[This is a modified post originally published in 2009. I’ve updated some of the songs to make it more current. Enjoy!]
We’ve all known someone who has totally butchered the lyrics to a song. Not us, of course, but maybe a family member or a close, personal friend. Someone who was belting out a tune in total rock star mode when it happened –“WAIT! What did you say?… NO! That’s not how the song goes! Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha!!”
For me, the most delightful episode of misheard lyrics happened when my daughter was three. I was working in my office. She was playing quietly in her room when she started singing. Her sweet little voice carried down the hall, and the song went like this:
“You’re a grandma flag,
You’re a hot flying flag,
And forever in peace may she wave.
You’re the emblem of the land I love,
the home of the tree by the lake…”
I nearly wet my pants. I had to clasp my hand over my mouth to keep from ha-ha-ha’ing out loud. Once I contained myself, I walked into her room.
“Whatcha singing?” I asked.
“A song I learned in school,” she said.
“Really? Sing it for me again.”
And she did. With gusto.
Exactly as I’d heard it. Hot flying flags and all.
To this day it’s my favorite misheard lyrics story. Even better than the time my high school friend singing, “HAM ON RYE” when Kenny Logins sang, “I’M ALRIGHT.” Or when a girl at a party belted out, “YOU GOTTA DANCE TO THE LEFT, DANCE TO THE RIGHT…” as Jimmy Buffet sang, “YOU’VE GOT FINS TO THE LEFT, FINS TO THE RIGHT.” (She even had her own little dance to go with her imagined lyrics)
It even aced the time someone I know sang, “STOP! In the NEIGHBORHOOD before you break my heart.” When everyone knows Diana Ross says, “STOP! In the NAME OF LOVE….” To me, it’s even better than the king of bungled lyrics – that line from Jimmy Hendricks’ “Purple Haze,” “Excuse me while I kiss THIS GUY” when it should be “Excuse me while I kiss THE SKY.”
Okay, if I’m telling on everyone else, I suppose it’s only fair to fess up. Here are some recent songs I’ve misheard lately:
Thinking out loud by Ed Sheeran–
Correct: When my hair’s all but gone and my memory fades –
Misheard: When my head’s overdrawn and my memory fades
Blank Space by Taylor Swift–
Correct: Got a long list of ex-lovers
Misheard: Got a lot of Starbucks lovers
September – Earth Wind and Fire –
Correct: Do you remember the 21st night of September?
Misheard: Do you remember when it was hot in September?
How about you? Have you ever misheard lyrics or know of someone who has? Share it with us so we can all laugh together.
You guys all have the best lists for August. Thank you for sharing them with me. My five winners are:
Gina Fann, Rita McCommon, Annette N, Morgan, Jennifer Schultheis!
Congratulations everyone! Please send me an email with your mailing address at kathygwrites @ gmail.com (no spaces).
Have a great week!
I’m married to a journalist…and that pretty much guarantees we are a news junkie family. But lately, between difficult politics and tragic news from Baton Rouge, from Italy, from California…from almost everywhere, I find that I can’t just sit and watch hour after hour of TV news without going a little crazy.
So I’ve found a nice, quiet escape. And no, it’s not reading. That’s usually my go-to happy place, but it shuts out everyone else in the room, and sometimes solitude isn’t great for domestic harmony. 🙂
So my current favorite escape route is doing jigsaw puzzles. It started when I was sick, and more or less brain dead. But I’m still having fun, and in fact I’ve even ordered a couple of really special new ones from Amazon.
Here’s my rationalization: One, doing a puzzle is not a rejection of family time. I’m able to set my pieces up on the kitchen island, so that I can still hear the television and be company for His Highness. And Two, standing there picking out all the frame pieces, or all the blue pieces, takes me back to when I was a child. Back to when floods, wildfires and earthquakes were words from another planet–the grown-up planet, which didn’t sound very nice. I need that right now.
Puzzles were kind of a family tradition, actually. My mother loved all kinds. Crossword, Scrabble, jigsaw, logic, word games, didn’t matter. If it was a game, she wanted to play it. If it was a puzzle, she wanted to solve it. Car trips were non-stop 20 Questions or Hangman or some silly contest we made up on the spot.
At home, she usually had a jigsaw puzzle “going,” as she called it, in the living room or the kitchen. As we talked or ate or just passed the time, anyone, even guests, could lazily lean over and try fitting a piece here and there. If you found a match, great. If not, no one noticed. But everyone tried. Very hard puzzles could remain for days. Putting one away unsolved was unthinkable.
I may get bored soon, but for now puzzles are quiet, peaceful, and most of all relaxing. Well, except for when Purrsia decides I should pet the kitty instead and jumps up on the island, scrambling and dropping all the pieces I just painstakingly fit together. But hey, petting the kitty is relaxing, too, once I stop yelling, so I win either way.
How about you? When you’re a little fritzed by the world, what’s your favorite quiet, peaceful escape–OTHER than reading? (That answer is just too easy.) One randomly chosen commenter will win a $10 Amazon gift certificate. Who knows…you might decide to order a jigsaw puzzle, too! 😉
Naming characters is becoming harder and harder the longer I write. I’m working on my 18th manuscript these days, and man! It’s tough! I STILL don’t have the names of the two main characters down. Especially the heroine. My thought process goes like this. How about Violet? No, Rose. Whoops, used both of those. But Violet would be okay, right? That was many books ago. Nah, forget the flower names. Just did that. How about Kat? Nope, just used Kate. Amity! Amity’s a great name! Oh, crap, just used Ainsley. Too close? Yes. How about Anne? Nothing wrong with Anne. Except Annie. Someone would call her Annie, and then all those songs…the sun will come out…gah!
Another toughie is giving an odd or mean character a name. First of all, I come from a huge family, so someone is going to be offended. Did you have to name the hateful mother Linda? Do you really want your aunt to see that? There’s a scene from IN YOUR DREAMS where Emmaline is on a terrible date with a guy who brings his oddball, weepy, overly affectionate sister named Susan. Coincidentally, my editor is also named Susan. I changed it. She thanked me. It was hardly awkward at all.
The hero’s name is always hard, too. It has to be a name I love. I’ll ask on Facebook, and inevitably, someone will suggest my son’s name, my nephews’ names, my father-in-law’s name. No, no, and no.
When I was preggers with the Princess (though I didn’t know she was a princess or a prince), I knew what her name would be, if she was a girl. For McIrish’s sake, I pretended to be open to other options. I wasn’t. Sure enough, when the doctor asked what her name was, I just announced it. There was no question. Turned out it was McIrish’s favorite, too.
But when I was expecting Dearest Son (and again, we opted not to find out the gender beforehand), I had no idea whatsoever what the name would be if he were a she. None. The other options for Princess were no longer appealing. If he were a boy, I was going to name him Rory. Except I let McIrish pick, and we ended up with something else, something even more Irish, if you can believe it.
Back to my story. I have two female protagonists. They’re mid-thirties, besties since high school. One is a uptight but very sweet, a worrier. The other is more relaxed, but internalizes her problems and is a master of avoidance.
Got any suggestions? If I go with both your names, I’ll give you a shout-out in the acknowledgements, how’s that?