(SNN) - Ever been heckled for getting the words wrong? Reactions can vary from mild embarrassment, such as when you're in the car singing dos a dos and your best friend laughs at your flub, to this: hot-faced, wide-eyed horror when, in a moment of sonic repose, you sing unabashedly for the benefit of a car-load on the way to the bar and belt out a hilarious misinterpretation.
Belonging to the Humor Writers Group on Linked In, and hoping to get new material on what is a favourite topic of mine, I posted the above on a friend’s thread on messing up lyrics, and Elisa provided this example:
My husband still thinks "Secret Agent Man" is "Secret Asian Man."
"What?" I asked him. "That's not right."
"Of course it is,” he said, “Like Jackie Chan!"
And my friend, Carmen, responded: Your husband and my husband should have the Siri app get them a reservation at the club for the hearing impaired. The ear club for men...
To which Elisa replied: Maybe they can listen to "Hang on, *Snoopy*" while they're there.
Steve from the Humor Writers Group then supplied this one for a song you may recall, ‘Take my hand, I’m a strange-looking parasite’.
It’s not just men who screw-up lyrics. I have a biggie of my own, although it’s not printable here. It’s so common a mistake that there’s even a word for it: mondegreen – a characteristic mishearing or misinterpretation of a phrase in a song. These are unintentional mistakes, not parodies, and of course the more gonzo, or bizarre, the lyrics the better. And to hear two singers unwittingly vocalize the same mondegreen ramps up the experience:
Singing and playing guitar at a gathering of family and friends, two brothers unintentionally created a mondegreen for Gilbert O'Sullivan's 'Get Down'. The song goes, 'You're a bad dog baby but...I still want you around.' But the brothers sang, "You're a bag of babies, and I don't want you around."
The two best-known mondegreens would have to be, “There’s a bathroom on the right,” for Bad Moon on the Rise, and “Excuse me while I kiss this guy,” for Purple Haze’s “Excuse me while I kiss the sky.” And the most indecipherable song - Blinded by the Light, by Manfred Mann, with its ‘roner’ in the night and other unfamiliar pronunciations.
Some mondegreens appeal to our sense of the absurd, such as “Poison summer” for Boys of Summer, from a local female drummer. Or this one courtesy of my bass-playing former publisher, who thought the lyrics to Cadillac Ranch were, “Tearing up the highway like a piccolo in the storm”, when it should be “big old dinosaur”.
While some mondegreens are caused by faulty hearing, others seem to arise from the imagination. This can in turn create a spark in the imaginations of others, as illustrated by Carmen’s response to another of my posts, this time relating a comment I made to a musician friend that resulted in a mondegreen.
Me: I like ZZ Top’s song Tube Snake Boogie.
K (singing): I know a girl who lives on the hill, she won’t do it but her Grandma will.
Me: Kevin, you eejit. It’s her sister who’ll do it, not her Grandma.
And Carmen wrote: “Well I guess that explains how Grandma got run over by a reindeer, hooking out by my house Christmas Eve. You can say there’s no such thing as pimping, but as for me a Grandpa, we believe.”
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