What’s your worst mondegreen?

Jan 2022
Critical update at the bottom.  In involves U2, anti-semitism, and general Lawrence Taylor thuggery

I'll tell you mine.  Now, these aren't just mondegreens... these are deeply embarrassing and retroactively confusing mondegreens.

I am not talking just mishearing a lyric in an innocuous way... I am talking about samsara through juice fires!

Oh, a mondegreen is a misheard lyric.

Famous ones are ‘Ain’t no woman like the one eyed gott’ (correct lyric, ‘ain’t no woman like the one I got’), or ‘excuse me while I kiss this guy’ (correct lyric, ‘excuse me while I kiss the sky’)
Those weren’t mine, though.  The first one is a doozy, for sure!  Here are a couple I recently discovered were wrong after singing for 30 years.

One man come, he a juicy fire, one man to overcome!  This is U2, Pride in the Name of Love.  Do you know what a juicy fire is?  I sure don’t, but I swear that is what he was saying, but that was what I heard… I swear.  Turns out he was actually saying “one man come, he to justify… one man to overcome”.   Well, that does make more sense.  Listen to the song, though… and tell me you don’t hear ‘juicy fire’.  Well, you will now!

There’snothing that a million men on mars could ever do!  This is the great song from Toto (with an ever better cover than the original here).  Turns out he was saying “there’s nothing that a million men or more could ever do!”  hmm.  Right again… that does make more sense.

Every pool all aches.  I don’t have to tell you that every pool hall aches.  Problem is, that isn’t a Tom Waits lyric.  If it was, it wouldn’t be a mondegreen.  This was Sting singing in ‘every breath you take’.  Heads up, that song has NOTHING to do with pool halls, or candlesticks.  What Sting meant to say was ‘how my poor heart aches’.  That does make more sense… but really my lyric was better.  Artier!  Once again, listen to the original and tell me you don’t hear about pool halls.

edit December 2016 - I thought of another one driving in today.  In Metallica's song 'Ride the Lightning' about the electric chair.  Specifically, the narrative is told by one in that chair.  In the very first verse, he cries

Guilty as charged    But damn it, it ain't right.   There's someone else controlling me
that middle part, that ain't what I heard.  What I heard was 'the Damadadian rights'.  Knowing the drummer is dutch, and wrote most of the lyrics, I figured it was a European anti torture statute.  I thought maybe you can't electrocute bad guys because of their Damadadian Rights.   Keep in mind, this is speed metal.  Singer Hetfield isn't exactly slowing down to carefully articulate.  I never had the words, because my cassette was taped off of Derek's cassette... and the internet certainly didn't exist.
"Damn it, it ain't right!"  Yeah, that makes more sense.  It's a shame, in retrospect, that the singer was unaware of his Damadadian rights.  Then, he wouldn't be so panicked.  the more you know!

Jan 2022

Ok, above I mentioned ‘juicy fire’ from U2’s ‘in the name of love’.  This was a BIG song, and the song that literally put them on the map.   We now know Bono was saying ‘one man come, he a justifier, one man to overcome’.  He a justifier?  Sorry, that lyric is no better than ‘juicy fire’.  BUT WAIT.  This story takes a very dark turn.  I was discussing this with my pal whom we’ll call ‘Jamie’.  Since that is his name.  He confessed the lyric her heard was ‘one man come, he set Jews on fire’.

Perhaps you are amused, or disgusted.  Me, I am super amused.  “Jamie” is going to hell.  That is, assuming Lawrence Taylor doesn’t kick his ass, first.

I sure hope he knows his Damadadian rights!


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