I am a fan of song lyrics.
Long before and since I followed the bouncing ball so I could “Sing Along with Mitch” on TV, I had done my part to interpret songs and keep pace with whatever artist is performing them.
Sometimes, though, try as we may, our brains can play tricks on us and without realizing it, we give them a completely different meaning than what was intended.
I am not alone.
Growing up, my younger brother heard a song that he vowed had the words, “Gotta go to the bathroom, 5-4-3-2-1.”
I couldn’t tell you the name of the actual song that came from, but for argument’s sake, there was one that had a reference along those lines.
The song, “Bad Moon Rising” by CCR, or Creedence Clearwater Revival, featured the line, “There’s a bathroom on the right.”
Some of you may have thought it said, “There’s a bad moon on the rise.”
And then my sister used to sing the John Denver Song, “Country Roads” which painted a lovely landscape of our country — “Country roads, take me home, to the place I belong. West Virginia, mountain mama, take me home, country roads.”
Except when she belted it out, she took a slight detour — “West Virginia, Mount Burma ...” You can imagine how her older siblings giggled at that one.
She has become a good sport about it, laughing at herself, especially since she realized there was nowhere in the U.S. called Mount Burma.
I don’t have a lot of room to talk, though.
I’m the one who heard the song, “Secret Agent Man,” which was also the name of a TV show, and still to this day believe I hear, “Secret Asian Man.”
Sometimes it’s not about the lyrics but simply the pedestrian use of the English language.
I call as evidence the Dave Clark Song, “Over and Over.”
It starts out, “I went to a dance just the other night, everybody there was there.”
Were they? Are you sure?
Was everybody there, there?
And what column with a play on words would be complete without a “Friends” reference. This had to be one of my all-time favorite TV shows, and I am blessed that Ron and I share an appreciation.
I watched it unfold, week by week, over its 10-year history. Ron played catch-up after we got together, crafting the fine art of binge-watching. In his favor, though, was that he purchased the entire series and now we can watch episode-by-episode anytime we like.
On the show, Phoebe’s gift for interpreting (or mangling) song lyrics became apparent when she referenced the song made popular by Elton John, “Tiny Dancer.” Except she didn’t hear it that way.
“Hold me closer, Tony Danza,” she said, smiling at the nod to the actor from “Taxi” and “Who’s the Boss.”
But before I go, I must offer up Ron’s contribution, a well-known Pat Benatar song. He swears she is saying, “Love is a Fattlefield.”
Yes, you read it right. And next time you listen to it, tell me if you don’t hear it that way, too.