Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Share your Mondegreens: Weekend Open Thread

Has anyone else heard of Mondegreens? I knew what they were, just didn’t know there was a word for them, and have just discovered this in James’ Gleick’s excellent new book The Information’.

They’re when you mishear a lyric like:

“When a Man loves a Walnut”


“He’s Got the Whole World in his Pants”

On a Bkos thread tonight I mentioned this, and people came up with some brilliant examples, including the video below, linked by Anathema, which is an entire song subtitled in Mondegreens

Enjoy, more examples below the thread.  

My own Mondegreens are fairly dull, and reveal the fact I spent years in the church choir. For example, I could never understand

“The Lord’s My Shepherd I’ll Not Want”

Why don’t you want Jesus, you commie? What’s the hells wrong with you?  

One of the few  more modern ones would be Bob Marley’s…

“No woman, No cry”

I thought that meant that “if you don’t have a female partner you won’t have any tears“? Though listening to it again recently, I realise it probably means: “Please don’t cry XX chromosome person.”

Talk about revealing mishearing…. does that make me a misogynist? Who knows? (PS. Can I have my rib back?) There are some lovely other ones on the BKos thread including the Beegees inestimable:

“and she comes to me on a submarine”

So much more imaginative than “summer breeze”. And instead of “addicted to love”.

“Might as well face it, you’re a dick with a glove.”

In this spring season, as the air is rife with people misunderstanding each other on the blogosphere, please share your mishearings with me.



  1. fogiv

    Had a friend back in high school raving about the AC/DC song ‘Thunder Chief’.  Had no clue what he was talking about, so he sang a bit:

    Him: You know!  The one that goes Dirty deeds and the Thun-der Chief.  Man, that’s a great song.

    Me: Yeah, the lyric says Dirty deeds and they’re done dirt cheap.


    This is the version most people are familiar (though Bruce Springsteen wrote it.  It’s probably one of the most commonly misinterpreted rock lyrics in history.  The actual lyric:

    revved up like a duece, another runner in the night

    What people tend to hear:

    Wrapped up like a douche, another rubber in the night


  2. HappyinVT

    I remember is having a friend think they were singing about “chicken cherry cola” when the lyric was “drinking cherry cola.”  (I didn’t know what they were singing, either, truth be told.)  The song was from the mid to late 1990s and they were singing about the then-current popular culture.  I always think it was Savage Garden but it isn’t.  (Although I do like their I Knew I Loved You.)

  3. “Devil devil in the freezer aisle!”

    And of course we all remember the ELO classic Medieval Woman:

    This is not one of mine, but Richard Moll did a great bit that I cannot find that included such gems as “There’s a Bathroom on the Right” (but here is some Bull Shannon in it’s place).

  4. “The ants are my friends, they’re blowing in the wind”

    Picture yourself in a boat on a river,

    With tangerine trees and marmalade skies.

    Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly,

    The girl with colitis goes by

    And from Black Eyed Peas.

    Boy I think about it every night and day

    I’m addicted on the German side your love

  5. DTOzone

    I like it, it’s cute and everything, but I’m really not comfortable with seeing Princess Mia’s tatas.  

  6. sricki

    from Elton’s Bennie & the Jets… (the song says, “She’s got electric boots a mohair suit,” and I hear “She’s got electric boobs and Moe has too)…

    I am conVINCED (still) that Billy Joel is singing, “Son can you play me a memory” in Piano Man instead of “melody.” Like… I listen to it… over and over… and I always hear memory, even though I know the lyric.

    I actually have a TON of Elton ones, but I can’t think of any others at the moment.

    Of course, I listen to death metal too, so misunderstanding lyrics is a pretty common thing altogether and I don’t think much of it. 😉

    Ummmmmm… so many, so why can’t I think of any?

    Oh oh! That “Dude Looks Like a Lady” song — for years I heard “Do the funky lady.”

  7. sricki

    before April Fools Day ends… I totally fell for an April Fools Day diary on dKos this morning (forgot it was April 1st), and got so pissed. Note to self: Coffee before blogs.

  8. Can’t blame it all on memory loss. My hearing sucks. I don’t understand about half of the lyrics in any song.

    Since it’s an open thread, I’ll throw out something else. I wrote a couple of poems and set them aside to ferment about a year ago. I just reread them for the first time in quite a while and decided I like them so I added them to my web site. Wha’cha think?


    Blank wall.

    Barren life.

    Blighted soul.

    Grieving still.

    Short and Sweet

    Short poems are best.

    Simple and concise.

    Easy to read.

    Easy to recite.

    and, most importantly,

    easy to write.  

  9. virginislandsguy

    Surely make you lose your mind sounded strange but wicked. When I found out it was fast lane, it was a bit of a let down.

  10. Cheryl Kopec

    My dog has been barking at me the whole time I’ve been reading/laughing at/dancing to this diary. And he doesn’t have to go out — I’ve already put him out twice in the last 30 minutes. He just thinks I’ve gone nuts. LOL!

  11. …from dear Sian, mother of my children. When she was a teenager she used to think Aretha Franklin’s great song (inspired by a performance of Don McLean no less) was

    Killing me softly with Insults.

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