Brown Sugar”. Another song, “Beast of Burden” has had the lyrics mispronounced on purpose for a laugh. I listed to the song and I couldn’t hear the mispronunciation. The written lyrics are” I’ll never be your beast of burden…” It has been mispronounced as “I’ll never leave your pizza burnin’…” I listened to the song and the words fit but I didn’t hear those words instead. Listen to the song Once again, one of the best bands in many generations and their songs transcend time.
Billy Joel is our next victim on the block today. One of my favorite artists ever, I saw Billy Joel countless times when he came to Pittsburgh and he never disappointed the crowds of thousands. He has written and recorded hundreds of songs and sung with many, many famous singers over the years. One of the main members of “USA for Africa” in the 80′s he co-wrote “We are the world.” One of his early songs from the “Glass Houses album is one of the songs we are featuring today. In the song “You may be right,” the written lyrics are “You may be right, I may be crazy, but it just may be a lunatic you’re looking for…” Some have heard (and I’m not sure how) “You made the rice, I made the gravy, but it just may be some tuna fish you’re looking for…” Listen to the song The first part fits…You can get away with it, but the tuna fish part is really stretching it. Nonetheless I still think it’s all funny. It’s fun to change the words to songs from time to time.
Another of my favorite bands growing up was Creedence Clearwater Revival. The band from San Bernadino California, they did it their own way and did it well. With brothers Tom and John Fogarty, Doug “Cosmo” Clifford and Stu Jacobs, CCR was one of the best folk, rock bands of the late 60′s early 70′s. Packing venues no matter where they played, they led the way. One of their songs “Bad Moon Rising” has been misinterpreted since they released it. I myself have always sung it that way because I just always have. The written lyrics are “Don’t come around tonight, it’s bound to take your life, there’s a bad moon on the rise…” How most of us still sing it “Don’t come around tonight, it’s bound to take your life, there’s a bathroom on the right…” Listen to the song We do it for a laugh or for what ever reason but it’s still funny.
Johnny Rivers was one of the most familiar faces in the 60′s with his hit song, “Secret Agent Man”. Most don’t know that Johnny Rivers was recording songs from 1960 and on. His first hit “Memphis” was released in 1960 and he hammered out tunes and many records. Best known for “Secret Agent Man” there was a lot of work that went in to his career long before that. Unfortunately, we are not here for that today. We are talking about how lyrics are misheard or sung. “Secret Agent Man” definitely leads the list of those. The written lyrics are “Secret Agent Man…” But to most of us it sounds like “Secret Asian Man…” Listen to the song The song is still great and has been used in many movies and TV shows and I’m sure will continue to be. Johnny Rivers is one of the best.
Relative new comer Adele has had her share of success already. She has several popular songs in her young career. Her song “Chasing Pavements” is included today. I sat down and listened to the song but I had trouble seeing the mispronunciation. It might be me but I tried to hear the wrong lyrics but I couldn’t so I’ll leave it up to you. The written Lyrics are “Should I just keep chasing pavements…” but the mispronounced lyrics are “Should I just keep chasing penguins…” I tried and couldn’t hear it. You be the judge. Listen to the song
As we conclude today I wanted to end big. I figured who bigger than Led Zepplin. With Robert Plant’s dynamite voice and Jimmy Paige’s guitar there were few bands better. They sang the songs of the times and ones we remember even today. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that we are talking about misheard song lyrics. Yes, even Led Zepplin had theirs. In the song “Stairway to heaven” one of the verses is easily misheard. By the time you get to it you are already rocking out and don’t even give it a second thought. The written lyrics are “And as we wind on down the road…” The lyrics are often heard to say “And there’s a wino down the road…” Listen to the song As always, this was for fun and in no way to be taken seriously.
As I leave you now, here are a few more.
Elton John “Tiny Dancer” Hold me closer tiny dancer.” Misheard “Hold me closer Tony Danza”. AC/DC “Dirty Deeds” Written “Dirty Deeds done dirt cheap” Misheard “Dirty Deeds done with sheep.” Bon Jovi “Livin on a prayer” Written “It doesn’t matter if we make it or not.” Misheard “It doesn’t matter if we’re naked or not.” Pat Benetar “Hit me with your best shot.” Written “Hit me with your best shot” Misheard “Hit me with your pet shark.” Canadian National Anthem “O Canada” Written “O Canada we stand on guard for thee.” Misheard “O Canada we stand on cars and freeze.” The Eagles “Desperado” written “You’ve been out riding fences for so long now.” Misheard “You’ve been outright offensive for so long now.” Johnny Nash “I can see clearly now” Written “I can see clearly now the rain has gone.” Misheard “I can see clearly now Lorraine has gone.”
Look up these songs and listen for a laugh. Enjoy … and more posts in the future.