Word of the Day: Mondegreen

I truly love a good mondegreen. Of course until yesterday, I didn’t know the proper terminology for when someone hears song lyrics as something other than what they actually are. For example, my college friend Sara recently told us in the comments that she used to hear “Lead On, O Kinky Turtle” when everyone was actually singing “Lead On, O King Eternal.”  My cousins used to hear “Every time you go away you take a piece of me with you” as “Every time you go away you take a piece of meat with you.”  You’re right, that makes no sense at all. That’s why it’s so funny!

Yesterday on the 22 Words blog, Abraham Piper posted a video of Joe Cocker singing “I Get By with a Little Help from My Friends” complete with captioning for “the clear-headed.” I’ve watched it five times now and every single time I end up snort laughing. Come on, watch it with me again:

And it’s still funny! Now it’s your turn to make me laugh. I want to hear your funniest mondegreen. I know you have at least one. Or maybe your kids have a really great one. If you don’t participate, I will post my own mondegreens from now until Christmas; yes, that’s a threat. Like this one: I am convinced that the Beach Boys are singing “Merry Christmas, Amy,” not “Merry Christmas, Baby” like the song title suggests. Listen closely next time you hear it. They are singing “Amy”!  Okay, your turn. (Too bad I didn’t post this on Monday so we could have Mondegreen Monday.)


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33 responses to “Word of the Day: Mondegreen

  1. Too, too funny. I’ve always called it “Chronic lyricosis”. My best one is from “Crimson and Clover”.

    I used to think it was “Clemson and clover.”

  2. I didn’t know there was a technical term for it! Ha!

    The only one I can think of right now is a song I hear on the radio a lot by DownHere “My Last Amen” I thought the words were “My Last Day Man” for the longest time.

  3. I sang “Holy Prostate fall” for years

  4. My sister sang “Up from the grave he arose, with a mighty trumpet over his toes” until she was almost 30.

    But you didn’t hear that from me.

  5. The gospel group The Hensons used to sing “Who lives on the Lord’s side among you.” My hubby thought they were saying “Who lives on the North side of Longview.” Guess where we were living at the time? That’s right, Longview.

  6. carpoolqueen

    I always thought it was “clearly amazing down the road that I must travel”

  7. whimzie

    Good grief, Charlie Brown, these are HI-larious!! I should have written this post a long time ago for my own entertainment’s sake. Keep ’em coming.

    Oh! Remember our “Don’t Have Fun With Alice” friend? Well, his daughter thought that Sade’s “Smooth Operator” was “School Operator.”

  8. Never knew any of this…I learned something new today!

    sandy toe

  9. Betty Boop

    I don’t remember how I butchered the song, but the song “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson where he says “the child is not my son”…..I would belt it out and one day a friend asked what I was saying and it was so totally NOT that!!!!!

  10. I don’t think this is a mondegreen, but we used to sing ‘at the bar, at the bar where I first saw the light and the nickels and the dimes rolled away …’ Sad I know. But just try getting that out of your head once you’ve heard it!

  11. I am so glad that this actually has a name because my husband swears I do it all the time (I am really sorry he doesn’t have my acute sense of hearing!). According to said husband, the one that he thinks is most hilarious is the beginning of a Wham song that says, “I wanna jitterbug!” For years and years I thought the man was hungry and was saying, “I wanna chili dog!”

  12. I know I have a billion but the only one coming to mind is, “Emmanuel! Gordon is risen! Blessed Redeemer! Living Lord!”

    My cousin sang it that way growing up, and we never let her live it down.

  13. Oh wow. That vid is so great. And, yeah, I’ve got a few mondegreens of my own!!!

    “bringing in the sheets, bringing in the sheets – we will come rejoicing, bringing in the sheets”

  14. My friend in highschool thought that “Shook me all night long” was actually “Should we all die young?” I’ve sung it that way ever since.

  15. whimzie

    I don’t know why these make me as hysterical as they do, but I think I’m going to actually star this post in my Reader so I can come back here when I need to laugh! (Yes, I’m going to star one of my own posts in my Reader. Don’t judge me.)

    Candace, for some reason your reminded me of my rendition of the KISS song that says, “I’m going to rock and roll all night and part of every day.” Don’t want to overdo it, you know.

  16. From the Music Man musical…

    “76 Green Beans led the big parade…”

  17. “probiotics changed the way I feel”….I have to agree with Joe on that one.

    I’ll try to get back to you on our “mis-song-derstandings”.

  18. rmarch979

    Last night we were watching the Living Christmas Tree program at our church and they were doing a rendition of Come Let us Adore Him. My sweet girl was singing very loudly, “macaroni”. I leaned over and said, “What are you doing?” The reply, “I’m singing the Macaroni Christmas song, Mom!” I think I need to have her hearing checked…

  19. Starring this post is a great idea for all of us-so hilarious! I can’t think of a Christmas-themed mondegreen, but I thought we were human “beans” until 3rd grade.

  20. I can’t think of any of the top of my head…but I know I have a ton!

    However, I hda a GREAT time reading everybody elses!

  21. OMG these comments are HILARIOUS.

    I went to Catholic grade school and we had to learn the Hail Mary. Instead of saying, “blessed is the fruit of thy womb” I always said “blessed is the fruit of the moon”.

    I can’t think of any others (I’m sure I have a million and ten) but this summer we stopped at a McDonalds on a road trip and Will started singing “Hot Potato, Hot Potato” to the tune of Amadeus.

  22. Oh, this is a keeper, indeed!

    I’ll go ahead and embarrass my husband. You know the song “What a Feeling” from the movie classic, Flashdance.

    The real lyrics: Take your passion, and make it happen.

    His lyrics: Take your pants off…and make it happen.

  23. Liz

    Pledge of Allegiance……
    ….. and to the Republic
    for Richard stands,
    one nation under God…

  24. Oh my gosh!!!! I’ll come back and comment after I’ve recovered from Gretchen’s comment! I’m snort laughing over here from that one!

  25. My daughter used to sing…

    “swing loooow, sweet chariot. Ana pona cherry me ho!!!”

    hmmm. Haven’t quite figured that one out.

  26. Marie

    Oh what a riot!! This was a fun post!! I used to picture a very roly-poly and sleepy Mary, the mother of Jesus…round yawn virgin…

  27. Jennifer G.

    My husband has always sang the chorus of “Tiny Dancer” as …”hold me close I’m tired of dancin.” Good stuff.

  28. Stacey

    Okay, one night you and I were driving around Bossier with Jim Watkins in the back seat and we were listening to Whitney Houston. The line from the song was, ” …that’s just an old fantasy”. However, Jim sang it, “…that’s just an old fast talk scene”! You and I were cracking up and you corrected Jim, but he insisted he was right and even tried to explain how it made sense! Do you remember that?
    My Brookie is Queen Mondegreen. My favorite of hers is, ” Do your ears hang low, do they wobble to da flo’ “!!

  29. Nica

    I didn’t get the words wrong on this one, but the wrong sense of the word. Until I started school and learned about the roll call, I thought that “When the roll is called up yonder” was something to do with showing up for lunch when the bread course was announced.

  30. Nica

    Oh, and Doug always sings “put my little frog in a blender” for Eve 6’s “Inside Out”.

  31. Pingback: The Night of Polar (Temperatures and) Opposites « my green orchard

  32. Pingback: LOL…for real. « my green orchard

  33. Pingback: Mondegreens Revisited | Snoodlings

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