Hal Meggison always wondered why Paul Simon was singing, “She’s got diamonds on the sofa machine,” and was not comforted to learn that she’s actually got diamonds on the soles of her shoes. Helen Garvey heard a 3-year-old child singing, “Who is the daddy of the angel Aquarius?” and it’s a good question.
Jennifer Cavalli’s friend heard Pearl Jam sing “She can’t find a pyramid,” although “Better Man” is the name of the song. And Tama Blough somehow thought the balladeer was longing for “someone to walk over me,” which was a little too pre-feminist for her tastes.
Erica Kelly heard Steve Winwood sing “bring me a higher love” as “bring me an iron lung,” an equally poignant sentiment.
And then there’s Anne, who failed to give her last name in her fine e-mail communication, who thought that the chorus of “Tubthumping” was “I’ve got no down, but I’ve got overhead,” making it a rousing ditty about a heavily leveraged mortgage banker (actual lyric: “I get knocked down, but I get up again.”).
She also believed that TAFKAPrince wanted “your estrogen and your kiss” (actually: “extra time”), while her husband went around singing “Werewolves and Thunder” (actually: “Werewolves of London.”) What a zany family!
An entirely anonymous e-mailer wrote: “While I was riding in the car with my father in 1975, he asked in bewilderment, as Van McCoy’s disco-era anthem boomed from the tinny car radio, ‘Why do they keep saying, “Tuna hot dog?”’ The correct phrase, of course, is ‘Do the hustle,’ but I still hear it the other way.”
BEWILDERINGLY, DIANA ROSE heard Hank Williams Jr. sing, “I’ve got on the clothes I’m wearing,” which was like, duh, only later learned it was “I don’t own the clothes I’m wearing,” which was only marginally more sensible.
Alexander van Broek heard Paul Simon sing “Mama don’t take my clothes and throw ‘em away,” while Jan Nickum’s son heard the same lyric as “Mama don’t take my chromosomes away,” which is closer to “don’t take my Kodachrome away,” which the singer enjoys because of its nice bright colors, its greens of summer, etc.
Donna Blow heard Elvis sing, “Wise men say, only fools love ships,” which is an odd thing for wise men to say. Actually: “Fools rush in.”
ANDREA FRANK’S CHUM Sean Rozell heard the Police sing, “When the world is running down, you make the best homemade stew around,” which is very homey, although not “you make the best of what’s still around.”
By contrast, Chris Johnk heard the Police line “We are spirits in the material world” as “We are Cheerios in the bowl upstairs.” By further contrast, Velva Hampton heard those very same Police sing, “You live your life like a canary in a coma.”
Michael Dorman’s wife heard the Red Hot Chili Peppers sing, “With the bourbon I’ll share this lonely view,” which is actually more decadent than the real “with the birds I’ll share this lonely view.”
Jim Ayres was convinced that the Jefferson Airplane sang, “When the turkey’s found to be lies” (some anti-Thanksgiving reference, perhaps) and was disappointed by “When the truth is found to be lies.” Similarly, Meg Rosenfield still prefers the JA’s Summer-of-Lovish “And when she speaks, the whole world blesses the grass” to “when she speaks, oh what a pleasant surprise!”
Daniel Bernstein heard “Mighty square faces going ticktock to love” from “Addicted to Love.” David Phillips commemorates the death of Hoyt Axton with “Joy to the world, all the boys and girls, joy to officials in the deep blue sea.” Fishes! Creighton Bell heard Eric Clapton’s “living on Tulsa time” as “living on toast and wine,” which is Claptonesque indeed.
Finally: Jenny Sill-Holeman heard her husband singing the basketball player’s lament: “Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m 6 feet 4?”