General Question

Buttonstc's avatar

What is your favorite Mondegreen?

Asked by Buttonstc (27597points) August 13th, 2009

This is inspired by a recent question about bathrooms on the right. That’s a fairly well-known mis-hearing of a popular CCR song “Bad Moon on the Rise”

And that’s what a Mondegreen is, in short, a mis heard song lyric. It is sort of related to the term Malapropism which refers to a mis-spoken phrase. Both have provided a good deal of fun and amusements for those who appreciate wordplay.

The term Moondegreen was coined by a writer in 1954 who described her experience with a folk ballad that included the lines “They had slain the Earl of Moray/And Lady Mondegreen.”

she didn’t realize her mistake for years. The song was not about the tragic fate of Lady Mondegreen, but rather, the continuing plight of the good earl: “They had slain the Earl of Moray/And laid him on the green.”

So, what is your favorite mis-heard song lyric.

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18 Answers

teh_kvlt_liberal's avatar

Megadeth-Take No Prisoners
Misheard:Techno shit!
Actual: Take no shit!
There’s a lot of misheard lyrics when one listens to Megadeth

marinelife's avatar

One I not only heard, but sang throughout my youth was a line from the song “Do Your Ears Hang Low?”

Forever, like until a year or so ago, I thought the lyric was “can you throw ‘em o’er your shoulder like a cotton-handled soldier.” (goodness knows what a cotton-handled soldier is. I never did.)

Of course, the correct line is continental soldier.

augustlan's avatar

My ex-husband misheard the lyrics in childhood, and sang them incorrectly right up until I heard him do so shortly before we married and corrected him. “My country ‘tis o’vee , sweet land of liberty, o’vee I see.” He thought it was Latin or something. ;-)

Buttonstc's avatar


You must have a REALLY good ear! There isn’t a whole lot of difference between the two. You would likely be really good at learning foreign languages. Go learn one and then call up the U.N. to get a job as a translator. :)

jaketheripper's avatar

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Drift Away
its actually “give me the beat boys”
i thought it was “give me the people”

Quagmire's avatar

“United we stand,
Together we fall…
and if our backs should ever PEE against the wall”

PerryDolia's avatar

Dance Hall Days by Wang Chung.

What you think you hear:
We was up in vice
And we dance all days
We were cool on Christ.

Actual Lyrics:
We were so in phase
In our dance hall days
We were cool on craze.

gailcalled's avatar

From a well-known Christian hymn, “Gladly, the cross-eyed bear.”

Likeradar's avatar

Blinded by the light… wrapped up like a douche…

jeffpetersen's avatar

There is a website devoted to misheard lyrics:

The best use of this phenomenon I’ve seen is this video set to Yellow Ledbetter by Pearl Jam. Potato Wave kills me every time.

SuperMouse's avatar

My sister heard “wasting away again in my gorilla suit” instead of “wasting away in Margaritaville.”

Once when my son was listening to Goodnight Sweetheart, and heard “Goodnight Sweetheart well it’s time to go,” he looked at me and said “he’s singing ‘goodnight sweet hardware’ because he really likes his tools.” He was totally serious and I had to bite my tongue to keep from laughing at him. That is my very favorite misheard lyric of all time!

Buttonstc's avatar

I especially like the part where he says: “this may be one of those rare songs that NOBODY has ever really heard the true lyrics!!! It may even be a mystery to the band!” Of that I have no doubt.

Also reminds me of Weird Al’s parody of Nirvana“s mouth full of marbles mushy mumbling style.

Ahh for the good ole days of someone like Sinatra and such with impeccable phrasing and diction. Not nearly as funny but so great to listen to. I rather doubt these other guys will be classics 40+ years from now.

marinelife's avatar

@SuperMouse The one from you sis made me smile!

@gailcalled Wasn’t Gladly, the cross-eyed bear a children’s book? : D

Buttonstc's avatar


I was going to mention this one as it’s one of my personal favorites, but Gail had a quicker trigger (computer) finger and beat me to it. :)

Yeah, it’s a book all right, but definitely not a children’s book. It’s an Ed McBain crime/mystery book. There might be a children’s book with the same title, but I am unaware of it. But, it definitely sounds as if it should be a children’s book, doesn’t it?

marinelife's avatar

@Buttonstc Wow, it really is a book? I was joking!

Buttonstc's avatar

Well, you know the old saying don’t you?

“Full many a truth is oft told in jest”

dpworkin's avatar

The chair is not my son.

“Scuse me while I kiss this guy.”

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

pretty much any song sung by Michael Stipe, that boy is the mumblingest SOB I’ve ever heard.

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