Oh, so *that's* what they're singing!

For 33 years (omigod!), I have been unable to decipher what Freddie Mercury is singing in one line of the chorus of “Killer Queen.”

“She’s a killer queen

Dynamite with a laser beam…”

With the massed vocals, it was near impossible to make out what the words were. It sounded sort of like “got bad intebbitty” - but that’s just stupid! I’ve listened to the 24-track master tapes tonight, isolating the vocal track, and I still couldn’t make it out. So I turned the internet virus shield on full and went to a lyric site. As it turns out, he is saying, “gunpowder gelatine,” but pronouncing it “gel-a-teen.” No wonder it was indecipherable! Some other phrases are much clearer without all the music obscuring them.

Anybody else out there discovered the correct lyric that you’ve been hearing wrong for years and years? I don’t mean to start a thread on mondegreens here; we’ve done that to death. I wonder about you, personally, and what you’ve heard that you found out was wrong. Who’s next?

Due to a problem with the database, this post appears two other times. Could someone report the others to a mod for deletion? Thanks.

Okies, will do.

BTW, in Blinded By the Light, I could never figure out why someone wanted to be wrapped up like a douche.
Go figure.

For the longest time I thought the last line of the Fall Out Boy song Sugar, We’re Going Down was, “A loaded gun complex; cock-eating bullet.” Not that old, I know but, hey.

And the only reason I know what Freddy Mercury was singing in Killer Queen was because I read the liner notes that came with the CD.

What I find works is to look at Google’s cached version of a lyrics page that comes up in the search results. Either that, or Firefox is doing its job of keeping the popups down.

There’s always the classic “me ears are alight”.

It wasn’t until recently that I realized that the opening of “Killer Queen” mentions Moet & Chandon.

For years, I though the Beatles were singing “such a feeling for you love/I get high” in “I Want to Hold Your Hand”. It seemed to me like a drug reference, very daring for 1964. Actually turns out it’s “I can’t hide”–a much less cool lyric.
“Lightning Crashes” by Live has a first verse about childbirth. There was one line that always confused me. It seemed to say “the senses fall to the floor”, an utter throwaway line. I went to a local club where the song was covered on acoustic guitar. The line’s actually “the placenta falls to the floor”, which makes much more sense and makes the song better.

Has anyone else liked the song less after the lyrics weren’t what they thought they were? That’s happened to me several times, but I can’t think of an example right now.

REM has a lot of examples of misheard lyrics for me. For example, the line in Perfect Circle that I always thought was “starting to sink, shoulders high in the rain” is actually “standing too soon, shoulders high in the room”.
Maybe at first that was one that I liked less when I found out what it actually was, but now I prefer the actual one because it’s more original.

When I first heard Smells Like Teen Spirit I thought the chorus had lines like “here we are now/ in Texas”.
Sometimes when Kurt Cobain’s singing was more unintelligible it did a service to the song, like with the song Mexican Seafood, where everyone is better off not being able to understand his singing and not knowing the lyrics.

You’ll probably enjoy a ride on the Luleelurah, then:


NSFW text/drawings, so link’s broken. Plus, you’ll giggle like a schoolgirl, which can be considered unprofessional.

Hee hee, drop a whore, hee hee.

But seriously people, enunciate, !

In the Sophie B. Hawkins song, “As I Lay Me Down,” I could swear the female chorus in the background sings the words “Who wants nachos?” over and over.

fishbicycle, I just a few months ago found out the exact same lyric snippet as you. In the same way. “Gunpowder, gelatine”…cool! Would that make plastique? (joking. I know it won’t. IANAC)

Talon Karrde, I was a massive REM fan for their first three records or so. (After that, eeek!) And I love to sing along to music, but with them, all I could do most of the time was sing along phonetically. I still have no idea what most of those songs were about.

Everybody else at that time always included lyrics with their LPs, but not REM. It was their policy. Something like, they wanted you to interpret the songs for yourself. Part of me loves the idea, and part of me cannot stand not to know something like that.:dubious:

I heard Manfred Mann’s version of that song for the first time ever a couple weeks ago. My first thought was ‘holy crap, he DOES sound like he’s singing “wrapped up like a douche”’…always figured it was randomly garbled, but that is a pretty distinct mispronunciation there.

To the OP - ironically, gelatine is the word in that line I didn’t have trouble figuring out.

I do this quite a bit…so much so that I’m having a hard time thinking of examples.

Listening to a lot of Japanese music doesn’t help. There’s times when they’ll be singing in English, and I don’t discover that until reading the lyrics. And even then, sometimes the accent is so thick, I can’t make the lyrics match.

This is fairly recent (and country music, sorry), but there was part of the Big & Rich song, Comin’ to Your City that bothered me for a long time. What I heard was “In the middle of a Charleston night, they ran into Jessica White…” Now, I’m from Charleston, and I could not figure out who Jessica White was. I googled the lyrics, and, sure enough, the ones I found listed the name as “Jessica White”. I did a search, and the only celebrity I could find by that name was a model from Buffalo, so that didn’t make any sense. After some more googling, I finally found my answer - what they are actually saying is “Jesco White”, referring to the Dancing Outlaw who comes from southern West Virginia near Charleston (much to my embarrassment). It seems that a lot of the lyric sites heard the same thing I did, and didn’t bother to double check.

Hey! Another Mountaineer!

I can’t even begin to tell you how many people I had to explain that it wasn’t “Jessica White” but “Jessco White.” And believe it or not, he’s still around! Scary, isn’t it?

I wouldn’t even want to try to explain Jesco White to anyone.

I took a while, but I finally found the lyrics to Yellow Ledbetter.

A few of Elton John’s Crocodile Rock lyrics I never knew:
Foreign mama on Friday night
(Oh lawdy mama those friday nights)
A floozie mama get them right
(When suzie wore her dresses tight)

dreaming of my chevy and my ovaltine
(Dreaming of my chevy and my old blue jeans)
But they never got the thrills we got
growing up to the crocodile rock
(But theyll never kill the thrills weve got
Burning up to the crocodile rock)

I can’t remember the name of the song, or anything else other than the line that I now know to be “Al-bu-querque”, sung by a jovial woman.

I can’t locate the song from that alone, all I can tell you is that I thought it was nice that this woman wanted us to know that “I-like-cookie” :slight_smile: