Wait, What Did They Just Sing?

Years ago when Todd and I first met, I was living in Melrose, Massachusetts, just north of Boston, we were in a book store in Harvard Square.  We were thumbing through the books on display and reading a few passages to each other.  I think we ended up buying Mad Libs to do on the train on the way back to my apartment. 

I distinctly remember picking up a coffee table book of misheard lyrics.  I proceeded to follow him around the store singing the misheard lyrics and laughing maniacally at each one.  OK, you get it, I love misheard lyrics.  Whenever I read something about them I laugh my head off when I hear the song on the radio, because I insert the misheard lyric for maximum hilarity.  Here are a few of my favorites.

Apparently there’s a whole bunch of people who believe "Hold me closer, tiny dancer" by Elton John. is actually "Hold me closer, Tony Danza."  I mean, you'd have to be a huge Danza fan to write a whole song about him like that.  

Or how about some Guns and Roses “Take me down to a very nice city" Actual lyric: "Take me down to the Paradise City."  Yes, please do take me down to a very nice city.  Do they have nice park benches near a frozen yogurt stand?

Doo doot doot do doot doo doooooo, let’s get some Toto, “I left my brains down in Africa.” We all know the actual lyric is “I bless the rains down in Africa.”  Or do we?

In college me and my housemates had an epic party.  Inevitably Piano Man by Billy Joel was played.  What is particularly funny about this lyric is that the maintenance men on campus were called “yellow men” because they wore yellow shirts.  (I went to a business college.  It wasn’t known for its creativity.)  So the song then goes “Sing us a song for the yellow man.” We all know the actual lyric is, of course, “Sing us a song, you're the piano man.”  Though that winter session senior year, when we got walloped with daily snow storms I routinely made hot chocolate for the Yellow Men as they were out in force with the snow blowers. I am sure they wouldn't have appreciated me singing any songs for them on those cold days.

And this is the best sort of virgin: “Like a virgin touched for the thirty-first time”

When I was 14 my guitar teacher made me learn Stairway to Heaven.  I hated the song, and still do to this day.  But this lyric makes it better: "There's a wino down the road.”

A few years ago there was an ad, for a car I think, that featured this one: "Pour some shook-up ramen.” Though if you read the actual lyrics, they kinda are gibberish.  Also, I learned this one in guitar lessons.  It was 1988, and I was very cool.

One of my absolute favorites, that still cracks me up when I listen to the song, “Big ol Chad in a line up” instead of “big ol jet airliner.”  I think Chad in a lineup is far more interesting.  How big is he, really?  And what did he do, or allegedly do, to get placed in that lineup?

OneRepublic tells me “It’s too late to order fries.”  You’d think that they’d Apologize for that, though.

I wonder how much Sting hates this one “Cause when those elephants escape you.  The large one ties you up and rapes you.”  Well, he DID write a song called De Do Do Do De Da Da Da. What the hell did he expect?

And this one was a new one for me, REM is losing more than religion here.  They are also losing their sense of decorum.  “Let’s pee in the corner.  Let’s pee on the spotlight.” 

What are some of your favorite misheard lyrics?  Tell me on my Facebook page or tweet them to me @bjknappwrites


BJ Knapp is the author of Beside the Music, available for purchase here. Please sign up for the Backstage with BJ Knapp mailing list to get updates on events, signings, dog pictures and so much more.

added on 05.01.17

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