The Most Misheard Lyrics In Rock History

BLINDEDOnce upon a time, in my first job upon landing in Los Angeles, a co-worker once randomly asked “Do you like the Cult?” “Sure!” I replied, having seen them on the Sonic Temple tour not long before relocating. “My favorite song of theirs is ‘Party Woman’!” he exclaimed. “What?” I was momentarily confused. “What are you talking about? Pretty sure they don’t have a song called ‘Party Woman’.” I said, matter-of-factly. “YEAH THEY DO! (sings) Partaaaaaaaaa-aaaaaaaaay! Smoke she is a’risin’! Partay!” He was dead serious, too. After I regained my composure, I explained the song was actually called “Fire Woman”. I hadn’t thought about that in years until recently, when Seymour Duncan asked readers on Facebook what their favorite misheard lyric was. Suddenly, instant comedy flashback, and a tidal wave of responses. Some of them are at least as, if not even more comical.

Long before anyone with an internet connection could Google a set of song lyrics on a whim, you either waited for the OFFICIAL “song book” (usually piano charts and lyrics), or you guestimated. The problem with guessing, of course, is that unfortunately you have a better chance of being wrong. Probably THE most infamous mishearing of a lyric would have to be Jimi Hendrix’ “Purple Haze.” A timeless rock classic, sure – but what’s that about “‘Scuze me, while I kiss this guy”?

Okay, so apparently it was a running  joke he’d say occasionally, but by all accounts (or the biography I read needs to change its title) the actual lyric is “while I kiss the SKY”. Seems legit. But there are so many other hilarious examples of lyrical misinterpretation, from classic rock to metal and beyond. Duncan readers came up with a ton of them – some too racy to reprint here (but no less hilarious), and some I’d never heard! And to be clear, we’re not talking about “mispronounced” examples, like Iron Butterfly’s singer being so hammered in the studio that “In the Garden of Eden” became “Ina Gadda Da Vida” (which I think you’re supposed to sing with a slur if doing an accurate cover, FYI). We’re talking more er..organically-induced “WHAT did they say?” moments.

Another classic example, whether you’re a fan of the original Bruce Springsteen version or the Manfred Mann’s Earth Band cover, is the line in the chorus of “Blinded by the Light.”  The two examples offered in the Duncan thread are probably the most popular mishearings “Wrapped up like a douche, another odor in the night” or “another rover in the night”. Let’s not even get into the psychology behind why both mishearings incorporate the word “douche”, okay? (It’s actually “duece”.)

TONYOr what about that timeless Creedence Clearwater Revival Classic “There’s a Bathroom on the Right”? Or their murder mystery song “Who Shot Lorraine?” And while we’re on the subject, who ever had a clue what Elton John was singing about, seriously? One minute it’s “Someone shaved my wife tonight” (uh, “Saved My Life” maybe?) and then “Hold me closer, Tony Daaaaaaaaanza!” (“Tiny Dancer” perhaps?) See what I mean? But one thing the Rolling Stones made sure you can be absolutely certain of – Mick Jagger will NEVER leave anyone’s “Pizza Burnin’”!

Wait, what? OK, easy mistake to make. But who, who could forget Pat Benetar’s “Hit Me With Your Pet Shark”? Not a very nice thing to do to your (or anyone else’s) pet shark, Pat. Just saying. And hey, speaking of the Cult in the original example, what’s up with that “The dogs lay at your feet, Edie… We caressed your sheep” bit, anyone? Never mind that, no one could ever, possibly forget the mighty Van Halen’s ode to fine women’s wear – “Padded Bra”? could they? I didn’t think so!

How about the Blue Oyster Cult classic where they urged people  “Don’t Fear the Reefer” (so ahead of its time)? Whoever suggested that surely would have loved AC/DC’s “It’s A Long Way To The Shop If You Want a Sausage Roll”. Or the classic line in Stone Temple Pilots’ “Interstate Love Song”: “Feelin’ – like a ham and mustard shake.” No wonder a couple of lines later he’s talking about having trouble breathing. Then there’s the Steve Miller classic “Big Ol’ Jed Had A Light On”. The list goes on and on.

What’s YOUR favorite misheard lyric?

Jay Hale

About Jay Hale

Jay Hale is a guitarist and guitar-builder located in Los Angeles who has also occasionally moonlighted as a guitar tech for bands like Quiet Riot.
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  • John Hellert

    “Take a can of biscuits” by Bachman Turner Over-eat. er Overdrive.

  • monsterzero

    this is terrible.

  • Rob Bethune

    in Jet airliner by the Steve Miller band, i always thought he said “were gunna tear down a lighthouse”

    • Arno

      well thanks.. that’s all i’m hearing now :p

  • Adrian Smith

    Hamish, the Tambourine Man.

    • Ga Calford

      Brilliant! lol

  • Richard Nance

    Bee Gees – “bald headed woman…. bald headed woman for me”

  • Lou Cifer

    Can’t believe you left out “Don’t let me down, Bruce” in the ELO song… Jeff Lynne was saying groosss, just something he made up… not Bruce.

  • David Mabe

    I know that all the lyric sheets for the Beatles’ song, “Come Together” say “He holds you in his arms, yeah you can feel his disease….” But I swear it still sounds like John is saying “Holds you in his armchair, you can feel his disease…..”

    • Fern S.

      the armchair one is what it says in my book of Beatle’s guitar chords and what I thought it was, lol.

    • IggyK

      Pretty sure that’s the lyrics, and you got a bad lyric sheet.

  • thresholddweller

    “I’ve got …. two chickens to paralyze!”

    (Eddie Money – Two Tickets to Paradise)

    • Craig Schwarzbek

      Parsites not paralyze.

  • xbrico

    Might as well face it, your a dick in a glove!!! :P Google Mondegreens (apparently thats the proper word for misheard lyrics)

    • Jeff Eshbaugh

      I was about to suggest the mondegreen reference. Apparently it was a mishearing of an old song with words something like “Laid him on the green” that was misheard as “Lady Mondegreen.”

  • Mundharp

    “Climb every woman” or is it “I’m every woman”?

  • E

    My fiance thought that “dirty deeds done dirt cheap” was “dirty deeds and the Thunder Chief.” HAHA! He’s adorable and I love him so!

    • Reevo

      For a few years back when i was about 13 i think i believed that for about a week before someone corrected me

    • Chris Brennan

      thought the same

      • Marc Stager

        You know her fiance?

  • Fern S.

    Charlene don’t like it…robbin’ the cash bar, robbin’ the cash bar…

  • http://www.myspace.com/flemingokey ConchRepublican

    Walk like an Egyptian

    “The school kids so sick of school the like to f**k in the middle bed”
    :-)

  • Arnoo

    dance, boobies never dance…. (boogie wonderland)

  • Renee Carter

    Climax Blues Bands song Couldn’t get it right, my husband thought the words were Klepto stealin all my shit in the middle of the night

  • Andy ‘Dweezz’ Hoerzig

    Living on a fish island (fish eye lense) – rush, limelight

  • Marcus Wanner

    Hey baby, oh baby, pretty baby, I’m gonna touch your booty now! – Robert Plant (Black Dog)

  • Berzerker37

    A guy I went to high school with INSISTED that Van Halen’s “Panama” was actually “Cannonball”. He’d get so mad he’d want to fight. It was hilarious…

  • PostalJedi

    Free Bird….”I’m a speed-traveling orb, now”

  • Isaac

    A co-worker of mine pointed out “just like a one wing dove” haha Stevie Nicks

  • john

    Hit me with your pet shark? No wonder our singer looks at me weird when I do the background vocal as “you sleep on the wet spot”…..

  • Peggy

    My cousins thought it was “Pike in the bass lane” Eagles life in the fast lane…hahaha

    • mrz80

      WHAT? My little bitty brain just imploded from THAT one :)

  • Sir Taffey

    A metal band called This or the Apocalypse, in the song Hell Praiser he says “Welcome to America, more wealth per capita” But I heard it as “Welcome to America, more milk than Canada

  • Leigh Taylor

    LOBO – “Me And You And a Dog Named Boo” (second half of the chorus).
    Me and you and a dog named boo – how I love being a female

  • Richard Bonn

    The Rolling Stones, ” I saw a rickshaw and I want to paint it black “.

  • Joe Rock

    “Creamer. I’m just a coffee creamer…”

  • Joe Rock

    “Doughnuts make my brown eyes blue”

  • Marco

    While many like to think otherwise the end of Queen’s One Vision does in fact end with “gimme, gimme, gimme, fried chicken”. My favorite ‘misheard’ lyric, that isn’t misheard. As for real ‘misheard lyrics, my favorite has to go to Prince’s Baby I’m a Star….”Might not know it now, baby Imma Toyota, Imma car!”

  • Kerrie

    “Lets pee in the corner…..lets pee in the spotlight…losing my religion”

  • Kerrie

    “I’m also evil…I’m also into cats”

  • ItGeekBoy

    CCR’s – “Who saw Lorraine on Sunny D”
    The Who – “Let Milo Open the Door” …. that is your’s Grant A.

  • Craig Schwarzbek

    Robert Palmer’s Addicted to Love,”Might as well face it I’m a d**khead on drugs”.

  • Ian Gordon

    “I Think I Smell A Rat” by the White Stripes actually sounds like “I Think I Smell Alright” In the recording.

  • GParty

    Creedence cover of “I Hurdled through the Grape Vine”

  • Shamus Olarry

    In “Rock Me, Amadeus”, it sounds like he’s saying “hot potatoes” over and over again.

  • Ozzie

    “A gathering of angels are peeing above my head…” from “Come Sail Away” by Styx, lol…

  • marlon

    Bon Jovi You give love a band-aid

  • Stefan Hansson
  • England Dan & John Ford Coley

    I’m not talking ’bout the linen

  • kentlfc

    “With Bert the Shed is a lonely view” from RHCP’s Scar Tissue!

  • Gregory Rowe

    How about “Odor of bologna farts” (Owner of a lonely heart) lol

  • Jody

    Always thought Meatloaf was singing Don’t feel bad, cause You’ve Gotta Free Bed

  • EddieFan@mailinator.com

    Pearl Jam’s the ultimate band for misheard lyrics due to Eddie Vedder’s singing style: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLd22ha_-VU

  • Doy Bowers

    One of my all time favorites is the infamous Gary Wright hit from the ’70′s “Jim Weaver”!!! (or was it Dream Weaver?)

  • mesatone01

    .38 Special Hold on Lucy
    “Don’t hold too tight now.. You might lose a toe”

    • Mama Squatch.

      And it’s hold on loosely not Lucy. Lol…

  • http://www.johnnybeane.com/ johnnybeane

    I play guitar.
    I don’t even know the lyrics.
    I just listen for the key words before the chorus.

    • Labrat

      That!

  • Mikias Sisay

    Motorbreath by Metallica – The third line in the second verse sounds like “Eating your pizza and shooting the lights” while it’s in fact “getting your kicks and shooting the lights.”

  • Name

    Speaking of STP, here’s one I encountered on a very first encounter when they first got famous in 1993. I forgot the song’s name but the refrain goes something like: “Where you gone for tomorrow…where you gone when you masturbate…(or when your master found)”.

    • IggyK

      The song is Plush

  • Sandow Sinai

    Meshuggah’s Rational Gaze “Our light induced image of truth filtered blank of its substance”, or as I hear it “I like juice, finish your juice, it’s a vitamin substance!”

  • darryl

    CCR theres a bathroom on the right -bad moon on the rise

  • IggyK

    Still love the opening to Black by Pearl Jam which was ruined by a misheard lyrics video. “Sheeps on empty canvas, under cheese souffleeeaaaeeaayaaaa”

  • Kevin

    sweet dreams are made of cheese- annie lennox , Dirty deeds done to sheep- AC/DC

    • mrz80

      This crops up everywhere – restaurant menus and signboards, t-shirts…

  • Gazdgod

    Mt friend knows someone who thought “I’m blue, bada be bada die”, was “I’m blue and I could beat off a guy”…

  • RxCowboy

    My (now ex) Sister-in-law, “Every girl crazy ’bout a shark man man.”

  • Leo

    Ultimate misheard ear-worm… ‘Neville’s island’ by Megadeth. :)

  • Davo

    Mick Jagger – “I’ve never seen your feet so dirty”
    Great White – “One spit and dry shine baby”

  • Doug Dash

    “I”m up on Mexican lucky.” instead of “I’m up all night to get lucky.”

  • Digestive Pyrotechnics

    see these misheard lyrics, hilarious and has illustrations:

    http://digestivepyrotechnics.blogspot.com/2014/06/21-hilarious-misheard-songs-with.html