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Misheard words

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THE BALLAD OF LADY MONDEGREEN


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Metchosin 03 Nov 99 - 02:58 PM
Fortunato 03 Nov 99 - 03:07 PM
MudGuard 03 Nov 99 - 03:11 PM
KathWestra 03 Nov 99 - 03:21 PM
kendall 03 Nov 99 - 03:26 PM
Fortunato 03 Nov 99 - 03:29 PM
Vixen 03 Nov 99 - 03:33 PM
Bruce O. 03 Nov 99 - 03:51 PM
KathWestra 03 Nov 99 - 03:56 PM
Fortunato 03 Nov 99 - 04:05 PM
Michael K. 03 Nov 99 - 04:19 PM
Tony Burns 03 Nov 99 - 04:22 PM
Stewie 03 Nov 99 - 05:09 PM
lamarca 03 Nov 99 - 05:15 PM
Lonesome EJ 03 Nov 99 - 05:17 PM
Micca 03 Nov 99 - 05:48 PM
Magpie 03 Nov 99 - 06:12 PM
Magpie 03 Nov 99 - 06:19 PM
Davey 03 Nov 99 - 07:05 PM
Liz the Squeak 03 Nov 99 - 07:35 PM
margaret 03 Nov 99 - 07:49 PM
alison 03 Nov 99 - 08:23 PM
Caitrin 03 Nov 99 - 09:06 PM
BK 03 Nov 99 - 09:31 PM
DonMeixner 03 Nov 99 - 10:18 PM
Pelrad 03 Nov 99 - 10:32 PM
Clifton53 04 Nov 99 - 08:42 AM
dwditty 04 Nov 99 - 08:49 AM
KathWestra 04 Nov 99 - 12:51 PM
Den 04 Nov 99 - 01:52 PM
MTM 04 Nov 99 - 02:46 PM
Liz the Squeak 04 Nov 99 - 06:07 PM
Magpie 04 Nov 99 - 07:18 PM
Ely 04 Nov 99 - 07:26 PM
Charles 04 Nov 99 - 09:18 PM
sophocleese 04 Nov 99 - 10:45 PM
Vixen 05 Nov 99 - 09:10 AM
Jo Taylor 05 Nov 99 - 06:50 PM
Banjer 06 Nov 99 - 05:19 AM
Squeazle 06 Nov 99 - 07:21 AM
Melbert 06 Nov 99 - 07:29 AM
Barbara 06 Nov 99 - 02:05 PM
Liz the Squeak 06 Nov 99 - 03:46 PM
bob schwarer 08 Mar 00 - 11:01 AM
Whistle Stop 08 Mar 00 - 11:46 AM
Ebbie 04 Mar 02 - 07:05 PM
RangerSteve 04 Mar 02 - 07:35 PM
Noreen 04 Mar 02 - 07:48 PM
Bill D 04 Mar 02 - 07:59 PM
8_Pints 05 Mar 02 - 06:42 PM
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Subject: Misheard words
From: Metchosin
Date: 03 Nov 99 - 02:58 PM

Others have probably done this too but with more comical realizations. When I was small, my grandmother used to sing me the following "ditty" in her thick Scottish brogue: Wee McGregor
He's like an egger
His nose is painted red, white and blue
He wears a tammy
To please his mammy
So what do you think of wee McGregor noo?
I remember asking my Mom what an egger was and never getting a satifactory answer. It wasn't until thirty years later, when I was bouncing my own children on my knee and singing it to them that I finally realized what the H.... I was singing to them. I guess I should have been more astute, my grandmother also cooked scones on her "girdle". Any faux pas due to misunderstanding the words?


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Subject: RE: Misheard words
From: Fortunato
Date: 03 Nov 99 - 03:07 PM

Metchosin, Forgive my ignorance but what were you singing about?


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Subject: RE: Misheard words
From: MudGuard
Date: 03 Nov 99 - 03:11 PM

When I transcribed the lyrics of "Lord of the Dance" from a recording, I wrote down:

I danced for the tribes of the farer seas.

Some time later I learned it should be

I danced for the Scribes and the Pharisees.

I did many more mistakes, but I think this one was the "best".

MudGuard


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Subject: RE: Misheard words
From: KathWestra
Date: 03 Nov 99 - 03:21 PM

When I lived in Latham, NY, in 1974, the little Catholic kid next door was proud to have learned his "Hail Mary," and was eager to share his newfound ability with me. It came out:
Hail Mary, full of grace,
The Lord is with thee
Blessed art thou among women,
And blessed is the Fruit of the Loom Jesus.

Cracked me up. "Fruit of the Loom" from "Fruit of Thy Womb" Makes perfect sense for a six-year-old. Kath


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Subject: RE: Misheard words
From: kendall
Date: 03 Nov 99 - 03:26 PM

even the real words can be humorous.. as Gordon Bok once said .. on the wallaby and.. Freedoms' Humpin' Bluey..


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Subject: RE: Misheard words
From: Fortunato
Date: 03 Nov 99 - 03:29 PM

Then there were the words you wish you didn't understand, like Joe Hickerson's "Big Black Sausage".

(wink)


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Subject: RE: Misheard words
From: Vixen
Date: 03 Nov 99 - 03:33 PM

Well--I think there was a thread on this one awhile ago too, but I can't find it.

There's always the old joke about "Gladly, the Cross-Eyed Bear..."

Seriously, I thought Elton John sang "she had electric boobs" in Bennie and the Jets--I think it was about ten years after the song was released that I found out it's "boots" he's referring to.

I still don't know what Steve Miller is singing in "The Joker" when he comes out with something that sounds to me like "'cause I speak of the pompitess of love."

I have a degenerative condition of the auditory nerve, so my hearing is not so hot to begin with. I must have hundreds of examples of this sort of thing, but they don't come to mind unless I hear the song I have a problem with.

It's nice to know other people have this problem too.

V


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Subject: RE: Misheard words
From: Bruce O.
Date: 03 Nov 99 - 03:51 PM

Misheard words and typographical errors have always been a plague. There is sa short article on the subject, ' Some Effects of Scribal and Typographical Error on Oral Transmission' by W. Edson Richmond in 'The Critics and the Ballad', 1961. He points out, for instance, that "The Lass of Occram" should have been "The Lass of Aughrim".

I've seen a lot of 17th century manuscripts, and some songs I tried to copy before I really knew how to read the handwriting. I'm still no expert, but I went back to some about 20 years later, and got rather different readings in many places. I was puzzled by the differrences in many texts between early manuscript copies and later copies published in songbooks and drolleries, until I discovered that the printed copies agreed better with my earlier transcripts. My conclusion was that the typesetters weren't very good at reading their manuscript copies either.


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Subject: RE: Misheard words
From: KathWestra
Date: 03 Nov 99 - 03:56 PM

Fortunato -- Oh thank you soooo much for reminding me of Joe's OTHER favorite song. Between Big Black Sausage and the "Diaper Song," I have been known to wish I were deaf. Winking back, Kath


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Subject: RE: Misheard words
From: Fortunato
Date: 03 Nov 99 - 04:05 PM

kathwestra

At your service, my dear kath.

I haven't heard the diaper song, probably just as well.

yours, fortunato


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Subject: RE: Misheard words
From: Michael K.
Date: 03 Nov 99 - 04:19 PM

I challange anyone here within the entire Mudcat Forum to give me the correct lyrics for ANY song, sung and recorded by Steve Winwood, based solely on transcribing the lyrics from listening to a recording of his.

(Years ago, when I was with a band doing rock covers, we wanted to do Roll With It and I'm A Man and it might as well have been Swahili we were listening to. In the end the only way we could get the correct lyrics was through the sheet music (assuming those were correct.)


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Subject: RE: Misheard words
From: Tony Burns
Date: 03 Nov 99 - 04:22 PM

Here's just one of many misheard lyrics site.


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Subject: RE: Misheard words
From: Stewie
Date: 03 Nov 99 - 05:09 PM

I recall reading somewhere of a little kid who sang Dylan's immortal line as: 'The ants are my friends, they're blowin' in the wind'.


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Subject: RE: Misheard words
From: lamarca
Date: 03 Nov 99 - 05:15 PM

Well, I was looking at The Black Watch thread, and realized only now I had been mis-hearing these lyrics when I was a kid, and posted my version there:

We used to sing this at (USA) Girl Scout Camp when I was but little, and I heard the words as

Warsaw 42nd,
Warsaw, going to war
Warsaw 42nd
Going to the Gremlin War

Zoombaloo, my boots and stockings...etc.

I always used to wonder what the Polish regiment was, and where the Gremlin War was fought; I REALLY liked the "Zoombaloo" chorus, and now you shatter my childhood illusions by telling me it was really a song in Scots dialect a Girl Scout from Wisconsin hadn't a hope in hell of understanding?


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Subject: RE: Misheard words
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 03 Nov 99 - 05:17 PM

These are called Mondegreens, and there was indeed a thread or two on them, including one called "There's a Bathroom on the Right".

I once gave a long-haired hitchhiker a ride in my hometown of Louisville, and he told me he hailed from Colorado Springs,Co. I said "Alright! They've got Coors out there, right?" In those days, Coor's was a strange and exotic brew in other parts of the country. He gives me a very strange look and says "yeah. If you are into that." And I say "you mean you don't like it?" And he says "no, not at all." I say "where can you get it?" and he says "in the Park, or bus station bathrooms." Now, there was a long uncomfortable silence for some time, while I mulled over the rather unique marketing of Coor's Beer in Colorado. I finally had a thought."Did you think I said Coor's, as in the beer?" He looked stunned."No! I thought you said 'Queers'." That was good for a large laugh.


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Subject: RE: Misheard words
From: Micca
Date: 03 Nov 99 - 05:48 PM

There is a Christian hymn which called Gentle Jesus meek and mild which in my youth I belived containe d the line "Pity mice implicitly" It didn't it said "Pity my simplicity" when I realised the error, through sitting through a service with a hymn book, after I had ceased to be a Christian I don't know how I kept a staraight face. It took about 3 days to wipe the grin off my face.


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Subject: RE: Misheard words
From: Magpie
Date: 03 Nov 99 - 06:12 PM

Oh Tony, I love it! ROTFHWL

Magpie


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Subject: RE: Misheard words
From: Magpie
Date: 03 Nov 99 - 06:19 PM

By the way, I remember there was a thread a while ago about songs that will never be the same. I can't for the life of me remember the thread's name, but it was about song that had been heard as parodies or mistales made because of misreading/-hearing the lyrics.

One guy wrote int to say that Amazing Grace would forever crack him up after hearing someone singing:

AMAZING GRAPES HOW SWEET AND ROUND...

Got to find that thread.

Magpie


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Subject: RE: Misheard words
From: Davey
Date: 03 Nov 99 - 07:05 PM

I first heard "Railroading On the Great Divide" from Arnie Naiman, and I wanted to learn it so I asked him to sing it into my tape recorder. When I listened to it and transcribed it, the third verse began, "A skinny old timer from old Cheyenne" and that's how I sang it for some time, until one day Arnie told me it's "Ask any old timer...."

Davey... (:>)


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Subject: RE: Misheard words
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 03 Nov 99 - 07:35 PM

Then there is the famous folk song, the snows of Mount Vesuvius (the snows they melt the soonest)

For years I thought it was 'She's so popular' being sung by Kate Bush on the Peter Gabriel track 'Games without Frontiers' (it is actually Jeux sans frontier)

But the killer for me was trying to transcribe 'Matty Groves', when I was convinced for several years that he had not a f**king knife. Then I thought it was maybe a fork and knife, it wasn't until I saw someone actually perform it seriously, I could lip read what the real word was!! I think my version was probably nearer real life, I mean, there you are, stark b****ck naked, under some other blokes' wife, he is waving a dirty great scimitar about and you think, gosh, where did I put that cutlery??

And what about Kenny Rogers' 'Lucille' with 300 children and a crap in the fields?

Liz the Squeak.


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Subject: RE: Misheard words
From: margaret
Date: 03 Nov 99 - 07:49 PM

liz, kate bush had me stumped on that one for years, too! one day long long ago in high school, as we were waiting for chemistry class to start, this guy phil was singing to himself "roxanne, you don't have to turn on the radio" and i'm afraid we teased him rather mercilessly. then there was this guy named eric (as jed clampett used to say, "if brains were lard, he wouldn't grease a very large griddle") who thought that the jethro tull song "songs from the wood" was saying "puppies with red noses" instead of poppies and red roses. i was pretty happy to get out of high school. . . margaret


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Subject: RE: Misheard words
From: alison
Date: 03 Nov 99 - 08:23 PM

Here's an earlier thread misheard lyrics

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: Misheard words
From: Caitrin
Date: 03 Nov 99 - 09:06 PM

I have a ton of these. When I was little, my father used to sing the Grateful Dead song "Casey Jones" to me. I repeated it as "Drivin' that train, Hi, I'm Okay!" My little brother heard the CSNY song "Woodstock" as "I came upon a Charlie Dobbs, he was walking along the road." Little brother Charles is the same one who heard the Beatles as "She's got a chicken to ride!" As for Steve Miller, if anyone can tell me what a pompetous is, I'll be most grateful. ~Caitrin


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Subject: RE: Misheard words
From: BK
Date: 03 Nov 99 - 09:31 PM

Love these Mondrgreens; used to have a favorite site for this subject on my old browser, which died w/the old hard drive. (I think the site was, in fact, called "there's a bathroom on the right" [-bad moon out tonight]) A simple search turned up 145 sites related to mondegreens & at least two persons to whom the term is credited, but all say it's the confusion of "laid him on the green" (the murdered Lord Murray, in a typical bloody-minded hundred(s) year-old traditional British Isles folksong) for "Lady Mondegreen."

Cheers, BK


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Subject: RE: Misheard words
From: DonMeixner
Date: 03 Nov 99 - 10:18 PM

Magpie,

I take the blame for Amazing Grapes I'm afraid. My kids have sung it for years. One of them asked who Round John Bergen was once. And of course there is Wild Shepards Washed Their Socks Bby Night.

Don


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Subject: RE: Misheard words
From: Pelrad
Date: 03 Nov 99 - 10:32 PM

Now, now, Margaret. My brains are just fine, yet I thought for a whole year that the previous line in that Jethro Tull song was "Let me bring you corn from the fields..." I hope your assessment of that kid's brain power was based on more than that.

I used to imbue certain of Paul Simon's songs with more angst and pith than they already contained. One of many examples: in Bridge Over Troubled Water, I thought the line was "...and pain is all our love..." (and pain is all around)

In my household we called it the Petticoat Problem, as we once heard a "take-myself-too-seriously" chantey singer sing in I'se the Bye: "Sally White, she's out of sight, her petticoat won't support her..." (really it only "wants a border"). In a pub sing I once witnessed an earnest young man mangle the words to Rolling Down to Old Maui as follows: "Our stencil bones are carried away..."


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Subject: RE: Misheard words
From: Clifton53
Date: 04 Nov 99 - 08:42 AM

And then there is the Van Morrison tune off Sense of Wonder, "Tore Down Ala Rambo".


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Subject: RE: Misheard words
From: dwditty
Date: 04 Nov 99 - 08:49 AM

How about Jimmy Hendrix singing, "'Scuse me, while I kiss this guy."


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Subject: RE: Misheard words
From: KathWestra
Date: 04 Nov 99 - 12:51 PM

There was a book, probably now long out of print, containing a wild collection of these things. It was called "Pullet Surprises" in honor of those things every newspaper reporter wants to win.


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Subject: RE: Misheard words
From: Den
Date: 04 Nov 99 - 01:52 PM

My six year old just started karate lessons. I asked him how the first lesson went and he said they learned how to bow and that they would be learning how to medicate (meditate). Always something useful for a six year old to know. Den


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Subject: RE: Misheard words
From: MTM
Date: 04 Nov 99 - 02:46 PM

I still cry when I think of Roberta Flack singing "Killing me softly with insults." I feel her pain.


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Subject: RE: Misheard words
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 04 Nov 99 - 06:07 PM

Then there is the UK group Police and their song about Sue Lawley, a UK newsreader, should actually be So Lonely!

And the learning to medicate rather than meditate is a malapropism, after the famous Mrs Malaprop, who was famous for putting the wrong words in, like: A nice derangement of epitaphs (arrangement) Off his own back (bat) The world is your lobster (oyster) the hymn - Just as I am without one flea (plea)

Modern ones include No way, Pedro (Jose) Computer legitimate (literate) Under the psychopath (osteopath or physiotherapist)

My favourite has to be: Orpheus in the underpants

Then we get on to spoonerisms,courtesy of Dr Spooner swapping letters, words or parts of words but still making some kind of sense.... the most famous example being a request for someone to 'leave Oxford on the next town drain'.

Another example of shining wit.....

the Kenny Everett character Cupid Stunt was a tad close to the knuckle, the c**teen of catlery was one that got a good friend into deep trouble, and fuzzy duck is a good pub game.

Should we start a new thread with this? We have rather wandered....

Anyway, the Steve Miller thing, I always thought it was the pomposity of love, but then I thought that today was the day that teddy bears got their nits picked....

LTS


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Subject: RE: Misheard words
From: Magpie
Date: 04 Nov 99 - 07:18 PM

DON, Would you happen to know the thread name for the Amazing Grapes?

Silly me hadn't figured out how to trace threads yet. I'd love to read through it again.

Magpie


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Subject: RE: Misheard words
From: Ely
Date: 04 Nov 99 - 07:26 PM

Strike two, BK: it's "bad moon on the rise"

My sophomore-year roommate and I were both big Dylan fans and one day, while we were listening to "Idiot Wind" , I turned to her and asked, "What the Hell is he saying, anyway? I've been listening to this song for years and I've never been able to make it out."

She looked at me and replied, "It's the chorus; he's singing 'Idiot Wind'."

I knew the song and the title and it never occurred to me that the words might actually be part of the song. (Ordinarily, I don't have a problem with his haphazard enunciation.)


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Subject: RE: Misheard words
From: Charles
Date: 04 Nov 99 - 09:18 PM

Anybody heard the Jimi Hendrix song 'Pedro'? You know, "Pedro! Where you goin' with that gum in your hand?" That's always been one of my favorites.


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Subject: RE: Misheard words
From: sophocleese
Date: 04 Nov 99 - 10:45 PM

Liz the Squeegee I'm afraid malapropisms and spoonerisms are part fo our family's daily vocabulary. We eat desecrated coconut, suggestive biscuits, stish ficks and achin' and begs. My kids now preface every request for me to read to them with the phrase "read it properly!" I always liked the story of rindersella who slopped her dripper.


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Subject: RE: Misheard words
From: Vixen
Date: 05 Nov 99 - 09:10 AM

Sophocleese--

I wanna live at your house!!!

V, who was told that her propensity for wordplay was indicative of an inability to cope with the life realities that language describes.


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Subject: RE: Misheard words
From: Jo Taylor
Date: 05 Nov 99 - 06:50 PM

Here's another site: Kissthisguy - The Misheard Lyrics Archive - especially named for dwditty...
Jo


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Subject: RE: Misheard words
From: Banjer
Date: 06 Nov 99 - 05:19 AM

Vixen, I would think that a propensity for word play comes from a keen sense of knowing how something is supposed to be and wanting to find out what else it could be. (a good sense of humor helps also)

My longest running hangup was the line in Billy Grammar's "Gotta Travel On". I never could underdstand what he meant by 'Hopper rags to Johnny' meant. I learned, right here on the Mudcat, that it should have read 'Poppa writes to johnny'. But after so many years of mishearing it I still use Hopper rags to Johnny. Old habits die hard.


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Subject: RE: Misheard words
From: Squeazle
Date: 06 Nov 99 - 07:21 AM

My favorite Mondrgreen memory dates back to when "Heard It In A Love Song" was getting tons of airplay. I was sitting in my sister's living room with her family when the song came across the waves. My brother-in-law, always trying to impress his teenage daughters with how current he was in his musical tastes, broke into song at the top of his lungs singing, "Purdy little love song". All had a good laugh at his expense.

I always heard Steve Miller sing "I speak of the prophetess of love". Is that right??

Also, thanks to Banjer. My brother and I used to sing Gotta Travel On together when I was just a kid. I hadn't thought of that in years!


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Subject: RE: Misheard words
From: Melbert
Date: 06 Nov 99 - 07:29 AM

LTS - if you're into spoonerism's, perhaps you've heard Jasper Carrot's version of "Bastity Chelt"?. I suspect you have, from the use of the "shining wit" expression.


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Subject: RE: Misheard words
From: Barbara
Date: 06 Nov 99 - 02:05 PM

The Bastity Chelt is in DT.
My daughter still laughs at my misinterpretion of a current rock song. I told her , "I don't get it. Why's he sleeping with his clothesline?" Turns out it was 'clothes on'.
And until I saw the words here, I thought the chorus of "Out on the Meara" contained the line "...for marryin' rich and the pleasure it brings.." (seems it's Marion Bridge).
I know, I know, but the real line doesn't make much sense, either -- what's pleasurable about a bridge, fercrysakes?
If you want to see my most recent set of aural/oral mistakes, check out my transcription of "Last Trip Home" by the Battlefield band a couple days ago.
It's a hard job, but someone's got to do it -- mistranscribing lyrics for the amusement of the ages.
Blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: RE: Misheard words
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 06 Nov 99 - 03:46 PM

Ah.Melbert, if you knew the pubs I've been banned from for singing that!!!! (and playing fuzzy duck, a good drinking game, but needs the right kind of publican..) Incidentaly, there is a funny thing about the original - it is ascribed to either Oxford or Cambridge University - Oxford claim that Cambridge wrote it and Cambridge insist that it was Oxford. I suspect it was Oxford.....

LTS


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Subject: RE: Misheard words
From: bob schwarer
Date: 08 Mar 00 - 11:01 AM

Try this site for some blooper hearing.

http://www.kissthisguy.com/

Bob S.


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Subject: RE: Misheard words
From: Whistle Stop
Date: 08 Mar 00 - 11:46 AM

One of my favorites was something my wife thought she heard. We were listening to Pete and Maura Kennedy's first CD, which included a cover of Richard Thompson's "Wall of Death". My wife was convinced that the tag line was "Let me take my chances on a waterbed" -- which gave the song an entirely different meaning!

With apologies to Mr. Thompson, I have decided that my wife knows best.


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Subject: RE: Misheard words
From: Ebbie
Date: 04 Mar 02 - 07:05 PM

I just grabbed one of the mondegreen threads in order to caution that a phone conversation is also vulnerable to mishearing.

Thom Bresh, Merle Travis's son, will be performing in Juneau in May. On his website it lists the date as being scheduled in the 'General Douglas High School Auditorium'. It's actually the 'Juneau-Douglas High School'.

So if you are in town for the concert...!

Eb


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Subject: RE: Misheard words
From: RangerSteve
Date: 04 Mar 02 - 07:35 PM

It's "the pompatus of love", and Steve Miller heard the phrase somewhere else, but misheard it. I forget what the original phrase was. Do a search for "the Straight Dope" web page, run by Cecil Adams. He explains the whole thing.


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Subject: RE: Misheard words
From: Noreen
Date: 04 Mar 02 - 07:48 PM

Well, since you've refreshed this thread, I'll have to admit to a Mondegreen I was made aware of just this weekend.

In SAILOR'S PRAYER after the lineWith Judy Lee upon my knee and in my ear a-lyin'

I asked Alan what it meant to have a lion in your ear...


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Subject: RE: Misheard words
From: Bill D
Date: 04 Mar 02 - 07:59 PM

I still have a newspaper clipping from many years ago promoting "Bryan Bowers, master of the 'idle harp'."


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Subject: RE: Misheard words
From: 8_Pints
Date: 05 Mar 02 - 06:42 PM

I went to college with a girl called called Vicky, who was one day singing along to the Eagle's hit "Desperado". The words should have been

Desperado, why don't you come to your senses,

You've been out riding fences for so long now

Vicky was singing

You've been outright offensive for so long now! Every time I hear this song, I can't help becoming helpless with laughter as I'm transported back to 1976!

My own most recent error showed my lack of knowledge of qotes from the Bible. We were taught a round at a folk camp "Now evr'y man 'neath his vine and fig tree, shall live in peace and unafraid......" I sang "Now ev'ry man 'neath his violent victory...!" I actually sang this for several years before someone noticed! (It was pointed out by a good friend of mine called Brian Pengelley who has been known by many of the children he taught as Mr Pink Jelly!)

Sue vG


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