Saturday, April 18, 2009

Weekend Wonkiness: Song Lyrics Which Have Always Stumped Me

One of the best things about the Internet is the ability to have the mysteries of life solved in like 15 seconds flat.

Case in point: Bruce Springsteen's "Blinded by the Light," as recorded by Manfred Mann's Earth Band with the infamous lyric, "revved up like a deuce, another runner in the night," which I, along with many others assumed was "wrapped up like a douche, another roller in the night." I thought that line was code for something mysteriously dirty when I was a teenager, and here it was a reference to a deuce coup, a la Beach Boys' subject matter.

And we've all wondered about Steve Miller's "Pompetus" or "Prophetess" of love.

One of my favorites that I've sung incorrectly for years went like this:

Jojo was a man who thought he was a woman
But he knew it wouldn't pass.
Jojo left his home in Tucson, Arizona
La la la lalala la.

While the actual lyrics, of course are:

Jojo was a man who thought he was a loner
But he knew it wouldn't last.
Jojo left his home in Tucson, Arizona
For some California grass.

I don't know about you, but I'm partial to "La la la lalala la" rather than "For some California grass." McCartney is so cliche here.

I have never been a big Beatles fan, but I do like to yell "Get back, Loretta!" from time to time from this song, which for me is just a variation on Stacy London's, "Shut up!"

Are there any lyrics that you can't figure out or recently solved?

The other day, I had a disturbing revelation, all on my own without any help from the Internet, about Paul Simon's "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard." I remember singing that song at the top of my lungs when I was kid, not having a clue about "what the mama saw, it was against the law."

But the other day, the proverbial light bulb flickered in my brain, and I had a whole mental image. Yikes. So then I went to Google to see if I was right.

Oh, I think I was. But there are also 3,000 other theories out there.

People have a lot of time on their hands, even when it's not the weekend.

So how about you? Any lyrical confusion?


Denise said...

This is so funny...... ahhaah I have sang the wrong words to so many songs all my life there is no telling what would happen to my psyche if I started learning the right words at my age...

AND I am a huge Beatles fan..... Lived in England in the 60's Everyone looked alike with the Beatles hair cuts! EVEN my 2 year old son! hahahhahah

Have a blessed weekend

Debbie said...

There was a short time that the song "Drift Away" caused some confusion in my family. The particular line was, "Give me the beat boys to free my soul." My brother thought it was "Give me the Beach Boys to free my soul." My mom thought it was, "Give me the beef, boys to free my soul."

Melanie @ This Ain't New York said...

I like the Beatles- the old, old ones where they all matched and had the same haircut.

Blinded by the Light has stumped us all.

My issue has always been with meaning and not lyrics, but good ole' public school helped me out with that. :>) I had many chats with friends in the back of the class. The first Prince album- Case in Point.

Angela said...

I do, but I do not know the name or the artist...but I think it is Dan Fogleberg or at least it does sound is about him talking to an old girl friend and he sings the words:

"I'm not talking about moving in and I don't want to change our life"

I always thought he was singing:

"I'm not talking about the linens and I don't want head lice."

Changing linens would seem like good protection against head lice, no?

My ADHD Me said...

Blinded by the light-for years I too sang it wrong. Even when someone told me the words, I didn't believe them. I was sure that wrapped up like a deuce also made no sense. About 10 years later I finally "got" it. Still, he could have come up with something better like..

"Blinded by the light.
I got a glass of juice
in the middle of the night!"

Then again...maybe not...

Carmen Gamble said...

LOL! Good post. I couldn't figure out many of the words, but loved the music.

a Tonggu Momma said...

Wait a minute! Jojo DIDN'T think he was a woman?!?!! Do you mean I've been singing it wrong all these years?

Heather of the EO said...

Firstly, guess what? I have no problem uploading your page if I come directly from my's when I come from google reader that I have to take a nap while I wait. Mystery solved.

"Give me the beat boys and free my sould" I once thought was "Give me the beach boys"

And "Voices Carry" from the 80's...totally thought she was singing "This is scary"

I LOVE mixed up lyrics! Love it. Such a fun post.

Becky said...

My Love is ALWAYS singing lyrics wrong... on purpose, because it drives me crazy.

We recently faught it out over the douche ... I won.

ann said...

My brother and I thought "Everytime you go away, You take a piece of me with you" was "Everytime you go away, you take a piece of cheese with you."

fransmomma said...

theres a song from, i dont know, the 70s maybe? theres a line that says "theres a bad moon on the rise" my dad used to think it said "theres a bathroom on the right" he actually still sings it that way, even though he knows the real lyrics.

Mocha with Linda said...

Oh this is funny. There were many many songs that I had mixed up lyrics, even though now my feeble brain can't recall any.


2nd Cup of Coffee said...

You guys are cracking me up.

Pam Warden Art said...

I'm a musician, former folk, bluegrass and rock singer and guitarist...every now and then one of the guys in my bluegrass band would just crank his neck and stare at me when I'd belt out a lyric I thought I knew. When the day comes that I can remember one of them I'll get back to you.
But, I clearly remember as a little girl belting out, "And a par tri chinapear tree." I guess I thought it was French. 5 GOLDEN RINGS....
I love you dearly for making me laugh.
As ever,

Debra said...

Thank you for clearing that up for me. I always thought he was saying, "Wrapped up like a douche, you know the runner in the night," and I knew that couldn't be right because it didn't make any sense. I mean, can you picture it? A man wrapped up like a douche running in the night? ROTFL That has stumped me for years!

I know there are a lot of songs that I have been singing wrong all these years, but none of them are coming to me right now. Thanks for the laugh today! :)

elizabeth said...

I remember one dinner at Wendy's with hub and daughter. The song they had playing - don't know the name - but we swore the gal singing said "I won't go down with the ship. I will poke my eyes out and surrender". To this day I laugh when I hear the song.

Mel said...

I always like the lyrics I make up when I get the words wrong LOL

But I never considered googling songs that i don't understand or have the wrong lyrics for.

Anonymous said...

THe song by Tears for Fears...Everybody wants to rule the world. I had a friend moving away so when we were together I always sang...Everybody wants to move away.

Debra said...

Just want to say thank you for visiting my blog and leaving your comments. As you can see, I'm still doing it both ways, regarding "Comment Etiquette!" I actually responded to you on my blog and now I'm leaving a comment on yours. lol

Pam from alertandorientedx4 said...

Purple Haze....Hendrix:
I ALWAYS thought "'scuse me, while I kiss the sky," was "'scuse me, while I kiss this guy..."
I even argued about it in college one time...I was adamant about it...oh, well.

Gayle @ thewestiecrew said...

"revved up like a deuce" Really?

Thank you. The douche thing has ALWAYS thrown me. :)

I've had some funny lyrical blunders over the years, but as I sit here, I can't recall one of them! I'll be thinking about it though (so if in 2 weeks you all of a sudden get another comment on this post...).

Jenny wren's nest said...

when I was young my grandma asked me the lyrics to the douche song I was so embaressed but had no Idea what I said. yikes!. Linda an error has occured in the script on this page keeps popping up from your websight, thanks Jenny

Laurie Ann said...

I can't remember my lyrical confusion because I'm just too old (read: embarrassed), however: Kristyn used to crack me right up...

Some of her mix-ups:

Bake me a pie of love
Bring me a higher love

Find a two-step partner and a cajun beef
Find a two-step partner and a cajun beat

That boy's just a walkaway jerk
That boy's just a walkaway Joe

Oh, and Vince Gill's...

"I get weak in the knees when I smell your breath, oh the words won't come when I try to speak I'm succumbed to death..."

Yeah - we listened mostly to country back then. I do not know why.

Debbie @Like a Rose said...

I always thought it was "dress up like a douche" - which I found rather disturbing. I mean think about seeing an ad for a douche Halloween costume!

My sister was really bad about getting the lyrics wrong and we argued about them often.

The curiosity is killing me so now I'll be Googling "Me and Julio".

PJ said...

Well, there was "Puff the Magic Dragon" that I sang bits and pieces (That was an accidental pun) of for years. And I had this vision of a lovely, idealistic place on the beach. I've been told that it all had something to do with drugs. Man. What disillusionment!! I'm devastated.

Roxanne said...

I was recently SHOCKED, AND I DO MEAN SHOCKED to realize that in "Land Down Under" the EXACT lyrics are, "Lying in a den in Bombay with a slack jaw and not much to say. . ."--which I MYSELF used to sing at the top of my lungs is referring, in fact, to men lying comatose in an opium den.

That is why I can say WITHOUT A DOUBT that I am smarter than the kids I teach who still think the lyrics to that Gwen Stefani song are, "I LOVE bananas, b-a-n-a-n-a-s." I now, 35 years hence, KNOW what "a den in Bombay" is and why they would be slack jawed while there.

Who am I to judge? I used to sing about opium dens.

Anonymous said...

If I had read this post about a week ago - I would have agreed but not been able to bring up any examples. But now, the other day, my 11 year old daughter was singing some totally inappropriate song fromt the radio sung by the Pussycat Dolls. My husband said this is not good - turn it off - they say they want to have 'boobies.' Then my daughter started arguing that they do not say that - and why would 'adult' women sing that. Well, she came home from school yesterday (great things she is learning in 6th grade) and said she was right, they say they want to have 'rubies!'

Scarlett said...

Like so many of these commenters, I thought it was about a douche, too- never could understand it and felt funny singing it b/c it was baaad. I've gotten so many lyrics wrong, especially in high school. But when teenage son had a brief interlude w/screamo music? in jr. high- I was always asking "what are they saying?" He never knew, just said, "It doesn't matter, mom, it's the tune and the beat I like." For me, that is the answer I'd give regarding the songs I was butchering in high school, but that screamo stuff- that is fodder for a whole new post.