MORE song stuff - Am I hard of hearing? My Lazy Ear Syndrome
At the risk of being pigeonholed in a specific genre this week, I have another music topic that came to me last night. While I was writing my last post (Radio Ga Ga - The Jukebox of my Mind and Life (The Early Years)), I started thinking about song lyrics.
Over the years, I have probably been among the laziest music fans around. I don't typically take time to learn the actual lyrics to songs, and so I end up singing whatever I think they are saying without bothering to look it up. My wife has made fun of me for years for this. I have some funny examples that I would like to share with you, my faithful AR friends and readers. I hope you enjoy hearing about my "lazy ear syndrome".
When I was in high school, my best friend and I used to love to watch Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer" video, usually while drinking something that we shouldn't have been drinking. In 1986, this video was considered groundbreaking stuff, and there is a particular part of the song that I will simply not allow myself to hear correctly. At one point, at the very end of the song, Gabriel sings (according to the lyrics I looked up):
Going to feel that power, build in you
Come on, come on, help me do
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, you
Ive been feeding the rhythm
Ive been feeding the rhythm
Its what were doing, doing
All day and night
HOWEVER, I will always hear the fourth and fifth lines as "A big feet in the river. A big feet in the river.", whatever the heck that means! The first time I asked my wife what he meant by that, I thought she was going to wet herself!
The next tune that I stubbornly refuse to correct in my mind is "Big Old Jet Airliner" by Steve Miller. Please understand that I am a HUGE Steve Miller fan. I once listened to his greatest hits CD virtually non-stop on an eight-hour road trip from Dallas to New Orleans and back again when I was with my friend Jeff just after graduating from high school. I also have ample video footage of my son when he was a toddler dancing to "Swingtown" and "The Joker". At any rate, back to the original point:
From the very first time I heard this song, rather than singing about a large plane, I thought he was singing "Big Old Jed Had a Light On, don't carry me too far away! Ohhhh ohhh ohhh.. Big Old Jed Had a Light On, cause it's here that I've got to stay!". I still imagine Jed Clampett from the Beverly Hillbillies holding a lantern every time I hear this. I just can't help myself.
Earlier this evening, Eric Everett mentioned the song "Kokomo" in his comments on my last blog, which brought another one to the surface. I remember dancing to this song in college, usually during a party at the fraternity house. I would always sing along with its smooth tropical vibe, until they got to a part that I never understood. In fact, I had to look it up TONIGHT to find out what the actual lyrics were, for the first time. There is a line just after the initial chorus which is spoken in a deep voice:
To Mar-tinique, that Monserrat mystique
I seriously thought that he was saying "that monk's a rotten stink". As you can see, I don't put a lot of effort into the lyrics typically, with one notable exception:
When I was a senior in high school, we took a ski trip and I managed to make a new popular friend because he and I both memorized a hefty portion of "The End of the World as We Know It" by R.E.M., including the final minute or so (Leonard Bernstein. Leonid Breshnev, Lenny Bruce and Lester Bangs, etc.). Talk about a couple of jukebox heroes!
Thanks for reading. Please feel free to share some of your funny misheard lyrics in the comments if you like. Or, you can make me feel extra awkward by making me think that I am alone in this syndrome. Either way is fine with me.
P.S. I have a feeling that some of the most difficult lyrics to decipher are from Manfred Mann's "Blinded by the Light". I won't go into all of the variations that I have heard, but these guys did, and it is probably one of the funniest and most memorable sketches that I have EVER seen (give it time - the funny part starts at around 0:50 on the video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6U29S--wn8