My Mondegreen Five

We’ve all done it. We listen to our favorite songs and sing along, sometimes for years before someone corrects us, or we come across printed lyrics on our own, and realize we’ve been singing the wrong words all along. The above video for Yellow Ledbetter underscores its status as one giant collection of Mondegreens. The full lyrics remain somewhat shrouded in mystery.

There are many classic and obvious Mondegreens out there that have gained notoriety in popular culture, such as ”’scuse me while I kiss this guy.” or ”There’s a bathroom on the right.” And then there are some that are probably JUST ME. This edition of My Fives will focus on five examples of the latter:

1) “I listened to the Soonmatieri Trees.”
The lyric is actually ”I listened through the cemetery trees.”
When this song was popular, I made the mistake of asking my well-educated girlfriend, two years my senior with a master’s degree from Smith, what type of tree they were singing about. It’s bad enough to mishear a lyric; worse to hear a word that doesn’t exist. Listening to it again now, I don’t know what I was thinking, and I hope my ex’s laughter at the time meant she thought I was exercising my quirky sense of humor and wasn’t a moron.

2) ”There goes my hero: Sgt. Air Raid!”
The lyric is actually ”There goes my hero; he’s ordinary.”
I asked that same girlfriend about this one too. By that point I know she wasn’t laughing with me. Every time I look back on those days, I realize the mystery isn’t why she left me, but why a smart chick stayed with me as many years as she did.

3) “Would you lie with me and just forget the words?”
The lyric is actually ”Would you lie with me and just forget the world?”
I heard Snow Patrol singing a live version of this song on a morning radio show last week, and the lead singing stumbled on some of the lyrics. I couldn’t wait to get to work and share the irony with my friends. Fortunately, past experience made me double check, and I spared myself some embarrassment. I wish the lyrics really were “forget the words”, because it would have been so much better when he actually did.

4) ”Glorified version of a pelican.”
The lyric is actually ”Glorified version of a pellet gun.”
At least part of the blame on this one should go to Eddie Vedder; my old high school buddy used to think he was singing “Glorified version of Elliot Gould.” I think a lot of these could be avoided if we paid more attention to context and surrounding lyrics; the subsequent “always keep it loaded” doesn’t make sense in either of our scenarios.

5) ”You know I’d like to keep my cheating strategy.”
The lyric is actually ”You know I’d like to keep my cheeks dry today”
Thanks to our old friend Darrell for pointing that out to me a few years ago(and teaching me the word “Mondegreen” in the process....)

And that wraps it up(like a douche). I may revisit this again someday, not just for the countless lyrics I’ve misheard over the years, but the ones I’ve yet to mishear. What are some of yours?



Blogger Rey said...

Due to a weird character, probably somewhere in your earlier links of your post, the rest of your links don't seem to work. Like Mondegreen sends you to the NexusWikkiMondegreen so it's a dead page.

10/01/2009 9:54 AM  
Blogger b13 said...

I always wondered why Alanis thinks I aught to know about the "cross-eyed bear that you gave to me" as well as One Republics "Too late to drop a dime"... it's NEVER too late!

10/01/2009 1:42 PM  

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