Mondegreens are the phenomenon of mishearing lines, normally song lyrics, but poetry is also a frequent victim. Sometimes it's lack of correct enunciation, sometimes it's the speed or pitch that a lyric is delivered at, but often, a song lyric or recited poem will become famous not for what it says, but for what it sounds like it says to the uncareful ear.
Contrast Malaproper which is a character who mixes up words on a regular basis, and Beam Me Up, Scotty! which is for when the misheard line becomes more famous than the original. See also Lady Mondegreen, which is about something similar happening with character names in other works; Something Something Leonard Bernstein, where people understand part of the song but struggle to make up actual words from the rest; and Gosh Dang It to Heck!, when made-up words are used to sound like profane words.
Eggs and pulls:
- An ad for Cingular used this: two men are walking down the street and mangling the chorus of "Rock the Casbah" by The Clash. One sings it as "lock the cashbox", only to be briefly stunned when his friend sings it as "stop the catbox". He then agrees with that interpretation.
- A commercial for T-Mobile plays with this trope: A guy sings along with Def Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar On Me", and mondegreens it into "Pour some shook-up ramen." His girlfriend is, of course, incredulous, and uses her T-Mobile cell phone to call the public library to get the librarian to look up the correct lyrics.
- One ad for Comcast's "On Demand" service, has a man mangling the lyrics to "Born to be Wild" in the shower — and having Mr. T burst through his wall and reprimand him. No, seriously.
- This Volkswagen Passat commercial has several people mishearing a line from "Rocket Man".
- Maxell tapes did a series of ads focusing on this. This advert mishears Desmond Dekker's "Israelites". And this one mishears The Skid's "Into The Valley".
- A GEICO commercial has Maxwell the pig listening to a rave on his smartphone and singing to the beat as "boots and pants and boots and pants...", getting strange looks from the people around him. (It's actually a basic beatboxing technique another one is "boots and cats".)
- As reviewed by The Nostalgia Critic, this McDonald's ad from the 90s gets this because they say the words so fast that instead of advertising "food, folks, and fun," it sounds like they're advertising "food, fucks, and fun".
- Invoked in a Kmart commercial about having store merchandise shipped to your house. It involves a male talking about how he can "ship [his] pants", obviously expecting the listener to hear "Ship" as "shit". A later ad promoting savings on gasoline from purchases in store did similarly with "big gas savings", expecting the listener to hear "big ass savings".
- In Delicious in Dungeon, Shuro is later revealed to be Japanese-like warrior whose name is Toshiro but the Western-like cast misheard it.
- In Yotsuba&!, this tends to happen anytime Yotsuba sings.
- Pokémon: Butch and Cassidy invoke this on Jessie and James, accusing them of corrupting the Team Rocket motto whenever their paths cross.
To infect the world with devastation!To blight all people in every nation!To denounce the goodness of truth and love!To extend our wrath to the stars above!
- Butch and Cassidy rattle off the following lines:
To protect the world from devastation!To unite all peoples within our nation!To denounce the evils of truth and love!To extend our reach to the stars above!
- Compare those to what Jessie and James say:
- One Perplex City card is based on identifying these.
- "You fill out my census" ("You fill up my senses" from "Annie's Song" by John Denver). This common misheard version was naturally seized on by the Capitol Steps for one of their political song parodies.
- John Denver's lyrics were skewered by Monty Python's Eric Idle on "John Denver being strangled" ("You came on my pillow...HYUUUNG!) and yes, Denver sued.
- There's also a comedian who bemoans his parents' staggering inability to hear song lyrics correctly, particularly his father. The causes him him no end of torment whenever he's in the car with them and the radio is playing, since they like to sing along.
- "Big ol' jet airliner" becomes "Bingo Jed had a light on".
- "The girl with kaleidoscope eyes" becomes "the girl with colitis goes by", followed by his mother piping up with "Lucy's in a fight with Linus!"
- "You may be right/I may be crazy" becomes "You made the rice/I made the gravy".
- And lastly, "Don't let the sun go down on me" becomes "Don't let your son go down on me".
- In his stage act, comedian Michael Winslow used to do a version of "Purple Haze", changing the lyric to "'Scuse me while I kiss this fly", followed by screeches of "Help me! Help me!"
- Johnny Rivers' "Secret Agent Man" is easily misheard as Secret Asian Man, and has been parodied as such at least twice, by the Capitol Steps as well as Da Vinci's Notebook.
- The Vacant Lot comedy troupe has a skit dedicated to mondegreens in the Manfredd Mann cover of Bruce Springsteen's Blinded By The Light: "ripped up douches"; "loofah sponges" and the "foreman of the night;" and one that's completely incomprehensible. The original version is actually far less susceptible to mondegreens - Springsteen sings 'cut loose like a deuce' as opposed to (what sounds like) "revved up like a douche".
- Louis C.K. also has a bit lampshading this trope in regards to Manfred Mann's cover of "Blinded By The Light".
You know that song "Blinded by the Light"? Whenever it said 'revved up like a deuce' I always thought it said 'your mother's cunt smells like oranges'. Strange how that works...
- Penn Jillette even joked about Paul McCartney's poor grammar in "Live and Let Die" in front of a UK audience in Penn & Teller: Fool Us.
- In Ellen DeGeneres's stand-up days, she discussed this.
"Does he have it?" Is that what they're singing? "Does he have it?" Then you think to yourself "Why have I been singing 'Monkey hatchet?'" How many people have heard me sing "Monkey hatchet?" Then there are some songs that you don't even bother learning the words, because you assume that no one knows the words. That Aretha Franklin song "Respect," that's been around a long time, and we always get to that part where "R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me. R-E-S-P-E-C-T, (beat) coch-C-T HO!"
- South Carolina radio hosts Johnboy & Billy have recorded multiple bits about this trope, joking about it being an actual condition called "chronic lyricosis".
- Peter Kay has an entire routine built around this sort of thing, such as suggesting Michael Jackson is assuring his listener in "You Are Not Alone" that "your burgers are the best" (it's "your burdens I will bear") or that Duffy is "begging you for birdseed" ("mercy"). Funniest of all, in the song "Drive" by The Cars, the singer does a little vocal styling right before the chorus that really does sound like he's saying "pork pie": "Can't go on, thinkin...nothin's wrong...pork pie..." Once you hear it, you can't unhear it.
- George Carlin pulls this in a spoof of a commercial:
Dad: Marge, I dunno what it is, what I mean to say that I don't know what it is. But I just can't get close enough to make a sale. Do you think I could have (forcefully) BAD BREATH??
Marge: (coughs) It's possible, dad. You wilt the dandruff! You should try Listerine.
Dad: Mr. Clean?
- In one issue of the Green Arrow story arc "Quiver," we learn that Stephanie Brown originally mistook Ra's Al-Ghul's name as "Rasta Guy."
- In A DC comics New Year's special, Dick Grayson teases Barbara Gordon for having once thought "Auld Lang Syne" was about an "Old Lane Sign."
- In Amelia Rules! Aunt Tanner uses her own mondegreening of "Still Rock'n'Roll to Me" by Billy Joel in An Aesop about why she still believes in Santa Claus:
- Tanner: "You shouldn't try to be a straight-A student if you already think too much."Amelia: Heh, heh. That's pretty good.Tanner: I thought so! It was, like, my motto - for years! But the thing is, one day I read the lyrics and they were completely different! "Should I try to be a straight-A student? If you are, then you think too much." ... I was devastated! But even knowing the new lyrics, it never replaced the one I'd made up...Do you know what I'm saying?Amelia: Um...Yeah. Santa is like Billy Joel...are, and the lyrics are Rudolph, and ... actually, no.
- "Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly" was perpetually mondegreened in Walt Kelly's comic strip Pogo as "Deck Us All with Boston Charlie", and then again with Beauregard the Dog claiming that the lyrics are actually "Bark Us All Bow-Wows of Folly" (though the latter song is often mistakenly appended to the end of "Boston Charlie" these days), and then again when a hungry turtle sang the lyrics as "Dunk Us All In Bowls Of Barley."
- Even the "Deck Us All With Boston Charlie" itself got mondegreened at one point, as "Tinkle, Salty Boss Anchovy." Which caused Churchy La Femme to lament that "The way he's singing it, it don't make no sense!"
- Calvin and Hobbes has Calvin intentionally mondegreening the pledge of allegiance as "I pledge allegiance to Queen Fragg, and her mighty state of hysteria..."
- Subverted: a story arc has Sally preparing for a Christmas pageant in which "I come out and say, 'Hark!', then Harold Angel starts to sing." Everyone assumes that she's simply confused by the name of the song...until a kid named Harold Angel actually shows up.
- Sally was known for these kinds of blunders. In another Christmas strip, she recites: "The stockings were hung by the chimney with care/In hopes that Jack Nicklaus soon would be there."
- Bloom County:
- One strip had Opus the penguin mangling "The Star-Spangled Banner" when he finds himself unable to remember the lyrics ("Oh say can you see, by the dawn's early light / what so proudly we snailed, at, um, the starlight's last cleaning...").
- A Sunday Strip from September 1988 had that year's Presidential candidates George H.W. Bush, Michael Dukakis and Bill D. Cat each translate the notoriously Indecipherable Lyrics of "Louie Louie" based on what they could understand, as if it would tell the public something about them all. Since the ad was sponsored by Bill's Meadow Party, it takes jabs at Bush ("Iran-Contra thing makes me phlegm") and Dukakis ("Kitty she leads me everywhere") while saying Bill's gibberish translation, half of which outright defies transcription, "reveals a simple honesty."
- In John Kovalic's comic strip Wild Life, Carson the Muskrat thinks the lyrics to his favorite U2 song are "I still haven't found Walter's cookie jar" (I still haven't found what I'm looking for)
- Madoka Magica Abridged has Madoka Breaking the Fourth Wall to play this for laughs on the (actually meaningless) lyrics in Mami's theme song. Scene here.
Madoka: Yummy, oh yummy... lick my feet and I'm such a boss you're a lesbian... Mami, what the hell kind of song is this?
- In Parenting Class Ginny denies her attraction to Harry while Hermione is half-asleep in her jello.
Ginny: He's only a friend!
Hermione: Bees only say end? What did you say Ginny?
- In Fortunate Son? Harri comes up with a rather interesting interpretation of Atomic Kitten's "Whole Again."
Baby you're the one, you can make me come,
You can feel my hole again.
- In The Flight of Dragons, the closed captioning for the official VHS releases frequently substitute the word "horn" for the actual word "hoard".
- Winnie the Pooh 2011: Pooh and his friends thought that Christopher Robin was kidnapped by a monster known as the Backson because Pooh actually mistranslated Christopher's message "I'll be back soon."
- Not the first time it's happened. In Pooh's Grand Adventure, Pooh and friends journeyed to rescue Christopher Robin from the terrible land of Skull. Actually he'd just gone to school.
- The Hunchback of Notre Dame: The gargoyles mishear Esmeralda telling Quasimodo "Looks like Frollo's wrong about the both of us." as "Frollo's nose is long, and he wears a truss."note
- Which is itself often Mondegreened by viewers as "Frollo's nose is long and he wears a dress".
- In Flushed Away, Roddy protests to the thugs looking for Rita that he's just an innocent bystander. They now think that Roddy's name is Millicent Bystander.
- The Christmas short Olive, the Other Reindeer has this set off the plot. Upon hearing on the radio that one of Santa's reindeer is injured and that they'll be counting on "all of the other reindeer," Olive decides that Santa did not say this, but the title, and that she is not a dog at all, and that she is in fact, a reindeer. So she goes to the north pole to prove it. A bus driver later tells Olive that he used to think the pledge of Allegence was about him, Richard Stands. As in, "And to the Republic, for Richard Stands." There is also a character named "Round John Virgin" a common Mondegreen for the words "Round yon virgin" in Silent Night.
- Near the end of Cars 2, Mater, Finn McMissile, and Holly Shiftwell are all captured by the Lemons and are trapped inside a giant clock tower in London, England. As the Lemons proceed to drop Mater into the clock's gears to shed him alive, the tow truck immediately yells, "Dad gum!", and as a result he accidentally deploys his weapons Finn and Holly gave him and blasting away the ropes suspending them over the clock gears, therefore freeing himself and allowing them to escape.
- The DVD of Yellow Submarine has a blatant subtitling error in the "Sea of Science" segment; the chorus is subtitled "It's only a normal song". Whoever did the subtitles, the significance of the accompanying track being called "Only a Northern Song" evidently escaped them. (This problem is bypassed on the Blu-Ray, by the songs not being subtitled.)
- At the end of Despicable Me 2, the minions cover "I Swear" (specifically, the version by All-4-One; the minions that sing it are dressed up like them). Being the minions, they mondegreen the entire song; most noticeably, they sing the line "And I swear" as "Underwear".
- In Animal Crackers, Groucho asks Chico to play a song about Montreal: "I'm a dreamer, Montreal." This is a mangled reference to the De Sylva, Brown & Henderson song "Aren't We All?"
- In The Long Kiss Goodnight, Samuel L. Jackson misquotes England Dan and John Ford Coley's "I'd Really Love to See You Tonight" when he sings, "I'm not talking 'bout the linen," and Geena Davis corrects him that the song is actually saying, "I'm not talking about moving in."
- Role Models referenced "I want to Rock and Roll" with, "I like to rock and roll part of every day. I can only rock and roll from three to five."
- When Scott was reading Twas the Night Before Christmas to his son in The Santa Clause, his son mistakes "arose such a clatter" for "a Rose Suchak ladder". This turns out to be justified.
- In Monty Python's Life of Brian, Brian and his mother are listening to Jesus' Sermon of the Mount from way in the back row, prompting Brian's mother to ask, "Did he say, 'Blessed are the Cheesemakers'?" ("Well obviously it's not meant to taken literally, it refers to any manufacturer of dairy products.")
- In the romantic-comedy I Give It A Year, the main couple Nat and Josh argue over misheard song lyrics. Nat thinks the lyrics from "Sweet Dreams Are Made of This" go "I travelled the world in generic jeans" instead of "I travelled the world and the seven seas", much to Josh's chagrin. She also thinks the line from "We Built This City" goes "we built this city on the wrong damn road". Josh also brings up the lyrics from "Tiny Dancer", which Nat thinks goes "hold me close and tie me down sir".
- In X-Men Origins: Wolverine, when Logan addresses the very overweight Fred J. Dukes as "bub", Fred gets mad because he mishears it as "Blob". (Fred J. Dukes would actually become the mutant known as the Blob).
- In Skyfall, Bond introduces M and Kincade to each other. Later Kincade calls her by the name "Emma", presumably thinking he had heard an abbreviation of the name rather than a code letter.
- In Muppets Most Wanted, Constantine sings the verse "The lovers, the dreamers, and me" of "The Rainbow Connection" as "The lovers, the dreamers, and cheese".
- In Hedwig and the Angry Inch Hedwig is listening to Tommy's version of "The Origin of Love." Instead of "Osiris" he says "The sirens" on the recording (for which he claims writing credit). He tries to talk his way out by saying there were two versions of the lyrics and she says "There's one version and you fucked it up!"
- In Angels in the Outfield, some of the baseball players think that the first line of "The Star-Spangled Banner" is "Jose, can you see," prompting one of them to comment, "Wow. It's about a Spanish guy!"
- In 27 Dresses, Jane and Kevin are in a bar when "Benny and the Jets" comes on. They have a small argument about the lyrics, with Jane settling on "She's got electric boobs and mohair shoes" (It's "electric boots, a mohair suit").
- In The Tuxedo, the last thing Clark Devlin says before going into a coma from an assassination attempt is "water strider". Jimmy Tong mistakes this for "Walter Strider", leading to a wild goose chase where he tries to catch this imaginary character, believing him to be responsible for the attack.
- Jumpin' Jack Flash. Terry has to write down the lyrics for "Jumpin' Jack Flash" in the days before you could look them up on the internet, and has some difficulty working out what Mick Jagger is singing.
"I was raised by two lesbians? [clip] Mick, Mick, Mick...speak English!"
- Played for Drama in Lion, as young Saroo's mispronunciation of the name of his hometown Ganesh Talai as Kanestalee makes it impossible for authorities to help track down his family.
- In The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause Mother Nature tells Jack Frost that he is accused of trying to upstage Santa in a series of acts that are "willful and malicious" but Jack Frost misinterprets it as "skillful and delicious".
- A woman greeted her son as he came home from Sunday School. "So what did you do today?"
"We sang a song about a bear!"
"Yes! Gladly, the cross-eyed bear!"
- Journalist and Rolling Stone editor Gavin Edwards had written numerous books on this topic (before the Internet made reading and sharing mondegreens easy) in the 1990's, which were collections of these sent in by readers, such as 'Scuse Me While I Kiss This Guy, He's Got The Whole World In His Pants, When a Man Loves a Walnut, and Deck The Halls With Buddy Holly.
- "Blowin' in the Wind": In Salman Rushdie's novel The Ground Beneath Her Feet, a character has the magical ability to hear in his mind songs that will become hits three years into the future. But sometimes the lyrics come out garbled. When he heard Bob Dylan's aforementioned song, he thought the chorus went "The ganja my friend is growing in the tin..."
- Dave Barry's Book of Bad Songs
- Dave Barry has an entire section on mondegreens. Ironically, it's in a different section that he awards the "Certificate of Redundancy Certificate" to Paul McCartney and Wings for the line (from "Live and Let Die"), "But if this ever-changing world in which we live in..." not knowing that the actual line goes, "But if this ever-changing world in which we're livin'..."
- He mentions the song "Help Me Rhonda" wherein he says the opening lyrics sound like "Well, since she put me down, there's been owls puking in my bed." He later references the infamous "Blinded By the Light" (see above) by saying that of course the line isn't "Wrapped up like a douche, another runner in the night". No, it's "Wrapped up like a douche, there's been owls puking in my bed."
- The children's novel In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson has the Chinese protagonist mangling the Pledge of Allegiance on her first day of school in the US:
Shirley: I pledge a lesson to the frog of the United States of America. And to the wee puppet, for witches' hands, one Asian, in the vestibule, with little tea and just rice for all.
- The Lois Lowry novel All About Sam renders the Pledge of Allegiance as the Pled Jelly-Juntz. Justified as the protagonist is four years old.
- In the novel The Prisoner of Pineapple Place, set in an invisible alley of invisible residents, the protagonist believes the words of the Pledge are "One nation, invisible, with liberty and justice for all". The story suggests this might be an intentional example on the teacher's part, given the residents' own invisibility.
- There's a running joke in Good Omens about how all cassette tapes left in cars will eventually metamorphose into tapes of "The Greatest Hits of Queen". Crowley listens to the song "Radio Ga Ga", hearing the lyrics "All we need is Radio Ga Ga". It's actually "All we hear is Radio Ga Ga." Another time, he wonders who Moey and Chandon are. note
- "Olive, the other reindeer ..." (Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: "...All of the Other Reindeer..."). Inevitably, a book called Olive, the Other Reindeer was published in 1997, and was turned into a Christmas Special in 2003 (as seen above) by Bill Plympton and Matt Groening of The Simpsons fame.
- One of Beverly Cleary's Ramona Quimby books had the titular protagonist thinking that the lyrics of The Star-Spangled Banner began "Oh say can you see, by the dawnzer's lee light" and becoming convinced that "dawnzer" must be another word for "lamp." (This leads to humiliation one evening when, proud of having sussed out a new vocabulary word, she confidently suggests turning on "the dawnzer", even adding, when questioned, "It gives off a lee light!")
- John T. Sladek's novel The Müller-Fokker Effect (really!) has the following version of The Star-Spangled Banner:
Ofay can you pee
By the dong's surly blight
What you probably inhaled
At the toilet's last cleaning.
- An in-universe mondegreen names the book Snot Stew: it comes from the kitten protagonists mishearing the human children arguing: "Is not!" "Is too!" becomes "S'not!" "S'tew!"
- A Monk Swimming by Malachy McCourt (a memoir of growing up in Ireland and moving to America) uses a mondegreen from the prayer "Hail Mary" - "blessed art thou amongst women".
- The novelization of Revenge of the Sith has this dialogue between Gunray and Anakin:
Gunray: Palpatine promised to leave us in peace!Lord Vader: The transmission was garbled. He promised to leave you in pieces.
- In Warrior Cats Crookedstar's Promise, barn cat Fleck thinks that the moonstone (a place where warriors communicate with their ancestors) is the foodstone. Prompts the hilarious line "Is there a foodstone as well as a moonstone?"
- The title The Catcher in the Rye comes from an in-universe Mondegreen, Holden mishears the song "Comin' Thru the Rye" and adopts this mistaken phrase as his future purpose in life, forming a mental image of himself catching kids who are running around in a rye field (which is inexplicably placed on "some crazy cliff,") which to him is symbolic of protecting them from adult themes, especially sex. The song is actually, very ironically, about two lovers meeting to have sex in a rye field.
- The Isaac Asimov short story "Battle-hymn", one of his Feghoots, builds up to the punchline that the title of the French National Anthem is pronounced "Mars Say Yes".
- In Doom: Endgame, Fly and Arlene are being connected to the Newbie computer simulation, and he sees Arlene mouth a message to him: "Patrick". Fly has absolutely no idea what she's trying to convey with that message or how it could help them, all that comes to mind is the story of Saint Patrick who converted the Irish. Once in the computer, he decides to trust Arlene and attempts to convert the monsters. He succeeds and rallies a growing army of the enemy, awed by his Reality Warper powers. Once they regroup in the computer, Fly learns that she said "battery", as in "Cut the Juice".
- In Noel Streatfeild's 'The Whicharts', the children's name comes from a mondegreen of the Lord's Prayer - Our Father, Whichart in Heaven. Since they are illegitimate, they assume this means their father's name is Whichart, and take it as their own.
- Penny of Edenborn claims her name is from a Lung Butter lyric "play Penelope", actually "play the melody" according to another character. It's unclear whether she reached this on her own or if her mother misinformed her.
- In Seeker, first book of the Noble Warriors trilogy, someone delivers a partial warning "Whatever you do, don't" but the remaining words become mangled by distance into "enemy orb ladder" - the full message being "Whatever you do, don't empty your bladder!"
- Colene, the main character of the Mode series by Piers Anthony, when she was as a child, heard the song lyric "Mares eat oats" as "Maresy Doats" and named her toy stuffed horse after the misheard lyric. (Incidentally, the song "Mairzy Doats" was deliberately written so as to inspire this exact mishearing - see its entry below, under Music.)
- In 11/22/63, one of the characters Jack Epping meets is called "Silent Mike", because when little he misheard the songs of "Silent Night", thinking the song was all about him.
- In Ellen Raskin's Figgs and Phantoms Mona Lisa Figg discovers some sheet music for Gilbert and Sullivan's The Yeomen of the Guard in her late uncle's effects and realizes that what her parents have been singing for years as "tis but pickles sister keeps" is actually "tis but mickle sister reaps."
- In Becky Chambers' SF novel "The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet", there exists, well, the approximate equivalent of Alien Punk Rock, detailing on the sex life of the local royalty, but for someone who can't speak the alien language, "Soskh Matsh Mae'ha" (whatever obscenity that is) comes out as "Socks Match My Hat".
- In the Father Brown story "The Absence of Mr. Glass", there is no Mr. Glass blackmailing Mr. Todhunter over some dark secret; Todhunter is learning to be an illusionist, and was merely thinking out loud while practicing juggling: "Two, three—missed a glass." Add to that the fact that British English drops post-vocalic R's...
- Inverted with the credits song for WKRP in Cincinnati. For years fans of the show have attempted to translate what the garbled lyrics are...finally decades later, the producers admitted there ARE no lyrics. The musician sang gibberish as a placeholder and was going to put in real lyrics later; the producers liked the gibberish version so much though that they told him not to bother and used it.
- The line Soy un perdedor from "Loser" by Beck was called out in a VH1 special on the best songs of the 90s, where various musicians and critics sang what they thought Beck was saying instead of the Spanish line.
- "Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly" was mondegreened in the television series V (1983) by Willie as thus:
Willie: Deck the halls with lousy folly/Fa la la la la, la la la la/Tis the evening scruffy molly/Fa la la la la, la la la la/Don't we know how gay a carol/Fa la la, la la la, la la la/Holy moly Yule Tide carol/Fa la la la la, la la..
- A butchering of "Hold me closer, tiny dancer" by Elton John is referenced in an episode of Friends, wherein Phoebe is convinced that "Hold me close, young Tony Danza" is the actual line.
- Electric Light Orchestra's "Don't Bring Me Down" is referenced in VH-1's "I Love The 70s Volume 2." The made up word, "groose" is often mistaken for "Bruce".
"I just want to know who Bruce is."
- The Clutch song The Regulator has the lyric "I see a lantern burning" misheard by fans as "I see Atlanta burning." So did the producers of The Walking Dead, who used the song in an episode.
- Greg from Dharma & Greg had a habit of this. "I want to Rock and Roll all night... And part of every day!" Dharma tries to correct him ("...Party every day"), and he drunkenly replies, "If you party every day, how can you get enough rest to Rock and Roll the next night?"
- Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit from Nevermind. When MTV aired the music video, they subtitled lyrics into the video. (Unfortunately, even MTV got the lyrics wrong. It's no wonder why "Weird Al" Yankovic's parody pokes fun at the fact the lyrics are nigh-impossible to understand.)
- Intentionally done for the song "Kinda Lingers" on Not the Nine O'Clock News.
- Mystery Science Theater 3000:
- They had fun with Pod People "Idiot control now! Bees on pot! Burning rubber tires!" The funny thing is some of the ridiculous lines Joel and the bots sang are the real lines. Also, one must remember this is a dub of a Spanish movie so it's bound to have major issues.
- Another poor dubbing gave us "Roji-Panty Complex" from Invasion of the Neptune Men. It's actually "Rojium-Tanium." It was ridiculous enough that it turned into the subject of a host segment in which Tom Servo contracted Roji-Panty Complex and Mike had to take care of him by administering panties every hour.
- The Grand Finale, Danger: Diabolik, has a line being sung by a woman, which Mike interpenetrates as "'Keep my potty down'? Women and their toilet seat issues!"
- A common mondegreen of the Joel era theme song was mishearing his bosses didnt like him so they shot him into space as so they shot him in the face. This became an Ascended Meme in the Revival when so they shot him in the face, sung to the tune of the theme song, was used as a riff.
- Ken Lee ("Can't live [without you]", Without You). Made famous by this clip from the Bulgarian version of Pop Idol.
- Six Feet Under - In-Universe pop-star Celeste's song Set My Loving Free is sung by Keith as Shave My Legs For Free.
- In Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Greg Proops confuses the title of Sir Mix-a-lot's "Baby got back" with "Ladies got back".
- In the TV show Wings one episode's subplot revolved around Antonio becoming a busker in the airport, singing a song he learned back in Italy (his introduction to English): "My Goat Knows the Bowling Score, Hallelujah." After everyone gets sick of him singing the same line over and over they suggest he go on to the next verse, which he does: "Sid's new hair is in the mail, Hallelujah." (That is, "Michael, row the boat ashore" and "Sister, help to trim the sail", respectively.)
- The Australian TV show Comedy Inc. has fun with this trope in their stop-motion vignette series Ernest the Engine and Others where the character Stevie the Steam Train tends to "stutter badly at the most inappropriate of times", such as when he sings the song "Country Roads".
- The main character of Victorious mistook the The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song lyric "shooting some b-ball outside the school" as "chewing some meatballs outside the school."
- In Small Steps, Armpit mishears the words "I'm but" as "Armpit".
- A game on Never Mind the Buzzcocks called "Indecipherable Lyrics" is based on the teams trying to deliberately come up with entire verses' worth of mondegreens for particularly mumbled songs. See also Something Something Leonard Bernstein and Perishing Alt-Rock Voice (the latter a common cause of Mondegreens.
- On a Christmas episode of Mock the Week, Adam Hills tells a story about his grandmother: when Deck the Halls was announced as the next song coming up on some tv special, she claims she'd never heard of it. When the rest of the family started saying she must know it, she snapped, "I've never sung Dick the Horse!"
- One of Jimmy Fallon's "Late Night Hashtags" routines had examples sent in by fans via Twitter.
- In an episode of Just Shoot Me!, Nina and Elliott get into an argument about whether the lyrics of their favourite blues song are "Stone for my pillow" (because the singer is sleeping in the street) or "Slow, foamy killer" (referring to malt liquor). They call the singer's widow, who tells them that it is "Stone cold armadillo", but it was actually Finch messing with them.
- This, apparently, is what led to the Clairvoyant's Übermensch ideas in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.:
The Clairvoyant: You remember that speech you used to give us, Nick? About how one man can accomplish anything once he realizes he can become something bigger? Well, now I am.
Fury: ...A part. A part of something bigger.
The Clairvoyant: Is that how it went?
Coulson: Not a great listener.
Fury: If you tell me this whole HYDRA path thing you took is because you misheard my damn "One Man" speech—
The Clairvoyant: I am the key to the future of the universe. I'm the origin of all things—
Fury: [to Coulson] You got it, right?
- One affiliate airing Star Trek: The Next Generation had somehow captioned "All hands on deck for saucer separation" as "All hands on deck for happy birthday" in one of the episodes.
- On an episode of Match Game, a contestant in the Bonus Round invoked this when given the phrase "Cuckoo ____". Asked to fill in the blank, she replied with "Cuckoo, friend, and Ollie", a mangling of the classic puppet show ''Kukla, Fran, and Ollie".
- Every single episode of Hey Vern, It's Ernest had a sketch where Ernest went to his barber and asked him to give him a haircut that made him look like a Wall Street tycoon. The barber always mishears the instruction as something that rhymed which was thematically related to what the episode was about ("I thought you said The Man in the Moon" or "I thought you said a wind-blown sand dune" or something).
Ernest: (singing) Should old maintenance be real hot, and never hard to find...
- The episode "Holidays" has Ernest setting out to celebrate all the holidays of the year in one day, starting with New Year:
- In the episode "Ua Helele'i Ka Hoku" of Hawaii Five-0, Jane Miller always thought a line of Freelance Riot's song "Sweet Disaster" was "Playing love songs to strangers / And drinking Hartigan." while it actually is "Playing love songs to strangers / And breaking hearts again.".
- From an anecdote told by Colin Hay of the band Men at Work on an episode of the music quiz show Spicks and Specks: one time, during a live performance, an audience member called out "Sing the song about the goats, mate!" Naturally, Hay was confused, but eventually realised that the audience member meant the song "Overkill". The chorus goes: "Day after day it reappears / Night after night my heartbeat shows the fear / Ghosts appear and fade away..."
- From The Walking Dead, there's all the times where Rick pronounces his son Carl's name in such a way that it sounds more like "Coral" instead.
- This segment from Jimmy Kimmel Live! has a man reviewing Beauty and the Beast, but he keeps mondegreening the film's name, as well as the names of some of the actors in the movie.
- Subverted on an episode of iCarly. After a teacher holding Carly, Sam, and a whole class in evening detention says that the school's principal is a "weak spineless fool", secretly on camera as the Principal is watching online, the teacher tries to cover it by saying he misheard and what he actually said was "sleek, stylish, cool!"
- Riotishly enforced on the German satire "Heute Show". Pussy Riot was all over the headlines at the time, and the moderator rhetorically asked what a pussy is. Cut to a Bavarian politican, talking about some "Parteivorsitzender" (party chairman). Due to his Bavarian and his mumbling, and the set-up, it invariably mondegreened to "Parteifotze". Luckily, as mentioned elsewhere, in Bavaria the word doesn't mean pussy anyway...
- In the BattleBots revival, one bot driver gives a very enthusiastic and inarticulate battle cry before his bout starts. The subtitle guy doesn't even try to guess what the hell he said: "????????!!!"
- During a So You Think You Can Dance audition featuring a traditional Mongolian dancer, the dancer describes that the dance she's doing is traditionally performed while holding a bowl of horse milk. Unfortunately, her English isn't that great, so her accent turns it into "whore's milk" instead. The confusion takes a moment to clear.
- AC/DC's "Dirty Deeds" has a parody version done by Bob Rivers that was called "Dirty Deeds Done With Sheep" due to misheard lyrics from the original song, and had some of instruments replaced with farm animal sounds.
- The Beach Boys:
- "She's my little blue scoop, picks up all of my rocks" ("She's my little Deuce coupe/You don't know what I've got", The Beach Boys, "Little Deuce Coupe"). Filk artist Tom Smith includes this in "Smurfin' Safari", a medley of Smurf-themed Beach Boys parodies.
- Courtesy of Dave Barry....from "Help Me, Rhonda": "Well since she put me down I've been out doin' in my head" became "Well since she put me down, there been owls pukin' in my bed".
- "Caroline, No" was originally written by Tony Asher as "Carol, I know." Brian Wilson misunderstood the lyric, and after discussing it they decided that "Caroline, No" fit the melancholy tone of the song better.
- The Bangles included a cover of "Sweet and Tender Romance" on their 2011 album Sweetheart of the Sun. Despite having found no official lyrics. Susanna Hoffs remarked, "We listened to the McKinley Sisters' recording over and over again, and could decode most of the words, but in the end we guessed a bit! What you hear on the record is actually our "scratch" vocals, and in fact Vicki and I are singing different words!"
- "Slow Uncle Walter/The fire engine guy" ("Smoke on the water/A fire in the sky", Smoke on the Water by Deep Purple). The Barenaked Ladies pay homage to this Mondegreen in their song "The Night I Fell Asleep At The Wheel":
Rubberneck traffic and passers-by/ And Slow Motion Walter the fire engine guy / Stand around with their mouths open wide...
- Electric Light Orchestra's "Don't Bring Me Down", is frequently mondegreened as "Don't bring me down, Bruce!" The actual lyric is "Don't bring me down, groose", which is a made-up word. ELO realized so many people were hearing this that they actually started singing it live.
- Elvis Presley
- Cover artists are divided as to whether the line in Elvis's Peace in the Valley is "the Lamb is the Light" or "the lamp is alight."
- A mishearing for "(Marie's the Name) His Latest Flame" came up during a phone-in quiz on Steve Wright's BBC Radio 2 show, a caller was asked, "In the hit single by Elvis Presley, what's the name of His Latest Flame?", to which she responded "Anne-Marie".note . When Wright had stopped laughing, he gave her the point.
- Doug Ingle's slurred mispronunciation of "In The Garden of Eden" became the official title of the famous Iron Butterfly song, "Ina-Gadda-Da-Vida".
- "Hey Sandy" by Polaris was the theme tune to The Adventures of Pete and Pete, with a famously unintelligible lyric which the band swore they would never reveal.
- The line "'Scuse me while I kiss the sky" from Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze" being misheard as "'Scuse me while I kiss this guy" is something Hendrix was aware of. Hendrix was known to pause at this point in the song and either point to or kiss one of his male band members during concerts. In at least a few live recordings, he very clearly says "kiss this guy" or "kiss that guy".
- Splender's song "I Think God Can Explain" was originally "I Think I Can Explain." But the lyrics and titled were changed due to a mishearing, and the band preferred the version that was ultimately released.
- The title of "Seven Nation Army" by The White Stripes is based on a non-musical mondegreen. Jack White stated that as a boy, he thought the Salvation Army's name was "Seven-Nation Army" and decided to call the song that.
- Kings of Leon has an intentional aversion/backstory example in Sex on Fire, one of their biggest hits. The Word Salad Lyrics originally featured "Set Us On Fire" as the chorus, but everybody would Mondegreen it as "Sex on Fire". According to The Other Wiki, one of the sound mixers came in and said, "Sex on fire, huh?" It became a running joke, and eventually the group not only changed the lyrics, but made it the album title track.
- The John Denver-composed, Peter, Paul, and Mary-popularized song "Leaving on a Jet Plane" inspired the Pinkard and Bowden parody "Libyan on a Jet Plane".
- Fredde Le Grand's dance hit "Put Your Hands Up For Detroit" contains only one repeated line: A sample that goes "Put your hands up for Detroit, our lovely city". So many people misheard it as "I love this city" that Le Grand had to post a message on his website clarifying the lyrics.
- "Mairzy Doats" intentionally inverts this trope. Official lyrics:
Mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy diveyA kiddley divey too, woooden shoo?
- The first time Stevie Nicks met Tom Petty's wife Jane, Jane said that she and Tom met "at the age of seventeen." However, her thick Southern accent made it sound like "Edge of Seventeen." Nicks liked the sound of it, and wrote a song around it.
- Jane Wiedlin of the Go Go's has commented on a few occasions that fans are constantly asking the band to sing the song about "Alex The Seal".
- Folk singer John Prine, in a live version of his song "That's the Way that the World Goes 'Round," mentions a fan who told him she liked the lyrics "It's a happy enchilada, and you think you're gonna drown." Actual lyric: "It's a half an inch of water, and you think you're gonna drown." Rather than correcting the fan, he told her he was glad she liked the words.
- Pink Martini actually recorded a Mondegreen not realizing it was the wrong lyric. In "Amado Mio," a cover of another song, China Forbes sings "I want you ever, I love my darling, wanting to hold you and hold you tight" - and only later did the band realize that the words are "My one endeavor, my love, my darling."
- They Might Be Giants' John Linnell wrote a song called Olive, The Other Reindeer, named after a Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer mondegreen of "...All of the Other Reindeer..."
- Australian punk legends Radio Birdman took their name from a misheard lyric in The Stooges' Fun House-originated song "1970" Radio burnin up above...
- The Lightning Seeds got their name when Ian Broudie misheard a line from Prince's "Raspberry Beret". The actual line is "Thunder drowns out what the lightning sees."
- "Weird Al" Yankovic got the idea for "Like a Surgeon" from Madonna Mondegreening her own song "Like a Virgin" while talking to a friend.
- The song "Pontoon" by Little Big Town came about as the result of a mondegreen. Co-writers Luke Laird and Natalie Hemby wrote a song for Miranda Lambert called "Fine Tune"; a publisher later inquired about the song, but thought that it was called "Pontoon". After Hemby corrected him, the two thought that they actually should try writing a song called "Pontoon".
- Creedence Clearwater Revival:
- The song "Bad Moon Rising" having the line "there's a bad moon on the rise" misheard as "there's a bathroom on the right" led to John Fogerty using the mondegreen version of the line in live performances.
- A contestant on Canadian Idol managed to get under Zack Werner's skin with his mondegreens:
Contestant: I see a black moon risin'...Zack: It's bad moon...Contestant:...I see trouble in the air!Zack: It's on the way...
- Electric Six's biggest hit "Gay Bar" was reportedly inspired by mishearing the lyrics to DEVO's "Girl U Want" when the speakers were too loud. Somehow, "She's just the girl, the girl you want" became "She's just the girl in a gay bar". So then they decided to write a song that was actually about a gay bar.
- Imagine Dragons songs are sometimes misheard, to the extent where Dan Reynolds has to Tweet fans the correct lyrics. For at least one tune ("Destination"), he admitted considering officially changing the lyrics to match the misheard version ("I think a little 'bout a lot/I reach a verdict" became "I think a little 'bout a lot/I'm introverted").
- Tones On Tail: The remix of "There's Only One" is titled "Now We Lustre" after a mondegreen of the song's title when it's reversed.
- Weezer's Live EP The Lion And The Witch was recorded when bassist Scott Shriner had been in the band for less than a year, and it includes him memorably flubbing the lyrics in his backing vocals for the bridge of "Holiday": "We will write a postcard to our friends and family and free-base" instead of "We will write a postcard to our friends and family in free verse". The rest of the band give him some good-natured ribbing for this in the ensuing stage banter.
- Guided By Voices' "The Best Of Jill Hives" came about because Bob Pollard thought he heard that phrase being uttered on a TV he had on in the background, then thought it would be a good song title. Odds are he was actually hearing a promo for Days of Our Lives.
- The common mondegreen "I'm a little man, and I'm also evil, also into cats" ("I'm a leading man, and the lies I weave are oh so intricate") from "This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race" by Fall Out Boy has been acknowledged by the band a few times.
- Aerosmith's "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)" was born from a mishearing. The line (and song name) was supposed to be "Cruisin' for a Lady".
- "DARE" by Gorillaz was supposed to be "It's there", but Shaun Ryder's slurred vocal style made it constantly sound like "dare", so they decided to make that the name of the song.
- Sam Cooke's "Twistin' the Night Away" had the misheard lyric "He's dancing with the chicken slacks." The actual lyric is "He's dancing with the chick in slacks." A Boston-based soul band, The Chicken Slacks, would later name themselves after the mondegreen and further reference it with a bumper sticker they sold at early shows: "I Went Dancin' With The Chicken Slacks".
- The title of Sly and the Family Stones's "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)" was created as an intentional mondegreen of "thank you for letting me be myself again." It's obviously tongue-in-cheek, since the chorus is the one part that isn't especially difficult to understand.
- Mondegreen on the part of the music video director for mind.in.a.box's "Synchronize". The songs lyrics are "stick a needle in my vein", but the music video shows an MRI of sticking a syringe needle in a man's brain as the lyrics are spoken.
- Bobby Hart caught the very end of "Paperback Writer" on the radio and somehow heard "take the last train" instead of the Title Drop. Once he learned that wasn't the actual lyric, he and Tommy Boyce wrote "Last Train To Clarksville" for The Monkees.
- Billie Meyers' "Kiss The Rain" is an example of a song being inspired by mishearing the title of another song, Bush's "Glycerine".
- Animal Collective invokes this intentionally in their song "What Would I Want? Sky." It samples the line "Willow sky. Whoa, I walk and wonder why." from the Grateful Dead track "Unbroken Chain."
- Greg Hawkes, keyboardist for The Cars, misheard the line "Everything you say is fiction" on an early version of the song "I'm In Touch With Your World" as "everything is science fiction." Ric Ocasek decided he liked it better than the original, and sang it that way on the final version, with Hawkes adding an appropriately spacey keyboard noise right afterward.
- Whoever wrote the lyrics on the Stratovarius website mangled a line from one of the band's own songs. A line in "I Walk to My Own Song" is written as "far above the frozen minds", even though Kotipelto is clearly singing "frozen hearts".
- Bastille's hit "Pompeii" includes the line "How am I gonna be an optimist about this?". One fan repeatedly holding up a cardboard cutout of an octopus at the appropriate moment eventually distracted (and amused) the lead singer enough that he sung the wrong line towards the end...
- An amusing Dominican Republic radio request had Corona's "The Rhythm of the Night" being brought as "Esas son Reebok o son Nike?" (Is This The Reebok or the Nike?). In Brazil, it is "Jesus Humilha Satanás" (Jesus Humiliates Satan) due to a comedian imitating such a request and a subsequent Defictionalization.
- In a version of the Christmas song "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" sung by John Denver and The Muppets, Miss Piggy ends up interrupting the song when Gonzo sings "Now give us some figgy pudding", thinking he said "piggy pudding". He has to explain that he said figgy as the pudding is made of figs though, in annoyance, he mutters "and bacon".
- Magazine's "Model Worker" includes the line "I know the cadre will look after me", which makes sense in context. However, some listeners managed to miss that this was a love song phrased in the vocabulary of Chinese communist propaganda, and believed that they heard "I know that Carter will look after me", taking this as some kind of satirical reference to then-US President Jimmy Carter. Lead singer Howard Devoto didn't bother fighting the mistake very hard; when Ronald Reagan replaced Carter as president, he started singing "I know that Reagan will look after me".
- Country Music singer Kathy Mattea has sometimes nicknamed herself "Captain Potato" after someone misheard her name as that phrase.
- 1960s folk band The Seekers and solo artist Sonny James both had versions of the song, "I'll Never Find Another You." The line, "There is always someone for each of us, they say" was misheard by Mr. James as "There is always someone to reach across, they say."
- Not being a Southerner, unlike songwriter Levon Helm, and singing the song only from hearing it, Joan Baez misinterpreted the line in "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" as "Till so much cavalry came" instead of Helm's correct rendition "Till Stoneman's cavalry came", referring to actual Union cavalry commander George Stoneman, noted for destroying Confederate railroads.
- Tony Bennett's "Stranger In Paradise" is sometimes misheard as "Take my hand, I'm a strange-looking parasite", causing hilarity among fans of The Supernaturalist.
- Stan Ridgeway sang in Camouflage (later covered by Sabaton), "I was awfully glad to see that big marine". This has occasionally been misheard as "There's something nasty in the Bain-Marie". Bonus points for the original lyrics sounding like a mondegreen themselves.
- Britney Spears intentionally invoked this in "If You Seek Amy", which sounds like "F.U.C.K. Me" with a space shifted.
- Piano Man by Billy Joel has a line near the end that sounds like "the piano sounds like a carnivore"note
- Many people mishear the opening line of The Smiths' "How Soon Is Now?" as "I am the sun and the air" instead of "I am the son and the heir". This is a justified example as the misheard lyrics are homophones of the correct ones.
- The term was coined by Sylvia Wright in a 1954 essay in Harper's, She describes that as a young girl, she misheard the line "They hae slain the Earl o' Moray/And laid him on the green" from the 17th-century ballad "The Bonnie Earl o' Moray" as "They hae slain the Earl o' Moray/And Lady Mondegreen".
- There was an article in a 1980s Reader's Digest in which the author recounted how, as a child, she thought that the first line went of The Star-Spangled Banner, "O say can you see, by the daunserly light" and kept "daunserly" as her secret, magical word. She was eventually corrected on this by her family when she decided that it couldn't hurt to share that magical word with her sister who, of course, initially had no idea what she was referring to.
- This 1997 article in Billboard magazine discusses several mondegreens that Country Music radio program directors have heard from callers. Among them:
- David Lee Murphy's "Dust on the Bottle" being misheard as "Dust on the Bible"
- Ty England's "Should've Asked Her Faster" being misheard as "Should've Slapped the Bastard"
- The line "Let's all go down to Dumas Walker" from The Kentucky Headhunters' "Dumas Walker" being misheard as " go down to do Miss Walker"
- Billy Ray Cyrus' "Some Gave All" being misheard as "Some Gay Ball"
- In a theatrical parody called Rudolph the Red-Hosed Reindeer about a crossdressing/gay reindeer, the Snowman-narrator sings a song about a woman named "Sylvia Gould" until the Lumberjack corrects him that it's supposed to be "Silver and Gold."
- The version of "Purple Haze" in Guitar Hero World Tour is a live recording and includes the line "'Scuse me while I kiss the sky" modified to "'Scuse me while I kiss this guy" - while he points to a man!
- The song "Second Heaven" in beatmania IIDX contains the line "Somebody scream!" twice, which the fandom misheard as "San-bai ice cream!" ("3-scoop ice cream!") This has since turned into an Ascended Meme; Ryu☆ made a mention of it in the artist's comments when the song appeared in Popn Music. Additionally, Sound Voltex Booth also has a remix of the song, the cover art of which depicts a character holding a 3-scoop ice cream cone.
- In Star Wars: The Old Republic, Doctor Misar thanks a Jedi Player Character by trying to quote the Jedi Catch-Phrase ("May the Force be with you"), which he has misheard as "May the floor be with you."
- The announcer in BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger is known for her questionable pronunciation of "The wheel of fate is turning." This was acknowledged in Skullgirls where the announcer will occasionally start a match with "Gorilla fate is yearning."
- The official strategy guide for Kingdom Hearts I says that you'll hear Sephiroth say, "Sin Harvest" before unleashing his ultimate attack. The actual line is "Descend, Heartless Angel," but it's so fast you can miss the "Angel" part entirely.
- Overwatch has quite a few of these in the form of its many ultimate callouts, which are often in different languages, but perhaps the most notable was Zarya's "Ogon po gotovnosti" ("Fire at will!"), which sounded remarkably close to English upon hearing it, in the general vein of "I'm going for the tobelstein!" Lampshaded by Blizzard, where one of her unlockable sprays is titled "Tobelstein."
- The Runaway Guys popularized a Mondegreen in the Western versions of the first Mario Party (as well as all versions of the sequel): Wario's losing quote. It's actually "So ein mist!" according to the voice actor, but to English-speaking ears it sounds like "D'oh, I missed!".
- Thanks to Chuggaaconroy, the Sunflowers from Super Mario Sunshine can be heard as saying "Ooh, I'd love a dick!"
- In Dragon Ball Fighter Z, one of Ultimate Gohan's stock lines during battle is "I see you!" Unfortunately, he says it so quickly that it sounds like "SHIIEET!" to some people - including Team Four Star, who almost certainly popularized it.
- Elite: Dangerous has a few notable ones that have become memes amongst the community. The lines are all spoken by the ship's onboard AI but due to pronunciation issues as well as other sounds and the intensity and panic of situations most players end up hearing the lines very differently. The newest update also introduces a new male AI voice, which could create more; or lessen the mishearings.
- "Friendship Drive Charging"◊ - instead of Frame-shift charging. Probably the most well-known example due to the sheer amount of times it is said.
- "Landing gear attractive" - Retracted ends up pronounced like Attractive in many situations. Also applies to other devices. Apparently, your ship's AI just can't resist those curvy Sidewinder legs.
- "Shields are fine" - Instead of Shields online. Although both really have more or less the same meaning.
- In a pretty huge coincidence, in both Hotel Mario and Super Mario 64, despite having completely different voices and accents Mario has trouble pronouncing "eh?" and in both instances, sounds rather universally as "Gay" (just look at any comment section featuring the intro to Hotel Mario or the final cutscene in Super Mario 64). Made hilarious by the later edition, which has Mario yell it as an insult to bowser as he flings him
- "Nice of the Princess to invite us over for dinner gay Luigi."
- "So long, gay bowser"
- The chanting in Ghetsis's themes in both Pokémon Black and White and Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 is supposed to be his name. The majority of fans misheard it as Dennis, so it almost immediately became a meme to refer to Ghetsis as Dennis instead of his actual name.
- The lyrics of Guzma's theme in Pokémon Sun and Moon are very commonly misheard. Misheard lyrics include "Rub a dub dub dub" and "Go to hell". The later one was even added in thiscover of the song
- One of Falco's lines while taunting in Super Smash Bros. Melee (The line is also re-used in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Super Smash Bros For Nintendo 3 D Sand Wii U) is "Hands off my prey!". However, many people mishear it as "Hands off my bread!". Seeing as he's a bird, it makes sense.
- This YouTube Poop mondegreens a line from Toy Story. (In case you're wondering, they're actually saying "gangway", as in "clear the way" or more bluntly "get out of the way".)
- The Animutation trilogy, Colin Mochrie vs. Jesus H. Christ, provides misheard English sing-along lyrics for its three non-English songs. They get more plot-important as the videos progress. The first video, "French Erotic Film", only has a reference to "an old blue Scot called Dill" to connect to Colin becoming a Scotsman. "Plan 9 from Underpants" has mondegreens with references to Colin and Andrew Kepple (the creator of the trilogy). By "Conquest of Animutopia", plot-important mondegreens are the norm and ones that sound like non-sequiturs happen less than half the time.
May Colin be defeated,may Colin leave, or arewe wrong, Canadian leader?
- Mentioned in one segment of The Fingertips Project (a music video for "Fingertips" by They Might Be Giants done by members of the Animutation community); during the segment for "I Don't Understand You", mondegreens from "The Bonny Earl O' Murray" (the Trope Namer for "mondegreen") and "Advance Australia Far" appear.
- Many Animutations tend to run on mondegreens to fuel its weird and trippy imagery. See page for examples.
- The Spiritual Successor to Animutations, Buffalaxes (named for said youtuber, Buffalax, who created the genre), also runs on this, albeit usually without the trippy imagery. Unlike animutations, buffalaxes usually shun trippy imagery for the original music video. It's humor comes from the over-the-top offensive and expletive-laden mondegreens. Simply put, while the goal of an animutation artist is to make surreal imagery to go with a mondegreen of the song, the goal of a buffalaxer is to mondegreen the song with lyrics that are as offensive as possible. For example:
- The Indian song Tunak Tunak Tun with English words that sounded like the original Punjabi lyrics. The results are hysterical. "In your yard I am teh Ferengi man, very odd and chunky!"
- Moskau! Moskau! Moskau! Billy is a handyman! Porcelain is the surest plan. Hohohohoho...hey! Moskau! Moskau! Dinah Steeler is too loose. Castro it's the time to lose. Hohohohoho!
- In the same vein as Moskau: Ching! Ching! Dschingis Khan! He liked the ho but then he liked the Hindu better!
- Kinky Tom! Kinky Tom! Here I sell the dog!.
- But sit and fart in the duck
- And lastly, the evergreen Saint Sea Hat! Jew made you a beaten man!
- In Rasputin Catamite attendees at the Christmas concert sing an English-language song phonetically with painful results.
- As Suicide for Hire points out, Nightwish's "Romanticide" apparently includes the lyrics, "Happy haunting, you taco-faced carny fork." (The actual line is, "Happy hunting, you double-faced carnivore.")
- In Weesh, this comes courtesy of Tate, who can't quite get the hang of "Feliz Navidad".
Tate: Fleas on my dog! Prospero baño felicidad! note
- Victor of Com'c is prone to this. In addition, he is a horrible singer and doesn't realize either fact. This trait is shown already in the first str'p.
Marc (singing): We gotta hold on, ready or not...Victor (to himself): Oh, I know that one...Victor (singing off-key): ''YOU GIVE UP THE BRIGHT WHEN IT'S KEPT IN A POT!"note
- Joyce and Walky: "She's got a chicken to ride, an' she don't care!"
- The Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil" was mondegreen'd as "Chimpanzee for the Devil" in College Roomies from Hell!!! (admittedly, by a character who's a Cloud Cuckoo Lander)
- For New Year's 2016, Sasha from Housepets! has yet another take on "Auld Lang Syne".
Should old acquaintance be forgot and never thought to dine
Should olden maintenance be forgot, an owl gang sign
For Owl Gang Signs hoo hoo, for Owl Gang Signs
We'll knock the feathers off your tail throwing Owl Gang Signs
- In one Partially Clips comic, a musician realizes (mid-performance) that the lyrics to Eleanor Rigby isn't "Picks up her eyes", which ruins his interpretation that Eleanor is some kind of alien. This completely ruins his appreciation of the song.
- At the masquerade ball in Girl Genius one of the many guests dressed as famous pop culture characters is cosplaying as Sephiroth, complete with a little gremlin-like creature hanging around his ankles singing a memetically mondegreen'd rendition of 'One-Winged Angel':
...bells, frogs, big cherries, Peter Pan, magic cheese...
- In the "Minions Are Forever" arc of Sluggy Freelance one of Dr. Nofun's subordinates turns "It's Raining Men" into "It's the reign of men."
- In Cracked's article "5 Reasons New Year's Ruins Everything Great About Drinking", number 2 is "The Music", because nobody really knows the lyrics to "Auld Lang Syne":
Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never yab to bye, adaaa dada banana boat, and auld lang synnne.
- In the Rifftrax for New Moon, the commentators joke that one of the songs on the soundtrack seems to say "Armed with your staring fly." The song is Roslyn by bon Iver and St. Vincent and the real words are "Aren't we just terrified?"
- In the Rifftrax for Star Trek: Generations, Kevin makes this something of a Running Gag concerning Patrick Stewart's accent. When Picard tells Kirk that they have to stop the missile launcher for firing the warhead, Kevin grips "There's no time to be sitting in a lawnchair!" And when Picard requests for the ship Farragut to transport him and Riker up, Kevin utters "What did he just call that guy?"
- This little bit from Snopes on an old Disney picture/audio book certainly counts.
- The Archive of Misheard Lyrics, whose website URL comes from a mondegreen of Hendrix "Purple Haze", and Am I Right, are possibly the biggest archives of mondegreens in existence. Yes, you can submit your own.
- The Similou's All This Love inspired a mini fad on YTMND about the famous communist hero, Rainbow Stalin. The actual lyric was "rainbow styling", apparently referring to the wearing of colorful clothing ("In your tank top, rainbow styling")
- Many YouTube videos give you the option to turn on closed captions. On videos where the maker provided the captions, there's no issue. However, the rest of these videos use a speech-to-text program to automatically transcribe the captions, leading to such moments as "Hey, I've been trying to reach you for the past hour. What've you been doing?" being interpreted (or misheard by the program) as "Anytime we put that style what you've been doing?"
- Rammstein writes C# code.
- In The Gamer's Alliance, Rimnerian Songs, named after Craig Rimner who first introduced them to the world, are twisted versions of the songs they are based on and which tend to have naughty or downright incomprehensible lyrics based on the lyrics of the original songs.
- "Hold me closer, Tony Danza," a butchering of "Hold me closer, tiny dancer" by Elton John, became an ascended meme featuring guess who? The Danza.
- Many YouTube videos parody the first section of Carmina Burana, called Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi, based on Mondegreens. Can be found here, here and here.
- BELLS FROGS BING CHERRIES JINGLE BELLS MAGIC CHEESE ("One-Winged Angel" from Final Fantasy VII)
- Introducing: Seleno Gomez and his hit single Laviu, laca no son!
- Green Day's "Know Your Enemy" has an AMV dedicated to the Mondegreen of "Do you know your anime?"
- The John Desire cover of Hot Limit by T.M. Revolution has a ton of these, in no small part thanks to the fact that it was originally a Japanese song that was translated into English and sung by an Italian band. The Animutation We Drink Ritalin has a collection of Mondegreens from the song. To compare, these are supposed to be the actual lyrics.
- Lordi — "Biomechanic Man"
- "Bill Oddie, Bill Oddie, put your hands all over my body" ("Erotic, Erotic, Put your hands all over my body") in Madonna's Erotic.
- Rhettand Link have a series of videos where they intentionally do this with Youtube's caption feature called Caption Fail.
- O-Zone's Dragostea din Tei has been intentionally 'misinterpreted' in other languages, the Japanese version even includes Shout Outs to One Piece, Street Fighter, and Sazae-san. It used to be popular as a drinking song as part of the chorus (numa numa iei) sounds very similar to a Japanese phrase that means "drink, drink, yeah!"
- "Elephants, Yeah!" ("E di pensier," "La donna é mobile" from Verdi's Rigoletto, as sung by Luciano Pavarotti)
- That Dude in the Suede chose Return of the Phantom Stranger as the theme song for his Fandom Stranger series because of this trope.
- Rum Stein by Rammstein.
- ''SHREDDED WHEEEEAAAATTTT!'' The real lyrics are...well...pretty disgusting. However, the mondegreen actually fits the vocals better. It's basically incoherent vocal noises, anyway.
- "Marmoset there'd be days like this..." (actually "Mama said there'd be days like this," by the Shirelles)
- BOAT! RUDDER! STRANGE! MOUNTAIN! STOMP! UKRAINE! THIS! LIME!! From the infamous "Interpretation of Trivium". Trivium have mentioned people turning up to their concerts with T-shirts with these "lyrics" written on, even though it was written by someone who hates Trivium as a form of trolling.
- In a similar vein to the Hungarian mondegreening of Nightwish's "Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan" (see above), someone posted the (also Finnish) Timo Rautiainen & Trio Niskalaukaus song "Lintu" with misheard lyrics, which has gems like "kurváim úszkálnak" ("my bitches are swimming") and "Jaj lányom, szülj te buktát!" ("Oh, my daughter, give birth to a sweetroll!")
- God of War brings us Hold! Devil's! Pot of tea! Hold, devil's, pot of tea! Hold! Devil's! Pot of tea! Hold, devil's, pot of tea Mulan!
- Yumi Kawamura and her Engrishy songs for Persona 3 and Persona 4 are full of this. Here's just one example.
- In an episode of Red vs. Blue, an exhausted and desperate Donut tries to deliver the important and cryptic message "It's under the sand" to Caboose, but because Donut is on the verge of passing out, his words come out as "It's under....thessssssand". Caboose hears it as "It's under this, and...", and Hilarity Ensues.
- Andrew Mathas purposely mondegreens songs to make humorous videos.
- And then there's this little gem "Songs Of Praise with subtitles".
- Here we find out that the Gamecube Wavebird controller has "fudge brownies" inside.
- Slowbeef of Retsupurae once made a video called "A Public Service Announcement to all Lets Players" wherein he attempted to read American Gods by Neil Gaiman whilst ZoopSoul LPed I Wanna Be the Guy. Everytime ZoopSoul dies, Slowbeef interrupts himself and says "Please Stop Lets Playing I Wanna Be The Guy." At one point he gets to the part where Shadow "was (secondly) going to towel himself off" and ZoopSoul ends up dying at that moment. It is commonly misheard as "Second he was going to tell himself, Please Stop Lets Playing I Wanna Be The Guy." In reality it's, "Second he was going to towel himself - Please Stop Lets Playing I Wanna Be The Guy."
- "Old Long Johnson" the cat. "Oh, Don Piano. Why do I despise you all the live long day?"
- The German YouTuber Coldmirror has produced quite a lot of videos mondegreening songs.
- In Naruto: The Abridged Comedy Fandub Spoof Series Show, when Iruka announces the team line-ups in the style of the One Piece theme song, because he likes One Piece, he sings it as "Dreamin'! Don't give it up, Naruto! Dreamin'! Don't give it up, Sakura! Dreamin'! Don't give it up, Sasuke! Dreamin'! Don't give it up, that guy!" The actual lyrics to "Pirate Rap" by Russell Velasquez are "Dream it!", not "Dreamin'!" Again, it's unclear whether this was actually LittleKuriboh's mistake or just Iruka's.
- In the K-pop episode of YouTubers React, Anthony and Ian of Smosh misheard the main line of the Girls' Generation song as "I got a boy on my chin". The real line is part English and part Korean, and translates to "I got a boy, a handsome one". With them being Smosh, this quickly went viral.
- CDZA did a whole video devoted to this phenomenon.
- The Nostalgia Critic
- In his review of Richie Rich, he tries to figure out what Dr. Keanbeane says at one point ("My inventions!").
- In the review of Doug's 1st Movie, characters keep mentioning an In-Universe amusement park called "Funkytown," but he insists they're saying "Fuckytown."
Critic: Stop saying "Fuckytown!" It's a G-rated flick! Learn to pronounce your n's!
- In his sixth review of old commercials, known as Conquest of the Commercials (2015), he mistakes one McDonald's commercial's tagline, "For food, folks and fun", as "For food, fucks, and fun".
- Caddicarus has fun with this when reviewing Vib-Ribbon, pointing out that the songs are full of easy-to-misinterpret Engrish:
♪Sunny day, I wank my Wii / I wake up ass cheeks so fine day♪
- Also, in his George Of The Jungle review, the music is so much louder than the voices that he hears Ursula say:
- This kooky take on The Clash's ''Rock The Casbah''.
- Or this one, singing the praises of stopping the bottom of one's desktop from automatically hiding itself away.
- Taco-Man frequently expresses concern that the title of his Captain N parody, Taco-Man: The Game Master, sounds like, Taco-Man: The Gay Master, if someone puts the AcCENT Upon The Wrong SylLABle.
- Some The Key of Awesome videos end with a rubber ducky singing, "The Key of Awesome!" in a manner that sounds kind of like, "Ducky of Awesome!"
- A Cheezburger Network post featured a prank involving the duo of The Slow Mo Guys with Gavin Free pranking Daniel Gruchy with the Pipboy App. In the video, after he gets pranked, a laughing Gavin says "Sorry, Dan." Somehow, the person who put it up heard it as "Sorry, dad", leading to the article saying that a son pranked his father. It's become a small meme now that Dan is Gavin's father.
- Barracuda's "Ass Up" led to numerous memes about putting giraffes up in the air; As one might guess from the title, the lyric is actually "put your ass up in the air".
- In The Simpsons Archive's Episode Capsule for "Treehouse of Horror II", Homer's "O foul, accursed thing!" was transcribed as "Oh, foe, the cursed teeth! [huh?]"
- Even the subtitles are uncertain what the one-lined end credits to Aqua Teen Hunger Force say. Sometimes it's "Dancing is Forbidden" (this is what it's supposed to be - the sole lyric is sampled from Master Shake saying this line in the first episode), other times it is "Dance Finger Puppets". Sometimes it's even "Danzig is morbidity".
- Family Guy:
- The version of "Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly" on the first Christmas episode ("A Very Special Family Guy Freakin' Christmas"), the lyric was sung by Cleveland and Quagmire as "Deck the balls on Uncle Charlie..." (in syndication, the line is partially muted, so all Cleveland and Quagmire say is "...on Uncle Charlie...")
- "f'in cry" (Stewie's line in the theme song, "Laugh and cry"). A clearer version was used in the third season due to censor complaints, and Stewie has been saying "Laugh and cry" with clarity ever since.
- Peter sometimes does this. For example, he once mispronounced Pewterschmidt as "Pieceofschmidt", Valerie Bertinelli as "Valerie Bertandernie" and Mr. Gutentag as (among many others) "Mr. Googlesearch".
- Angelica once mondegreened the entire song, "My Country, 'Tis of Thee" on an episode of Rugrats, something like this: "My country tears of thee, sweet land of lizardy, of thee I see. Land that my father buyed, land of my chill and pie, From every mountain slide, let freedom ring." She also did something similar with "America the Beautiful" on another episode, which started out "O beautiful, for spaceship eyes..." Later substituting "America, America..." with (what else?) "Angelica, Angelica" And in case that wasn't sufficiently self-centered: "...from me to shining me!" She also managed to mangle the Gilligan's Island opening theme in one of the comics.
- Histeria! did a number on the Pledge of Allegiance, with Loud Kiddington messing up every line. It included the "Richard Stands" mistake and ended, "One naked, undergarments, invisible man, with Liberace and puffed rice for all!"
- The Simpsons has a couple of subtitling mishaps and some straight mondegreens:
- "Moe Baby Blues", when aired on Sky 1, has the line "No means no for Elmo!" subtitled as "A smack in the mouth!"
- "The Last Temptation of Homer", when Bart (imitating Jerry Lewis) says "My voice is crazy with the spraying already!" after getting his throat sprayed, the subtitles ALWAYS have it as "My voice is crazy with this braying already!"
- In "Pokey Mom", when Homer is shown a painting of a unicorn in outer space made by a prison inmate, and asked what it's breathing, he replies "Air." When told that there is no air in space, he replies "There's an Air 'n' Space museum", which gets him thrown out of the prison.
- In "Sweet Seymour Skinner's Baadasssss Song", this exchange.
Superintendent Chalmers: You're fired.
Principal Skinner: I'm sorry, did- did you just call me a liar?
Superintendent Chalmers: No, I said you're fired.
Principal Skinner: Oh. ...That's much worse.
- One episode has Homer claiming that he's been calling Mrs. Krabappel "Krandall", bemoaning the fact that no-one ever corrected him.
- The episode O Brother, Where Bart Thou? had Bart dreaming about different famous brothers, including the Smothers Brothers. The closing credits featured a banter between them in which one brother says "Take it Tom" which is misheard as "Take it Naked Bacon". Homer ends up chiming in that he too heard "Take it Naked Bacon".
But folk singers never say "Take it Naked Bacon".
- In "The Father, the Son and the Holy Guest Star", when Homer questions the way Bart is speaking while saying grace at dinner.
Lisa: That's Latin, Dad, the language of Plutarch.Homer: Mickey Mouse's dog?
- In Ben 10: Ultimate Alien, when Jimmy Jones is naming some of Ben's aliens, he incorrectly identifies Jetray as "Jeffrey". Ben corrects him.
- Total Drama:
- In the premiere episode, Chris tells the contestants during the orientation that they will be using a communal washroom. In the original, un-bowdlerized version, Lindsay misunderstands this as Communion washroom and objects on the grounds that Im not Catholic.
- The most prominent expression of Lindsays Dumb Blonde stereotype is that she routinely butchers peoples names in a mondegreen style. She normally gets either the first consonant sound or the first vowel sound right, and the Lindsay-fied name usually has the right number of syllables; but beyond that, all bets are off.
- In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Applebuck Season", Applejack whips up some particularly nasty muffins (Even Pinkie Pie gets sick from them) because she is so tired she mishears the ingredients.
Pinkie Pie: One last thing: wheat germ!
Applejack: "Wheat worms?" That must be fancy talk for earthworms!
- There was also a a Mondgreen that became Ascended Fanon. When the premier was watched with YouTube captions, the sea serpent was shown with the caption "steven magnet". Fans immediately latched on to that, claiming "Steven Magnet" to be the serpent's name. Come the 100th episode, and he reappears (having not been seen in the 98 episodes in between), and goes by Steven Magnet.
- In Spongebob Squarepants Mr. Krabs tries to ask Mrs. Puff on a date only to become unbearably nervous and start speaking gibberish. In an effort to help, SpongeBob tries to translate his gibberish and comes up with several horrifying answers before finally getting it right. The answers include "He says he'd like to hit you with a rake." and "try and guess your weight!"
- In Animaniacs, Yakko, Wakko and Dot aggravate Ludwig von Beethoven by constantly mistaking the word "Pianist" for..... some other mondegreen that could arguably be heard in lieu. It doesn't help that the way Beethoven pronounces it as 'pea-en-ist' rather than 'pea-an-ist'. It happens again with the Big Bad in Wakko's Wish, where they "mistake" the name Salazar for "Salad Bar".
- In Gravity Falls, Once Stan has all 3 journals, he is heard saying "Finally I/we have them all." The I/we is purposely at a lower volume than the rest of the sentences to keep viewers questioning.
- In the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Cry Freedom Fighters!", Plastic Man rallies the oppressed inhabitants of Qward with a mangled version of "Yankee Doodle".
- The Powerpuff Girls episode "Meet The Beat-Alls" consists mostly of jokes centered around The Beatles references. One of them is the line "Sunday monkey won't play piano song, play piano song", which is how a line in the song "Michelle" which is sung in French ("Sont des mots qui vont tres bien ensemble, Tres bien ensemble") sounds to many English speakers.
- The Madeline episode "Madeline on the Orient Express" has it's plot resulting from this- The chef on the train mistook a customer's request for a snack as snake and thus kidnapped the pet snake of another passenger to cook. This issue was hinted when Madeline asked for an ice cream cone and got a nice green bone instead.
- In the special Toot & Puddle: I'll Be Home for Christmas, a group of goats performs "Fa'owre, my hinny, fa'owre, fa'owre," which translates as "Fall asleep, my honey. Fall asleep, fall asleep." Toot performs it as "Fire away, my ninny, fire away, fire away!" before finally deciding to simply hum.
- In the House of Mouse episode "Not So Goofy", Jose Carioca tells Goofy that he's going to teach him "poise and grace".
Goofy: You want me to poison Grace? I don't even know Grace.
Goofy: And I heard Minnie tell Mickey this building is infested with fleas.(several dog and cat guests run out of the club)Minnie: Goofy, I said the kitchen was low on cheese!
- Goofy does it again in "Dining Goofy" when he attemptted to help Clarabelle with her gossip.
- The Tick: Die Fledermaus has a name that sounds like "Deflator Mouse" to an English speaking audience. Those that have some understanding of German, however, will know that his name is German for "The Bat". Which suits him, as he is a Batman Expy.
- This is half the humor of Beavis and Butt-Head: standard phrases come into the duo's head and comes out as a Double Entendre.
- In an episode of Space Ghost Coast to Coast, Space Ghost quotes one of Beck 's lyrics back to him as "I got two turntables and my mommy's home." instead of "I got two turntables and a microphone.".
- This was also deliberately utilized in the episode "Pavement" during one of Pavement's musical numbers, in which the lyric "Living the high life" is constantly repeated and sounds like "Land of the hot knives".
- The Amazing World of Gumball: In "The Sale", Gumball overhears potential buyers for Mr. Robinson's house talking about the house when they are in the garden. When the man says "their soil", Gumball mishears it as "there's oil" and thinks there's oil underground under the Robinsons' yard.
- Kaeloo: In the episode "Let's Play Peace, Man!", Kaeloo tries to convince Stumpy that peace is better than war. He asks her what he will get out of it, and she says he can win the Nobel Peace Prize. He mishears it as "Frozen Peas Prize" and tells her he doesn't eat peas.
- The Danger Mouse episode "Hear! Hear!" has Penfold turning every statement he hears into a Mondegreen. That's because his ears are full of cotton.
- In "Tales From the Crib" D.W. is telling Vicita the story of the time she began to sleep is a real bed which included the Tibble's story of the scary Arachnar who haunts children that have just gotten a big bed. She tries to reassure Vicita that Arachnar does not exist because he is an "Irving legend", told by one's Uncle Irving, rather than an urban legend. When Vicita points out that she does not have an Uncle Irving, D.W. dismisses him as an Irving legend as well.
- In the episode "Postcards From Buster" D.W. has made several homemade postcards of New York City's famous landmarks, or rather her interpretation of them. They include the "Vampire State Building", "Rocks-of-Falling Center", and the "Statue of Liver Trees".
- The various D.W. Christmas carols on the Arthur's Perfect Christmas album release are all about D.W. doing this with traditional Christmas carols, for example, performing "What Child Is This" as "What time is it when the little hand is pointing at the umbrella stand? Of all the things that Santa brings, I hope one's a digital clock." The gag finally comes to an end when she tries to perform "O Tannenbaum" ("O Christmas Tree") as "O Tanning Mom," resulting in Arthur telling her she can't sing anymore Christmas carols because she doesn't sing them right and her saying she doesn't understand why people like them, given that they aren't even about Christmas.
- Butch Hartman clarified that many people get the lyrics wrong for the theme song of ''Danny Phantom. Many people mishear the very first word, "Young" for "Yo".