16 Comments

  1. The problem with “mondegreens” (see “That is Priceless”) is that they are inherently subjective, so there is rarely a way to verify whether they really occurred in practice. I suspect that a significant percentage of the “documented” cases were actually fabricated, but I admit that there is no way to measure that percentage.

  2. This particular mondegreen is one of the most well-known, though, to the point where Fogerty sometimes sings the “bathroom” lyric on stage (according to Wikipedia, at least).

  3. Well, Kilby, I do sort of agree with your objections – – but our grumping should be limited to those really presented with some emphasis on a claim of “I really did use to hear it this amusing mistaken way!”.

    But more generally these can just be taken as a subgenre of pun, and it can be immaterial if one is clearly constructed. It may still be judged cleverly and pleasingly constructed, or not..

  4. Apparently (if I read Wikipedia correctly) Steve Miller misheard a word from the song “The Letter” by the Medallions. That word, “puppetutes” was made up by Vernon Green, the song’s writer:

    “A term I coined to mean a secret paper-doll fantasy figure [thus puppet], who would be my everything and bear my children.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vernon_Green

  5. I had heard it related to the very old mythological term “psychopomp” but apparently it was not. A psychopomp is sort of a spirit that escorts you in the land of the dead.

  6. Well, I can certainly believe that most mondegreens are (or at least started out as) legitimate. “Scuse me while I kiss this guy.” Even makes more sense than the original. It was only just recently (as in the last year or two) that I discovered what I always thought was “Hey, love” was really “Layla”. Now, I will concede that a certain amount of, shall we say, detachment (oh, okay, ignorance) is probably necessary for this sort of thing to happen. An Eric Clapton fan was not likely to make that mistake, but someone (like me) who knows just enough to recognize some of his recordings, well, there you are (and no, I didn’t know that was the title of the song, I only learned it from working crosswords.)

  7. As a little Catholic kid I always heard “Agnus Dei, qui tollis” as “On this day, he told us.”

    And the first time I heard Mahler’s Eighth Symphony I heard “Blicket auf” as “Lick the house.”

  8. Layla, you got me on my knees, Layla, a million dollars please….is that it? It can’t be.

  9. Interesting Kilby. That particular mondegreen is so well known to me that I thought the caption was too wordy and would have been better without the real title included.

  10. I’d be glad if there WAS a bathroom on the right. Trying to take long walks and some bike rides while under “stay home” orders, but with parks, libraries, and most businesses closed it’s hard to find a public restroom.

    No country for old men.

  11. zbicyclist – or old women. We have only gone for one walk up the road and back again so I won’t have the problem..

    Here’s an OT question related to our walk – what does a red line painted ACROSS the road mean? Heard machine noise outside the window – could not see and by the time I got to our office on the other side of the staircase – no one was there. But there is a red line painted about 3/4 of the way across the street (does not touch either side of the street). I looked it up online and can only 2 find 2 references – one is the use of red lines as lane markers instead of yellow for double yellow line and the other for red “graffiti” (their term not mine) to indicate where to put electrical things underground. One reason we took the walk was to see what was gone on the street. Found a second red matching red line about a block up – but nothing else. I figure someone on this growth must have an idea. (Thank you.)

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