Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Okay, let's just admit it. We've all done it. We've sung along to a particular song for years and years and then one day something happens that shakes your world to its very core. You realise that you'd been *gasp* singing the wrong words. I know, I know. It's hard to deal with. It's also embarrassing, especially if said (adopts Oprah voice) "lightbulb moment" happens during a karaoke session and you see the words on screen and shout (into the microphone) "THAT'S what she's saying?!!!". Which, of course, never happened...

Anyway, we've all been victims of an incident (or twenty) of lyrical trickery - who can forget Phoebe's infamous "Hold me closer, Tony Danza" in an episode of Friends? Which, incidentally, is a meme in it's own right, spawning merchandise like the T-shirt below. If you're too young to know who Tony Danza is, I feel envious and aged in equal amounts.

What I didn't know until a few years ago, was that these misheard lyrics have a name. And a pretty good one. They're called mondegreens. Isn't that a fantastic word? There are entire sites devoted to finding new mondegreens (I am in love with that word), so I thought I'd share with you some of mine, and some of the ones from around the web that made me laugh. I dont' know about you, but sometimes I find Tuesdays far more depressing than Mondays, so here's hoping this will cheer you up if you need it.

I used to have a list of these on my Bebo site (remember Bebo? The thing that everyone said would turn us all into self-obsessed brats with an addiction to the internet? Share the luv, people) and they still make me laugh after all this time.

Song: Islands in the Stream by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton. 
Actual Lyrics: Islands in the Stream, that is what we are.
My Lyrics: Ireland's industry, that is what we are.

This made perfect sense to me for years. I couldn't realise why no Irish company had bought the rights to use it in an advertising campaign. Until I was about 14 and I saw it listed on a Kenny Rogers compilation. I still sing my lyrics to this day.

Song: Do They Know It's Christmas by Band Aid.
Actual Lyrics: The greatest gift they'll get this year is life.
My Lyrics: The greatest gift they'll get this year is flies.

I know, it's completely un-PC, but I honest to god thought this was a very un-PC hard-hitting lyric designed to make us all appreciate what we got for Christmas. Which I'm sure was the point of the song, right? Right...

Song: Forever in Blue Jeans by Neil Diamond.
Actual Lyrics: I'd much rather be forever in blue jeans.
My Lyrics: I'd much rather be Reverend Blue Jeans.

Still sing my lyrics for this one too. You know when you're so wrong that it doesn't even make sense to be right any more? I thought that Neil Diamond wanted to be like the king of the down-to-earth people. The Reverend of lads in blue jeans. And so it shall stay in my brain. Amen.

Song: Grenade by Bruno Mars.
Actual Lyrics: Throw my hand on a blade for ya.
My Lyrics: Throw my head on a plane for ya.

Though each are (in my humble opinion) equally stupid lyrics anyway, mine had me imagining that Bruno would be willing to hop on a plane at a minute's notice to be with this woman. Nope, he was willing to cut his hand. Okay, Bruno.

Song: Africa by Toto.
Actual Lyrics: It's gonna take alot to drag me away from you.
My Lyrics: They're gonna take the licence plate away from you.

Seriously. I just assumed that, considering the previous line "hurry boy, she's waiting there for you", that some lad was speeding really fast to get to his girl, hence the cops would pull him over and take his licence plate. See? Logic.

I'll finish this post with my top five mondegreens from amiright.comkissthisguy.com and fx.worth1000.com, all of which are great for a giggle. Hope you get as much of a laugh out of them as I did! Oh, and also, thanks to my 7-year-old for his unintentional contribution, Jedward and Vanilla Ice - Ass, Ass Baby. I'll just leave that one there.

5: "Michelle" by The Beatles.
Actual Lyrics: Michelle, ma- belle, sont des mots qui vont trés bien ensemble.
Mondegreen: Michelle, my bell, Sunday monkey won't try piano songs.

4: "Hotel California" by The Eagles.
Actual Lyrics: She lit up her candle, and she showed me the way.
Mondegreen: She lit up her Ken doll, and she showed me the way.

3: "Livin' on a Prayer" by Bon Jovi.
Actual Lyrics: Tommy used to work on the docks.
Mondegreen: Tell me you still work on the dogs.

2. "Ghostbusters" by Ray Parker Jr.
Actual Lyrics: Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!
Mondegreen: Who you gonna call? Those bastards!

1. "How You Remind Me" by Nickelback.
Actual Lyrics: 'Cause livin' with me must have damn near killed you.
Mondegreen: 'Cause Little Women must have damn near killed you.

I also found this video on Youtube while searching for some of these - check it out, very funny!

Thanks for reading, 

S xx


  1. Haha, excellent, must remember mondegreens

  2. hahaha i always thot nickel back was saying little women too! i was like why would he say that

  3. Wow. Very interesting and funny! Thanks for sharing!!!

  4. This gave me a great giggle! Thanks!
    Delighted I know the name for it now too! Rach x

  5. @Anon1: Thank you for reading! I know, I've forgotten half of the ones I usually get wrong but I must make a note of them :)x

    @Anon2: I know, right? I thought it was a Friends reference for ages, about the one where Joey was reading Little Women? Bizarre! Thanks for reading!x

    @Anon3: No problem, glad you enjoyed it, thank you for reading!x

    @Rach: Glad you got a laugh out of it Rach, my work here is done :) Thanks for reading! x

  6. flipping Brilliant! I have one to add...

    Enrice Iglesias - Blai Lamos - I prefer "by the balls... let the rhythm take you over by the balls.."

    Fantastic post btw! Great writing too!

  7. @GWTSE - By the balls!!!!!! Hahahaha I must go and dig that song out, am partial to a bit of Enrique Biglazyarse from time to time :) Thanks for reading & for your lovely comment!x


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