Driving home today I sang along with the song on the radio, Rock the Casbah. Yet my version went, “She really a likes it, Rock the cat box; rock the cat box!” It was a fun reference to the first time I heard the song and what I “thought” I heard. The real version is a little different: “Shariah don’t like it. Rock the Casbah. Rock the Casbah.”
How many songs have you messed up the lyrics to?
My mistaken assumptions about song lyrics started when I was in middle school, high school. There was that “dirty” song Louie Louie everyone talked about. We could never understand their slurring words, so my friends and my version was, “At night, I lay her, I lay her again. A fu&ckin’ girl. ahhh right away, (blah blah, blah blah, something I couldn’t understand), I felt my roll, in her hair…”
The Kingsmen actually said, “Three nights and days I sailed the sea; Me think of girl constantly; On the ship, I dream she there; I smell the rose in her hair.”
Where did my version come from?
Back in the day, my hubby and I liked to sing Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit song to my kids, singing, “And we all love, mashed potatoes” instead of “Here we are now, entertain us.”
How about the Police and Don’t Stand Too Close to Me? I assumed they sang about the book by Neville Cross. But it was more like Nabokov, who wrote Lolita. (I just looked that up last week!)
And the Duran Duran song nobody understands, Blinded by the Light. I sing, “Wrapped up like a douche you know you’re rollin’ in the night.” Actual lyric: “Revved up like a deuce, another runner in the night.”
Where do we get these versions?
Most songs are clear and melodious, and it’s easy to sing along with the band. But sometimes you think you hear one thing and it’s really another. You trip over one word and your common sense follows that crack in the sidewalk, and you never know the difference.
I always thought Jimi Hendrix on All Along the Watchtower said “Plow man, dig my herb” (like he was getting high or something). Instead he said “Plowman, dig my earth.” (Can you dig it?). Or Don’t Bring Me Down by ELO: “Don’t bring me down, Bruce!” instead of “Don’t bring me down, groose!” (What is a groose?)
All in all, the words may be wrong, but the intentions are real. And so is the fun.
What songs do you mess up?