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Re: Muddled lyrics

Posted by ESC on June 17, 2004

In Reply to: Muddled lyrics posted by Ward on June 17, 2004

: : : : : : : : : : My new favorite magazine - mental_floss -- http://www.mentalfloss.com/ has an article this month (July/August 2004, Page 28-31) that may be of interest: "6 Tricky Song Lyrics You'll Never Get Wrong Again." The lyrics and what they mean are listed for:

: : : : : : : : : : 1. That "Leonard Bernstein" section of "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I feel Fine): by R.E.M., 1987.
: : : : : : : : : : 2. That weird last line of "One Week" by the Barenaked Ladies, 1998.
: : : : : : : : : : 3. Some of the garbled lines in "Rock the Casbah" by The Clash, 1982.
: : : : : : : : : : 4. Some lines from that middle part of "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen, 1975.
: : : : : : : : : : 5. What about that "hippotamus of love" or whatever in "The Joker" by The Steve Miller Band?
: : : : : : : : : : 6. The granddaddy of them all: What the heck is that "douche" line in "Blinded by the Light" by Manfred Mann's Earth Band, 1976?

: : : : : : : : : It is "deuce", not "douche":

: : : : : : : : : He was just blinded by the light
: : : : : : : : : Cut loose like a deuce another runner in the night
: : : : : : : : : Blinded by the light
: : : : : : : : : Mama always told me not to look into the sights of the sun
: : : : : : : : : Oh but mama that's where the fun is

: : : : : : : : Yes Bruce, you're my hero. You have no idea how much time my brain has chewed up mulling over this damned line, trying to figure out what the hell it is. Ah well, perhaps you do. And there's another one that has the same effect, yet, I can't believe that at the moment, I just can't think of it.... but it will come to me, probably at the most inconvenient time.

: : : : : : : Grrr. I want to be the hero.

: : : : : : : 1. That "Leonard Bernstein" section of "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I feel Fine): by R.E.M., 1987.

: : : : : : : The other night I tripped a nice continental drift divide. Mountains sit in a line, Leonard Bernstein. Leonid Breshnev, Lenny Bruce and Lester Bangs. Birthday party, cheesecake, jelly bean, boom! You symbiotic, patriotic, slam, but neck, right? Right.

: : : : : : : The article says the above differs from some online versions but was taken from Michael Stipe's lyrics sheet.

: : : : : : : Lester Bangs was a rock critic for "Creem." I didn't know that. Did you know that?

: : : : : : : 2. That weird last line of "One Week" by the Barenaked Ladies, 1998.

: : : : : : : Birchmount Stadium, home of the Robbie.

: : : : : : : Birchmount Stadium is a sports venue in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada. The Robbie is an international soccer tournament. The line is taken directly from a sign posted outside the stadiums.

: : : : : : : 3. Some of the garbled lines in "Rock the Casbah" by The Clash, 1982.

: : : : : : : The muezzin was a-standing on the radiator grill/

: : : : : : : But the Bedouin they brought out the electric camel drum/

: : : : : : : Sharif don't like it, Rockin' the Casbah, Rock the Casbah/

: : : : : : : The muezzin = a Muslim cleric who calls the faithful to prayer.
: : : : : : : Bedouin = member of nomadic tribe.
: : : : : : : Sharif = descendant of Prophet Mohammad through his daughter Fatima or the chief magistrate of the holy city of Mecca. In this context, it refers to a Moroccan ruler or prince.
: : : : : : : Casbah = citadel or palace of a North African ruler.

: : : : : : : 4. Some lines from that middle part of "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen, 1975.
: : : : : : : Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the Fandango
: : : : : : : Bismillah! No, we will not let you go
: : : : : : : Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me, for me, for me!

: : : : : : : Scaramouche = A stock character used in the 17-century Italian theatrical form known as Commedia dell'Arte. The role started out as a braggart soldier and then involved into a comic servant.

: : : : : : : Bismillah = Arabic for "In the name of Allah." It has the honor of being the first word of the Koran. In daily speech, it's a way of expressing truth or sincerity, similar to "with God as my witness" or the like.

: : : : : : : 5. What about that "hippotamus of love" or whatever in "The Joker" by The Steve Miller Band?

: : : : : : : Some people call me Maurice, 'cuz I speak of the pompatus of love.

: : : : : : : It is actually the corrupted form of yet another made-up word. It comes from an obscure 1954 R&B tune by The Medallions called "The Letter" in which singer/songwriter Vernon Green croons about the "puppetutes of love." Green made the word up (from "puppets") to refer to "a secret paper-doll fantasy figure who would be my everything and bear my children." Steve Miller borrowed the line but couldn't figure out the right word, so he approximated it as closely as he could.

: : : : : : : 6. The granddaddy of them all: What the heck is that "douche" line in "Blinded by the Light" by Manfred Mann's Earth Band, 1976?

: : : : : : : Blinded by the light, revved up like a deuce, another runner in the night.

: : : : : : : A deuce being a 1960s slang for a 1932 Ford or Deuce Coupe. The words were written by Bruce Springsteen, whose original version was the first song on his first album, "Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J." The original words were "cut loose like a deuce."

: : : : : :
: : : : : : ESC, please don't get bitter & twisted (although I'm sure you're dealing with it OK really). I was saving the biggest accolade for you.

: : : : : : But I was trying to conjure up that song that has really traumatised me, before getting back to you and trying to drain your brain. I've failed so far, but another one came to mind. From 'Brass In Pocket'.

: : : : : : Dammit, can't remember even the lead up words now, but there's a bit that sounds like:

: : : : : : "diesolining", and for the life of me I can't work it out. I'll get back to you when I've got more info.

: : : : :
: : : : : I remember now, the song is 'Walking in Memphis' by Marc Cohn. And the words that always caught me were in the chorus, which went something like this...

: : : : : Then I'm walking in Memphis
: : : : : I was walking with my feet 10 feet off ???...and this is where I got confused, cos I thought they were saying something like 10 feet off a beer (which is stupid), so I then thought they meant 10 feet off a pier... BUT

: : : : : ...BUT my 11 year-old stepdaughter set me straight and told me about the following website: http://www.letssingit.com/, which allows you to search by artist, song title, lyrics, albumname, or fanpage... and there I discovered that the words are:

: : : : : Then I'm walking in Memphis
: : : : : I was walking with my feet 10 feet off of Beale
: : : : : Walking in Memphis
: : : : : But do I really feel the way I feel

: : : : : BUT again... what the hell is a Beale? Is this a place?

: : : : : Furthermore, thanks to my stepdaughter, I now have the answer to my Brass in Pocket query.

: : : : : My 'diesolining' misinterpretation is in fact:

: : : : : GOT MOTION RESTRAINED EMOTION
: : : : : BEEN DRIVING DETROIT LEANING
: : : : : NO REASON JUST SEEMS SO PLEASING
: : : : : GONNA MAKE YOU, MAKE YOU, MAKE YOU NOTICE

: : : : : ...Detroit leaning.

: : : : : Phew. I can sleep tonight.

: : : : Beale is the main 'strip' in Memphis. It's the street where all the shows are. A bit like Bourbon Street in N'Awlins.

: : : All this time I thought the line was 'lit up like a douche and a rubber in the night', and those of us who grew up with lovers lanes knew exactly where that was. Too bad.

: : Many Mondegreens happen thanks to certain mushmouth singers (Fogarty of CCR, and Elton John, to cite two inaudible examples) who mumble their way to fame. It took me decades (and a sneak peak at lyrics on line) to figure out "Me and Suzie had so much fun, holdin' hands and skimmin' stones, with a ______ chevy and a place of our own..." Can you hear it without cheating?

: As an analyst by nature, and a little bit of a cynic about some things, the thought has crossed my mind that the sound mixers and A&R people who put together the final records must know that the lyrics are hard to understand. The also know
: that the kids will have to play the song over and over and over and over and over..........to try to figure out what the lyrics say. Could it be intentional? It would be so easy to make the words clear.

Who was it -- Bette Davis? -- who was complaining about young actors mumbling. Maybe it's a generational thing.