Mondegreens – What Did He Sing?


MONDEGREENS     mon•de•green(n) : a word or phrase that results from a mishearing of something said or sung

aka “Huh??”

When I was a kid, I was seriously puzzled by the lyrics in certain pop hits. They didn’t make sense or it was a kind of sense that only teenagers and adults could understand.
Of course, I never actually asked a teenager or an adult what the lyrics meant. As with many things in my childhood, like gravity or how Ajax got stains out of sinks, I chalked it up to one of the mysteries of life.

“My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean”

I heard the Scottish folk song as ‘my body lies’… and found it mystifying. Are you floating above the ocean or in it? Face-up or the dead man float? Are you covering the whole ocean? How big is this body, anyway?

Below are a few more auditory befuddlements. Got any of your own?

BEATLES: “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away”

To me, it sounded like the Beatles were singing, ‘Hey boy, you’ve got your heiny in the way…’
I was shocked they were allowed to say heiny on the radio.


I thought this song was an extended Canada Dry ginger ale commercial and they were singing “Canada Dry – when your baby don’t love you. Canada Dry – when you know she’s been untrue.”

Because just like your Mom gives you a ginger ale when your stomach’s upset, drinking one when you’re emotionally upset would make you feel better, too.

MONKEES: “Cheer Up Sleepy Jean”

Sounded like they were singing, “My shaving razor’s cold and it stinks.”
Men’s toiletries were a mystery to me but ‘stings’ makes more sense.

In the bridge, the singer says, “Well, I’m hers, she’s mine. I’m hers, she’s mine, wedding bells are gonna chime.”

I thought he was saying, “Well, I’m hurt, she’s mad…” and I wondered, If he’s hurt and she’s mad, why are wedding bells gonna chime?

I figured since grownups fight after they’re married, they probably didn’t see fighting as a reason not to get married in the first place.

Speaking of Manfred Mann, in their song, “Blinded By The Light”, the lyrics are:

‘Revved up like a deuce,
Another runner in the night’
I thought they were saying:

‘Wrapped up like a douche,
Another mother in the night’

Makes absolutely no sense, I know.

ELTON JOHN: “Rocket Man”

Molly Bloom from the Bay Area writes:

“I used to think Elton John was singing, ‘Rocket Man, burning like a piece of hairy bone.’” Burning hairy bone – god, what an awful smell.

PRINCE: “Little Red Corvette”

I heard the title line as ‘Feel that, Colette?’ I have three brothers and I could imagine someone’s annoying brother pinching his sister over and over while saying, “Feel that? How about that?”, along the lines of the dreaded ‘Hurtz Donut.’ When I grew older I heard the mondegreen in a more, um, adult situation.

Gaily The Cross I Bear

Christian E. from Toronto reports that when he heard this song in church as “Gaily The Cross-Eyed Bear”, he asked his mother why they would call a cross-eyed bear Gaily.

JIMI HENDRIX: “Purple Haze”

This is a common misheard lyric. When Jimi says, “Excuse me, while I kiss the sky”, I thought he was saying ‘Excuse me while I kiss this guy.’
Not knowing much about sex, and never having heard of homosexuality, I found this puzzling indeed.

ROLLING STONES: “Beast Of Burden”

My brother Dave, in upstate New York, thought that Mick Jagger was promising he would never be your ‘pizza burning’.

Do you have any misheard lyrics?


34 thoughts on “Mondegreens – What Did He Sing?

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