Top 9 Tuesday

My Favorite Mondegreens

Reading time – 2 minutes       

Everybody know what mondegreens are? Good, let’s proceed. Also, this would be a great character trait for one of the folks in your next story. Leads to wonderful dialogue, both in real life and fiction. As if anyone around here cares about real life!

To make this a little more fun, I’ll give you the mondegreen and you can (I’m sure) figure out the correct song lyric.

9. “Dead ants are my friends, they’re blowin’ in the wind.” – Robert Zimmermanzimmerman

8. “Gimme the Beach Boys and free my soul.” – Uncle Kracker

7. “They’ve all come to look for a miracle.” – Simon & Garfunkel

6. “The girl with colitis goes by.” – The Beatles

5. “There’s a bathroom on the right.” – CCR

4. “Excuse me while I kiss this guy.” – Jimi Hendrix

3. “We are living in a Cheerio world, and I am a Cheerio girl.” – Madonna

2. “And there’s a wino down the road.” – Led Zeppelin

1. “Gotta leave it all behind and take a cruise.” – Queen (Confession: I don’t even know the right lyric anymore; this one always makes more sense to me.)

There are so many, I didn’t even include a couple funny ones that I’ve never believed, but would be great coming out of a character in your next book.

  • Hold me closer, Tony Danza – Elton John
  • Donuts make my brown eyes blue – Crystal Gale

And a few bonus entries. One became a book, the other two are likely made up, but they’re still funny and you can imagine some little kid saying them.

“Olive, the other reindeer.” (Now a book)

“Blessed art thou, a monk swimming.” – Hail Mary

“Our Father, who art in heaven, Howard be thy name.” – The Lord’s Prayer

Finally, in case I’m educating someone out there (yeah, right!), a note about the word mondegreen. Ironically, it’s a mondegreen itself. American writer Sylvia Wright coined the term, admitting in a piece published in 1954 in Harper’s, that she confused a poem read by her mother. She translated “They have slain the Earl of Moray and laid him on the green” into “They have slain the Earl of Moray and Lady Mondegreen.” Alas, the Earl was alone when the slaying occurred and the non-existent Lady Mondegreen escaped to live in infamy these many years later.

Got any classics of your own? Throw ’em into the comments and maybe somebody will dress up one of their characters with your misheard lyric!


11 thoughts on “Top 9 Tuesday

  1. “Checkin’ your reflection and telling your best friend ‘like girl, I think my butt can bend!'” – Nelly, Hot in Herre

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Whoa, Nelly!

    For our rap-challenged audience, the correct line: Checking your reflection and telling your best friend, “like girl, I think my butt getting big!”

    I’m lost with most of Nelly’s lyrics, so I could do a Top 9 mondegreen on him alone. Or Springsteen. But with those guys, it’s not like you insert other lyrics, you just sorta mumble through parts.


  3. I didn’t know what that word was. Thank you for teaching me.

    My best, or worst. When I lived in Italy friends would play guitar and sing around the dinner table. They sang Guanta una mela. I sang along thinking they were saying “grab and apple.” Mela is apple and guanta is grab. It was only many years later did I discover they were singing a communist song Guantanameo. Like the prison.

    I hide my face in embarrassement.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Haha. Angie, If you have to hide your embarrassment over that, I’ll never be able to expose my face again. An idea that might catch on if I give people the opportunity, so I’m not gonna start.

    The funny thing is, now when you hear Guantanamo, you probably think to yourself “Grab an apple” prison. Mondegreens are funny that way, they stick in your head like a bad song.


  5. This was GREAT! I didn’t know what a mondegreen was either, and now I feel so smart! I so wish I could remember which songs I’ve butchered – and there have been a few. I’ll have to think about it (can probably ask my husband) what’s the most recent one, and get back to you.

    There is that all time song that everyone messes up – Bruce Springsteen’s? “Wrapped up like a douche, another runner in the night,” Which has been tweaked a couple times – but I at least know (NOW) that it was “revved up like a deuce” (for a 32 Ford Deuce Coupe) or “cut loose like a deuce.” THAT had to be the song sung wrong by most people.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I would feel very safe giving your aunt all my passwords verbally. She’d never be able to break into my accounts. On the other hand, when I forgot one and went to her for guidance, I’m not sure the password she’d give me would help me out much.

        But I’m all for squeezing soup and salad bar into as many songs as possible.


    1. Yes, Blinded by the Light. Excellent song from the Boss, and Manfred Mann did a fine job with the cover as well.

      My wife’s been trying to remember an Eric Clapton song she used to butcher until one time I was sitting in the car and she started singing it and I was rolling on the floor laughing. Which made it hard to drive, but no worse than I usually am at driving so nobody noticed. I’ll post it when I remember. Knowing my memory, look for the update in the fourth quarter of 2017.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. How about the Simon and Garfunkel classic, “Just a come on from the horse on Seventh Avenue.” Gives a whole new twist to The Boxer… 🙂

    Fun stuff, John!


    1. Oh, I love that! Had not heard it before. And yes, very different meaning for the narrator from The Boxer.

      Hey, I’m reading a book right now by your countryman Nick Hornby. I like him a lot. I read somewhere that if there was a category called Nens fiction (like there is a category for Women’s fiction) he’d be one of the headliners.

      My computer is in the shop — hope I’m not missing a JR contest this holiday weekend.


      1. I’ve heard of Nick Hornby, but not read anything by him. I hope you enjoy it.

        And yes… there’s a contest this weekend. You may have to borrow a computer. 🙂


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