10 Commonly Misheard Lyrics That Make Us Miss a Beat

One of the many beauties of music is that it is easy to get lost in. There is an otherworldly bliss that comes with getting tangled up in a melody and wrapped into a beat. That is until you hear something that completely stops you in your tracks. Hold me closer … Tony Danza?

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We’ve covered a few before, but below are 10 more misheard lyrics that make us miss a beat.

1. “Suspicious Minds” – Elvis Presley

Against fumbling strings and swelling keys, Elvis’ intoxicating croon rumbles, We’re calling a trout. The 1968 Presley classic … wait what? That can’t be right.

And it’s not. “Suspicious Minds” harbors some of the star’s most misheard lyrics. With his hearty baritone, full of passion and power, some lyrics tend to roll off his tongue and fall on listeners’ ears as something they’re not.

When he sings We’re caught in a trap, it sounds like We’re calling a trout or Recording a track. When he belts out With suspicious minds in the chorus, it could easily be mistaken as ‘Cause the fish is mine.

We’re caught in a trap
I can’t walk out
Because I love you too much, baby
Why can’t you see
What you’re doing to me
When you don’t believe a word I say?

We can’t go on together
With suspicious minds (suspicious minds)
And we can’t build our dreams
On suspicious minds

2. “Bette Davis Eyes” – Kim Carnes

Kim Carnes’ 1981 new wave hit “Bette Davis Eyes” is another tune that frequently gives listeners pause. In the haze of Carnes’ breathless vocals and the song’s wistful synth arrangement, some lyrics tend to get lost in translation.

Haul the bathtub just to please you is often heard in place of All the better just to please you.

And she’ll tease you
She’ll unease you
All the better just to please you
She’s precocious and she knows just
What it takes to make a pro blush
She got Greta Garbo stand off sighs
She’s got Bette Davis eyes

3. “Billie Jean” – Michael Jackson

“Billie Jean” is one of Michael Jackson’s most memorable hits, but mainly because of what the lyrics don’t actually say. The pop icon is not singing Billie Jean is not my mother or The chair is not my son. It’s lover, not mother and the chair is actually the kid.

The impassioned hit is led by its irresistible beat and Jackson’s breathless delivery that the words don’t seem to matter that much.

Billie Jean is not my lover
She’s just a girl who claims that I am the one
But the kid is not my son
She says I am the one, but the kid is not my son

4. “Chasing Pavements” – Adele

Should I give up / Or should I just keep chasing penguins? Adele asks in her 2008 breakout hit, “Chasing Pavements.” But that can’t be right, right? No. Like many of Adele’s numbers, the song brings emotion. Somewhere along with way, the actual lyric pavements gets muddied and mistaken for penguins.

Should I give up?
Or should I just keep chasing pavements?
Even if it leads nowhere
Or would it be a waste?
Even If I knew my place, should I leave it there?
Should I give up?
Or should I just keep chasing pavements?
Even if it leads nowhere

5. “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)” – Eurythmics

The Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)” is another track with lyrics that tend to get swept up in the zingy composition, its bubbling synths, and whip-cracking beat. Sweet dreams are made of cheese is one commonly heard lyric instead of the correct line, Sweet dreams are made of this.

Sweet dreams are made of this
Who am I to disagree?
I’ve traveled the world and the seven seas
Everybody’s lookin’ for something

6. “Bad Moon Rising” – Creedence Clearwater Revival

Creedence Clearwater Revival’s rambling rock classic, “Bad Moon Rising,” can sometimes meander into the unusual when a line like There is a bad moon on the rise is perceived as There’s a bathroom on the right. It’s an odd lyric to include in a song, but a handy one nonetheless.

Don’t go around tonight
Well it’s bound to take your life
There’s a bad moon on the rise, alright

7. “Forever in Blue Jeans” – Neil Diamond

The building jangle of Neil Diamond’s country-tinged soft rocker, “Forever in Blue Jeans,” is infectious, a bright sound that sweeps listeners up and has them asking, who’s Reverend Blue Jeans?

And as long as I can have you here with me / I’d much rather be / Reverend Blue Jeans, babe is a fun chorus that evokes images of a cool preacher who’s hip with the congregation, but alas, the tune goes, I’d much rather be / Forever in Blue Jeans.

Money talks
But it can’t sing and dance and it can’t walk
And long as I can have you here with me
I’d much rather be forever in blue jeans, babe

8. “Dancing Queen” – ABBA

ABBA’s beloved 1976 euro-disco hit, “Dancing Queen,” turns ugly if you’re not listening carefully. Commonly misheard as See that girl / watch her scream / kicking the dancing queen, the song’s chorus turns into a horror show with the flip-flop of a few letters.

The original See that girl / watch that scene / digging the dancing queen is more our speed.

You are the dancing queen
Young and sweet
Only seventeen
Dancing queen
Feel the beat from the tambourine, oh yeah
You can dance
You can jive
Having the time of your life
Ooh, see that girl
Watch that scene
Digging the dancing queen

9. “We Will Rock You” – Queen

Queen’s anthemic bop, “We Will Rock You,” is another that can send chills up the spine if misheard. The usual lines Pleadin’ with your eyes / gonna make you some peace someday sound a lot better than Bleedin with your eyes / gonna make you some beef someday. And frontman Freddie Mercury would never sing about kickin’ your cat all over the place.

Buddy, you’re a young man, hard man
Shouting in the street, gonna take on the world someday
You got blood on your face, you big disgrace
Waving your banner all over the place

We will, we will rock you, sing it!
We will, we will rock you

Buddy, you’re an old man, poor man
Pleading with your eyes, gonna make you some peace someday
You got mud on your face, big disgrace
Somebody better put you back into your place

10. “Louie Louie” – The Kingsmen

“Louie Louie” is probably music’s most notoriously misheard song, so much so that its lyrics sparked their share of controversy in the early 1960s. The words—flowing lackadaisically from The Kingsmen’s garbled jaws—were thought to be obscene and caused several government agencies, even the FBI, to launch an investigation into what those no-good rockers were poisoning teenagers with.

Three night and day, I sail the sea / Fuck a girl a-constantly / On that ship, I dream she there / I felt a hole a-in her hair are the words the pearl-clutching powers that be claimed the band was slurring. However, they were actually singing Three night and day, I sail the sea / I think of a girl constantly / On that ship, I dream she there / I smell the rose in her hair.

Three nights and days me sail the sea
Me think of girl constantly
On the ship I dream she there
I smell the rose in her hair

Louie, Louie, me gotta go
Louie, Louie, me gotta go

Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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