Misunderstood Lyrics in Popular Songs

Misunderstood Songs – Mondegreens

About Misunderstood Song Lyrics

The official word for them is “mondegreen”, named by Sylvia Wright, who wrote a column about them in the 1950s, when she told of her own misunderstood Scottish folk song, The Bonny Earl Of Morray. She heard the correct lyric, Oh, they have slain the Earl O’ Morray and laid him on the green a sOh, they have slain the Earl O’ Morray and Lady Mondegreen.

We have purposely left every Bob Dylan song off this list. He is truly the god of mumbled lyrics, and no other singer/songwriter could hold a candle to his wind. Some other notable mumblers include Macy Gray, early Bruce Springsteen and, of course, Michael Stipe from R.E.M.

The Wrong Lyrics

The Right Lyrics

All the lonely Starbucks lovers
Taylor Swift – Blank Space
Got a long list of ex-lovers
I just died in your barn tonight, mustard no mayonnaise instead
Cutting Crew I Just Died in Your Arms Tonight
I just died in your arms tonight, It must have been something you said
But our friend’s a butt So lets raise a toe
Fun – We Are Young
But our friends are back So let’s raise a toast
It doesn’t make a difference if we’re naked or not
– Bon Jove – Living On a Prayer
It doesn’t make a difference if we make it or not
Or should I just keep chasing penguins
Adele – Chasing Pavements
Or should I just keep chasing pavements
Sweet dreams are made of cheese
Eurythmics – Sweet Dreams
Sweet dreams are made of these
See that girl, watch her scream, kicking the dancing queen OR
Dancing queen, feel the beat from the tangerine
– Dancing Queen – Abba
See that girl, watch that scene, dig in the dancing queen

Saving his life from this warm sausage tea
– Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen

Spare him his life from this monstrosity.

Money for nothin’ and chips for free
– Dire Straits – Money For Nothing

Money for nothin’ and your chicks for free
Every girl’s crazy ’bout a shot glass man
Sharp Dressed Man – ZZ Top
I would do shots whenever I heard that song in a bar.
You left You picked your behind, And I kissed it a thousand times The Four Tops – I Can’t Help Myself You left your picture behind, and I’ve kissed it a thousand times
donuts make my brown eyes blue
Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue – Crystal Gayle
don’t it make my brown eyes blue
On a dark desert highway, cool whip in my hair
The Eagles – Hotel California
On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair
Excuse me while I kiss this guy
Jimi Hendrix Experience – Purple Haze
Excuse me while I kiss the sky
That Wonderbra that she was gonna keep
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – American Girl
She had one little promise she was gonna keep
Although a wonderbra is something pretty American
I’m not talkin’ ’bout a live-in OR
I’m not talkin’ ’bout millennium OR
I’m not talkin’ ’bout beliddian’ OR
I’m not talkin’ ’bout a givin’ in
England Dan and John Ford Coley- I’d Really Love To See You Tonight
I’m not talking ’bout moving in
We’re not sure what the extra syllable is though!
She comes back to tell me she’s gone,
As if I didn’t know that
As if I didn’t know my own bed,
As if I’d never noticed,
The way she brushed her hair and farted

Paul Simon – Graceland
She comes back to tell me she’s gone,
As if I didn’t know that
As if I didn’t know my own bed,
As if I’d never noticed,
The way she brushed her hair from forehead
Bald Headed Woman
Bee Gees – More Than A Woman
More Than a Woman
So take your records, take your freedom
Take your Breath Mints I don’t eat ’em
And take your cat and leave my sweater

Keith Urban – You’ll Think of Me
So take your records, take your freedom
Take your memories I don’t need’em
And take your cap and leave my sweater
Don’t make me yodel
Sybil – Don’t Make Me Over
Don’t Make Me Over
Come to me with broken arms…
Journey – Open Arms
Come to me with open arms…
I’ll never leave your pizza burning
Rolling Stones – Beast of Burden
I’ll Never Be Your Beast of Burden
It just takes some time, little bit
of in the middle of the rhyme

Jimmy Eats World – In The Middle
It just takes some time, little girl
You’re in the middle of the ride
Strummin’ my brain with his fingers…
Lauryn Hill – Killing Me Softly
Strummin’ my pain with his fingers
Slow talking Walter, the fire-engine guy
Deep Purple – Smoke on the Water
Smoke on the Water, Fire in the Sky
the cross-eyed bear that you gave to me
Alanis Morrisette – You Outta Know
of the cross I bear, that you gave to me
I put my cat in the kettle what will I do? There’s a little boy stuck with Daniel Boon
Harry Chapin – Cat’s In The Cradle
And the cat’s in the cradle,
and the silver spoon, Little Boy Blue, and the Man in the Moon
You are my type, but I could be the one you ignore if you just let me go
Foundations – Build Me Up Buttercup
To you, I’m a toy but I could be the boy you adore If you’d just let me know
Do the Funky Lady Aerosmith – Dude (Looks Like A Lady) Dude Looks Like a Lady
I’m looking for a partner, someone who gets things fixed
Ask yourself this question: Do you want to be a b*tch?

Pet Shop Boys – Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money)
I’m looking for a partner, someone who gets things fixed
Ask yourself this question: Do you want to be rich?
It’s like a bad movie, she’s looking groovy…
Bowling For Soup – Girl all the Bad Guys Want
It’s like a bad movie, she’s looking through me
take your pants off and make it happen
Irene Cara – Flashdance (What A Feeling)
take your passion and make it happen
And the ice in his hair, sees the world spinning round
Beatles – Fool On The Hill
And the eyes in his head, sees the world spinning round
when we only had Black children, when we argued for some white Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes – If You Don’t Know Me By Now …when we only act like children, when we argue, fuss, and fight
Little darling, I feel the acid’s slowly melting /
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been clear
Beatles – Here Comes the Sun
Little darling, I feel the ice is slowly melting /
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been clear
Jose can you see Francis Scott Key – Star Spangled Banner Oh say can you see
workin’ on a knife wound Bob Seger – Night Moves Workin’ on the night moves
Secret Asian Man Johnny Rivers – Secret Agent Man Secret Agent Man
bring your nickels, tap your feet
– Creedence Clearwater Revival – Down on the Corner
Bringing this world happy feet
Red Room, Busted B-52s – Love Shack Tin Roof , Rusted!
I’m blue I’m beat up and died OR
I’m blue I like to beat other guys OR
I’m blue if I was green I would I die.
Eiffel 65 – Blue
I’m blue da ba dee da ba die…
I blow bubbles when you are not near OR
I wear goggles when you are not near
Macy Gray – I Try
My world crumbles when you’re not here
I smell sex and candlelit hair
Marcy Playground- Sex and Candy
I smell sex and candy, yeah.
God bless America, land that I love
Stand beside her, and guide her
Through the night with the light from a bulb

Kate Smith- God Bless America
God bless America, land that I love
Stand beside her, and guide her
Through the night with the light from above
When I needed sunshine on my brain
Monkees – I’m A Believer
When I needed sunshine I got rain
There’s a bathroom on the right Creedence Clearwater Revival- Bad Moon Rising There’s a bad moon on the rise
I get knocked out…
Chumbawumba – Tubthumping
I get knocked down…
Bakin’ carrot biscuits.
Bachman Turner Overdrive – Taking Care of Business
Taking care of business
I’m trying to catch my bike again
Linkin Park – Breaking The Habit
I’m trying to catch my breath again
Give me the Beach Boys and free my soul OR
give me the meatballs and eat my bowl
– Dobie Gray – Drift Away
Give me the beat boys and free my soul
She seems to have an invisible torture
Genesis- Invisible Touch
She seems to have the invisible touch
Rock-a-bye baby, in the treetop.
When the wind blows, the cradle will rock.
When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall.
And down will come baby, cradle and all

Children’s Lullaby
Those ARE the right words. If a child heard and understood these lyrics, would he or she even be able to sleep?
Everybody needs . . .a flashlight.
Rod Stewart – Passion
Everybody needs . . . passion
Wrapped up like a douche/Another boner in the night
Manfred Mann’s Earth Band – Blinded By the Light
Revved up like deuce/Another runner in the night.
I got my first real sex dream
Bryan Adams – Summer of 69
I got my first real six-string
She swam by me she got a cramp.
He ran by me got my Sudan.

Grease Soundtrack- Summer Nights
She swam by me she got a cramp.
He ran by me got my suit damp.
Free your Lady Marmalade
LaBelle (or Christina & co.) – Lady Marmalade
Creole Lady Marmalade
Gunnin’ down the old man with a transistor radio
Van Morrison – Brown Eyed Girl
Goin’ down the old mine with a transistor radio
99 dead baboons, sitting in my living room
Nena – 99 Red Balloons
99 red balloons floating in the summer sky
It never rains in California… Matadors… Albert Hammond – It Never Rains In Southern California It never rains in California… Man, it pours…”
We’re In America, man. Grand Funk – We’re An American Band We’re An American Band
It would take an eternity to make us. Even the songs from a star couldn’t break us.&quot
Whitney Houston -Your love is my love
It would take an eternity to break us. Even the chains of Amistad couldn’t hold us
I need some more groceries
Whitesnake -Still of the Night
I need to be closer
Hold me closer Tony Danza
Elton John- Tiny Dancer
Hold me closer tiny dancer Thanks, Dennis!
Hi, growing up my sister and cousin used to sing to When a Man Loves a Woman, they thought it said Peter Pan Loves My Mama. Another was a friend who used to sing to hell with the concert friends to Melissa Etheridge’s Come to my Window correct lyrics to hell with the consequence.
Hope you find these funny I laugh every time one of these songs come on.
– RClay
When I was in the first grade, our class put on a show where we sang Michael Jackson’s Heal the World. Well, this song never made sense to me because I thought he was singing, Kill the World. After the show, a number of my classmates mocked me for singing Kill instead ofHeal.” I had no choice but to deny it and accuse them of the same.
-Zach P.S. As a youngster I also had trouble with Barbara Ann.
On the Dutch version of Idols, a girl sang Killing Me Softly with his song, by Roberta Flack (already on your list, version by Lauryn Hill)
Instead of singing Strummin’ my pain with his fingers, she sang Strong in my pants with his fingers.
Just so you know.
– Tim and Eline from Holland
I’m sure we can all admit to singing the wrong lyrics to songs, but hearing someone else do it is always funny. This is a cute story:
The song was WE DON’T TALK ANYMORE by Cliff Richard. I was sitting at my desk and heard one of the guys in the office humming/singing the song. He passed by my desk and I hear him singing Disco Bunny, how we don’t talk anymore. I looked up at him and there he was serious as anything singing these words. I started to laugh and asked him what song he was singing. He said, You know, that song DISCO BUNNY. Every time I hear it on a radio station I always get a laugh reminiscing.
– Debbie Randazzo
Elton John – Bennie and the Jets
In fifth grade, we thought this was the best song on the radio….we couldn’t believe they’d play a song about such a risque subject! I now know the line is: She’s got electric boots, a mohair suit, you know I read it in a magazine… We heard: She’s got electric boobs, and no hair, too…” I still laugh today, every time I hear that song.
Thanks, JCarroll!
Looking Out My Back Door- Creedence Clearwater Revival
Real Lyrics: Take a ride on the flying spoon.
My Lyrics: Take a ride on the lion’s womb. (To doo doo)
I never worried about the fact that my version made no sense because, well, the original doesn’t make much more sense! Anyway, I figured anyone doing that kind of drugs might not be bothered by going back to the feline!
I figure that John Fogerty has to give Dylan a run for his money on mumbled lyrics. I still am not sure of all the lyrics for the Traveling Band.
I really like your web site. I was interested that there is actually a word for this phenom. I will pass this on to my high school students. Perhaps we can get a contest going for the best-misunderstood lyrics.
Thanks, Lynn G
Granted I know this was on your list, but it must be told. During a car ride home from work, our local station was having a contest by playing the line of a song and you had to guess the very next line in order to win. This particular day’s song was Deep Purple’s – Smoke on the Water. And the DJ announced the first lyric line but some stupid with a flare gun burned the place to the ground… The very first caller came on and proceeded to spout out the next line Small cousin Walter! An fire this guy!” Needless to say, the DJ, his sidekick, the guy behind the glass, and a few people in the cars next to me were laughing hysterically! That definitely made my day. He didn’t win the contest, but he did receive some free tickets to something for his entertaining answer, which he seriously thought the line was.
Thanks, Mika V

Very cool website! I have to add my 2 cents:

Years ago, the wife of one of my best friends heard the song Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds by the Beatles on the radio. She started singing along (halfheartedly, I might add) and when she got to the verse which actually goes… the girl with kaleidoscope eyes, it actually came out of her mouth as… the girl with colitis goes by!
When quizzed about why she thought the Beatles were singing about a young lady with colon problems, she said she assumed it had something to do with all the pot they were smoking! Really!
-Phil

You know, it isn’t nice to make fun of people who misunderstand lyrics. It is now recognized as a disease. It’s called ‘Lyricosis’. My sister had. She always thought the Beatles were singing She’s got a chicken to ride and she don’t care. And remember ‘Justin, the Wind’ by Kansas? One of the most severe cases I know of occurred in the mid-’90s when, as a deejay at an oldies radio station, I got a phone request from a kid who couldn’t have been more than twelve. He wanted to hear the D**khead Song. I asked him to sing a little bit of it for me. So the kid sings, Might as well face it I’m a D**khead in Love to the tune of Robert Palmer’s Addicted to Love.
-Steve Gregory

Hey, I just wanted to say that I mishear more song lyrics than the average person…I don’t know whether I should take pride in that or not. One of my most infamous ones was when I was about five, I really liked the Beach Boys song that they’d play on the oldies station that at the time I thought was called Bop A Ram. Though I enjoyed it, I always wondered why it was such a strange topic to sing about…punching a male sheep is a pretty big feat, what with its horns. It wasn’t until I was 10 or 11 that I finally found out that the song’s real title was Barbara Ann!

More recently, over the past couple of years, I’ve become a huge, huge fan of The Cars after hearing Just What I Needed on the classic rock radio station. They have a song on their debut album called I’m In Touch With Your World,” and Ric Ocasek slurs the second verse of that song so much that it’s almost impenetrable. The official lyrics are:

I’ve been lying on your feathers
You keep talking ’bout the weather
I’m a psilocybin pony
You’re a flick fandango phony

But I always thought it was:

I’m an island, only better
You keep talking ’bout the weather
I’m a suicidal poet
You’re a big fat macaroni

Mainly it’s because I didn’t know how to pronounce psilocybin at the time, and it really does sound like suicidal when he sings it. I still sing it my way, merely because I prefer it. Let’s hope your ears are less muddled than mine.

Cat

We have a listener who thinks the opening of Help Me Rhonda by The Beach Boys contains this lyric: Well since she put me down, there’s been owls spewing in my bed The actual line was: Well since she put me down I’ve been out doin’ in my head…We also have a listener who requests Secret Asian Man by Johnny Rivers instead of Secret Agent Man“.
Go figure.
– Mike Ray (Eagle 106.9 KEGK-FM)
The Song: Guantanamera
I was only a kid when I heard this one and I just assumed it was in English. I heard:
Once on a meadow, I dream of once one a meadow… The real lyrics:
Guantanamera Guajira Guantanamera Guantanamera Guajira Guantanamera…
– Thanks SW!

Hey, I’ve got a couple of my own lyric faux pas for you. When I was a kid I used to watch Green Acres on TV and always thought that Eva Gabor sang in the show’s theme song: I just adore a pancause view instead of I just adore a penthouse view. Listen to it, that’s still what it sounds like to me even though I know better now!

I also always thought that Manfred Mann sang in their song Blinded By The Light: Wrapped up like a douche, another roamer in the night, instead of: Revved up like a deuce, another runner in the night. I still sing it the wrong way just for laughs! ;o)
I thought you might like to know my misheard lyrics.
Thanks, Rod!

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