Saturday, 7 January 2017

Mondegreens

I don't sing much at home as it's a small, shared space and I'm flitting about too much to commit to listening to music. Behind the wheel though, radio on and it's an entirely different matter.....the trap is opened wide and I yowl along with the best of them. With the 50 years I have clocked up on the planet I must know the lyrics to hundreds of songs....well let's use the term "know" loosely shall we because I often can't hear the correct words, but over time I have developed the art of singing something which scans. It's doubtful I could tell you what I sing though....it was quite a shock when I saw the right version of "The Sound of Silence" by Simon and Garfunkel....nothing like the one I had faithfully reproduced many times!! A few months ago our Mythago foreman guffawed when he realised that I had always believed it to be "fine, four feathered friend" [I know, I know] rather than "four fendered friend" in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Now I find that the correct term for this familiar phenomenon [thank you dear Google] is mondegreen and it's very common. Years ago when the late former Radio 1 DJ Mike Smith was cutting his teeth on the now defunct Capital Radio he ran a competition along these very lines during his breakfast show. Much time has elapsed since then, but the one entry which stuck in my mind is that famous line from Kim Carnes' track "Bette Davis Eyes". Surely you remember the one? "she's ferocious and she knows just what it takes to make a crow blush".  To my knowledge I've never actually seen a crow blush and frankly I'm not entirely sure how you would tell even if it was red faced, but once you've heard it it's difficult to unhear it....if you'd like to experience it for yourself here's the original.


Arilx

3 comments:

  1. In 'Sigh No More' by Mumford and Sons, Lou and I have changed the words 'Life is a giddy thing' to 'Life is a guinea pig!'. xx

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  2. I suffer this. .... but husband is'famous' for deliberately altering words to songs, then we, the rest of his 'adoring'fans then are stuck with the mashed up lyrics for ever!

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  3. As I suspected this is a common phenomenon!
    Arilx

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