One universal aspect of the human experience is that we all mishear song lyrics from time to time. You can probably think of a few examples from your own life. When I was younger, I used to think Elton John was singing, “Hold me close, young Tony Danza”–not the lyric, but arguably makes for a more interesting song!

There’s actually a name for the phenomenon of mishearing a phrase: it’s called a “mondegreen.” Our brains already have a difficult enough time interpreting everyday speech, and interpreting music is even more of a challenge. This article lays out how mondegreens happen. Unlike regular speech, songs have accompanying music, and they’re often sung in a different inflection or style than how we talk. When you add in our language’s abundance of homonyms, it’s easy to see how “Excuse me while I kiss the sky” becomes “Excuse me how I kiss this guy.”

Mondegreens aren’t just an interesting scientific phenomenon; they’re also hilarious. Recently, TV critic Emily Nussbaum asked her Twitter followers to share their own mondegreens…

Her followers had numerous replies. Below are 15 of the best. And if you’re feeling brave, share your own in the comments!


1. Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, “Blinded by the Light”

Real lyric: “Revved up like a deuce, another runner in the night.”

2. Kiss, “Rock & Roll All Nite”

Real lyric: “I wanna rock and roll all night/and party every day.”

3. Toto, “Africa”

Real lyric: “I bless the rains down in Africa.”

4. Tina Turner, “What’s Love Got to Do With It”

Real lyric: “What’s love got to do, got to do with it?”

5. Gene Autry, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”

Real lyric: “All of the other reindeer.”

6. Grease, “You’re the One that I Want”

Real lyric: “I got chills, they’re multiplying.”

7. Creedence Clearwater Revival, “Bad Moon Rising”

Real lyric: “There’s a bad moon on the rise.”

8. TLC, “No Scrubs”

Real lyric: “Also known as a busta.”

9. Marvin Gaye, “Sexual Healing”

Real lyric: “I can’t wait for you to operate.”

10. Smash Mouth, “I’m a Believer”

Real lyric: “I thought love was more or less a giving thing.”

11. PSY, “Gagnam Style”

Real lyric: “Oppan Gangnam style.

12. The Fresh Prince & DJ Jazzy Jeff, “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”

Real lyric: “West Philadelphia.”

13. Outkast, “Hey Ya”

Real lyric: “Shake it like a Polaroid picture.”

14. Bee Gees, “How Deep Is Your Love?”

Real lyric: “You make my world a summer day.”

15. George Harrison, “I Got My Mind Set On You”

Real lyric: “I got my mind set on you.”



h/t: Buzzfeed