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A new mondegreen

April 18, 2017

I’ve always enjoyed mondegreens, that is, creative mishearings of song lyrics, and I came across a good new one the other day. It was in a piece of life writing from a student which I was marking, and it quoted the Lightning Seeds/David Baddiel football song about England’s European Championship bid: “jewels remain still gleaming”.

Of course that should be “Jules Rimet still gleaming”, referring to the 9-inch high solid gold World Cup trophy. But unlike most mondegreens, “jewels remain still gleaming” does actually still make good sense in the context of the song, if we interpret jewels metaphorically, to mean “precious memories” or something of the sort.

P.S. May I bring to your attention my comic fantasy YA novel The Infinite Powers of Adam Gowers – here is the link: https://unbound.com/books/adam-gowers . Go there and you will see a neat little 2-minute video of me explaining why the time for this novel has come! And if you support it you will get your name in the back and an invitation to the launch party.

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9 Comments
  1. Simon Carter permalink

    Some old favourites
    From Bohemian Rhapsody:
    Scare a moose, scare a moose, can you do the fandango?
    Spare me my life from these warm sausages.
    From Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.
    The girl with colitis goes by.
    From Message in a Bottle.
    I hope that someone gets my massage in a brothel.

  2. Simon Carter permalink

    When the theme from M*A*S*H – Suicide is Painless – was a hit my Mother-in-Law spent weeks singing Suicide is Pointless which raises its own philosophical point.
    The lyrics were written in five minutes by director Robert Altman’s son Mike who was 14 at the time. Altman claimed he was paid $70,000 for directing while Mike made $1,000,000 for the song.

  3. Mark Brafield permalink

    Again, these may have been posted before as mondegreens often return here, but also in ‘Message in a bottle’ a schoolfriend of mine thought that Sting was singing about Sue Lawley, the foxy presenter of Nationwide at the time, rather than ‘so lonely’, whilst my particular favourite occurred in the chorus of the theme tune to Ghostbusters (and which I still sing today); ‘Who you gonna call ?… those bastards’.

  4. Simon Carter permalink

    There was an advert for Maxell tapes based on Desmond Dekker’s The Israelites which included the lyrics “sold to every monk and beef head,
    Oh, me ears are alight”.

  5. Tim Crannigan permalink

    I guess one of the most famous (‘scuse me while I kiss this guy’ from Hendrix’s “Purple Haze”) also fits as it works in context. And I believe ‘Louie Louie’ (The Kingsmen) was banned in many states and the FBI investigated it – for misheard, presumed obscene lyrics. Ah, days of innocence!

  6. Simon Carter permalink

    The F.B.I. did investigate Louie Louie but it’s now believed to have been a canny marketing scam by the record company. Odd that an organisation that consistently denied the existence of the mafia would be concerned with misheard lyrics. Maybe J. Edgar Hoover shared Brandon’s enthusiasm for mondegreens.

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