A friend recently posted a comedy skit by a Brit named Peter Kay in which he plays several linguistically ambivalent song clips and adds his own interpretation of the lyrics. It’s spot on and quite funny. (Actually he seems pretty funny in general but his comedy is very dependent on English popular culture which sometimes makes it hard for a Yank to follow.)
My wife has also played this little game of pointing out mispronounced words or bad rhymes in songs to the point that I had to ask her to stop. She only really broke one song for me, Vince Gill’s 1992 chart topper Don’t Let Our Love Go Slipping Away. I say she broke it because due to her repeated and perfectly timed rendition during a long car trip one year I can not sing the lyrics to the song the proper way now. Now, no matter where I am, I sing it (quietly in my head where I do all of my best singing) as, “Don’t let our love go lipping, love go lipping away.”
Mishearing lyrics (like the title of the post from Jimi Hendrix’s song Purple Haze) is a whole other thing but if you type “frequently misheard” into Google the miraculous worldwideweb will supply the word lyrics and give you several sites to visit for the top 10, 24, or even top 40 often bungled song lyrics. One song I had trouble understanding as a kid was the iconic Drift Away by Dobie Gray that features the line, “Give me the beat, boys” which I heard as, “Give me the Beach Boys.” Yeah, yeah … I know I’d say I’m embarrassed for my 4-year-old self but hey, I already knew about The Beach Boys.