There Is Jerry Mac in Everyone
Do you have cherished misheard lyrics hiding in your closet behind your Lisa Frank folder collection and your Supersoaker? Are you willing to come clean with your Mondegreens? Misheard lyrics – or Mondegreens – are as universal as stepping on Legos while barefoot. Like the childhood pasttime, Mondegreens seem perfectly logical until the harsh light of linear notes and adulthood is shone on them. Here are some of my most beloved Mondegreens.
- “There is Jerry Mac in Everyone”. For the record this is my sister’s Mondi, but if my Law & Order serves me correctly, I am what they call an accessory after the fact as I perpetrated the fraud well into my Karaoking singing adulthood. I never question Jerry Mac or why he was in all of us. I figured he was like that kid on St. Elsewhere whose interpretation of reality I just had to accept. The correct lyric is…”There is good and bad in everyone” and it comes to us by way of the can’t we all just get along classic “Ebony and Ivory” by Sir P-Mac and Mr. Songs in the Key of Stevie – Stevie Wonder.
- “There ain’t no telling who you might meet, a movie star or maybe even an idiot cheese!”. I always chalked this up to my limited experience with the inner workings of Car Washes and the colorful language used by its esteemed workers. It never occurred to me I had just misheard the lyric and moreover, that my interpretation didn’t make one lick of sense. The correct lyric: “There ain’t no telling who you might meet, a movie star or maybe even an Indian Chief.” Thanks to Rose Royce for clarifying their 70s hit “Car Wash”.
- “Walter was running. Children were running…”. Siouxsie’s infectious hit Cities in the Dust has a wealth of confusion not only in its lyrics but the video is a bit of a head scratcher too. Who was this mysterious Walter and why was he running? Was he running after the children? The lyrics do not unravel this mystery. Oh yeah and the correct lyric, “WATER WAS RUNNING” only adds more confusion than it difuses.
- “Nigga can’t drive with a broken back, but at least he can polish the fender”. And thus a complicated relationship with Billy Joel was born. From what I knew of the complex history between Blacks and Italians I figure this was Mr. Joel’s way of addressing that via song. It would be MUCH later that I realize he was saying, “Nicky can’t drive with a broken back.” and therefore the song, Moving Out, was not tackling white flight. Oops. My bad.
- “You didn’t count on me when you were counting on your ovaries, oh oh oh…”. Oh that Billy Joel’s Greatest Hits gave me more trouble than Rubik’s damn cube. On the surface this seemed a lovely turn of phrasing, but well it’s not. The correct lyric from Only the Good Die Young is, “You didn’t count me when you were counting on your rosary, oh oh oh…”, which I suppose makes a lot more sense. Virigina, they didn’t give you quite enough information, indeed.
Okay, Fry Babies, make with the Mondegreens. I know you have them. More importantly, I know you’re dying to share them with the rest of the class.