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MISHEARD ROCK LYRICS/LYRICS THAT MAKE NO SENSE
(Last updated on April 19, 2013)
- MISHEARD ROCK LYRICS -
- First, a look at some (but not all) of the many mistaken Rock lyrics (aka mondegreens) -
- Songs with lyrics that make no sense (or do they?) -
Most of the time, many songs out there that confuse so many, actually do make sense, you just got to know what the song's writer was up to with the lyrics. But not all of these type of songs have been explained. The following tunes, along with the confusing - or plain out silly lyrics, are listed below, and none of them have ever really been explained (except for an exception or two) . I'll add, most (but not all) of these songs are excellent numbers otherwise. This list is not in any way put together to make fun of these lyrics, but just to question them.
Sam Stone - John Prine: "Little pictures have big ears"....... They do? What da......? (* see note below)
Teach Your Children - CSNY: "The one they picks"...... What? Children don't pick their parents, nor do parents pick their kids (not blood parents, not yet anyway), so what the heck does that mean?
Jumpin' Jack Flash - Rolling Stones: "I frowned at the crumbs of a crust of bread"....... The question remains - why would such a upbeat cat like Jack do this; why would anybody frown at bread?
Macarthur Park - Richard Harris: "All the sweet, green icing flowing down, somebody left the cake out in the rain, I don't think that I can take it, cause it took so long to bake it, and Ill never have that recipe again!".......... You think Richard Harris was having a nervous breakdown the way he sang this part of the song, he must have really been hungry - perhaps from smoking weed before he sang this line.
Norwegian Wood - The Beatles: "So I lit a fire, isn't it good, Norwegian Wood"....... Some say "norwegian wood" was Beatle slang for marijuana, and if so, then perhaps the lyric makes sense. But many others claim the lyric here means that he was burning down the bird's house - and that makes no sense at all, as it doesn't fit with the rest of the song's lyrics. Note: When this song first came out, I was about 10 years old, and back then I figured he meant that he was lighting a fire in a fireplace. I still think that is what John Lennon meant.
Don't Bring Me Down -
Electric Light Orchestra: "Dont bring me down, grroosss!"......
What the hell does "grroosss" mean? (and no, they are not singing
"Bruce" there either, not that Bruce would make any sense). But
according to the album notes in the ELO compilation Flashback, what is
being said is the German word "GruŖ," which means either "greetings" or
"compliments". But even going by those meanings, the lyrics still make no sense!
After the song's release, so many people had misinterpreted the word as "Bruce"
that Jeff Lynne actually began to sing the word as "Bruce" as a joke at live
Your Move - Yes: "Don't surround yourself with yourself"..... I don't think this lyric so much falls into the makes no sense category as much as it makes you wonder what exactly does it mean? Well, it is pretty clear to me this song is about playing chess, but many insist it was written as a anti-war song and why Jon Anderson, the song's author, placed two of John Lennon's song titles in it (that being "Instant Karma" and "Give Peace a Chance")..... Then also in the same song we have: "Make the white queen run so fast, she hasn't got time to make you a wife"..... What the heck doesn this lyric mean?
Can't Find My Way Home - Blind Faith: "Come down off your throne and leave your body alone"..... Now wait a minute, how can a person leave their own body alone, and what throne is it that this person is up on? When asked what he meant when he wrote this line, Steve Winwood simply said "I don't have a clue what it means".
Walking on the Moon - The Police: "My feet don't hardly make no sound walking on the moon. I hope my legs don't break walking on the moon"...... Really? These lyrics sound childish. Come to think of it, there are several songs by this band that the lyrics sound childish on.
Lola - The Kinks: "Well I'm not dumb but I can't understand why she walked like a woman and talked like a man." Lets face it, any guy who would fall for such a gal, especially with all of the other clues given about Lola in this song, would be nothing short of dumb if he didn't understand, or even just made this statement in the first place.
Ride Captain Ride - The Blues Image: "As a storm was blowin' out on the peaceful sea"..... This hippie song is about 73 men (where are the women?) who get on a ship to look for a happier land to live on. But if they are out on a boat in a storm with winds blowing, well, how can the sea be peaceful? If you ever saw the video to this song, when that exact lyric is sang, the boat that is shown is sailing in some rough waters, too.
Smooth Operator - Sade: "Coast to coast, L. A. to Chicago"...... Okay, I know Sade is pop and not classic rock - but, this has to go down as one of the stupidest lyrics in music, so I had to list it.
Stairway To Heaven - Led Zeppelin: "If there's a bustle in your hedgerow, dont be alarmed now its just a spring clean for the May Queen"....... This one was sent in to me and I knew what it mean right off the bat, but I found a place that can explain it better than myself, so please visit this link if you need to know.
Dancing Days - Led Zeppelin: "I saw a lion he was standing alone, with a tadpole in a jar." Another Led Zep lyric that actually could make sense, at least according to Zeppelin fans who tell me: ....if you look at the line before it: "You told your mama I'd get you home, but you didnt say I had no car". In the follwing line that so many don't get, well, he is the lion, and because of the problems with his girlfreind, he is alone and not getting any, so the "tadpole" is, well, his sperm (since sperm looks something like a tadpole when viewed under a microscope).
In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida - Iron Butterfly: "In-a-gadda-da-vida, honey, don't you know that I love you" No, these lyrics don't make sense and really, they aren't suppose to. This is one of those songs that we have been given the answers to as to why it was written that way. The song's title (and the lyrics) were originally "In The Garden Of Eden", but according to the liner notes from a latter day CD compilation release: ..... The band's drummer, Ron Bushy, when the band was working on the song, asked singer Doug Ingle what he was singing, because he could not make out the words. He heard "in-a-gadda-da-vida", and after that the band liked the jumbled, misunderstood lyrics better, and kept them.
I Am I Said - Neil Diamond: No one heard at all not even the chair. The guy in the song is so lonely that he is referring to a chair as a person and talking to it. Oh well, some lonely people talk to walls, too.
Once In A Lifetime - Talking Heads: "Water dissolving... and water removing, there is water at the bottom of the ocean, remove the water, carry the water, remove the water from the bottom of the ocean" Say what? Do what?
Your Love Is Driving Me Crazy - Sammy Hagar "Hot, sweet cherries on the vine" Has Sammy ever heard the story about how cherries grow - on a cherry tree, not a vine!
Ventura Highway - America: "Alligator lizards in the air". Okay, does somebody want to explain how these alligator lizards can fly or how they got into the air in the first place? Maybe they were on one of those mountains in the sky from the Yes song?
A Horse With No Name - America: "The heat was hot"....... I don't think I can take too much more of this silly nonsense; if they just spent a little more time writing this song you think they could have come up with something a little better than "hot"? I know this song has a double meaning to it, one of those is describing the effects one feels when doing heroin ("horse" is slang for the drug), but please! I even tried to see if I could figure this one out since I do dig the song, perhaps by "heat" they mean the police? But no, that isn't what it means if you look at the words that follow this lyric. Who knows?Hotel California - The Eagles "So I called up the captain, 'Please bring me my wine', he said, 'We haven't had that spirit here since 1969'". I always got the correct drift from this lyric, but many others don't. True, wine isn't a spirit, it's fermented and spirits are distilled. But as Don Henley, the song's writer noted, the alcoholic beverage (the wine) wasn't what he was writing about when he used the word "spirit". He was playing around with the word and use it for one of its other meanings, as with dealing in intellectual and emotional powers.
Jailbreak - Thin Lizzy "Tonight there's gonna be a jailbreak, somewhere in the town". Great song but silly lyric, there is of course only one place where a jail break can take place.
The Ballad of Billy The Kid - Billy Joel. Just about all of the lyrics in this song are incorrect. Among a few of them... "From a town known as Wheeling, West Virginia". Nope. Billy the Kid was from New York City of all places... "Well, he started with a bank in Colorado" and "He robbed his way from Utah to Oklahoma". Billy never robbed a bank in his life, and he mainly hung out and hid in New Mexico... "He always rode alone". Billy rarely rode alone, he was the most famous member of the "Regulators".... "He never had a sweetheart". Billy was known to fancy the ladies... "And he never had a home, but the cowboy and the rancher knew his name". Not when he was alive did they, few knew who he was. It wasn't until after his death that most people learned about the Kid..... "The judge said, 'String him up for what he did!' And the cowboys and their kin like the sea came pourin' in to watch the hangin' of Billy the Kid". This of course never happen. Billy didn't die from hanging, he was shot to death by Sherriff Pat Garrett in the middle of the night with few around to witness his death.
Hot For Teacher - Van Halen "Oh man, I think the clock is slow.I don't feel tardy". Then that should mean that you think the clock is fast, not slow.Stoned Sold Picnic - Laura Nyro (covered by The 5th Dimension) - "Can you surry, can you picnic? Come on, come on and surry down to a stoned soul picnic" -and- "Surry, surry, surry". The word "surry" is used throughout the song. But what does it mean? Well, there isn't any such word spelled this way, so it's used as a neologism by Nyro. When asked what it was suppose to mean, Nyro simply said "Oh, it's just a nice word."
The Joker - Steve Miller Band - "Some people call me Maurice, cause' I speak of the pompitous of love". Once again, another example of neologism, this time using the word "pompitous", which was taken from the word "puppetutes" (a portmanteau of "puppet" and "prostitutes"), which was used in the lyrics of the Medallions' 1954 hit song "The Letter."
Aqualung - Jethro Tull - "Do you still remember, December's foggy freeze, when the ice that clings on to your beard is screaming agony." I love this song, well written, other than this one line. The visible part of hair (including beards) is dead tissue and has no nerve endings, therefore, it is pain free. We would not be able to cut our hair if that wasn't the case. Ice on a man's beard is not only painless, but the beard protects the face from the cold, hence why some men grow beards only in the winter months.
Do You Think I Really Care - Rolling Stones - "I see her on the freeway". Not in the Empire State do you! Mick Jagger said he wrote this excellent country-rock song about New York City life, but those from New York City don't ever call their expressways - "freeways". A "freeway" is a foreign word to most New Yorkers, it's not what they call their highways, and they don't have any freeways there.
Lookin' Out My Back Door - Creedence Clearwater Revival - "A dinosaur Victrola, list'ning to Buck Owens". I've had a couple of people asking me to add this one to the list. I never realized some didn't realize what this lyric meant, but as time moves further away from the 20th Century, even more will not understanding this either, so please let me explain if you are wondering yourself. First, the word "dinosaur" is not referring to the giant animals of long ago, but instead is being used for it's other meaning - "outdated/old". A Victrola was one of the very first (and at the time, most popular) records players, put out by Victor. You had to crank it up with a handle to get it to work. The last ones were sold in 1929. So all this means is that John Fogerty was just listening to a Buck Owens song on a very old record player. Click here to see a photo of an old Victrola, this was once the old logo for RCA.
Lucky Man - Emerson, Lake & Palmer - "He went to fight wars....Ooooh, what a lucky man he was....A bullet had found him, his blood ran as he cried, no money could save him, so he laid down and he died. Ooooh, what a lucky man he was." For years I always asked this question about this song: How is a guy who dies young in a war, a lucky man? A very "unlucky man" I would say. But since Greg Lake did write this song when he was only 12 years old, I'll give these lyrics a pass, for that reason.
*Note on the song "Sam Stone" (this added on October 10, 2008, after the above comments for this song were made).... We now have an answer that explains the lyric to this song. First, talk about not hearing a lyric correct! What I and so many others always heard John Prine sing was what I have up above. I also made sure I had that lyric down correctly before publishing this list by looking up the song's lyric. Unfortunately, when I searched online, two different lyric sites that I visted listed the wrong lyric for this line - that being "Little pictures have big ears". Turns out the official lyric is not that, but: "Little pitchers have big ears". So heck, first thing to do is add this to the Misheard Lyrics list, as I now have done.
So, after running a search for this corrected lyric, I see that this correct lyric also makes no sense to many who hear it. But I did find what it means after looking around a bit.... Now, this line is not about a baseball pitcher, but it's referring to a pitcher which holds liquids. Okay, still confused?.... First, this actually turns out to be an old saying as to the resemblance of the ears - to the handles of a pitcher. Then when using this old saying in the lyric, it is being used as a play on words, in remarking about Sam Stone's children, who are affected by their father's drug addiction. Children do hear and understand more than many adults think they do. This ancient saying, was first recorded by John Heywood in 1546: "Auoyd your children, smal pitchers haue wide eares." (This info comes from from The Dictionary of Cliches by James Rogers, Ballantine Books, New York, 1985). Since the lyric in "Sam Stone" before this lyric talks about junkie Sam Stone's children knowing that their father has a drug problem: "There's a hole in daddy's arm, where all the money goes", well now this lyric about the pitcher makes sense, as does the line that follows that lyric, too, as "don't stop and count the years" is now clearly connected to what he is talking about in the pitcher lyric, since parents often will remark that they don't want to think about how fast their kids grow up (or count the years). ..... I want to thank Harv Thiessen who emailed me on this and got me to confirm what he knew. Now, if we can just figure out what some of these other lyrics mean!
Click here to view both the Top 10 Rock Groups and Top 10 Rock Songs that fans voted on with the hardest to understand lyrics