What Are Your Favorite Songs With Misheard Lyrics?

Themes and variation

Themes and variation

Have you ever found yourself singing along to a hit song at the top of your lungs, thinking “that can’t be the line, can it?” It’s a pretty common experience — one that typically ends with a shrug of the shoulders as you take in a deep breath in preparation for the next verse.

If the melody’s good and the groove is solid, somewhere between our thoughts of “Sue Lawley” and “Jason Waterfalls,” we just accept that Gene Simmons may have wanted to rock and roll all night and only “part of every day,” while longing for the kind of affection Elton John apparently felt for “Tony Danza.”

In the 24th episode of Themes and Variation, Mahea and I sat down with Joseph Capalbo (composer, producer, and Soundfly Mentor) to discuss “Songs With Commonly Misheard Lyrics.” Our conversation covered so much ground — from my arguably loose interpretation of the word “commonly” to classic cars, to an FBI investigation into this very subject matter.

Take a listen!

Continue the conversation by adding to our collaborative Spotify playlist, reaching out to us on Twitter, sharing your thoughts on these episodes and songs on Slack (if you’re a Soundfly Subscriber), or by emailing us here. We’d love to hear from you!

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And since Joseph Capalbo is a Soundfly Mentor, you can work with him to improve aspects of your songwriting, production, and composing, in a customized four-week session! To work with Joseph to achieve your next musical goal, click here and fill out a Mentorship Interest Form.

Episode 24 Highlights

1. If you’re going to sing the wrong lyric, the break in “Pinball Wizard” is a rough spot to do it.

Carter: “Where that moment happens, it’s a break in the track and just a Keith Moon drum fill. So like, if you’re gonna embarrass yourself, that’s gonna be the spot, people are gonna know. ‘Cause there’s so many songs, you know the bridge to ‘Say It Ain’t So’ I think is commonly misheard. If you’re singing along to it, you kind of disguise and nobody really knows (mumbles the lyrics), you can disguise where you’re at in the song a little bit, but not this song, not ‘Pinball Wizard’ you are out there front and center. So is it a commonly misheard lyric? No, but it’s my commonly misheard lyric.”

2. Joseph on why we don’t hear “deuce” and what it actually means in Manfred Mann’s “Blinded by the Light.”

Joseph: “So I think a lot of it is in the performance, you can really hear it and when I try to listen for ‘deuce,’ what it actually is, I just can’t hear it. So I do feel like it was in the performance and it was in the original tracking of the vocal there. So I did look up what a ‘deuce’ is so for anyone that’s not sure a ‘deuce’ is actually a car, it’s an old Ford coupe. So they reference that in a couple of songs, The Beach Boys’ ‘Little Deuce Coupe.’”

3. Mahea on the conditions that led to an FBI investigation of “Louie Louie.”

Mahea: “Obviously the 1960s were a weird time in our country’s history. Social revolution, but because of that there’s also a lot of morality policing going on. Like you even think about the Beatles ‘destroying the mindset of the youth,’ like things like that where it’s like this is so silly. Obviously the media makes an impression on kids in society, but is it the government’s job to fix that to this extent? Uh, probably not in my opinion, let’s get into how that’s relevant to the song. So, because the vocal in this song is so hard to understand, both kids and adults interpreted the song as being a lot more scandalous than it actually is.”

Join Our Collaborative Playlist

Every time we launch a new episode, we create a collaborative Spotify playlist in order to share every song mentioned in this episode and explore many others that fit the theme. And you can add to it!

We want to hear your favorite songs with commonly misheard lyrics, so feel free to add them to the playlist below. Go ahead and add your selected songs to the playlist!

We’ll see you in a couple weeks with a new theme, new guests, and some new songs to break down. If you have any comments, questions, or theme suggestions, drops us a line at [email protected]!

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