Guilty As Charged: Music’s Most Misquoted Songs
Photo: Scott Legato (Getty Images)
Music is full of continually misquoted songs. We’ve all had that “aha” moment when a song’s lyrics are nothing like we thought. This can be a new song or something you’ve been misquoting for years. We still refuse to believe Manfred Mann is singing about “a deuce in the night” and will not hear otherwise.
Ears can play strange tricks, with hilarious results. Although to be fair, many of these lyrics are mumbled or screamed. In rare cases, the misheard lyric is actually better. Here are some of the most misquoted songs of all time.
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'Tiny Dancer' by Elton John
Lyric: Hold me closer, tiny dancer.
People heard: Hold me closer, Tony Danza.
Why Elton John would be asking the guy from
Full HouseWho's the Boss? to give him a big hug is beyond us, but many people swear that's exactly what he did in this song.
Photo: Scott Legato (Getty Images)
'Living on a Prayer' by Bon Jovi
Lyric: It doesn't make a difference if we make it or not.
People heard: It doesn't make a difference if we're naked or not.
In this ode to winging it, many thought the song was saying nudity is totally fine everywhere. But when you think about it, it really does matter if you're naked or not. Especially in church. But extra especially at a school. Really, it matters if we're naked or not anywhere.
Photo: Robert Cianflone (Getty Images)
'Good for You' by Selena Gomez
Lyric: I'm a 14 carat.
People heard: I'm farting carrots.
We don't really even know where to start here. Why would anyone ever admit to farting carrots, especially in a romantic song about looking your best? Honestly, we don't know what it means to be farting carrots and that's okay.
Photo: Dana Edelson (Getty Images)
'Bad Moon Rising' by Creedence Clearwater Revival
Lyric: There's a bad moon on the rise.
People heard: There's a bathroom on the right.
While more bands pointing out the nearest bathroom may be a nice quality of life upgrade to songs, CCR wasn't providing kindly instructions to listeners when they penned this song about a bad moon rising. Although, depending on where you are when you hear it, the directions could be more frightening than the actual lyrics.
Photo: Koh Hasebe (Getty Images)
'Chasing Pavement' by Adele
Lyric: Or should I just keep chasing pavement?
People heard: Or should I just keep chasing penguins?
Is Adele secretly a polar bear? Does she have a delicious but illegal bird stew recipe that requires multiple penguins? We may never know, as she wasn't actually singing about "chasing penguins," but now we kind of want her to.
Photo: Kevin Winter (Getty Images)
'Like a Virgin' by Madonna
Lyric: Like a virgin, touched for the very first time.
People heard: Like a virgin, touched for the 31st time.
An incredibly unfortunate pronunciation redefines the definition of a virgin. Alas, Madonna wasn't singing about a virgin's 31st time being touched, but many people still swear she was. If she had been, it would have made the song a heck of a statement.
Photo: Marco Piraccini (Getty Images)
'Smells Like Teen Spirit' by Nirvana
Lyric: Here we are, now entertain us.
People heard: Here we are now, in containers.
When Nirvana sang about immediate gratification, people instead took it to mean shipping labels? How many people in the '90s died inside when they were corrected by a friend after singing along? We'd guess a lot.
Photo: Kevin Mazur (Getty Images)
'Purple Haze' by Jimi Hendrix
Lyric: Excuse me, while I kiss the sky.
People heard: Excuse me, while I kiss this guy.
Whether or not Jimi had to take a break from a killer guitar solo to kiss someone isn't that big of a deal. Kissing the sky is a lot more impressive and pretty tough to do.
Photo: Walter Iooss Jr. (Getty Images)