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There Is Jerry Mac in Everyone

April 22, 2010

The most idiot of cheeses.

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.

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21 Comments leave one →
  1. April 22, 2010 1:34 pm

    Oh gosh. I have some, I’m sure, but I can’t think of them off the top of my head. My SO has some great ones, though. He apparently thought that Strawberry Fields Forever was a commentary of relations in the Middle East when he was younger, because the line “Nothing is real” because “Nothing, Israel!” in his head.

    Those Billy Joel ones are classic. Especially the one from Only The Good Die Young. Ovaries, indeed.

  2. April 22, 2010 2:03 pm

    I love mondegreens. There are a few books a collection of hilarious Mondis.

    ‘Scuse Me, While I kiss This Guy

    My other faves include:
    “Hold me closer, Tony Danza”
    “When a man loves a walnut”
    “He’s got the whole world in his pants”

    Two of which are actual books by Mr. Mondegreen himself – Gavin Edwards. This is what we did before LOLCATS, we read funny books.

  3. April 22, 2010 2:18 pm

    I’m trying to remember some!

  4. April 22, 2010 2:22 pm

    On the billy joel tip, when I was a kid I had a Chipmunks album that had “Uptown Girl” on it, and I swore it said, “But maybe someday when my shit comes in / She’ll understand what kind of guy I’ve been” which, makes no sense and is also very gross in retrospect.

    Also, of course, “Secret Asian Man“.

  5. Anya permalink
    April 22, 2010 2:39 pm

    My ever so funny daughter, gleefully sung “Aayla, popped me on my knees.”. I think its cuter than the original, personally.

  6. April 22, 2010 2:48 pm

    Man, Billy Joel needs to enunciate.

  7. April 22, 2010 3:29 pm

    @Anya, yes I wrote of “Aayla, pop me on my knees” for Clapton’s birthday. Search “clapton” in our archives and you’ll fine it. My ‘nets are too spotty to attempt that feat myself. Glad to see you stop by Ms. Originator of “There is Jerry Mac in everyone!”.

  8. notthemarimba permalink
    April 22, 2010 5:39 pm

    I thought “Our Lips Are Sealed” by the Go Gos was “Olive Cecile” for an embarrassingly long time.

  9. Migel permalink
    April 22, 2010 7:41 pm

    I always heard the chorus of Moonage Daydream by David Bowie as “Keep your electric eye on ebay,” which really confused me, since I was pretty sure that ebay DIDN’T exist in the 70’s.

    I always heard the chorus of Chemical World by Blur as “I don’t know about you but the beauty’s repulsive” as opposed to “but they’re putting the holes in.” I think my interpretation is more interesting, but whatevhz.

    There are more I know, but I’m drawing a blank.

  10. Miguel permalink
    April 22, 2010 7:41 pm

    also, how the hell did I just mispell my name?!

  11. Quvi permalink
    April 23, 2010 12:47 am

    I work in child care with school-age kids, just a set-up to why I’m bringing up Miley Cyrus. “Blah-la-la-la plane at LAX, with my dream and a cardigan.” Why a cardigan, Miley, why? Are cardigans important in Tennessee? Also, whatever the opposite of a shout-out is to the DJ at the gay bar here for (badly) mixing that song with “Empire State” and thus causing me to unintentionally, unwillingly, and unhappily find myself dancing to a Miley Cyrus song. In a gay bar.

  12. Quvi permalink
    April 23, 2010 12:48 am

    (“Empire State of Mind” is what I meant.)

  13. araymondjohnson permalink
    April 23, 2010 1:00 am

    I seriously sometimes hear “Hungry Guys” instead of “Hungry Eyes”.

    In the new Lady Marmalade that came with Moulin Rouge, Damon and I would swear Lil Kim was saying “gettin’ love from the Jews” but her accent is so thick it’s actually “gettin’ love from the dudes.”

  14. araymondjohnson permalink
    April 23, 2010 1:01 am

    oh! and I thought Paul Simon was saying “mama don’t take that coat of chrome” and figured it was just something to do with old cadillac cars and chrome fenders.

  15. April 23, 2010 2:37 pm

    Hahaha. I too heard it as “Coat of Chrome” and though it was some kind of shiny coat worn by Simon.

  16. April 23, 2010 2:38 pm

    Paul Simon has tons of Mondegreens. Most of them come from either Kodachrome or Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover.

  17. April 23, 2010 2:51 pm

    Oh man, I just remembered one! I used to think Biz Markee was saying, “OOOoohhh Baby youuuuu… got a disease.” instead of “got what I need.” Which of course in high school all of my friends had to change all of the lyrics to being about having an STD. “Well you say it’s just a rash/ But it’s halfway up your ass.” Oh, youth!

  18. April 23, 2010 3:01 pm

    hahah. “you say it’s just a rash/but it’s halfway up your ass.”

  19. April 25, 2010 12:49 am

    Everyone in SoCal knows the “pussy cow” commercial. You know, “If you want a car or truck, pussy cow” instead of “Go see Cal”.

  20. T is for Tomato permalink
    April 25, 2010 10:05 am

    * “I’m your fetus, I’m your fire, your desire.” (Bananarama: I’m Your Venus – Real lyrics “I’m your venus…”)

    *Recently (like, really recently) I discovered that the James Taylor song “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight” didn’t go “go away, VanDanya, go on and do as you please.” I thought it was someone’s name. Apparently, according to my partner who nearly drove the car off the highway laughign so hard when she heard me singing the lyrics that way, it goes “go away, and then damn ya…”

  21. April 25, 2010 11:35 am

    I’ve had lots of these over the years, and mostly none of them are any good. Like, I’ve always had a touch of Scrabble syndrome — when you believe a collection of letters must be an actual word — and so I once argued with my younger cousin that the words in the Herman’s Hermits song “Henry the Eighth” were “I’m her eighth old man dimenerie.” Because you know I had to have a better vocabulary than my little cousin.

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