a peek inside the fishbowl

30 Jan, 2010

Best misheard song lyric?

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Misc. life

Thank you all for your thoughtful comments about yesterday’s post. It’s not too late to weigh in!

Did you know that a misheard phrase or lyric is called a mondegreen?

I don’t want to mention names, but SOMEONE in this household thought that the song “Single Ladies” by Beyonce was actually “Simple Lady.”

Oh how I laughed. In fact, I’m still laughing:

I’m a simple lady! I’m a simple lady.
I’m a simple lady! I’m a simple lady.
Oh oh oh, oh oh oh oh oh …

I shouldn’t poke fun. For the longest time I thought a key lyric in Manfred Mann’s “Blinded By The Light” was “wrapped up like a douche” instead of “revved up like a deuce.”

I was never able to figure out why a feminine hygiene product would figure so prominently.

Please tell me I’m not alone! :)

35 Responses to "Best misheard song lyric?"

1 | The Moffman

January 30th, 2010 at 7:43 am


I’ve got a few doozies.

For that same song (Beyonce), my then 4-year-old niece thought it was “all the cigarettes, all the cigarettes… all the cigarettes, all the cigarettes.”

For a while, I personally thought Sunday Bloody Sunday was Someday Buddy, Someday.

When I was living in Montreal, a radio station had people call in and give their best examples. My favorite was a guy with a French accent who said that he always thought the Peter Gabriel song “Shock the Monkey” was “Jacques the Monkey”.

The same show also featured someone admitting that she thought that the lyric from Alanis’ “You Oughta Know” wasn’t “The cross I bear that you gave to me”, but “The cross-eyed bear that you gave to me”.

This is one of my favorite subjects. I could go on and on… :)

BTW, I owe you some money. We should chat.

2 | Stefania (Ingredients for Life)

January 30th, 2010 at 7:44 am


Funny you should mention that song. My niece was singing that song but she was singing, All the Cigarettes. That’s what she heard.

Hubby has a list of misheard song lyrics.

3 | The Moffman

January 30th, 2010 at 7:48 am


Oh, and I didn’t know there was ever any consensus about what the heck Manfred Mann was singing in the song. I continue to sing “wrapped up like a doucher”. :)

4 | Miss Vicky

January 30th, 2010 at 8:36 am


My sister’s favourite song when she was 5 was Helen Reddy’s “Delta Dawn”. Especially these lines: And did I hear you say, he’d be a-meeting you here today, to take you to his manshop in the sky”

re: Jacques the Monkey. For a while I thought it was “Chateau Monkey”

my favourite album at 5 was Jesus Christ Superstar (I know, weird). But I’d sing the line from Herod’s Song as “Someone Christ, King of the Juice”

5 | Betsy Mae

January 30th, 2010 at 9:31 am


i’m laughing out loud like a crazy person. i can’t even begin to tell you all the lyrics i get wrong! bert knows his music and he’s forever catching me sing songs completely wrong!

6 | Stefania (Ingredients for Life)

January 30th, 2010 at 10:02 am


I didn’t know Hubby was commenting. I thought he was working up there… :-)

I love “King of the Juice”.

7 | Erica

January 30th, 2010 at 10:21 am


I can’t listen to Tiny Dancer anymore without hearing “Hold me closer, Tony Danza.”

8 | Finola

January 30th, 2010 at 10:52 am


My husband had to explain to me that “You put the LIME in the coconut”. I could never figure out why anyone would want to put a lion in a coconut.

9 | Siobhan

January 30th, 2010 at 11:14 am


When I was 5 years old, there was a song at church I really loved to sing.

Love is flowing like a river
Flowing out to you and me
Flowing out into the desert
Setting all the cactus free

I think I even drew a picture of the cactus being carried to freedom by the river before my mom explained it was supposed to be “captives”, but she admitted that you were probably more likely to run into cactus than captives in the desert…

I notice a few people having trouble with Peter Gabriel, thinking that an English line was actually French. I had the opposite problem – I could never tell what that line in “Games without Frontiers” was, and it turns out they were saying “Jeux sans frontieres” (ie Games without Frontiers) in such a terrible accent that it was unrecognizable. (It’s the part that sounds a bit like “She’s so popular”.)

10 | KJT

January 30th, 2010 at 11:42 am


Thanks for the new word! I heard “wrapped up like a douche” too.
For years I thought that the line in Procul Harem’s “Whiter Shade of Pale” – “skip a light fandango” – was “skip a life and dangle”. It really resonated with me! And my daughter loved to sing along with Aretha with “Jane, Jane, Jane, Jane of cool”. LOL re Tony Danza.

11 | Lee

January 30th, 2010 at 11:43 am


“All the Cigarettes” is a really popular one.

I’ve heard kids sing about “London Fridges” falling down.

My all time favourite though, is Moreena’s kid singing about “cream covered ponies and cat covered strudel.”

12 | andrea

January 30th, 2010 at 11:51 am


Oh my god I am laughing so hard.

Jacques the monkey! I will never ever be able to listen to that song in a normal way again.

Finola: I thought it was lion in a coconut too. Great minds? :)

13 | Finola

January 30th, 2010 at 12:34 pm


Andrea, you made my day! I cannot wait to tell my husband that I wasn’t the only one. Great minds indeed :)

14 | Mary @ Holy Mackerel

January 30th, 2010 at 4:08 pm


Oh, I’m sure there are about 1 million versions on the lyrics for “Blinded By The Light”. What do they expect, mumbling like that?!?!?!

15 | Pete M

January 30th, 2010 at 4:21 pm


There are so many, where to start. The one that immediately springs to mind is from Madonna’s “La Isla Bonita”:

Last night I dreamt of some bagels

I actually DON’T want to know what the real lyrics are!

I came across a website dedicated to this subject:


16 | coffeewithjulie

January 30th, 2010 at 5:33 pm


“I like big butts and a can of wine!” is currently being sung in our household. And I swear it’s not me!

17 | Jacquie

January 30th, 2010 at 6:01 pm


1. Lucy in the Sky: “The girl with colitis goes by” instead of “the girl with kaleidescope eyes”

2. White Stripes: “Insemination Army” instead of “Seven Nation Army”

3. Kings of Leon: “Sax is on Fire” instead of ” sex is on fire”

4. Jingle Bells: “Dangle Balls” as sung by my daughter when she was 2yrs.

These are the favourites in our house. The first one and the last one were lyrics my 3yr old would sing. The middle one is mine and I really thought these were the lyrics for a long time until one day I was in the car with my husband singing it and he nearly drove off the road he was laughing so hard.

18 | Laura

January 30th, 2010 at 7:13 pm


Too funny! Oh, I have to add one.

When we were teenagers, my friend’s younger brother thought “She’s got Bette Davis Eyes” was “She’s got better days than I”!

19 | Mark

January 30th, 2010 at 8:54 pm


My favourite is from The Clash : “A grape skin rots in the hot sun” for “breakin’ rocks in the hot sun” for “I fought the law”.

20 | Laura

January 30th, 2010 at 10:31 pm


This is hillarious. Jacques the Monkey and Girl with colitis goes by has me crying with laughter. I rarely sing out loud in front of friends because I always get the lyrics wrong. Good to know the word mondegreen. :)

21 | JulieBro

January 30th, 2010 at 11:07 pm


I was about 7 when Pink Floyd released “The Wall”…. I thought the line was “No Dukes of Hazzard in the classroom”, and was so excited that my favourite show was mentioned in my new favourite song!

Hey, I was 7, I hadn’t yet learned about dark sarcasm!

22 | Vicky's Webgeek

January 30th, 2010 at 11:39 pm


I have two:

My uncle (a Montreal boy) originally thought that Eddie Grant’s seminal hit was sung “We gunna rock down to Electric Tabernouche”

and my ex’s sister was convinced that The Prodigy’s Misogynistic techno-dance hit was actually “Snap my pict-cha!”. She even had a little camera miming dance move to go along with her lyrics while grooving to the song at the bars. She was crushed when we set her straight.

23 | andrea

January 31st, 2010 at 9:41 am


I have another one.

The Rolling Stones lament: “I can’t get no curly action”

24 | sherry

January 31st, 2010 at 10:45 am


I can’t think of anything in particular, maybe I’ve blocked the embarrassment from memory.

Oh wait! The Scorpions – there’s a line where it goes “my guitar” but I thought it was “mighty Jah” and figured they were really religious or something. :D

My favorites are other people’s misheard lyrics and sometimes I have a hard time singing the song properly ever again, preferring the misheard version. Which is why I purposely sing:

“There’s a bathroom on the right”
“Excuse me while I kiss this guy”
“Hold me closer, Tony Danza”

(The Jimi Hendrix one is so popular there’s a site called kissthisguy.com full of people and their misheard song lyrics!)

25 | sherry

January 31st, 2010 at 10:47 am


Oh! Reading through the comments and seeing Julie’s (#16) reminds me of one my oldest daughter misheard! When we first started watching “Shark Tale” and heard the brief clip of “I like big butts and I can not lie” she thought they were singing “I like butts in a cannon now” and sang it like that for weeks before we finally told her the real line.

26 | Jen_nifer

January 31st, 2010 at 1:52 pm


OMG Siobhan – It’s NOT “She’s so popular”?!?

27 | Kelly

January 31st, 2010 at 4:01 pm


My then 3yr old would often request the “Travel up” song when we got in the car. She would sing her little heart out to Sheryl Crow’s “First Cut is the Deepest”. When she got to the chorus, instead of singing …”I will try to love again” her version was “I will travel up again”
First time I realized what she was singing I nearly went off the road.

28 | Alan

January 31st, 2010 at 6:42 pm


LOL this is funny! Only lately I realized that Lady Gaga was singing “Paparazzi” NOT “Papa Rassi” Thought she was singing about her Dad. :P

29 | Redheadedmama

February 1st, 2010 at 4:01 pm


My three year old insists in Jingle Bells that it is a “one-horse oaf-in sleigh!” Not even sure what that means – I keep picturing Shrek in a sleigh.

30 | Nadine C.

February 1st, 2010 at 11:37 pm


Until recently , whenever R.E.M.’s “The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight” was on I would sing :”Calling Jamaica”, thankfully someone was nice enough (or irritated enough?) to correct me!

31 | Hilary

February 2nd, 2010 at 5:53 am


I just snorted coffee through my nose. I can’t decide which of these is funniest. This post was the best morning pick-me-up ever!

Pete M, La Isla Bonita is a classic for misheard lyrics! I still think “Young girl with eyes like the desert” is “young girl with eyes like potatoes”. BTW, she’s actually dreaming about San Pedro, not bagels :)

32 | amberJ

February 5th, 2010 at 12:00 am


I know the whole song from lo-fidelity all stars “battlefield” i had the whole song as different lyrics until i actually sat down with a pair of earphones.. i was soooo wrong…about alot of the lyrics.

my song mixup when i was younger was “dirty deeds” by acdc

I always thought they said ” dirty knees…thunder chief”
when its actually …dirty deeds… and they’re done dirt cheap’

makes me laugh sooo hard when i think of it.

or tiny dancer – hold me close….tony danza….
i cant hear that song without thinking of mr danza. lol

33 | marci

January 30th, 2011 at 5:20 pm


OMG so funny, all these comments…LONDON FRIDGES??? I will never sing it any other way!!! Here are mine, enjoy:


34 | Cat

January 30th, 2011 at 5:27 pm


When the movie “Titanic” came out, we always thought Celine Dion was singing about a barbecue.. “I believe that the HOT DOGS go on…” instead of “I believe that the HEART DOES go on”

35 | Glen Gower

January 30th, 2015 at 6:11 pm


Adele, Rolling in the Deep:
“There’s a fire / burning in my yard.”

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