Ink Out Loud: Mighty mondegreens |

Ink Out Loud: Mighty mondegreens

My brother Steve and my daughter Miranda are both wrong-song-lyric-singers.

After a summer in Maine with Steve, Miranda said on the drive home from the airport, “How cool it was that Tom Petty sings about Maine.”

I looked at her, puzzled. “In what song?” I asked her.

“You know, ‘Free Fallin’,’” she said.

I sang the words in my head and I could not figure out for the life of me what she was talking about.

She popped the CD in the player and sang: “I want to glide down over Katahdin.”

Whoaaa! She really thought Petty was singing about the highest mountain in Maine named by the Penobscot Indians?

“Mulholland, Miranda, you know, in L.A.? California, where we live?”

She’s stubborn. So, Katahdin it is, and it makes me laugh every time I hear the song.

Some Texans have their own version of that song. Referring to the same artist and song, the Huffington Post published, “… errors include a firm belief that Tom Petty wrote “Free Fallin’” while vacationing in the Texas Hill Country, never mind his mention of ‘Mulholland’ and ‘Ventura boulevards,’ he clearly croons about “a long day living in the cedar.”

Get Miranda and Steve together and you end up with a montage spanning from CCR singing about the “Bathroom on the Right,” 38 Special’s, “Hold on Goose Feet” and my personal favorite, Alanis Morissette’s “Cross-eyed Bear That You Gave to Me.”

“Bathroom on the Right,” became so common that CCR actually sang it during a few shows.

When we were kids, Steve, one year my senior, stood and patriotically sang, “Jose Can You See by the donzerly light,” as we held our hands over our hearts at a New York Yankees game. He also donned a thoughtful expression as he crooned Neil Diamond’s “Reverend Blue Jeans.”

Most people have heard someone sing along to Johnny Rivers’ — “Secret Asian Man.”

Misheard song lyrics are called mondegreens. Some of the most common mondegreens are as follows: Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer,” is often sang as “Hold me closer, Tony Danza.” Jimi Hendrix “Kiss the Sky” — “Scuse me while I kiss this guy.” A line from the Beatles “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” blunder — “The girl with colitis goes by.” The “Boss” as an equine fan with the smash hit, “Everybody’s got a Hungry Horse.” Bob Dylan’s, “The ants are my friends and they’re blowin’ in the wind.” An Eurythmics fan sang, “Sweet dreams are made of cheese.”

What should have been a dirty chorus according to the band Foreigner, crossed someone’s lips as, “I’m Just a 30-watt Bulb.”

And now a few from the peanut gallery: A 3-year-old boy sang, “I like big trucks and I cannot lie,” and an 8-year-old girl sang along to Katy Perry, “I kicked a squirrel and I liked it.” My friend Melody told me when her son Max was a pre-schooler, he took great pride in belting out the AC/DC lyrics at the top of his lungs, “How’s Bill?” Yes, that’s meant to be “Hells Bells.” I like Max’s version better.

We all know someone who sang a song wrong and made us laugh. Send us your mondegreens and share the chuckles.

Mandy Feder is the Managing Editor of the Tahoe Daily Tribune. She can be reached at 530-542-8006 or

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