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?

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119 Comments

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

    1. Could they be referring to Heather from the Total Drama series after she gets her head shaved (and when she isn’t wearing a wig)?

  2. 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.

    1. a) it’s Dont BRING me down (pretty clear if you listen)
      b) the real “Bruce“ is actually Gruß (pronounced gruce or grus) which is German with a similar meaning to “Hey!”

  3. 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…..”

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

    1. 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.”

  5. 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!

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

  6. 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

  7. 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…

  8. 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”…..

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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!”

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

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

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

  15. 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.”

  16. 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)”.

  17. 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!”

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

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

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

  21. Heard a drunk Indian singing in a bar once. A Deep Purple song, “slow motion Walter, fire engine guy.” I kid you not.

    1. You are just a fucking rascist. I heard the same urban legend 30 years ago. Then he went into “Super summer sleepin bag”:, right? What a piece of shit you are.

  22. Ricky Martin. For a week I thought he sang: ‘She looks like a flower, but she stinks like pig’. Actual line: ‘… she stings like a bee’. For a week I respected the guy…

  23. Many people think the opening line in the Beach Boys’ song “Help Me Rhonda” goes “Well since she put me down/there’s been owls pukin’ in my bed”. The actual lyrics are “Well since she put me down/I’ve been out doin’ in my head.”

  24. Metallica’s “The Four Horsemen” was filled with misheard lyrics, search for misheard lyrics four horseman for a laugh…

  25. Mine was from The Beach Boys (hey,I was seven when I heard this song!): “pink spaghetti” instead of “pink slip daddy” in “Little Deuce Coupe”.

  26. Justin Timberlake’s “sexyback” I thought he said “go hippie go” when he actually said “go ahead be gone with it” really quite embarrassing when I sang my lyrics in front of my new crush..

  27. I couldn’t even begin to list them. I grew up in the late 50s when sound equipment was less than adequate–going all the way back to my first 4-track tape player

  28. Harry and Rick…
    They are sharing the same chick…
    (Caribbean queen….?? Sharing the same dream??)

  29. “fire all of your guns at Watson / explode into spaaaace”
    I thought Watson might have been some politician that Steppenwolf didn’t like

  30. A buddy of mine singing Running With The Devil in the car one day
    I got no love … no love in Korea, all I’ve got is a head of steel.

  31. Hamster / A Dentist / Hard Porn / Steven Seagull / Warrior / This Rifle / In me / The fishmaster

  32. In The Doobie Brothers racist hit What a Fool Believes, Micheal McDonald clearly sings: ”The White Man Has The Power”

  33. “Down on the corner, out in the street, Willie and the four boys are playing, playing fickle can’t be beat”

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