Most people have misheard song lyrics at some point. I don’t recall ever actually thinking that Jimmy Hendrix was saying “Excuse me while I kiss this guy,” but I’ve certainly had my share of misheard song lyrics. Here are five embarrassing examples that I can think of right now, but I know there have been more.
Bruce Springsteen “My Hometown”
- Actual lyric: “I was eight years old and running with a dime in my hand.”
- Misheard lyric: “I was eight years old and running with a diamond mine.”
No, I didn’t think a kid was literally running with a diamond mine. I thought it was alluding to how a diamond mine is full of riches but you can’t see them because they are buried beneath the surface much like a child’s potential. I guess I gave Bruce Springsteen a little to much credit for use of metaphor.
David Bowie “The Man Who Sold the World”
- Actual lyric: “The man who sold the world”
- Misheard lyric: “The madness on the water”
It’s like I thought this song was a companion piece to Elton John’s “Madman Across the Water,” which as far as I know it is not.
Side note: If you Google “The Man Who Sold the World” the main reference is to “The Man Who Sold the World” by Nirvana. As much as I like Nirvana that seems horribly wrong.
Radiohead “Karma Police”
- Actual lyric: “Karma police”
- Misheard lyric: “Karmapoly”
Yes, I know that like the Bowie song the lyric is the same as the title, but I heard these things on the radio and didn’t see the titles spelled out.
In this case I thought it was a song about a game like Monopoly that was based on karma instead of money. (If you choose to do a Kickstarter for the Karmapoly game be sure to give me a cut, or I will sick the karma police, who I now know exist, on you.)
The Beatles “Revolution”
- Acutal lyric: “If you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao”
- Misheard lyric: “If you go carrying pictures of tremmennow”
I’m guessing at the spelling there. No, I have no idea what that means other than that as a child my knowledge of Chinese history was woefully inadequate.
But my last misheard song lyric was perhaps the most bizarre while also being strangely appropriate.
Prince and the Revolution “When Doves Cry”
- Actual lyric: “Dig if u will the picture of u and I engaged in a kiss” [sic]
- Misheard lyric: “Dig if u will the vagina, and u and I engaged in a kiss”
This one was so embedded in my brain that even when I clearly heard the actual song lyrics I just assumed I was listening to some sort of radio edit.
To my defense, it seems highly plausible that Prince would open a song with a reference to a vagina.
What song lyrics have you misheard?
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