Saturday , October 31 2020

Mondegreen HQ

I am not overly amused by the “misheard lyrics” phenomenon, seeing getting the lyrics wrong as an error to be corrected not celebrated. I don’t believe anyone would confuse “scuse me while I kiss the sky” with “scuse me while I kiss this guy,” unless they were gay or something. The context of the song makes the line pretty clear – the alternative take in no way fits.

Having said all that, this guy is pretty funny and written about 20 columns on misheard lyrics, which he calls “Mondegreens” for reasons explained below:

    For those of you who have not yet received the pamphlet (mailed free to anyone who buys me an automobile), the word Mondegreen, meaning a mishearing of a popular phrase or song lyric, was coined by the writer Sylvia Wright.

    As a child she had heard the Scottish ballad “The Bonny Earl of Murray” and had believed that one stanza went like this:

    Ye Highlands and Ye Lowlands
    Oh where hae you been?
    They hae slay the Earl of Murray,
    And Lady Mondegreen.

    Poor Lady Mondegreen, thought Sylvia Wright. A tragic heroine dying with her liege; how poetic. When it turned out, some years later, that what they had actually done was slay the Earl of Murray and lay him on the green, Wright was so distraught by the sudden disappearance of her heroine that she memorialized her with a neologism.

    ….The pledge of allegiance is such a hotbed of Mondegreens that one could create a composite of submitted entries: “I pledge a lesion to the flag, of the United State of America, and to the republic for Richard Stans, one naked individual, with liver tea and just this for all.”

    ….the overwhelming majority of Mondegreens come from song lyrics. Remember on the East Side and the West Side when me and Mamie O’Rourke “risked our lives in traffic”? Remember when Simon and Garfunkel sang hauntingly about how “partially saved was Mary and Tom”?

    ….Two great Paul McCartney Mondegreens: The lines of French in “Michelle” were heard by Kathy Stawhorn’s daughter as “Michelle, ma bell, Sunday monkey won’t play piano song, play piano song.” Several people have heard the line in “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” that goes “the girl with kaleidoscope eyes” as “the girl with colitis goes by.”

    There are many more; many more — I have envelopes stuffed with them. But our eyes grow weary and our stomachs grow hungry; we must now, in the words of the old Christmas carol, “sleep in heavenly peas.” [SF]

About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014. Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: [email protected],, Pinterest America's Most Haunted. Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.

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