The Mondegreen Hall of Fame

Clarity isn’t a job requirement for singers the way it was in Bing Crosby’s day. This is for the best–nobody wants to see rock stars sent back to school for remedial elocution classes. You may have trouble understanding a vocalist because he or she is omitting minor details like vowels and consonants. Some singers are more proficient at this slurring than others, which is why I am pleased to honor the twelve members of the Mondegreen Hall of Fame, achieving new artistry in the field of misheard lyrics: Kurt Cobain, Bob Dylan, Jack Ely, John Fogerty, Chrissie Hynde, Mick Jagger, Elton John, Steve Miller, Stevie Nicks, Gavin Rossdale, Michael Stipe, and Eddie Vedder. Take a bow, fellas. Talk amongst yourselves–let us know if you need a translator.

Kurt Cobain

Nirvana, “All Apologies”
Wrong lyric: Found my nasty salt
Right lyric: Found my nest of salt

Nirvana, “Smells Like Teen Spirit”
Wrong lyric: I’m blotto and bravado/I’m a scarecrow and a Beatle
Right lyric: A mulatto, an albino/A mosquito, my libido

Bob Dylan

“Blowin’ in the Wind”
Wrong lyric: The ants are my friend, they’re blowin’ in the wind
Right lyric: The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind

“Lay Lady Lay”
Wrong lyric: Lady Elaine, lay across my big brass bed
Right lyric: Lay lady lay, lay across my big brass bed

Jack Ely

The Kingsmen, “Louie Louie”
Wrong lyric: I shoot a wad into her hair
Right lyric: I smell the rose in her hair

The Kingsmen, “Louie Louie”
Wrong lyric: Tell her I’ll never lay her again
Right lyric: I tell her I never leave again

John Fogerty

Creedence Clearwater Revival, “Bad Moon Rising”
Wrong lyric: There’s a bathroom on the right
Right lyric: There’s a bad moon on the rise

Creedence Clearwater Revival, “Fortunate Son”
Wrong lyric: I got no fortune in Guam
Right lyric: I ain’t no fortunate son

Chrissie Hynde

The Pretenders, “Brass in Pocket”
Wrong lyric: Gonna use my sausage
Right lyric: Gonna use my sidestep

The Pretenders, “Middle of the Road”
Wrong lyric: I’m not the cat I used to be/I’ve got a can of thirty-three babies
Right lyric: I’ve got a kid, I’m thirty-three, baby

Mick Jagger

The Rolling Stones, “Beast of Burden”
Wrong lyric: I’ll never leave your pizza burning
Right lyric: I’ll never be your beast of burden

The Rolling Stones, “Paint It, Black”
Wrong lyric: I see a Renoir and I want to paint it black
Right lyric: I see a red door and I want to paint it black

Elton John

“Bennie and the Jets”
Wrong: She’s got electric boobs, her mom has two
Right: She’s got electric boots and mohair shoes

“Rocket Man”
Wrong lyric: Rocket man, burning up the trees on every lawn
Right lyric: Rocket man, burning out his fuse up here alone

“Tiny Dancer”
Wrong lyric: Hold me closer, Tony Danza
Right lyric: Hold me closer, tiny dancer

Steve Miller

Steve Miller Band, “Jet Airliner”
Wrong lyric: We don’t chat at a lighthouse
Right lyric: Big ol’ jet airliner

Steve Miller Band, “Jungle Love”
Wrong lyric: Chug-a-lug, strawberry man
Right lyric: Jungle love is drivin’ me mad

Stevie Nicks

“Edge of Seventeen”
Wrong lyric: Just like the one-winged dog
Right lyric: Just like the white-winged dove

“Stand Back”
Wrong lyric: Stamp Act
Right lyric: Stand back

Gavin Rossdale

Bush, “Glycerine”
Wrong lyric: Batman watergun
Right lyric: Bad moon wine again

Bush, “Everything Zen”
Wrong lyric: There’s no sex in Ohio/There’s no sex in Rhode Island
Right lyric: There’s no sex in your violence/There’s no sex in your violence

Michael Stipe

R.E.M., “Man on the Moon”
Wrong lyric: Edith was troubled by a horrible ass
Right lyric: Egypt was troubled by the horrible asp

R.E.M., “What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?”
Wrong lyric: You wore a skirt made of cream cheese
Right lyric: You wore a shirt of violent green

Eddie Vedder

Pearl Jam, “Glorified G”
Wrong lyric: Forty-five versions of a pelican
Right lyric: Glorified version of a pellet gun

Pearl Jam, “Jeremy”
Wrong lyric: Laymen yell, “Oh son!”
Right lyric: Lemon-yellow sun

Compiled by Gavin Edwards from his various collections of mondegreens.