The bane of misheard lyrics

Unfortunately for my friends and family, I really, really hate it when people get the lyrics to songs wrong. As a sort of cosmic justice, however, my best friend seems to be ‘tone deaf’ to the correct words. Some of the mangles she makes are entertaining (for example, she thinks MmBop by Hanson is about Gerard Depardieu and that The Lyrical Gangster was about umbilical cancer), and she seems happy doing it her way, however much I grind my teeth (and sadly her versions stick).

But she’s not the only one. Some of the misheard lyrics are now famous. You’ll find people claiming “the devil has a sideboard” appears in Bohemian Rhapsody, or how about “You picked a fine time to leave me Lucille, with 400 children and a crop in the field”? Perhaps you’d like The Pretenders’ “Going to use my sausage” from Brass in Pocket (followed by “Got Fido, I’m gonna use it”)?

Terry Wogan elevated it to an art with gems such as with “I was sick and tired of everything, when I called you last night from Tesco” in Super Trouper and “Children with eyes like potatoes” in La Isla Bonita. Probably the most famous one is Jimi Hendix asking us to “Excuse me, while I kiss this guy”. There’s an archive of some of the funniest at – search by artists or song.

Sometimes the lyrics just aren’t that clear or they’re too complex to remember. I spent ages trying to figure out what the lyrics were to Smells Like Teen Spirit, before discovering they were every bit as random as I’d thought (he couldn’t be singing albino or jalapeno – oh, he is…).

I often end up with a particular part of a song in my head and can’t quite remember the right order it goes in. I recently had Anything Goes stuck in my head trying to remember what Grandmama did with a gigolo in a nightclub.

But trying to find out the right words isn’t that easy. Up until now, you had to hope that whoever had put lyrics onto the internet got them right – not to mention the fact that it’s illegal. But now you can find the right words and legally with Yahoo Music ( – you can even search with a part of a line. Nearly 100 music publishers have licensed their artists’ lyrics to Gracenote, who will be powering the site. Please us it – for me…

My current favourite song to mangle is Nelly Furtado’s Maneater—I much prefer “Makes you cut cars, makes you want more buffalo” than the real words (“makes you cut cords, makes you want all her love”)… Oh no, I think it’s catching!