Sign up for newsletter
 

They sent you a tie clasp?

Country Musings by Robert Loy, January 1996

Rush right out to your local bookseller and pick up "'Scuse Me While I Kiss This Guy" by Gavin Edwards. It is a hilarious collection of mondegreens.

Mondegreen is the technical term for a misheard lyric. The title of the book itself is a mondegreen; the correct lyric, of course, is "'Scuse Me While I Kiss The Sky" from Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze."

Some of the collected mondegreens are simple, understandable mistakes such as "Will You Still Need Me, Will You Still Feed Me, When I'm Six-Foot-Four?" from the Beatles' "When I'm Sixty-Four," and "Baby, I'm a Warm Shoe, Baby I'm a Neat Shoe," more commonly known as "Baby, I'm-a Want You" from the band Bread.

Some are weirdly risque like this misheard line from Elton John's "Benny and The Jets": "She's got electric boobs, her mom has too." (Actually, it's her boots that are electric and she has a mohair suit.) And some are just plain weird. Some are better than the original.

Don't you like "There's a wino down the road, I should have stolen Oreos" better than "And as we wind on down the road, our shadows taller than our souls"? (from Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven.")

The only problem is that most of the mondegreens included are from rock and pop songs. Although Elvis is represented: "they sent you a tie clasp" (rather than "they said you was high class") from "Hound Dog." Crystal Gayle's classic "Doughnuts Make My Brown Eyes Blue" is there, and who could forget the classic line from Juice Newton's "Angel of the Morning"? - "just brush my teeth before you leave me"

Now, granted, most country singers enunciate more clearly than rockers, but country mondegreens are not unheard of. For the longest time, I thought Carlene Carter (on "Every Little Thing") actually sang "like a walrus, I want to break you." I actually sang it that way at a party, until somebody pointed out - after a good laugh at my expense - that it was actually a wild horse Carlene wanted to break. And in Dwight Yoakam's "A Thousand Miles From Nowhere," I could swear he said, "I've got pickles in my head," instead of echoes.

I sent out a plea over the Internet for country mondegreens. One respondent thought Alabama (in the song "Cheap Seats") sang "we don't worry 'bout the planet much." (A strange change in attitude from the guys who did "Pass It On Down.")

Another thought that Faith Hill sings "a pair of rings and a pink tutu" in "Let's Go To Vegas." (It's actually "a preacher, too", but considering it's a Vegas wedding, there might indeed be a pink tutu worn by the bride - or the groom.)

Garth Brooks causes listeners some confusion. "It's out of my hands!" from "Shameless" sounded to at least one listener like "Well, saddle my hams!" And despite what some people think, Garth does not say (on "Much Too Young (to Feel This Damn Old)") "A worn-out tape of Chris LeDoux, lonely women and bad boobs."

If you have mondegreens, send them along (E-Mail: countryst@aol.com) or snail mail.