Recently in the Mondegreens/Mishearings Category

lost on a tightrope

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In Taylor Swift's song “Innocent,” I heard a line as “Lost your parents on a tightrope,” and I thought, Huh, I guess this is sort of a Robin trope, orphaned kid of circus performers, that's kind of interesting.

And then I checked the lyrics and found the line is actually “Lost your balance on a tightrope.”

Which makes more sense in context, but it's less Batman-ish.

Happy Days

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For my entire life, I've been hearing the Happy Days theme song and wondering why it contains the weird line “These days are all / Filled in with glee.” Though “filled” didn't quite sound right. But “Sheldon with glee” seemed even more unlikely.

Just now, on a whim, I finally looked up the lyrics. And it turns out the line is actually “Share them with me.”

At least I got one word and a few other phonemes right. . . .


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Was listening to NPR this evening on my way home from work, and I could have sworn the announcer said that the program was sponsored by iMate: giving you your own personal online mating room.

Turns out it was actually iMeet (or a name similar to that), providing online meeting rooms. Maybe it was the announcer's accent that confused me, or maybe my mind was just in the gutter, I dunno.

4G phones

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I heard a TV commercial the other day that I thought referred to “the first orgy phone.”

Turns out I misheard; it was really a 4G phone.

Oh, well.


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Last November, I heard the song “Margaritaville” on the radio. I was amused at the line “strummin' my sex train,” until I discovered it was actually “strummin' my six-string.”

Lovecraftian Mondegreen

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Just heard a clip of Tom Paxton's rendition of "I Remember Loving You" (which is more or less by Utah Phillips), and was a bit startled at the lyrics:

And the whispering of the Deep Ones

As they watch every move that I go through

Turns out it's actually "the people" who are whispering, but I went back and listened to the clip again and it still sounds like "Deep Ones" to me.

Wonder if Paxton had been reading Lovecraft.

Acronyms in a song

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A few weeks back, I heard a country song on the radio in which the singer sang:

I smell T.R.O, you B.L.E.

I puzzled for a while over what T.R.O. and B.L.E. were before I got it.

It may be more obvious in print, but if you don't see it, say it aloud a couple of times. And/or Google [Travis Tritt T.R.O.], which will also reveal the name of the song.

Marmoset there'd be days like this


I don't seem to have ever linked to the brilliant O Fortuna misheard lyrics video, which plays "O Fortuna" while showing what the lyrics might be. Plus visual interpretations of those lyrics. Not knowing the actual Latin lyrics, it's very easy to be pretty sure that the lyrics they're showing are in fact what's being sung. Remarkable how suggestible I can be if shown printed words.

Anyway, what brought that to mind was that Alastair linked to a video of The Marmoset Song, a.k.a. "Marmoset there'd be days like this." It's only one phrase that they're mishearing/changing, but it makes for a great running joke, especially combined with the marmoset photos. Well done and very entertaining.

It appears that there's a whole genre of misheard-songs videos. For example, here's "Take on Me"—but the audio track has been removed as a copyright violation, so you'll have to play your own copy of the music while watching the video. It's a little hard to get them to sync up; I recommend waiting 'til the first frame of the video that shows words, then clicking pause on the video and waiting for the music to catch up. Some of the "mishearings" in this one are pretty far-fetched (that is, I can't imagine actually mishearing some of the words in that particular way), but some others are very funny.

Sadly, some of the other videos in this genre seem to be about making up lyrics that sound vaguely like the originals. For this joke to work best, the lyrics shown on the screen should plausibly sound like the ones being sung. Imo, anyway.

News Mondegreen

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Was half-listening to NPR news this morning, and thought I heard a reporter say that something was intended to "shore up the Gaza sea-spire."

I thought to myself, "Neat--I don't know why Gaza would have a sea-spire, but it sounds cool, whatever it is."

And then I realized that of course what they were discussing was actually the Gaza cease-fire.

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This page is an archive of recent entries in the Mondegreens/Mishearings category.

Misreading is the previous category.

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