Arriving home after a long day, made much longer by my own twisted emotional state (the anniversary of my mom’s passing is not an easy day for me), I kicked off my shoes and dialed up Fleetwood Mac on my iPod (yes, I still have one). Humming along as I usually do, I went about the evening routine without a second thought. Just as Lindsey Buckingham got to the refrain of the third song, I found myself belly-laughing. You might think the song I was humming is entitled “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow,” but if you asked my college friend, Patrick, he would tell you that the song is entitled “Don’t Stop Thinking About Your Momma.”
I can still see him bouncing down the hallway (at 6’5’’, his bouncing was quite noticeable), singing his version of the song at the top of his lungs. He wasn’t shy, nor was he on key. But he loved his mom. Clearly, he decided Fleetwood Mac had written the song for her.
Finding my mood a bit lighter after the song ended, I started thinking about the way we hear things. When it comes to music, I guess there is an argument to be made about the manner in which the song is sun, but I believe there might also be an element of our lives woven into our interpretation. Obviously, Patrick’s love for his mom influenced his interpretation of those words. Here are a few more I’ve stumbled upon over the years:
Song: Live and Let Die (Wings)
Lyric: Live and Let Die
Heard as: the liver man died
Song: Thank You, Next (Arianna Grande)
Lyric: Thank you, next
Heard as: bacon eggs
Song: Purple Haze (Jimmy Hendrix)
Lyric: Excuse me while I kiss the sky
Heard as: excuse me while I kiss this guy
Song: Bad Moon Rising (Creedence Clearwater Revival)
Lyric: There’s a bad moon on the rise
Heard as: there’s a bathroom on the right
Song: Alive and Kickin’ (Simple Minds)
Lyric: Alive and Kickin’
Heard as: I like fried chicken
While in the car one day, my son asked if Arianna Grande was singing about bacon and eggs. For the record, he loves eggs. Hendrix and CCR’s respective songs have flummoxed people for years. Loving fried chicken is understandable. I have no explanation for the liver man. My husband added this one to the mix. Apparently, his childhood friend would belt this line out when the song was on the radio. Someone eventually told him the correct title of the song, but I don’t think he ever changed the words when he sang it.
It is still funny.
Sometimes, we hear what we want.