The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > Cafe Society

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 07-11-2013, 06:18 PM
mcgato mcgato is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Did people really think it was "Excuse me while I kiss this guy"?

Inspired by this article on CNN about misquoted songs.

Did anyone, back when the song was out in the early 1970s, think that the actual lyric in the Jimi Hendrix song "Purple Haze" was "Excuse me while I kiss this guy" instead of "Excuse me while I kiss the sky"?

I ask because I was familiar with the song in the early 1970s (thank you Superstars of the 70s multi album set), and I didn't know anyone who thought that. I never heard it mentioned. I should add that in southern Minnesota, it was not exactly the most popular song. The first time that I heard it mentioned was when some guy was pimping his book about "Mondegreens" about 10 or 15 years ago. My bullshit meter sounded at the mention of it. It absolutely pegged when the author claimed that Hendrix would occasionally kiss a guy during the playing of the song in concert.

So anyone more into music at that time have any insights into this? I've been meaning to ask this for a number of years.
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 07-11-2013, 06:49 PM
handsomeharry handsomeharry is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Nope for me, nope for my brother. Of course, that may have been because we actually listened to the album. I'm wondering about some disgruntled parent, overhearing it from another room, as being the source for the bad press.

My brother did say, however, that our wildman friend, Allan, did believe it, but, my brother may have just been making it up, to show what a dolt Allan was.

And, IIRC, on Woodstock, Hendrix actually made a kiss motion at the sky.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 07-11-2013, 07:07 PM
Tamerlane Tamerlane is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: SF Bay Area, California
Posts: 10,131
Nope for me.

But yes for one of my step-brothers. We were both born in the late 1960's, so as a contemporary hit it was before our time. But while I had some interest in classic rock as a teen and thus knew Hendrix's oeuvre, my SB was much more into rap, funk, and "old school" r & b ( so was I a bit, but it was a difference of focus ). So I suspect someone told him that's what the lyrics said and from then on that's what he heard in his head until corrected years later.

Last edited by Tamerlane; 07-11-2013 at 07:09 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 07-11-2013, 07:08 PM
njtt njtt is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
I am pretty sure I have heard that Hendrix himself was aware of the "kiss this guy" interpretation, and at least one gig Jimi distinctly sang it that way, and pretended to kiss Noel Redding. No doubt it was not the lyric Jimi originally intended, but the alternative version presumably got around quickly, and Jimi himself heard about it, and was amused.

A quick Google turned up this page (despite its being incorrectly headed as being about "Jimi Page"). I do not think it I where I first heard the story, however.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 07-11-2013, 07:50 PM
kunilou kunilou is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Posts: 16,927
The song came out when I was a teenager. We knew it was "kiss the sky," however, we also frequently used "kiss this guy" as a joke because of all the straights and lame-o's who thought that was the actual lyric.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 07-11-2013, 07:54 PM
Joey P Joey P is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 20,248
I remember flipping though one of those 'mis heard lyrics' books and seeing that and thinking "Who thinks it says that, that doesn't even sound right." So, add me to the "never heard it that way" camp. Also, since everyone else is doing it, I'm 32 (born in 1980) so and I've pretty much always been into classic rock, so I've been hearing it most of my life.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 07-11-2013, 08:14 PM
Unauthorized Cinnamon Unauthorized Cinnamon is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Cary, NC
Posts: 4,954
I was born in 1973, so I don't fully satisfy your criteria, but for what it's worth, I personally thought that was the lyric for many years. Probably because I heard the song a lot as a child, and "kiss this guy" was a coherent, recognizable action to me, while "kiss the sky" was too metaphorical for me to parse that phrase. I'd guess I was a young adult when I finally read the correction and went, "Ooooohhhhhh!"
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 07-11-2013, 08:32 PM
Qadgop the Mercotan Qadgop the Mercotan is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Slithering on the hull
Posts: 22,031
Born in '57 here. I knew it as "kiss the sky" and didn't hear the misheard version until years later.

But for many years I thought that the Beatles tune "paperback writer" was "Take the back right turn".

Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 07-11-2013, 08:41 PM
Onomatopoeia Onomatopoeia is online now
僕は女性の香りが大好きですよ。フア!
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: 小浜国
Posts: 5,016
Hahahaha. This brings back memories. When I was a kid in junior high, all my friends knew it was "kiss the sky" but when that part of the song came up we would all yell out as loud as we could "'Scuse me...WHILE I KISS THIS GUY!!"

Yeah, we were idiots.

Last edited by Onomatopoeia; 07-11-2013 at 08:45 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 07-11-2013, 09:14 PM
the O the O is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Why is the allusion to Judas Iscariot so resoundingly dismissed?
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 07-11-2013, 09:37 PM
panache45 panache45 is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: NE Ohio (the 'burbs)
Posts: 21,981
I was around then, and didn't hear "kiss this guy" until years later. . . though I was, in fact, kissing a lot of guys back then, so I would have noticed those lyrics.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 07-12-2013, 10:18 AM
LawMonkey LawMonkey is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
I can totally see folks hearing it as "kiss this guy," but I wasn't around at the time.

On the other hand, people hear "Take me down to a very nice city" in G'n'R's "Paradise City"? Seriously?

Also, disappointed that one of my favorites didn't make the list: Big ol' jet had a light on.

Now c'mon, Tony Danza... hold me closer now...
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 07-12-2013, 10:20 AM
Unauthorized Cinnamon Unauthorized Cinnamon is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Cary, NC
Posts: 4,954
My mother thought the lyrics to "Invisible Touch" were, "She's a half-pint physical toucher." Anything is possible!
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 07-12-2013, 10:24 AM
sparky! sparky! is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
As someone who thought that Rod Stewart sang Bette Davis Eyes...

No, even I know it was "kiss the sky", though in my head, I always say "kiss this guy" because I really hate that overplayed song.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 07-12-2013, 11:04 AM
astorian astorian is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
I was born in 1961, and never listened to Hendrix until several years after his death.

Yes, for a year or two, I thought he was saying "Kiss this guy."

Last edited by astorian; 07-12-2013 at 11:04 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 07-12-2013, 11:05 AM
astorian astorian is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Quote:
Originally Posted by sparky! View Post
As someone who thought that Rod Stewart sang Bette Davis Eyes...

.

That's just silly.

But he DID sing "It's a Heartache," right? Bonnie Tyler was just an alias, right?
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 07-12-2013, 11:08 AM
Bryan Ekers Bryan Ekers is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
You mean the ants aren't my friends?!
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 07-12-2013, 11:16 AM
levdrakon levdrakon is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
I don't recall any special memories about it, but recently I saw it on the Batman slapping Robin internet meme, with Robin singing it "kiss this guy" and Batman slapping him, "that's not how it goes!"

Now it's permanently "kiss this guy!" just because of that.

Underworld's Born Slippy:
"Shouting, mega mega white thing mega mega white thing mega mega white thing."

My ears: "Nigga nigga white thing, nigga nigga white thing..."
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 07-12-2013, 12:46 PM
Smapti Smapti is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Olympia, WA
Posts: 4,447
I, personally, thought for years that the AC/DC song "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" was called "Thirty Thieves and the Thunder Chief".

No, I have no idea what I thought it was supposed to mean either.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 07-12-2013, 01:28 PM
Laggard Laggard is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
No because it very clearly is kiss the sky.
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 07-12-2013, 01:30 PM
Laggard Laggard is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smapti View Post
I, personally, thought for years that the AC/DC song "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" was called "Thirty Thieves and the Thunder Chief".
.
Really, even though the song is called dirty deeds done dirt cheap?
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 07-12-2013, 01:34 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: SW Side, Chicago
Posts: 29,221
The Mondegreen that surprised me is the mishearing of "the dark sacred night" from Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World" into "the dogs say goodnight." I never thought of it as the latter, but once told about it, I can't but hear "the dogs say goodnight."
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 07-12-2013, 01:56 PM
carnivorousplant carnivorousplant is online now
Romney Voldemort supporter
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Central Arkansas
Posts: 39,557
One of my friends thought so when we we in Junior High.
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 07-12-2013, 02:05 PM
Labrador Deceiver Labrador Deceiver is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Born on the 70s, but the first time I heard anyone point out that it sounded like "kiss this guy" was on a miss-heard lyrics site in the 90s.

I do love me some Secret Asian Man, though.
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 07-12-2013, 02:24 PM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Schenectady, NY, USA
Posts: 34,883
I've misheard lyrics over the years, but not "Purple Haze."

My daughter misheard "Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves" as "Gypsy Transit Thieves," implying they are turnstile jumpers.
__________________
Author of Staroamer's Fate and Syron's Fate, now back in print.

Last edited by RealityChuck; 07-12-2013 at 02:25 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #26  
Old 07-12-2013, 03:42 PM
cochrane cochrane is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Mentioning another: John Fogerty has a sense of humor about his mondegreen. When performing "Bad Moon Rising," he'll sing the line, "There's a bathroom on the right," and point off to his right.
Reply With Quote
  #27  
Old 07-12-2013, 04:07 PM
Hampshire Hampshire is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Minneapolis
Posts: 9,255
I always heard it as "Pardon me... while I make out with this dude over here."
Reply With Quote
  #28  
Old 07-12-2013, 04:12 PM
levdrakon levdrakon is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hampshire View Post
I always heard it as "Pardon me... while I make out with this dude over here."
Weirdo.
Reply With Quote
  #29  
Old 07-12-2013, 04:49 PM
Tibby or Not Tibby Tibby or Not Tibby is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Born: ‘57

Older sister bought Purple Haze when it first came out (nerdy older brother made me listen to S&G’s Parsley Sage Rosemary & Thyme for months, so I was ready to rock) and for a long time I thought the lyric was indeed, “’scuse me while I kiss this guy.” Strangely, even after I learned the correct version, to this day, I hear “’scuse me while I kiss this guy” in my head.

More embarrassing is that I do something very similar to this day at restaurants when the waitress asks, “do you want soup or salad?” More times than not, I reply, “how big is it?”, or some variation on that theme. Then, when I get the “what’s this guy’s problem” stare, I realize my mistake and reply, “sorry, I thought you were asking if I want a “super” salad”. I know better, I just keep forgetting.
Reply With Quote
  #30  
Old 07-12-2013, 04:53 PM
AncientHumanoid AncientHumanoid is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan Ekers View Post
You mean the ants aren't my friends?!
They're blowin in the wind.

The ants, sir, are blowin in the wind
Reply With Quote
  #31  
Old 07-12-2013, 05:01 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Western New York
Posts: 55,067
My brother certainly heard it as "kiss this guy". He asked me why Jimmy Hendrix was singing about kissing a guy.
Reply With Quote
  #32  
Old 07-12-2013, 05:10 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Western New York
Posts: 55,067
I'll admit for a long time I thought Everything Zen included the lines "I don't believe in Hell since Daniel" and "There's no sense in your violence". In my defense the actual lyrics contain the lines "Mickey Mouse has grown up a cow/Dave's on sale again" and "Raindogs howl for the century/A million dollars a steak". (At least I think these are the actual lyrics. I just checked four different sites and they gave four different sets of lyrics.)
Reply With Quote
  #33  
Old 07-12-2013, 05:11 PM
carnivorousplant carnivorousplant is online now
Romney Voldemort supporter
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Central Arkansas
Posts: 39,557
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoClueBoy View Post
They're blowin in the wind.

The ants, sir, are blowin in the wind
Waiter!
I'll have what he is drinking.
Reply With Quote
  #34  
Old 07-12-2013, 05:17 PM
AncientHumanoid AncientHumanoid is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by carnivorousplant View Post
Waiter!
I'll have what he is drinking.
Double Scotch, neat.

Dylan, man.
Reply With Quote
  #35  
Old 07-12-2013, 05:18 PM
purplehorseshoe purplehorseshoe is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Texas, USA
Posts: 7,601
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smapti View Post
I, personally, thought for years that the AC/DC song "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" was called "Thirty Thieves and the Thunder Chief".

No, I have no idea what I thought it was supposed to mean either.
For whatever it's worth, I heard it that way too. Mr. Shoe laughed himself sick the first time he heard me singing along. It was always on the radio, Laggard, so it's not like I was looking at the album and seeing the track title.
Reply With Quote
  #36  
Old 07-12-2013, 05:42 PM
vivalostwages vivalostwages is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Lower half of CA
Posts: 13,148
Boston's "Peace of Mind" contains the line "But I don't care if I get behind."

I'd always heard it as "But I don't care about FBI."
Reply With Quote
  #37  
Old 07-12-2013, 07:01 PM
Ranger Jeff Ranger Jeff is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
When it first came out and when I was playing bass in bands performing it then, it was "kiss the sky.". But I'm pretty sure in a YouTube clip of Jimi performing it at an outdoor venue, he sang "kiss this guy." If he did sing it that way, I'm pretty certain it was because he had heard the tales and even Rock and Roll Guitar Gods are allowed to have senses of humor and make jokes. Or at least, he thought so.

I don't think the Official Rock And Roll Star Rule Book had come out at that time.
Reply With Quote
  #38  
Old 07-12-2013, 07:17 PM
Musicat Musicat is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Sturgeon Bay, WI USA
Posts: 17,221
I couldn't understand anything Hendrix sang, so I ignored him.

Still do.
Reply With Quote
  #39  
Old 07-12-2013, 07:30 PM
cochrane cochrane is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by astorian View Post
That's just silly.

But he DID sing "It's a Heartache," right? Bonnie Tyler was just an alias, right?
Yes, he did. Bonnie Tyler was just a bad dream.
Reply With Quote
  #40  
Old 07-12-2013, 08:53 PM
carnivorousplant carnivorousplant is online now
Romney Voldemort supporter
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Central Arkansas
Posts: 39,557
Quote:
Originally Posted by Musicat View Post
I couldn't understand anything Hendrix sang, so I ignored him.

Still do.
Wow.
What about the Watchtower?
Reply With Quote
  #41  
Old 07-12-2013, 09:23 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: SW Side, Chicago
Posts: 29,221
Quote:
Originally Posted by carnivorousplant View Post
Wow.
What about the Watchtower?
Yeah, Hendrix doesn't really come across to me as one of the more mush-mouthed singers. I don't really care about lyrics, but his were pretty easy to understand.
Reply With Quote
  #42  
Old 07-12-2013, 09:33 PM
Biffy the Elephant Shrew Biffy the Elephant Shrew is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Over on the left
Posts: 11,283
Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
In my defense the actual lyrics contain the lines "Mickey Mouse has grown up a cow/Dave's on sale again"
This is a quote of two lines from David Bowie's "Life on Mars," but with "Dave," presumably referring to Bowie, substituted for "Lennon."
Reply With Quote
  #43  
Old 07-13-2013, 05:08 AM
SpinyNorma SpinyNorma is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Deep in the hot of Texas
Posts: 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by vivalostwages View Post
Boston's "Peace of Mind" contains the line "But I don't care if I get behind."

I'd always heard it as "But I don't care about FBI."
Thank you! That song has bothered me for years. I only hear it on the Geezer Rock radio station and they never tell the name of the song or the group.

I kept meaning to look it up from the lyrics I did understand but when I'd be at a computer and would think of it, all I could ever remember is "I don't care about FBI". I was pretty damn sure that wasn't what they were singing but I could never get it to sound like anything else.

There was another song that I had no idea I had wrong until it came out on one of those Songs of the 70's sort of albums and I saw the title Radar Love scroll by. Up till that moment, I'd always thought it was Red Eye Love.

I have no idea what that was supposed to mean but I have to admit that the song has seemed a little duller for me since then.
Reply With Quote
  #44  
Old 07-13-2013, 08:09 AM
DCnDC DCnDC is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
I'm still trying to figure out who the hell "Bingo Jed" is, and why he had a light on.
Reply With Quote
  #45  
Old 07-13-2013, 09:30 AM
JohnT JohnT is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: San Antonio, TX
Posts: 13,394
Now I've mentioned before a number of my mondegreens, including "Just like the one-winged dove" from Stevie Nicks's Edge of Seventeen and how I heard "Sugar Bear" in Elton John's Someone Saved My Life Tonight and, thinking that sounded stupid so they're obviously singing "Should've they?" (er... no, it's "Sugar Bear".)

But I don't think I've mentioned my most embarrassing one of all, one that my wife still mocks me to this day, years after she corrected me. In my defense(?)... naw, there's no defense. I was just completely stupid. And had I bothered to learn the title of this 70s soft-rock song, there would be no mocking.

:sigh:

So there's this song that I thought (even though the word "woman" is used during the verses) had the chorus:

Quote:
You are a ma-an... and I am Steve.
Wow! It's the most openly gay song in history - the artist(s) must have been really brave to come out with such a song 30+ years ago!

Uh... no. Apparently the guy is singing

Quote:
You are a magnet... and I am steel."
To be honest, like "Sugar Bear/Should've They", I like my version better.

Last edited by JohnT; 07-13-2013 at 09:32 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #46  
Old 07-13-2013, 09:41 AM
brainstall brainstall is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
In Van Morrison's Brown Eyed Girl, I heard Lah-tee-dah as Lucky Duck. Made total sense to me, but then again, I was about five when that song was getting air play. I still like it better that way.

Last edited by brainstall; 07-13-2013 at 09:43 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #47  
Old 07-13-2013, 09:54 AM
Ludovic Ludovic is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: America's Wing
Posts: 22,999
Born in 1973, I wasn't sure if it was Kiss This Guy or Kiss The Sky. Was a fight between something slightly nonsensical given the lyrics or a phrase I hadn't heard before.
Reply With Quote
  #48  
Old 07-13-2013, 12:02 PM
woodstockbirdybird woodstockbirdybird is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by LawMonkey View Post

Also, disappointed that one of my favorites didn't make the list: Big ol' jet had a light on.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DCnDC View Post
I'm still trying to figure out who the hell "Bingo Jed" is, and why he had a light on.
Fools! It's "Big ol' Chad had a light on".

My favorite misheard lyric (I didn't hear it wrong - I read it on a website) was from the Replacements song "Never Mind": For the line "All over but the shouting" someone thought it was "I overbooked the chalet".
Reply With Quote
  #49  
Old 07-13-2013, 12:47 PM
AncientHumanoid AncientHumanoid is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
JET! by Paul McCartney and Wings... I had different lyrics for it every single time it played.
Reply With Quote
  #50  
Old 07-13-2013, 12:51 PM
Mean Mr. Mustard Mean Mr. Mustard is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Firstly, thanks to the OP for shouting out at Superstars of the 70's. I still have my copy (LP) that I bought with my very own money in the early 70's.

My favorite mondegreen is a friend's young daughter who thought Crystal Gayle was not singing "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue", but "Don't It Make My Brownies Smooth".


mmm

Last edited by Mean Mr. Mustard; 07-13-2013 at 12:52 PM..
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:13 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright © 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.