Unintelligible lyrics deciphered, at long last

When I was a kid I used to love watching Count Duckula, a British-made comedy cartoon series about a vegetarian vampire duck. The series featured some rather catchy theme music, both for the opening titles and ending credits. However, it always irked me that the lyrics for much of both themes were completely incomprehensible to me. It’s not that I misheard the lyrics as some other words, but rather that I didn’t understand what was being sung at all. In fact, listening to both tunes again, there are still many passages I simply can’t decipher.

But I’m proud to be able to report today that one of the biggest lyrical mysteries is no more! Specifically, at about 30 seconds into the closing credits, a voice can be heard shouting something, seemingly in a foreign language. As a kid I was convinced that the language was Hungarian, and on more than one occasion I dragged my Hungarian-speaking grandmother down to the television to plead with her to translate it for me. But she couldn’t understand the words either, and said that they probably weren’t in Hungarian. But now, with the benefit of having lived for nearly 11 years in the Deutscher Sprachraum, I have finally identified the words as an exclamation in German: “Ach, Schinken und Käse!” (“Oh, ham and cheese!”)

Why ham and cheese? I have no idea! It makes no sense at all in the context of the song. But I’m pretty confident that that’s what is being said. The words are probably being spoken by voice actor Jimmy Hibbert, in the character of Duckula’s nemesis Dr. Von Goosewing. Von Goosewing is a German-speaking mad scientist who has more than a few screws loose, and often converses with “Heinrich”, a never-seen assistant who may just be a figment of his imagination. So I suppose randomly shouting about “Schinken und Käse” would not be entirely out of character for him.

Does anyone else have any stories about completely opaque lyrics that they triumphantly deciphered after a long period? (No mondegreens, please!)

Not “after a long period” but…
Once upon a time I was listening to an Elton John song. I didn’t know what the word was (pre-internet). One day I probably spent an hour or so playing it over and gave up.
That evening I met someone from England. In the conversation she said “garage” the way they do in England. I realized that was the word that I was trying to figure out. I didn’t know there was a different pronounciation.
By the way, the song was Levon.

In the chorus of the Elton John song “Step Into Christmas”, there’s a line that I could never manage to translate into English. Finally (thanks to the internet) I looked it up and he’s saying “eat, drink and be merry”. But now, even knowing what he’s saying, I still have problems understanding it!

Lots of mid-period Cocteau Twins lyrics are undecipherable, but one in particular, Donimo, has always puzzled me more than most.

Until I came across counting rhymes that I’d never heard before, and suddenly some of the lines made perfect sense:

Olla bolla Domino,
Okka, Pokka dominocha,

You are right, but that’s cheating just a little bit. It’s the equivalent of “godwinising” a song lyrics thread because nothing short of a full blown nuclear Sigur Ros is going to beat Elizabeth Fraser in full flow. That’s turning up to a game of pool in a pub with a cue in a case.

My own contribution, from a song that is supposed to make at least *some *form of sense, is “There, There My Dear” by Dexy’s Midnight Runners.

gibberish…gibberish…bbbbrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!..gibberish…gibberish…Frank Sinatra. :confused:

Bloody great song though.

It’s fairly easy to look up Richard Berry’s lyrics for the Kingsmen’s version of Louie Louie but honestly I prefer to come up with my own lyrics.
It was a column right here on the Straight Dope where I found out the real lyrics to Hotel California.

It’s hard to bargle naugle souse
With all these marbles in my mouth

I’m okay with most Nirvana songs but “Smells Like Teen Spirit” still stumps me in places. I finally realized the other day that he was genuinely singing “A mulatto, an albino, a mosquito, my libido” and it wasn’t just my imagination.

Lyrics to Count Duckula theme here: Theme songs – Count Duckula Lyrics | Genius Lyrics.

I don’t know if that was what you were after though.

So they* weren’t *unintelligible, just unbelievable.

Thanks. Reading over the lyrics, it’s no surprise I wasn’t able to understand them—they contain some really tortured rhymes (“Transylvania”/“hall of fang, yeah”, “some fun”/“upon”) and gratuitous abuse of metre (“He won’t bite beast or man / 'cause he’s a vegetarian”). Not surprising, really, as the show’s dialogue was just as poorly written sometimes.

I bet you won’t be able to find any posted lyrics for the end credits that includes the “Schinken und Käse” line.

Both, really. A double whammy.

How long has it been since The Beatles Across the Universe has been released?

I had no idea what he was singing : tyco rune day?

Finally I heard the song when I was by a computer. Aha! It’s not even English.

Jai Guru Deva, Om

Well I guess it is understandable I couldn’t understand it.

As a native speaker and fellow watcher of Count Duckula (I’ve always wondered about how they got away without being sued, using “duck” and the appearance of the Count who looked like any other duck in the Disney empire), I can confirm the “Schinken und Käse” line, though I’d never deciphered it back in the days, but only now after hearing your youtube link. It was a funny show.

I’ve been working on this one for a while. Based on live concerts and interviews I know this actually has lyrics but I can’t figure them out. All the online “lyrics” sites just add guesses.

Yellow Ledbetter.