Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Mondegreens


I have some problems with mishearing song lyrics.

I think it's just the nature of the rock n' roll music that I like. Mumbled lyrics that don't make any sense don't stop a lover of this music - just create something that does make sense in your mind, and move on.
I am far from the only one who mishears lyrics. In fact, I read a most entertaining post on the topic yesterday.    There is a technical term for mishearing lyrics, one of the surprising things you will learn in this post. If you don't get anything else from what follows, you would have increased your vocabulary by one word.

Mondegreens.
I am, therefore, going to repeat a post from several years ago.

Hold Me Closer, Tony Danza

Have you been guilty of mishearing song lyrics, to sometimes comic results?

I have.  I bet you have, too. A number of websites exist for the purpose of discussing song lyrics and allowing people to discuss lyrics that other people have misheard, sometimes with quite comic results. 

There is even a name for this - mondegreens.

Take the song above: "Tiny Dancer", by Elton John.  I love that song.  I have several of the earlier Elton John albums, such as Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboys, Don't Shoot Me, I'm Only the Piano Player and Yellow Brick Road.  Plus, I also own one of his greatest hits albums.

I've spent countless hours, since the early 1970's, listening to these Elton John songs. (I will also admit I am not partial to his later work.)  I clearly hear "Hold me closer, tiny dancer". But somehow, I never realized that young Tony Danza had crept into the lyric when I wasn't looking.

"Tiny Dancer" came out in 1971. Tony Danza was born in 1951. The show "Who's The Boss" started in 1984.  So, Tony Danza must have been pretty young - about 20, to be exact - when he appeared in the lyric, only 13 years after the song came out.

For the record, I never have watched the TV show Friends (the show that immortalized the "Young Tony Danza" lyric), so no wonder I was the last to know.

Until yesterday, that is. A tweet led me to the website Mental Floss (a wonderful magazine, by the way) which rated the "Ten Most Often Butchered Song Lyrics".

And "Tiny Dancer" was #1 on the list of most misheard lyrics!

Now, my personal most misheard lyric is the Bruce Springsteen/Manford Mann's Earth Band classic "Blinded By The Light.".  Someone even devoted a web page to the various misheard lyrics reported to him from that song.

Meanwhile, on the other side of Atlantic, the BBC has had its own fun with mondegreens.

I must admit, in more than one instance, that the wrong lyric makes more sense than the right lyric.  Like poor Lady Mondegreen, who never appeared in a 17th century ballad, but should have.

Do you have a favorite misheard lyric?  Or have you been singing the wrong lyric of a particular song for years?

Day 10 of #blogboost the Ultimate Blog Challenge.

17 comments:

  1. That's the trouble with kids today, they don't have mondgreens, they just do a Google search for the lyrics.

    I wore out my copy of Yellow Brick Road, great album.

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  2. Replies
    1. What? That was English? Didn't the FBI go after the Kingsmen for years?

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  3. This is so funny! I won't ever listen to Tiny Dancer the same way again! Good fun.

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  4. This is hilarious. I still have to look up "Blinded by the Light" whenever I want to be reminded of the correct lyric!

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  5. LOL! Happens all the time. For a longtime, a girlfriend thought Sting was singing, "I'll be washin' you." Hello! He can wash me anytime!

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    1. "I'm a pool hall ace.... with every step I take."

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  6. I can't think of any song lyrics I've misheard (though I'm positive there have been several!), but I always get a laugh from reading others' mondegreens. Thank you for the smiles!

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  7. My favorite is CCR's "Bad Moon Rising." Instead of "There's a bad moon on the rise," I always think it's "There's a bathroom on the right."

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  8. Just a few years ago, my family was jamming to Toto's 'Africa' when my husband turned the music down, looked at me and said, "What did you just say?" The line that goes, "There's nothing that a 100 men or more could ever do" I had always sung, "There's nothing that 100 men on Mars could ever do." My family got a big kick out of that one. Now that's the way we all sing it. :-)

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  9. Love this! My favourite misheard lyric is to Taylor Swift's 'Blank Space'.
    "Got a long list of ex-lovers" sounded a lot to me like "Got a lot of Starbucks lovers"... apparently I wasn't the only one as when my daughter and I saw her in concert, there were two people dressed as giant Starbucks cups! LOL!

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  10. Haha! I doesn't seem to matter whether we know the words or not. We always belt them out anyway!

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  11. That website is hilarious. My misheard song lyric was Emmy Lou Harris singing "Love is a rose but you better not pick it". Of course I heard "love is a NOSE but you better not pick it"...

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  12. I've never heard of mondgreens before, yet I've suffered from it my whole life. My main problem is when a song gets used in a football/soccer chant I can't hear the original without the new words being there. Will Grieg's on Fire is a prime example of this.

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  13. I have no idea what anyone is singing much of the time. Ah well. It makes for some interesting sing-alongs.

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  14. I didn't know that there was a term for it. I mishear lyrics all the time.

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  15. Ahhh the joy of listening to someone else's interpretation and mis-lyrics of a song!" Thanks for sharing!

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