Posted by Nancy Robards Thompson
We’ve all know someone who’s totally butchered the lyrics to a song. Not us, of course, but maybe a family member or a close, personal friend. Someone who was belting out a tune – in total rock star mode - when it happened –“WAIT! What did you say?… NO! That’s not how the song goes! Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha!!”
They’ve bungled the lyrics.
For me, the most delightful episode of misheard lyrics happened when my daughter was three. I was working in my office. She was playing quietly by herself in her room when she started to sing. Her sweet little voice carried down the hall, and the song went like this:
“You’re a grandma flag,
You’re a hot flying flag,
And forever in peace may she wave.
You’re the emblem of the land I love,
the home of the tree by the lake.
Every heart beats true for the red, white and blue
And there’s never a loaf of bread.
May all the Lincolns be forgot,
Keep your eye on the grandma flag.”
I nearly wet my pants. Seriously. I had to clasp my hand over my mouth to keep from ha-ha-ha’ing out loud. Once I contained myself, I walked into her room.
“Whatcha singing?” I asked.
“A song I learned in school,” she said.
“Really? Sing it for me again.”
And she did. With gusto.
Exactly as I’d heard it.
Lincolns and all.
To this day it’s my favorite misheard lyrics story. I think it’s even better than the time my high school friend sang, “HAM ON RYE” when Kenny Logins sang, “I’M ALRIGHT.” Or when a girl at a party was belting out, “YOU GOTTA DANCE TO THE LEFT, DANCE TO THE RIGHT…” as Jimmy Buffet sang, “YOU’VE GOT FINS TO THE LEFT, FINS TO THE RIGHT.” (She even had her own little dance to go with her imagined lyrics) It even aces the time someone I know sang, “STOP! In the NEIGHBORHOOD before you break my heart.” When everyone knows Diana Ross says, “STOP! In the NAME OF LOVE….”
Since I’m telling tales on everyone else, I suppose it’s only fair to admit it happened to me the other day. As a general rule, I don’t sing in public. If you heard me you’d understand. But I’m a diva in the car, and I was singing along to Jordan Spark’s song, “Battlefield.”
You’d think the song title – BATTLEFIELD – might have clued me in. Still, rather than, “Why does love always feel like a BATTLEFIELD.” I heard and sang a heartfelt, “Why does love always feel like it’s BAD FOR YOU.” That’s forgivable, but when she got to the part where she sings, “Go get your ARMOR.” I could’ve sworn she said, “Go get your MAMA.” <hanging head in shame>
For my daughter, it was ultimate payback time for the mileage I’d gotten out of her “Grandma Flag.” Not only did she Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha, she pointed her finger at me and clutched the area where her belly would be if she had one. Touché.
How about you? Have you ever misheard lyrics or know of someone who has? Please share it. Maybe it will divert attention from my BATTLEFIELD bungle.