April Showers

When I was a kid I loved the song “California Dreamin’.”  In Chicago, when all the leaves were brown and the sky was grey, I would imagine living in sunshine and making sand-castles on the beach, the fading taste of Orange Julius playing over my seven-year-old sense memory after a family holiday to Los Angeles.

Although it is just a touch ironic to bother California Dreamin’ when you already live in California, my kids really liked that song too when they were little, and we’d play it fairly regularly in the car rides to and from school.  And so it was that Andy heard Will, when he was six or so, singing the song to himself one day; only his version of “If I didn’t tell her…” had, by way of the misheard lyrics telephone game, become “If I didn’t shower, I could leave today.”

There’s just something about wrong lyrics that I simply love.  Like when we were kids and my friend Mike’s version of Elton John’s “Bennie & The Jets,” included not “She’s got electric boots, a mohair suit,” but rather “She’s got electric boots, a Moham Sue.”  When we asked him what a “Moham Sue” was he just worked his chin with his fingers pensively and said, “It’s just one of those things.”

“A trip to the moon, on gossamer wings… a Moham Sue?”

What’s your favorite mistaken lyric?

Now that we’re into April, maybe we can all be safe and warm, even if we don’t live in LA—singing it loud, proud and maybe even totally wrong, but in the service of all our collective kids.

Namaste, Bruce

17 Responses to “April Showers”

  1. Justine Says:

    Madonna’s La Isla Bonita: “..with eyes like the desert…” became “…with eyes like potatoes…” It never occurred to me to question it. Potatoes have eyes. Made sense to me then. Besides, it’s Madonna. She’s said and done stranger things.

  2. Lindsey M Nelson Says:

    My mom is notorious for mixed up lyrics. She thought the song “Guantamera” was “Once on a meadow”. When I was in about fifth grade, I found her in the kitchen singing “I wanna set you up” (which is supposed to be “I wanna sex you up”) and “back that ass up” became “bad, bad answer”… which somehow seemed fitting since she was a teacher 🙂

  3. Kristen @ Motherese Says:

    Well, there’s the iconic, “‘Scuse me while I kiss this guy” and, for years, the refrain of Credence Clearwater Revival’s “Bad Moon Rising” was “There’s a bathroom on the right.”

    (We did take lots of long car trips when I was a kid…)

  4. Merrick Says:

    When I was a kid I didn’t know the title of the song “Natural Woman” but I knew the words… it went “You make me feel like a Man or a Woman!”

  5. Linda Pressman Says:

    I was just singing (among my many, many lyric mistakes) “Give me the Beach Boys to free my soul, I’m gonna get lost in your rock-n-roll and drift away” when my husband looked at me and said, “It’s ‘give me the BEAT, BOYS.'” No problem, I’ve only been singing that wrong for about 4 decades.

  6. Stephanie Says:

    “Blinded by the Light! Wrapped up like a douche, you know the runners in the night,”

    I didn’t know you could wrap up douche? And why would you want to?

    Until I looked it up for this post, I had no idea it was really:
    Blinded by the light,
    revved up like a deuce,
    another runner in the night

    And of course, Warren Zevon’s were wolves of London: “And his hair was PURPLE” I always thought that made sense, sort of a punk London werewolf –
    of course, But his hair was. in fact. perfect. Sigh. Sorry Warren, but not nearly as interesting.

    Still, one of my all time favorites is when my mom explained to me that Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds stood for LSD! That was an awesome moment.

    And of course, there was the time I tried to get my mom to listen to Pink Floyd’s the Wall.

    Thanks Dr. Bruce!


    • privilegeofparenting Says:

      Purple hair all through my mind, ‘scuse me while I get that douche wrapped up to go… 🙂 When it comes to parents, maybe we have to learn how to listen so that the walls will talk (and which one IS pink?). I remember my own parents wincing impatiently as Kashmir rolled on and on.

    • Kristen @ Motherese Says:

      I never knew the real lyrics of that song either, Stephanie. Thank you for shedding some light on a forgotten dark corner of my brain. (Why didn’t it occur to me before now that he is not, in fact, singing about douche? How does that make any sense?)

  7. Stephanie Says:

    Just checked -it – actually the original lyrics are:

    “cut loose like a deuce”.[1]

    The original was written by Bruce Springsteen – his only number one song!

  8. conniedelavergne Says:

    One of our family’s favorite mistaken lyrics is from Marvin Gaye’s song Let’s Get It On. Mistakenly I sang “we’re all such silly people” (we’re all sensitive people) which has delighted my husband and daughter ever since.

  9. Katrina Says:

    I’m laughing all the way through everyone’s comments! I am the queen of mistaken lyrics. I’ll share one that comes to mind: Michael Jackson’s “Beat It”. I listened to that cassette over and over in junior high and I thought he was saying, after many “beat its”, “come on you’ve got to feel it feel it, show me some funny, it’s for the fight, it doesn’t matter who’s wrong or right”. Not until today did I check to see what he was actually saying “…No one wants to be defeated, showin’ how funky strong is your fight, it doesn’t matter who’s wrong or right”. Also, there was that Steve Winwood song, “Roll With It” that I couldn’t quite get right. It sounded to my teenage ears like “Go Pretty Baby”.

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