Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Haathi ka andala

One more on rock music lyrics. “Mishearing” of lyrics is perhaps as old as rock music itself. With lyrics tightly enmeshed in layers of high-decibel electric music, chances of getting them messed up are quite high. And embarrassing, too, at times.

You might be ostracised at rock concerts if you sing She don’t mind, She don’t mind, She don’t mind, Cocaine. The Lynn Trusses of the rock world will cry sacrilege and dunk your head in a barrel full of Woodstock mud. JJ Cale, and later Eric Clapton, had sung this song as She don’t lie, she don’t lie, she don’t lie, Cocaine. Why, I don’t know. The former interpretation makes more sense.

Again, an American was humbled when he was told that the refrain in the Beatles song Across the Universe was Jai guru deva, and not John grew a K-mart. Poor John must have turned in his grave.

So, don’t fret if you regularly mishear lyrics. You are not the only one. This website shows us how most of us mishear lyrics. It also allows you to relate the embarrassing moments you have faced because of this peculiar affliction.

Go ahead and add to the website how the whole country misheard Aati kya khandala as Haathi ka andala. And how most of us would deliberately like to mishear/mis-sing the old favourite: Gori tera gaon bara pyaara.

PS: Dont miss the gem of an anecdote that explains the naming of the URL.


At 8:55 AM, Blogger ace of spades said...

this sort of a post was long time coming...nice reading.
brought to mind my favourite misheard lyrics. just goes to show how obsessive the human mind is..be it on a "gori's gaon" or on a number..69 anyone?

At 9:29 AM, Blogger km said...

My personal stages of "Cocaine" (all ages are approximate, of course!):

"she don't mind, she don't mind" (when I was 15)

"she gets high, she gets high" (I was 17)

"she don't like, she don't like" (when I was 18)

"she don't try, she don't try" (when i was 20)

At 21, I discovered the Cale original :)) Still not too clear what the "message" of the song is. At this stage, I don't think I care. What I do like about it is that Cale stole the opening riff from Cream (Sunshine) and Clapton avenged it by making the song completely his own!

At 10:59 AM, Blogger GhostOfTomJoad said...

In the years I was growing up and had just acquired my first HMV turn-table (and I still swear by LPs), my favourite song, or the one that I used to play most frequently at any rate, along with Billy Joel's 'My Life', used to be 'Let It Be' by the Beatles. Now my mother isn't exactly what you'd call a hardcore fan of my music (my father stopped being one the day he heard Leonard Cohen say: I love to see you naked over there/especially from the back.) She'd ask anyone who cared to listen why I was listening to the lullaby song all the time. How 'Let It Be' became 'lullaby' remains a mystery! :-)

Great post!

At 11:58 AM, Blogger Tridib said...

Good post. There's a word in the English language for misheard song lyrics: mondegreen. In fact the etymology of the word is interesting. This is from wikipedia: "The word "mondegreen" is itself a mondegreen. The American writer Sylvia Wright coined it in an essay "The Death of Lady Mondegreen", which was published in Harper's Magazine in Nov. 1954. She wrote:

When I was a child, my mother used to read aloud to me from Percy's Reliques. One of my favorite poems began, as I remember:
Ye Highlands and ye Lowlands,
Oh, where hae ye been?
They hae slain the Earl Amurray, [sic]
And Lady Mondegreen.
The actual line is "And laid him on the green", from the anonymous 17th century ballad "The Bonnie Earl O' Murray"."
A very famous mondegreen: "The ants are my friends, they are blowing in the wind." Obviously, someone wasn't paying attention to Bob Dylan's words, when he sang, "The answer my friend is blowing in the wind."

At 12:15 PM, Blogger M (tread softly upon) said...

This one was a fun post. reminds me of how many times I've made up words for songs that i did not understand. The one that I still laugh about is "kya Hua tera wada" which when I was 9 years old and did not know much hindi sounded like "kya hua Hiawatha". Hiawatha being a character from my english text book. It made perfect sense that the singer was asking Hiawatha about what was wrong.

At 3:27 PM, Blogger Ghetufool said...

nice post 'bhool on the pill' (dangerous isn't it, explains why india is such a populous country).

At 5:16 PM, Blogger Arthur Quiller Couch said...

Thanks for the link, Phoolon da Bheel (Foulon de Ville?)
And thanks for the Lady, Tridib.

I'd grumble about Tom Joad finding his way EVERYwhere, only he's a Billy Joel type and that gets him immunity. (I had not told ye, fools, so much / save that I heard your singing man)

At 8:35 PM, Blogger N said...

There's a song (party, dance types) that goes "It's your birthday". I insist on hearing "Is she worth it" despite numerous friends telling me I'm wrong. :) Nice post.

At 11:22 PM, Blogger Patient Portnoy said...

Nice idea for a post, Fool.

Here's one for your archive, something I later found that quite a number of people had confused: When I was a kid I was always too embarassed to sing Nazia Hassan's sexy "Aap Jaisa Koi Meri Zindagi Mein Aaye..."

I loved the song, but always thought the second line was "To Baap Ban Jaye..."

At 12:46 AM, Blogger kaushik said...

I was about to write about Baap Ban Jaye.. And her I see someone already there with it..

At 4:23 AM, Blogger Kusum Rohra said...

oh god did ghetu fool say bhool on the pill ... LOL... I remember i always thought it was Is it real baby or a brid in the sky instead of brilliant disguise :)

At 11:03 PM, Blogger TheLadyLazarus said...

Haha. Poor John. John grew a k-mart indeed.

At 12:39 AM, Blogger J said...

Well, nobody can me better than me in the art of mishearing lyrics.
Don't ask me how bad I am. shy is coming :)

At 7:43 AM, Blogger Prerona said...

as big a beatles-maniac as the name implies?

At 9:34 AM, Blogger A fool on the hill said...

Ace: The Greenday link was fascinating. Thanks.

Km: Cream's Sunshine is great! And the three stages of Cocaine mishearing had me in splits! Some people like Dylan and Springsteen are bound to be mishreard because of their twang.

Ghostoftomjoad: Your dad was quite justified in his move! And 'Let it be' does sound like a gospel lullaby!

Tridib: Mondegreen? Stand enlightened. Think I will change the title of this post now! The Dylan mondegreen was hilarious!

M (tread softly upon): Kya hua haiwatha? Hahhah! This wins the Mother of Mondegreens award.

At 9:35 AM, Blogger A fool on the hill said...

Ghetufool: How do you come up with such gems? What do you eat?

Arthur Quiller Couch: I would rather like Foulon de Ville! And, I reserve my opinions on Billy Joel.

Anindita: That’s the spirit. Keep on singing it that way, or any other way you like. But don’t do that to Robindroshongeet.

Portnoy: I like this new kid on the blog! Your Crash review was great. The Nazia Hasan mishearing was a national phenomenon.

Kaushik: There you go. There is very little left to be discovered in this world!

Kusum: Bird in the sky? LoL!

Theladylazarus: John grew a K-mart was so American. They are geniuses at dumbing down things!

J: Thanks for coming here after a long hiatus! Don’t get embarrassed. Sing them any way you like. And do tell me what all have you misheard. Will create an archive of Indian songs misheard and then post them!

At 1:07 AM, Blogger The Marauder's Map said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 1:15 AM, Blogger The Marauder's Map said...

My mom told me this one. After the film Kati Patang was released, a friend of hers told her in scandalised tones that the song Yeh shaam mastani was a total chhee chhee one.

Why? Because she thought the line that actually went mujhe dor koi kheenche, teri ore liye jaye was mujhe do koi cheezen, teri ore liye jaye.

This never fails to bring on a fit of giggles.

At 5:31 AM, Blogger Kusum Rohra said...

Knock knock, doesn't anyone update this blog any more ??

At 6:59 AM, Blogger Tabula Rasa said...

"tongue tied twisted, just an earth bound biscuit"
- pink floyd, learning to fly.

At 1:52 AM, Blogger scout said...

Funny! But the funniest I've heard is 'Excuse me, while I kiss this guy' - Purple Haze indeed.

At 5:15 AM, Blogger scout said...

Oh, now that I looked at the link and the website - you already know. :P

At 6:44 AM, Blogger J. Alfred Prufrock said...

Long sabbatical, sir.
We await your return.


At 10:52 AM, Blogger A fool on the hill said...

Marauder's: Family secrets! How come I didn't know that one?

Kusum: Here I am, maam. And thanks for remembering the Fool.

Tabula rasa: Welcome to the Machine, friend. Kantian name. Or is it Kantesque?
That was a great mondegreen: Misfit can always be misheard as biscuit! Har har!

Scout: Welcome aboard. Hendrix lyrics is always difficult to pick up. "Kiss this guy" indeed made for a great story.

J.A.P: Honoured by your request. Sabbatical? Maybe it was blogger overkill.

At 3:25 AM, Blogger chumkisingh said...

loved this post. It's hilarious!!! :o)
I ve my moments too.
Lucy in the Sky with Diamond -
'Everyone smiles as you drift past the flowers that grow so incredibly high' still is '...the flowers, the girl's so incredibly high'. Maybe Lucy and LSD together made me come up my own lyrics. :o)
And it was always like "She dont like, she dont like, she dont like, Cocaine". and I'd think if she doesnt like cocaine, what's the use of singing the song???
"..baap ban jaye" - I used those lines all my life. :o)

At 12:24 PM, Blogger A fool on the hill said...

Chumki Singh: Thanks. "girl's so incredibly high" seemed so appropraite for the song!
And Cocaine is one confusing song. Clapton's other one "I shot the Sheriff" made it to the hall of fame of songs with meaningless lyrics. "But I didn't shoot the deputy" was the second line. Nobody knows why he didn't shoot the deputy! Even he didn't, I guess.

At 10:00 PM, Blogger Shuv said...

thanks man! i had lost track of this site 5 yrs back..

a friend of mine used to sing 'common baby light my fire' and 'Harris, who the fuck is harris'..

btw..i shot the sheriff is originally a bob marley song. its about his life in a Kingston ghetto.

At 5:19 AM, Blogger Cyberswami said...

And possibly the worst one that I have heard:

Eiffel 65, and their shit song called Blue, with the refrain going something like:

"I'm blue da ba dee da ba dieeee da ba dee da ba dieee..."

Misheard, whether intentionally or otherwise, as:

"I'm blue if I was green I would die if I was greeeen I would die..."


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