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Mal's Misheard Lyrics Roundup

Posted by Mal Shot First on Wednesday, November 13, 2013

We have a thread for misattributed songs, but we never got one for misheard lyrics.

Mal Shot First
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Posted: 5 years 47 weeks ago

What made me think of making this thread is the video that's been floating around this week of Heart's performance of "Stairway to Heaven." I used to think that the first line after the guitar solo was "And there's a wino down the road." At some point I found out that it's supposed to be "And as we wind on down the road," but I can't unhear the misheard lyric.

I wasn't sure how widespread this mishearing was, but Google tells me it's pretty common.

The Swollen Goi...
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Posted: 5 years 47 weeks ago

I have a bunch. I'll try to add them as they come to me.

Mal Shot First
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Posted: 5 years 47 weeks ago

There was a time when I didn't speak English. I didn't actually start learning it until fifth grade, but in this globalized world you can't really avoid being exposed to English and picking up a word here or there. One of my earliest exposures to the language consisted of theme songs from American cartoons. I used to watch Transformers, He-Man, Ewoks (before I had even seen any of the Star Wars movies), and - my absolute favorite - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The cartoons were all dubbed, but the theme songs were left in English. Being a kid, I couldn't be stopped from singing along to these opening themes, despite my almost nonexistent knowledge of the language they were in. I just came up with my own gibberish that vaguely approximated the sound of the original.

Unfortunately, I don't remember the made-up gibberish for most of these songs, but I do remember one line from the Ninja Turtles theme that always stands out in my memory because it's so ridiculous. The original line is, "When the evil Shredder attacks / These Turtle boys don't cut him no slack." I could understand enough to pick up "Turtle boys," since the word "turtle" is in the title of the show and the word "boy" is one of those words that foreigners learn pretty early through general exposure to English. My approximation of this line was something like "the Turtle boys dahn cunna-munna-slike."

It just sounded so cool.

The Swollen Goi...
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Posted: 5 years 47 weeks ago

Your version's better.

The Swollen Goi...
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Posted: 5 years 47 weeks ago
Quasar
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Posted: 5 years 47 weeks ago

I always thought John Fogerty's Centerfield had the lyrics "Put me in cold, I'm ready to play." I eventually found out it was really "Put me in coach, I'm ready to play." I preferred my version, where someone sitting on the bench for a while was ready to go in at a moment's notice to contribute to the team, as opposed to someone who's just begging the coach to put him in. When I listen to it now, I still have a hard time hearing the word "coach."

Faster and faster, a nightmare we ride. Who'll take the reins when the miracle dies? Faster and faster till everything dies. Killing is our way of keeping alive. - Virgin Steele, Blood and Gasoline
The Swollen Goi...
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Posted: 5 years 47 weeks ago

Fogerty is famously hard to understand, especially when it comes to consonants at the end of a word. Half the time, he just ends a word with a string of vowels. 

I always enjoyed how he would occasionally try to rhyme lines, even when he didn't need to. Most of the time, though, he just relied on eliding consonants from the end of a line to force a vowel rhyme:

Don't go aroun' to-niiii;
Well, it's boun' to take your liiii.
There's a baa moo on the riiii! 

(It's easy to understand how this line gets interpreted as "There's a bathroom on the right.")
 

Quasar
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Posted: 5 years 47 weeks ago

That reminds me of a day a couple of us were sitting around in my dorm room, and I had Boston's 2nd cd playing (at the time I wasn't overly familiar with it). After a few minutes of listening to "I Got Used to Bad News", I asked "Is this song called 'I've Gotta Use the Bathroom'?"

Faster and faster, a nightmare we ride. Who'll take the reins when the miracle dies? Faster and faster till everything dies. Killing is our way of keeping alive. - Virgin Steele, Blood and Gasoline
The Swollen Goi...
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Posted: 5 years 47 weeks ago

Jubbers had never listened all that closely to Manfred Mann's cover of "Blinded by the Light." When I pointed out to her that it sounds like they're singing "wrapped up like a douche," it ruined the song for her. That's all she can hear when she listens to it, now.

Quasar
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Posted: 5 years 47 weeks ago

How can anyone NOT hear "wrapped up like a douche"? I remember when they were discussing misheard lyrics on the radio, and they pointed out that that line was really "wrapped up like a deuce", and then they had to explain how that line even made sense. (Deuce Coup blah blah blah).

Faster and faster, a nightmare we ride. Who'll take the reins when the miracle dies? Faster and faster till everything dies. Killing is our way of keeping alive. - Virgin Steele, Blood and Gasoline
The Swollen Goi...
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Posted: 5 years 47 weeks ago

It's "revved up like a deuce." It's slightly easier to understand "deuce" in the Springsteen original. This is pretty trippy for me, since Springsteen's pretty mushmouthed, himself. It may help that he says "cut loose" before "like a deuce." Apparently, the change to "revved up" was Manfred Mann's. Mann brought it on himself, then.

Quasar
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Posted: 5 years 47 weeks ago

So, not to sound like an ignorant douchebag, but what does the whole "Blinded by the light, revved up like a deuce, another runner in the night" even mean?

Faster and faster, a nightmare we ride. Who'll take the reins when the miracle dies? Faster and faster till everything dies. Killing is our way of keeping alive. - Virgin Steele, Blood and Gasoline
The Swollen Goi...
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Posted: 5 years 47 weeks ago

I've read that Springsteen was going for a Bob Dylan-like pastiche, and that the whole thing was the product of stringing together various unconnected images, making a couple in-joke allusions to band members' names, and consulting a rhyming dictionary. Maybe there's not much meaning behind the line in question.

Quasar
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Posted: 5 years 47 weeks ago

Yeah, I looked at the lyrics for the rest of the song to see if I could garner some meaning, and the lyrics seem like a lot of nonsense. The site I used said it was used in the movie Blow, which I guess makes as much sense as anything.

Faster and faster, a nightmare we ride. Who'll take the reins when the miracle dies? Faster and faster till everything dies. Killing is our way of keeping alive. - Virgin Steele, Blood and Gasoline
Quasar
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Posted: 5 years 47 weeks ago

I suppose this is as good a place to put as anywhere, so I'll put it here!

Incorrect song titles: (I have 3 examples, but right now I can only remember 2)

Manowar's "The Power of Thy Sword": Except the entire song is about the power of MY sword. Yes, they sound like almost the same word, but "thy" means yours, and "my" means mine. It's a world of difference!

Mercyful Fate's "Welcome Princess of Hell": It's quite clear the song is about princes of hell. I was hoping the remastered CD would take out that nasty second "s" out of the title, but no such luck.

Faster and faster, a nightmare we ride. Who'll take the reins when the miracle dies? Faster and faster till everything dies. Killing is our way of keeping alive. - Virgin Steele, Blood and Gasoline
Mal Shot First
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Posted: 5 years 47 weeks ago

Quasar wrote:

How can anyone NOT hear "wrapped up like a douche"?

"Wrapped up like a douche until the middle of the night" is what I heard since the first time I bothered paying attention to the lyrics of that song. That's got to be up there with "Don't bring me down, Bruce!" as one of the song lyrics that's misheard most often.

Here's another one from me. In "Here Comes the Hotstepper," the line is
Here comes the hotstepper [word 'em up]
I'm the lyrical gangster [word 'em up]

Until I was able to look up the lyrics online, I used to think he was saying something like "I'm the one the call cancer." I also couldn't find a definite source for the interjection "word 'em up" - it always sounded like "murderer" to me, and from what I've heard from other people and read on the Internet, it seems to be a pretty common interpretation.

The Swollen Goi...
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Posted: 5 years 47 weeks ago

I think we've talked about this one before. I thought it was some sort of modern doo-wop. I heard something like "wurr-da-ruh." Also, the song starts with all those "na nas" it borrows from "Land of a Thousand Dances," so I was primed to think the song was just full of lyric-less vocalizations.

neglet
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Posted: 5 years 47 weeks ago

Mal Shot First wrote:

That's got to be up there with "Don't bring me down, Bruce!" as one of the song lyrics that's misheard most often.

You mean it's not?!?!?!?! Thirty years, I've always wondered why Bruce was such a killjoy.

Quasar
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Posted: 5 years 47 weeks ago

I think I always thought he was doing some thing with his tongue to make a crazy noise and going up in pitch. But listening to it on youtube now, I can definitely see where it sounds like Bruce.

Faster and faster, a nightmare we ride. Who'll take the reins when the miracle dies? Faster and faster till everything dies. Killing is our way of keeping alive. - Virgin Steele, Blood and Gasoline
The Swollen Goi...
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Posted: 5 years 47 weeks ago

This one just occurred to me:

He says, "The way you weave your magic, your brown eyes say it all." When I was very young, I didn't know that magic was "woven," and I guess I wasn't reall ready to comprehend the idea of eyes "saying" something. It doesn't help that the lyric is rushed to keep the beat.

My young brain tried to make sense of the lyric and came up with something like "The way you weep, you match it. You're brown. I say it all." I think "weep" wasn't the first thing I came up with. I might have thought it was something like "the way you we" at first. It didn't make sense, but hey, English wasn't even their first language. 

I really fucking loved this song as a kid, by the way. Still do.

The music at 0:16 reminds me vaguely of the opening of the Doobie Brothers' "Takin' It to the Streets."

Quasar
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Posted: 5 years 47 weeks ago

Ok, speaking of the Doobie Brothers', am I the only one who heard "I wanna hit some punk in Dixie Land"?

Faster and faster, a nightmare we ride. Who'll take the reins when the miracle dies? Faster and faster till everything dies. Killing is our way of keeping alive. - Virgin Steele, Blood and Gasoline
The Swollen Goi...
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Posts: 14343
Posted: 5 years 47 weeks ago

I never heard that, but I could see how somebody else might.

That song was covered a lot 'round Crossville way. I got to hear other vocalists singing it. That may have cleared up the lyrics for me.

The Swollen Goi...
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Posted: 5 years 47 weeks ago

It wasn't covered as often as "Sweet Home Alabama," but it had the word "Dixie" in it, so it got plenty of attention.

Corporal_Hicks
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Posted: 5 years 47 weeks ago

I could never figure out why, in ROTJ, Luke told Han, "There's nothing to see. Your eyes deliver."

Sent from Dalton's IPad.