Last week, my youngest sister sent a text to me and my middle sister in a frenzy asking, “What’s the name of the person in Michael Jackson’s song Smooth Criminal?” I immediately sent a text back saying “Annie.” She was gobsmacked. It turns out she’s been singing “Eddie are you OK?” for the past 30 odd years and only discovered it was wrong after her husband challenged her mid chorus on a car journey.
We’ve all been there haven’t we? We’ve all been singing at the tops of our voices only for a friend to single us out for singing the wrong words to the lyrics.
My mum still laughs at the fact that back in 1984 (Yes I appreciate that many of you weren’t even born yet), I was 9 and used to sing along to Howard Jones “What is love in a washing bin.” I have no idea why and when I listen back to it, I can’t see how I could possibly fit those lyrics in. The correct words are “What is love in anyway.”
Perhaps one of the best case of misheard lyrics is from a friend of my sister. At university she was shocked to discover that D.I.S.C.O by Ottawan wasn’t actually singing the lyrics “We are Eskimos.” I still think about this even when I hear this song now!
One of my oldest friends still refuses to sing the correct lyrics – “Begging You” by Madcon and instead prefers her own version. “Peggy Sue.”
We have another friend that was caught and ridiculed for singing “Tonight I sellotape my glove to you,” instead of “Tonight I celebrate my love for you.”
Songs that My Kids Have Got Wrong
It seems it’s not just us that end up singing the wrong lyrics to songs. Our kids are just as bad too! When my eldest, Alice was 3, I overheard her singing the following lines:
Daisy, Daisy give me your arm so blue.
I’m off crazy, it won’t be long for you.
It won’t be a tired marriage.
I can’t accept a carriage.
A bowl of sweets, a bowl of sweets for a bicycle made for you.
I still think this is brilliant, especially the bit about it “not being long” for you and not having a “tired marriage”!
Join The Celebration
Every Christmas since she was 2, my youngest daughter Eva sings this: “Hump and join the celebration,” instead of “Come and join the celebration,” which she apparently learnt at her pre-school. It was a little embarrassing when last year she sang these lyrics out at the top of her voice at the pre-school Christmas nativity play and we did get some funny looks. It has become a bit of a standing joke with everyone joining in with the wrong lyrics every Christmas. (As an aside, I have a cute video of Eva singing this song with her special lyrics from when she was 2 which I can’t seem to upload into WordPress. If you have any ideas, please let me know in the comments!)
NME’s Top Choices for Misheard Lyrics
Last year, NME did a top 40 of the most misheard song lyrics and you can see their list here.
Here’s the top 10:
1. “Money for nothin’ and chips for free”. Correct lyric: “Money for nothin’ and your chicks for free” from Dire Straits’ ‘Money For Nothing’
2. “Every time you go away, you take a piece of meat with you”. Correct lyric: “Every time you go away take a piece of me with you” from Paul Young’s ‘Every Time You Go Away’.
3. “Sue Lawley”. Correct lyric: “So lonely” from The Police’s ‘So Lonely’.
4. “We built this city on sausage rolls”. Correct lyric: “We built this city on rock ‘n’ roll” from Starship’s ‘We Built This City’.
5. “Saving his life from this warm sausage tea”. Correct lyric: “Spare him his life from this monstrosity” from Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’.
6. “See that girl, watch her scream, kicking the dancing queen”. Correct lyric: “See that girl, watch that scene, dig in the dancing queen” from ABBA’s ‘Dancing Queen’.
7. “Excuse me while I kiss this guy”. Correct lyric: “Excuse me while I kiss the sky” from Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Purple Haze’.
8. “Dancing queen, feel the beat from the tangerine”. Correct lyric: “Dancing queen, feel the beat from the tambourine” from ABBA’s ‘Dancing Queen’.
9. “Sweet dreams are made of cheese”. Correct lyric: “Sweet dreams are made of these” from The Eurythmics’ ‘Sweet Dreams (are made of this)’.
10. “Calling Jamaica”. Correct lyric: “Call me when you try to wake her” from REM’s ‘The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite’.
I love number 4 and 5!
Who knows how many songs we are all singing along to with completely the wrong lyrics! Let me know if you have any others that you know of, or a favourite from this list!