As mentioned before, I sure do have some profiles and features coming up on other bands!
These are in the works but in the meantime I had come across this article on Slate about jingles and music and memory.
For some reason, hours after I read it I recalled an incorrect lyric I had created as a child that has stuck with me ever since, despite the fact that I now know the correct lyrics. This, combined with the article, got me to thinking about how we recall music and lyrics in general. As the article points out, music can help us remember all sorts of things-phone numbers, for example. When I was a student I was always making songs to help me study. Formulas, the periodic table of elements, the animal kingdom, random facts about Gandhi…they all have Farah jingles. Except I won’t call them that because, worded that way, it sounds like a skin condition. Farah jingles. As if shingles met that part of my arm that I’d like to tone up. Yuckers!
Anyway, do you ever see someone after they have had a drastic physical change-hair color, weight gain or weight loss, complexion-and yet your memory hangs on to the previous image of them? Surely this happens with song lyrics, too, as I am sure you have experienced.
You may have notice the title of this post. Yes, it’s an offshoot of the Jim Croce song, ‘Operator’. When I was a kid my dad had a tape of Jim Croce’s music that we would listen to in the car. I’m not sure why my teeny ears could not understand his uttering of ‘operator’. I never thought Sade was referencing a ‘smooth burrito’, after all. Was it just a foretelling of the ridiculous amount of burritos I would consume in college?
Sadly, hearing lyrics incorrectly was a recurring event for me and Mr. Croce. ‘Bad, Bad Leroy Brown’ is another one that had me going nuts. Because I heard that Leroy was ‘Fatter than a whole King Kong and leaner than a junkyard dog’. I mean, what kind of yo-yo diet is this? Plus, are junkyard dogs really lean? What kind of dogs are we talking here? And is King Kong really fat? I’d actually describe him as burly.
I’m happy to say that my lyric spotting has definitely gotten better, to the point of no return. Name That Tune is the closest thing I had to a sport in high school. That and musical theater…or pep band.
But the incorrect lyrics still made their way to my memory. In middle school one of my family members laughed about Christina Aguilera’s “Genie in a Bottle’ and Jennifer Lopez’s ‘Love Don’t Cost a Thing’. They will be forever engrained in my memory as ‘I’m Peeing in a Bottle’ and ‘My Love Don’t Constipate’. Well, good, now that we’re all hydrated…
In high school I found out one of my best friends always heard Hootie and the Blowfish’s ‘Hold My Hand’ as saying ‘I wanna love you/the bear said/the bear said I can’. Christopher Robin’s grown up and asked Pooh permission to love his date? Not sure.
I’ve recently come across some gems. One friend’s ‘Bad Romance’ came translated as ‘caught in a bed with ants’, and Young the Giant’s/The Jakes ‘Cough Syrup’ as ‘life’s too short to eat a carrot, whoa’. And now I can’t hear it any other way!
I remember so many other lyrics-ones that I don’t even mean to memorize-so well. Yet these ones always stick out to me, among others. Perhaps my mind is just keeping these tucked away for momentary bursts of amusement. Because sometimes life is too short to eat just a carrot!
What about you? Have any interesting misheard lyrics? Comment here or find me on Twitter! I’d love to share them!
As for Mr. Croce, wherever you are, thanks for the music. I know your career was cut short, but I have a pretty awesome song about a burrito attached to my childhood memories because of you. I’m ok with that.