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#1
Old 02-04-2003, 06:59 PM
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Secret Asian Man -- and other misunderstood lyrics

As I kid, I heard the song before seeing the TV program, and I heard "Secret ASIAN Man". I thought to myself, "Well how big a secret can it be? And why is it a secret?"

Secret Asian Man
Secret Asian Man
They've given you a number
And taken 'way your name

I was a pretty sophisticated kid (I thought), and thought this was something the Communist Chinese did.

It was, of course, Johny Rivers singing Secret AGENT Man (FYI for you young kids who've never heard the song and who's very existemce remind me of how old I am).

Any similar stories?
#2
Old 02-04-2003, 07:04 PM
Zoe Zoe is offline
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A misunderstood lyric is known as a mondegreen, I think. My personal favorite is from Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds:

"The girl with colitis goes by..."
#3
Old 02-04-2003, 07:06 PM
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Led Zepplin's "Whole Lotta Love:"

"Keep a coolie baby, keep a coolie baby..."

I guess he could help with housework when he gets older.
#4
Old 02-04-2003, 07:07 PM
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Hie thee to Kissthisguy.com. (Warning: Popups within).
#5
Old 02-04-2003, 07:07 PM
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I used to think that 'Twist and Shout' had a line that went 'shakin' a baby' rather than 'shake it up baby'.
#6
Old 02-04-2003, 07:26 PM
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"And so we watched, elated, as the mirror told it's tale"
Perceived as a line in Procol Harum's A Whiter Shade of Pale for years.
#7
Old 02-04-2003, 07:29 PM
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Until this very night, I thought in "Pour Some Sugar On Me" by Def Leppard, the line was ...

"Do you take sugar?
Want love for sure!"

Apparently it's:

"Do you take sugar?
One lump or two?"

Who knew?
#8
Old 02-04-2003, 07:29 PM
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yojimboguy:

Quote:
As I kid, I heard the song before seeing the TV program, and I heard "Secret ASIAN Man". I thought to myself, "Well how big a secret can it be? And why is it a secret?"
As a matter of fact, Rush Limbaugh played this tune using those twisted lyrics whenever he used to discuss the illegal Clinton campaign contributions from the Chinese scandal.
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#9
Old 02-04-2003, 07:38 PM
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"Big Ol' Jed and Lina," instead of "Big ol' jet airliner," by the Steve Miller Band. I figured Jed and Lina were some obese couple who couldn't carry each other very far (next line being, "Don't carry me too far away").
#10
Old 02-04-2003, 07:40 PM
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Why is Bono singing about an Electric Toaster in that new U2 song?

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#11
Old 02-04-2003, 07:44 PM
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Even though I know the real lyrics, I still hear Johnny Rivers singing "secret asian man." Every time. It's amazing how much he slurs those syllables.

Also, in "Jokerman," by Bob Dylan, I always heard a great, wonderfully descriptive, line about "a small dark look on his face." I was stunned to find out the real lyrics were, "A small dog licking his face." What was he thinking?
#12
Old 02-04-2003, 07:47 PM
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In the CCR song "Bad Moon Rising," my friend thought John Fogarty said "There's a bathroom on the right" instead of "There's a bad moon on the rise." And in Steve Miller Band's "Jet Air Liner," he thought it was "Bingo Jeb had a light on."

I suspect he was being deliberately obtuse.
#13
Old 02-04-2003, 08:00 PM
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"'scuse me, while I kiss this guy"

That's one of the most classic misinterperetations in a song.
#14
Old 02-04-2003, 08:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Splanky
"'scuse me, while I kiss this guy"

That's one of the most classic misinterperetations in a song.
Which is why the link I provided earlier in this thread is to a website called http://kissthisguy.com.
#15
Old 02-04-2003, 08:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by gatopescado
Why is Bono singing about an Electric Toaster in that new U2 song?
Ack! Mine's about U2 and a toaster too! I wonder if it's more common than I think...

For years, when I heard U2's "Where the Streets Have No Name" (one of my favorite U2 songs), I heard this line...

Quote:
I want to feel sunlight on my face
I see the toaster disappear
Without a trace
Imagine my dismay when a friend of mine pointed out the real meaning, which seemed so obvious I can't believe I never heard it before:

Quote:
I want to feel sunlight on my face
I see the dust cloud disappear
Without a trace
Yeah, pretty much sums up my reaction.
#16
Old 02-04-2003, 08:43 PM
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One of my favorite "bumpers" (Short promos that a radio station plays about itself) from WLUP Chicago went

Playing the songs you know

<cut to a voice of an apparent caller to the station requesting a song>

Can't talky talk love!

<Back to the announcer>

Or at least you think you do

The correct line, from a Van Halen song is "Can't Talk About Love"
#17
Old 02-04-2003, 08:44 PM
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Blah.. The wrong caller is affecting me.. I mean "Ain't Talkin Bout Love" of course
#18
Old 02-04-2003, 09:49 PM
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One of the SD books, the blue one, I think, has a discussion of this in it lifted from (I beleive) the old AOL boards. Wouldn't be surprised if the old-school Dopers were in that one.

Tom Petty "Don't wanna limp like a referee."
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#19
Old 02-04-2003, 09:52 PM
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Billy Joel's Piano Man

"...and the piano, it sounds like a carnivore..."
#20
Old 02-04-2003, 09:52 PM
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Funny thing about "Secret Agent Man": I play on an intramural hockey team, and last year one of the players was Asian. SOmetimes, a couple of the fans that came to our games got drunk, and whenver that guy did something good in the game, they would actually sing "Secret ASIAN Man," yelling the Asian part as load as they could. Needles to say, they got in trouble a few times when other people of Asina decent just happen to be at the hockey game (and when I say a few, I mean a lot, since we got to a school with a very high percentage of international students)
#21
Old 02-04-2003, 09:56 PM
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My wife for years thought that the song "Don't fear the reaper" was "do you feel the reefer."
And I knew a lieutenant in the Army that thought the "Jeremy spoke in class today" was saying "Jeremy smoked grass today."
#22
Old 02-04-2003, 10:01 PM
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Duran Duran's "New Moon on Monday" (wait, it is Duran Duran, right?). I thought it was, "New Lunar Monday".
#23
Old 02-04-2003, 10:03 PM
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This is really true! I thought the Beatles tune "Paperback Writer" was "Take the Back Right Turn" for years!
#24
Old 02-04-2003, 10:05 PM
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When I was a kid my uncle gave me a baby duck. I wanted to name it Rosie, because of that Neil Diamond song "Quacking Rosie."
#25
Old 02-04-2003, 10:11 PM
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you picked a fine time to leave me lucille
with four hundred chidren and a crop in the field
#26
Old 02-04-2003, 10:38 PM
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"Groovin' (on a Sunday Afternoon)" always had me confused.

One of the lines goes:

Life would be ecstasy,
You and me endlessly


I always thought they sang:

You and me and Leslie

For the longest time, I couldn't figure out who Leslie was. I was a kid when I first heard the song, figured it was the daughter of either the singer or the object of his affection. When I got older, I thought it might be hinting at a threesome.
#27
Old 02-04-2003, 10:51 PM
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I've always found KMFDM to be a good source of misheard lyrics, personally. In their song, "Flesh", the actual line is:

There's a rusty halo on my head.

Whereas I had heard it (until just about a week ago, when it "clicked") as:

There's a must and hate all on my head.
#28
Old 02-04-2003, 10:59 PM
Screwing the unscrutable.
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I had a friend that for years, insisted the Carly Simon song You're So Vain contained the line:

Quote:
You flew your rear end to Nova Scotia, to see the total eclipse of the sun...
when it actually is:

Quote:
You flew your LearJet to Nova Scotia...
Had to buy the sheet music to convince her...this was in the days before the Internet - and (gasp) home computers!
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#29
Old 02-04-2003, 11:01 PM
dp dp is offline
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a real off the wall one here

does anyone remember a novelty song from the 70's, The Streak, by Ray Stevens?

its a song about streaking, running in the nude, in public


toward the end of the song Stevens ad libs: Ethel, you shamless hussy!

i thought he said: Ethel, you shave that pussy.

it did fit with the subject matter of the song .
#30
Old 02-04-2003, 11:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Zoe
A misunderstood lyric is known as a mondegreen, I think.
Yep, it most definitely is. Check out these links for more.

One of my favorite ones is taken from a hymn:

Real: "Galdly the cross I'd bear.."
Misheard: "Gladly, the cross-eyed bear.."

F_X
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#31
Old 02-04-2003, 11:49 PM
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Not mine, but a Japanese friend once told me he originally thought the limbo song (and associated dance) were "bimbo" (Japanese for "poor", and that the people doing it were trying to get money.
#32
Old 02-04-2003, 11:49 PM
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Quote:
You flew your rear end to Nova Scotia, to see the total eclipse of the sun...
Thanks for the great laugh!!
#33
Old 02-05-2003, 12:37 AM
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I love the song "Secret asian man" by davinci's notebook
#34
Old 02-05-2003, 12:45 AM
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Madonna: "Last night I dreamt of some bagels."

I musta been hungry when I went to bed.
#35
Old 02-05-2003, 12:48 AM
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There was a song by Boston where they have a line like "I don't care if I get behind" (?), but what I heard was "I don't care about FBI."

When Chicago released "Hard to say I'm sorry," they sang, "After all that we've been through." My brother thought it was "After all the hooey we've been through."

#36
Old 02-05-2003, 02:19 AM
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Courtesy of my sister:

"Say you, say me/Favor old ladies/That's the way it should be"

(Rather than "Say it for always" there in the middle.)

I believe "Pour Some Sugar on Me" is quite possibly one of the most mis-heard songs in the universe. I've actually rewritten almost the entire song using various genuine mondegreens I've collected: http://fergo.eshire.net/sugar.htm

I need to update it to include Jack Batty's lyric and also the one from the cell phone commercial where the guy thinks it's "Pour some shook-up Ramen!"
#37
Old 02-05-2003, 05:39 AM
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I used wonder what Kenny and Dolly meant when they sung...

Ireland's industry, that is what we are

I though that Dollywood was relocating to County Leitrim.

An Irish breakfast radio show used to have one of these every morning - one of the best was Atlantic Star's...

Here we are
The two of us together,
Taking this crazy chance,
To pee on the lawn
#38
Old 02-05-2003, 06:09 AM
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Remember the ABC song?
I thought the line was
"When Smokey sings I hear volence"

Of course I know now that when smoke sang, Martin Fry heard VIOLINS
#39
Old 02-05-2003, 06:33 AM
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There was a song by the group called "The Band". I don't remember the song name, but I used to hear it all the time when I was little and sitting in the car with my parents.

The actual line was: "I know she's attractive..."

In my version, I used to belt out: "I know she's a tractor..."

My parents still haven't let me forget it.
#40
Old 02-05-2003, 07:57 AM
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The other one that always gets me ...

"Rocket Man" by Elton John.

In fact at this very moment, I can't think of the actual lyrics. Every once in a while I'll look it up and say to myself, "Oooh, I see. That makes sense." But in my head right now:

"Rocket man ... early morning fools don't help me none."

And now I'll just go look it up ... and I see that it's actually:

"Rocket Man ... burning out his fuse up here alone."

Oooh, I see. That makes sense.
#41
Old 02-05-2003, 09:48 AM
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Elton John's song Tiny Dancer

A friend of mine sang along with it:

"Hold me closer Tony Danza"

And now I can't hear it any other way.
#42
Old 02-05-2003, 09:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Deadly Nightlight
I love the song "Secret asian man" by davinci's notebook
Eh. I prefer "Kingdom in the Sky".
#43
Old 02-05-2003, 09:59 AM
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blinded by the light

There was on old song, probalby a one hit wonder, by a band called Honeycomb.
It was called Want Ad
about a woman who puts a want ad in the paper for a guy!
This was a new idea back then (the 60's).

Experience in love preferred
but we'll accept if youre Chinese

I could never fiugre it out

YEARS later, I heard it and heard correctly for the first time it was

but we'll accept if your trainees

Ah.......
#44
Old 02-05-2003, 10:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Deadly Nightlight
I love the song "Secret asian man" by davinci's notebook

Dangit, someone beat me to it.

It's off the album The Life and Times of Mike Fanning
http://davincisnotebook.com/merch.htm
#45
Old 02-05-2003, 11:02 AM
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Ya know...for the longest time I thought it was
"Burnin' up the streets of Avalon",m'self.
Only recently did I find out it was "Burning up a fuse out here alone."

IDBB
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#46
Old 02-05-2003, 11:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Rubystreak
In the CCR song "Bad Moon Rising," my friend thought John Fogarty said "There's a bathroom on the right" instead of "There's a bad moon on the rise
Mrs. Bernse thought the exact same thing up until about a year ago, when I popped in a CCR CD and she asked me why they'd have lyrics like that. I laughed for about 15 minutes!
#47
Old 02-05-2003, 11:54 AM
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Strange Love

Strange love,
Strange eyes and strange nose


(actually: Strange highs and strange lows)

Depeche Mode
#48
Old 02-05-2003, 12:14 PM
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From Elton John's "Bennie and the Jets""

"she's got electirc boobs, a mohair suit"

and from "Red Skies at Night," by the Fixx:

"Rick's got a knife."
#49
Old 02-05-2003, 12:19 PM
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Elton John's Benny and the Jets:

She's got Electric Boobs and Mohawk Shoes!
#50
Old 02-05-2003, 12:34 PM
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No, no, no, it's Secret Cajun Man.

Here's a few links guaranteed to screw up future hearings of the songs in question:

Paul McCartney sings about barnyard animals and Bronski Beat sing about Italian food abuse.

Madonna and Destiny's Child sings about old UK television personalities.

And finally, a classical music example.
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