13 Most Misheard Lyrics in Music History

Don’t sing the song wrong, man. Karaoke is endless enough. When KISS’s “Rock and Roll All Night” comes on, don’t be like my friend Mike and sing “I want to rock ‘n’ roll all night and part of every day,” even if it’s a smarter lifestyle.

Replacing similar words when we can’t make out the original is called mondegradn, a word coined by writer Sylvia Wright in 1954. Handsome Count Murray” as “Lady Mondegnin”. Wright thought her change made the ballad better.

If you’ve always sung Paul Young’s “Every Time You Leave” as “Every time you leave, you take a piece of meat with you,” don’t worry too much. People have been misunderstanding words since words have been around, and it actually highlights something important in human nature: we are programmed to look for meanings and patterns, and if there are none, we will fill in the gaps. , sometimes with nonsense, sometimes with depth.

According to researcher Dr. Ira Hyman in Psychology Today, these errors “open a window into the constructive nature of perception and memory.” According to Hyman, “Most of the mistakes people make are perfectly reasonable. Changes almost always preserve the rhythm, poetry, and meaning of the song.” I would add the qualifier “sometimes” because some of our most common mongradens are downright ridiculous. The 13 examples below date back to the 1700s and include both understandable errors and complete idiocy, as well as purposeful mondegrades, reverse mondepens, and mondegrades made “real” texts through repetition.


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