Musings: What Is Your Mondegreen?
“Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy.” Ludwig van Beethoven
A mondegreen is the mishearing or misinterpretation of a phrase as a result of near-homophony, in a way that gives it a new meaning. It most commonly is applied to a line in a poem or a lyric in a song Wikipedia
What is your mondegreen? Have you ever misinterpreted the lyrics of a favorite song? Do you remember anyone else who has? Recently, I was listening to an NPR (National Public Radio) show on music and the topic was about Mondegreens. If you’ve never heard the term before, it is used to describe what happens when we listen to a song and hear some of the lyrics differently from what the artist is singing/saying. For instance, instead of “Pretty little things” we might hear “Ditsy little finks.” It happens to a lot of us and often with songs we enjoy singing out loud. As I listened to the show, which was quite funny, it took me back to songs I enjoyed in my teen days and how I butchered some of the lyrics because what I heard was different from what the artist was singing.
“Music can change the world because it can change people.” Bono
“Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac The line “Well, who am I to keep you down?” becomes “Well, whoever will kick you down?” “Thunder only happens when it’s raining” becomes “Thunder only helps us when we’re praying.” “Have you any dreams you’d like to sell” becomes “Holds you and it dreams you like yourself.”
“Diamond in the Back” by Curtis Mayfield. The line “Gangster whitewalls TV antenna in the back” becomes “Against the white world, To be answered, sit in the back.”
Do you have any examples of a Mondegreen to share? Above are some examples of popular songs we’ve butchered (some are mine and some from Wiki). I remember when Fleetwood Mac’s huge hit came out. I fell in love with the album and would listen to the song “Dreams” on the radio or on TV and sing along loudly. In classic mondegreen fashion,”Well, who am I to keep you down?” became “Well, whoever will kick you down?” and it stuck in my head like an earworm. On the NPR show, they invited a Mondegreen expert and he pointed out that when we mishear the words of a song, we hold on to the incorrect lyrics because we truly believe we have the correct information and everyone else is goofing off. And, like an earworm, which is a song that won’t leave your brain, a mondegreen lingers too. Checkout the poll below and add your vote. Thank you! More below
“Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” Berthold Auerbach
Mondegreen – Have You Ever Misinterpreted the Lyrics of a Song?
“Purple Haze”, by The Jimi Hendrix Experience The line ” ‘Scuse me while I kiss the sky” becomes ‘Scuse me while I kiss this guy
To jug our memories and get us thinking about other similar mondegreen we might have grown up hearing, I’ve added a few more examples of a Mondegreen and a poll for your entertainment. Please pick the answer that best explains your personal experience of a Mondegreen. Hope you enjoyed the music too. Thank you!
*Please bear with me as I continue to catch up on reading and commenting on your blogs. I’ll catch up soon too. Thank you all for your patience!
Happy April! This post was inspired by a prompt from the Daily Prompt: The Transporter Tell us about a sensation — a taste, a smell, a piece of music — that transports you back to childhood, And from Problogger.net’s Darren Rowse: Group Writing Project: Write a ‘Discussion’ Post
Comments must be received by midnight on Friday 12th April
start a debate
run a poll
give readers a chance to write a tip
take a reader question and post it for the community to answer
Positive Motivation Tip: A mondegreen can make us sound like idiots but its’ all in good jest. Smile.
Mirthful Tip: “There’s a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot.” Stephen Wright
- Children’s Mondegreens (childledchaos.me.uk)
- Spin Cycle: The Death of Lady Mondegreen (secondblooming.typepad.com)
- Mondegreen stuff (arnoldzwicky.wordpress.com)
- Three cool Google changes for real people (not just SEOs) (raventools.com)
- 5 Bizarre Things That Make Me Ridiculously Happy (ironicmom.com)