12 Commonly Misheard Song Lyrics

"When a Man Was a Woman" and other comical musical mistakes.

We were sitting in my friend’s car. It was 1995. We were—the three of us—belting out to Seal’s “Kiss from a Rose.” Everything (seemingly) was fine until a friend abruptly stopped singing and just looked at me. She asked what I had just said. Until that moment, I hadn’t realized that the lyric ”to me you’re like a roller dictionary can’t deny” might not, in fact, be correct. Or, that a roller dictionary does not exist. Nor is it British slang for a Rolodex. (Which, I may have actually thought.) (I know.) I later learned that the actual lyric is: “To me you’re like a growing addiction that I can’t deny.” And this was back in the days before iPhones—no Googling song lyrics. You either listened to the song a hundred more times or got the CD’s liner notes.

So whether you think Jimi Hendrix needs a moment to kiss this guy (“’Scuse me while I kiss the sky”) or that Jimmy Buffet just stepped on a Pop Tart in Margaritaville (it’s “pop top”), this is for you. Here are some of my favorite misheard song lyrics, shared with me from friends.

1. Wings’ “Little Red Dime.” Or, the actual title, “Live and Let Die.”

2. “Rock ‘n’ Roll All Nite,” Kiss

Incorrect: “I wanna rock and roll all nite, and part of every day.

Correct: “I wanna rock and roll all nite, and party every day.”

3. Michael Bolton’s “When a Man Was a Woman.” Or, “When a Man Loves a Woman.”

4. “Father Figure,” George Michael
Incorrect: “I will be your bottom feeder, put your little hand in mine.

Correct: “I will be your father figure, put your little hand in mine.”

5. “Flashdance,” Irene Cara
Incorrect: “Take your pants down, and make it happen.

Correct: “Take your passion, and make it happen.”

6. “How Will I Know,” Whitney Houston
Incorrect: “I’m asking you what you know about bee stings.

Correct: “I’m asking you what you know about these things.”

Incorrect: “I say a prayer in every country.

Correct: “I say a prayer with every heart beat.”

7. “Oh, Sherry,” Journey
Incorrect: “Cinnamon gum.

Correct: “You should’ve been gone.”

8. “Roam,” B-52’s
Incorrect: “Roam Nipsey Russell

Correct: “Roam if you want to.”

9. “I Try,” Macy Gray
Incorrect: “I wear goggles when you are not here.

Correct: “My world crumbles when you are not here.”

10. “We Built This City,” Starship

Incorrect: “The milk is sitting on rock and roll.

Correct: “We built this city on rock and roll.”

11. Tag Team’s “Whoomp Panties.” Or better known as “Whoomp There It Is.”

12. “Daydream Believer,” The Monkees

Incorrect: “Wake up sleepy Jesus.

Correct: “Cheer up sleepy Jean.”