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Hold me close now, Tony Danza

Country Musings by Robert Loy, March 1998

Ready for more mondegreens? (Mondegreens, as you may recall, are misheard lyrics.) Gavin Edwards has released two sequels to "'Scuse Me While I Kiss This Guy," and I highly recommend both: "He's Got the Whole World in His Pants" and "When a Man Loves a Walnut."

Country music actually has fewer mondegreens than other popular music genres, probably because of its artists' superb eloquence - or something like that. But Travis Tritt is here with "I spilled tea all over your BLT" (actually "I smell T-R-O-U-B-L-E") and so is Kenny Rogers on his own with "I once had the knees of a woman your age" ("All the wants and the needs of a woman your age" from "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town") and with Dolly on the popular duet "Eyelids in the Street."

If we include Elvis in our definition of country, we get "People Love Bagels" (aka "Viva Las Vegas") and "Don't be cruel to a two-hearted shrew."

And The Eagles, well, The Eagles could be a book by themselves. Besides, "Lookin' for a lover who won't blow my brother" and "It's a girl, my Lord, in some fathead's Ford" both from "Take It Easy" there are a bunch of mondegreens for the word "Colitas" as "warm smell of colitas rising up through the air (from "Hotel California"). Pick which one of these warm smells you prefer: policemen, cold eel dust, the Fritos, coitus, collegiates.

Some mondegreens are racy: "Hold my clothes and tie me down, sir" (Elton John's "Tiny Dancer"), some are almost sacrilegious: "Christ, the royal master, leans against the phone" (from "Onward, Christian Soldiers"), and some are just bizarre, like Loggins and Messina's "You vomit up plants and your daddy does rocky road."

But my favorites are the ones that aren't so much misheard as misspelled. I mean "Somewhere over the rainbow, weigh a pie" isn't phonetically wrong, but it's not exactly what Judy Garland had in mind either.