Thursday, August 02, 2007

Me ears are alight

Oh all right then. It is summer after all, when inspiration and originality go off to their Tuscan villa for a few weeks. So let's have a mondegreen post. I was hesitant about this, because I thought they'd all be done; but then I received an e-mail from a shamefully blogless friend who alerted me to Abba's secret infanticidal tendencies, as demonstrated by the line in 'Waterloo': "Blowing up babies to be with you."

(Incidentally, am I the only person who thinks it's possible to track one's own sexual maturity - or otherwise - by which bird out of Abba you fancy? When you're very young and suggestible, you fancy Agnetha. Then, when you grow up a bit, you develop delusions of sophistication and start to fancy Frida because she's a bit dark and mysterious, and Agnetha's all blonde and pneumatic and obvious. Then, probably at some time in your thirties when you should be too busy to worry about stuff like that, you suddenly realise that Agnetha was the cute one all the time. It's like that love quadrangle in EastEnders, with Roy and Frank and Pat and Peggy swapping partners. Although there were two blondes in that equation. And no beards. There was however, as Billy points out, a bow-tie.)

Anyway, yeah, whatever. Have you ever misheard a song lyric, and then felt a bit silly when you discovered what the real words were? If so, call 01 (if you're outside London) 811 8055, and make sure you've got permission from whoever pays the bill. Or bung it in the comments box, it's up to you.

20 comments:

Annie said...

I had the exact same thing with Agnetha & Freda, though possibly less of a crush & more of a role model thing - I tried to like Freda best because she was a brunette & I felt we should stick together, but really my heart belonged to Agnetha all along. (Did you ever see the Abba documentary years later? She was not the smiley blonde I had remembered, she'd gone all reclusive and started saying moody Bergman-esque things like 'In my life, there is no music now. Only silence.')

Hmm, just recently I found that in Are Friends Electric? he was singing
'I dont think it meant anything to you.' All this time, I thought he was singing
'I don't think I'm an alien, do you?'

(Sorry, I'll go away now. You can tell school's out.)

Betty said...

Actually, when I was twelve I thought Abba were singing "my, my, in me now or never" rather than "bye, bye, leave me now or never" in the chorus of Mamma Mia.

At the time I thought it was a bit rude, but put it down to the fact that Swedes were "sexually liberated" as they used to say in the 1970's.

Do I win a "DLT - Comin' At Ya Through The Cornflakes" mug?

Nicholas Pegg said...

Still with Abba, for years I thought it was "Chiquitita you and I know / How the heartaches come and they go on the Champs Elysées..." When the song came out I was 11 and had yet to set foot in France, so if nothing else, I can comfort myself that this catastrophic mondegreen demonstrates a gratifyingly precocious grasp of elementary Parisian geography.

Shane Richmond said...

This isn't a mis-hearing but it is a very embarrassing lyrics story.

Some time last year, Shake Rattle and Roll popped into my brain. I must have heard that song a million times in one form or another but only then did the slow realisation dawn...

The line "I'm like a one-eyed cat peeping in a seafood store" is actually really dirty.

My innocence was shattered.

As for actual Mondegreens: a friend of mine was convinced that the line "Your Ladbroke Grove looks turn me on" in Pulp's I Spy was actually "Your leopard crumble turns me on."

Billy said...

"It's like that love quadrangle in EastEnders, with Roy and Frank and Pat and Peggy swapping partners."

Which begs the question, if you had to which one *would* you do?

Murph said...

"Lady Mondegreen" has made my day!

All I can offer is a brief Motorhead reference in Kate Bush's "Wuthering Heights" - 'Lemmie into your window'. Frightening.

The sad thing is that, when you do eventually go through the Freda thing, often after a brief and unsatisfactory homosexual detour with Benny, you get back to Agnetha and find she's turned into an old trout. It's like a Wagnerian Opera.

Tim Footman said...

That was a deeply depressing documentary, wasn't it, Annie? And the fact that Agnetha had forgotten how to speak English simply added to the Bergmanesque fog. (A bit like that one with the actress who's stopped speaking, and she swaps personalities with her nurse - y'know, one of Ingmar's lighter, more frivolous moments.) And I think your line is more quintessentially Numanesque that old Gary's.

But Betty, I'm shocked. Although I would have guessed that 'me now or never' is Cockney rhyming slang for something or other. Doesn't Sarah Waters call ladies' bits 'feather'? Well, that's it then.

Nick: I thought Chiquitita was about bananas. Shows how wrong I can be.

Leopard crumble, Shane: yum.

Oh, Babs, Billy, surely? Bet she'd dress up as a nurse. And say "Oooh, saucy".

Why not Bjorn, Murph? No, don't answer that.

Tim Footman said...

Oh God, tediously worthy Radio 4 consumer show You & Yours is doing a feature on misheard lyrics right now.

Maybe I should be blogging about rogue builders instead.

patroclus said...

Erm, before you do the rogue builders, can I just add that there's a line in Belle & Sebastian's 'Le Pastie de la Bourgeoisie' that goes 'Municipal pool, you're a junior life saver', which I always thought went 'something something something, with your junior light saber'. While wondering if Hasbro actually did make light saber toys for tots.

On the rude lyrics front, there's a line in an Ampop song called 'Youth' which sounds exactly like 'I can't come in you/After all I've been through', but I think it's just their cute Icelandic accents that makes it sound like that. Don't know what the real words are, though. (The song itself is a must-hear for anyone who remembers A-ha's 'Manhattan Skyline' with any fondness.)

Valerie said...

I've had two bad ones over the years. The first one was hearing the Yardbirds' old "Heart Full of Soul" as "Wall Full of Soap." Now, I did know it was wrong. No one but me would sing a song about having a lot of bars of soap. But I couldn't for the life of me figure out what else it could be that they were singing.

The other, to my shame, and I really do love this album, as I've said before, was hearing Roxy Music's "More than This" as ...

"Modern Men."

I was sure of it. For years. And sang it that way, very loud, in front of people.

My boyfriend of the time (now a workmate) has never let me forget it.

Annie Rhiannon said...

...there's a line in an Ampop song called 'Youth' which sounds exactly like 'I can't come in you/After all I've been through', but I think it's just their cute Icelandic accents that makes it sound like that. Don't know what the real words are, though.

I can't CONTINUE.

patroclus said...

Hee, thanks Annie. Now I can sing along!

BiB said...

I had a Finnish guest a while ago who was horrified when I asked her why that group of nice, pretty ladies were singing, "I'm just bald, I'm just bald, I'm just bald," when they had fine heads of hair to a woman. They were in fact singing, "I want more, I want more, I want more." She punished me by talking about Weetabix for the rest of her stay.

Actually, your Cure lyric from the last post, "all these years and no-one heard," I always thought was, "all these years and no-one home," which isn't too different, really. I think, "the girl with colitis goes by," is a famous mishearing of, "the girl with kaleidoscope eyes."

I only ever fancied Agnetha, and Benny and Bjorn both make me wonder whether I really am a whoopsy.

Tim, your blog is heaven and I think you're the cleverest person in all Thailand.

amyonymous said...

Two, one recent, one very old.

Radiohead's Morning Bell - Thom sings, "release me, release me." I thought he sang, "police raid, police raid."

And when i was young, a popular song on the radio was Guantanamera - and the chorus was "Guantanamera, guajira guantanamera" . . . which my best friend and i sang, quite certainly, as "once a tomato, well he was once a tomato...."

Billy said...

"Erm, before you do the rogue builders, can I just add that there's a line in Belle & Sebastian's 'Le Pastie de la Bourgeoisie' that goes 'Municipal pool, you're a junior life saver', which I always thought went 'something something something, with your junior light saber'. While wondering if Hasbro actually did make light saber toys for tots."

Thank heavens for lyric sheets. I'm sure they do light sabers for kiddies, I've seen them in Woolies.

Chris said...

Until I saw it written down I thought Joy Division's 'Colony' tore into life with the line, 'A cry for help that gave a man a seizure'. Instead of, 'A cry for help, a hint of anaesthesia'. Much more cheerful.

Though not as cheerful as this.

First Nations said...

The BeeGees immortal 'More Than a Woman', where he proclaims...

"Bald headed woman!
Boring old woman to me!"


and Elton Johns 'Yellow Brick Road", the part where he's complaining about
"Hunting the horrid black cow in the ditch,
Hunting the hoary old sow..."

I blame this on a sinus condition which caused a slight hearing loss blah blah blah blah.

wyndham said...

Now you've just made me even more unsettled about my inexplicable childhood crush on Benny. Because over the last couple of years I've been looking long at hard at Bjorn looking very manly next to that helicopter.

Robert Swipe said...

I misheard the line "no one doubts the wisdom of this move" from the Only Ones' song 'The Beast' as "no one doubts the wisdom of the smooth..."

A better line, I'd say - but you're the expert/texpert Tim.

So pleased we've offloaded him - the worst first touch I've ever seen on a Brazilian. Unleash the Beast? My arse...

L.U.V. on ya,

Bob

llewtrah said...

Back in the days of smuggling in trannies (when a tranny was a radio, not a fetishist) to school and hiding behind the cricket pavilion, Boney M's "Rasputin" was misheard as "Ra ra Rasputin, a lavamat, a wash machine" and I couldn't figure out for the life of me there was a song about laundry aids. I kid not.