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Mondegreens revisited

Country Musings by Robert Loy, May 2005

It's time for another round of mondegreens, and you know what that means.

No, wise guy, it doesn't mean that another deadline snuck up on me, and I am strip-mining my barren brain again.

Well, okay, it does mean that. But not just that.

Mondegreens, for those of you just joining us, are misheard lyrics, and long after I brought them to your attention, they've become a phenomenon spawning several websites and a series of books. Most of the websites let you vote on whether you think the mondegreen is better than the "correct lyric."

Not surprisingly, the mondegreens usually win. After all, it's hard to compete with misheard lyrics like these. (All from Alabama songs.)

"I remember down in Houston we were putting on a show/When a cowboy in the back stood up and yelled, 'Hot nachos!'" (instead of "Cotton-Eyed Joe!")

"Spend my dollar, bark and holler."

"Roll on, aging wiener, roll on." (much more picturesque than "eighteen-wheeler")

Of course, the guys from Fort Payne aren't the only ones occasionally misunderstood. One of my favorites is from Sammy Kershaw: "She don't know she's Betty Ford." (Which I guess means she needs to go back to the rehab center.)

Once singers realize that mondegreens are more entertaining, we'll get to hear things like Kenny Chesney's advice on keeping breakfast food hot: "Toast in the sand couldn't get much hotter." Or Alan Jackson's philosophy of how we as a nation need to toughen up: "If everybody everywhere had to learn to rope a bear." And Gretchen Wilson's movie reviews: "I'm just a product of my raisin,' I say, 'Hey y'all, Annie Hall'."

If the image of George Strait that this "Carryin' Your Love With Me" opening-line mondegreen conjures up doesn't make you chuckle, you might want to check your sense of humor: "Baby, all I've got's this Speedo in a bag."

And I guarantee you this would be one of the best love songs ever written about junk food: "No one can make me cry, make me laugh, make me smile or drive me mad like Cheetos."

The views in this column are those of Robert Loy and do not necessarily reflect those of CST.