I hesitate to give you this link: you see, it’s a major procrastination tool, which is why I’d carefully deleted it from my bookmarks and my mind. But after a hard day writing workshop content and decluttering my inbox (seriously – I have mails dating back to 2008. I’d have even earlier ones if I hadn’t lost them all in a computer meltdown), I was moved to listen to something upbeat. Namely, Bad Moon Rising by Creedence Clearwater Revival. And then, as I sang along, it came:
‘Don’t go around tonight,
It’s bound to take your life.
There’s a bathroom on the right.’
There’s a word for these creative mishearings: they’re called mondegreens. The word mondegreen is usually used for song lyrics although in principle it can be applied to any mishearing. It was originally coined by author Sylvia Wright who, as a child, heard the lyrics of The Bonny Earl of Murray (a Scottish ballad) as:
Ye highlands and ye lowlands
Oh where hae you been?
Thou hae slay the Earl of Murray
And Lady Mondegreen
Wright found out many years later that the actual lyrics were: ‘and laid him on the green.’ But Lady Mondegreen was, deservedly, here to stay.
And so – procrastination trigger warning! – the link to the ginormous archive of misheard song lyrics: KissThisGuy.com, immortalising the aural mangling of a line from Jimi Hendrix’s Purple Haze: ‘Excuse me while I kiss the sky.’
I particularly love this site because the contributors recount when and how they discovered the real lyrics. If you need a good laugh, click on Funniest. Or you could go straight to Here we are now in containers where a whole slew of commenters try to decipher Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit
Meanwhile in my house we’re reliving my sons’ nineties childhoods, sorting old CDs and dancing to the Ribbon of the Night.
PS – who can guess the original of the title of this post? Hint: dinosaur rock band. Put your answers in the comments.