21 of the funniest misheard lyrics of all time

Taylor Swift’s ‘Blank Space’ has a famously misheard lyric. Ethan Miller/Getty Images
  • It’s not uncommon to mishear lyrics and it can lead to some funny realisations and memes.
  • Taylor Swift‘s song “Blank Space” has a lyric that seems to sing about Starbucks lovers, but it’s actually about exes.
  • An episode of “Friends” may be partially responsible for the popularly misheard lyric in Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer.”
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

It’s happened to the best of us – we hear a new song on the radio, fall in love, and begin to sing the lyrics we think we’re hearing, though they end up being entirely incorrect.

Nevertheless, these misheard lyrics can lead to hilarious realisations and even funny videos.

Here are some of the funniest misheard lyrics of all time, plus what the musicians were actually singing.

2019’s hit “Old Town Road” has a commonly misheard line.

Lil Nas X is a rapper and country star. YouTube/Lil Nas X

In 2019, Lil Nas X’s song rose to the top of Billboard’s Hot Country chart but, shortly after, the company removed the track, saying it did not have enough elements of today’s country music.

After the news, country legend Billy Ray Cyrus collaborated on the track with the young artist – then, the hit went viral.

And although the track is popular, many people seem to mishear its lyric “Take my horse to the old town road” as “Take my horse to a hotel room.” That incorrect string of lyrics already has over 170 million search results on Google.

An episode of “Friends” may be partially responsible for this popularly misheard lyric.

A scene from the music video for ‘Tiny Dancer.’ YouTube/Elton John

For years, there’s been a running joke that Elton John wrote his 1971 song “Tiny Dancer” about Tony Danza, an American actor known for his work in “Who’s the Boss?” and “Taxi.”

This gag is said to have started after a character sang the mispronounced lyric on an episode of “Friends” and said the song was written about Danza.

The misquoted lyric comes from the line “Hold me closer tiny dancer,” which some people may hear as “Hold me close, young Tony Danza.”

Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” has a misheard line that seems to mention a major coffee brand.

A scene from the music video for ‘Blank Space.’ YouTube

In 2014, Taylor Swift’s famed “Blank Space” song made headlines when hoards of radio listeners and, per a now-deleted Tweet, even Swift’s mum herself misheard the lyric “Got a long list of ex-lovers” as “All the lonely Starbucks lovers.”

Naturally, Starbucks was seemingly surprised and presumably disappointed to learn it was not included in her song.

Per a 2017 video from The Cut, the reason these lyrics are so misheard could have to do with one’s expectations and the placement of the song’s beats.

Selena Gomez’s 2015 hit has a lyric that sounds like it’s talking about a bodily function instead of diamonds.

A scene from the ‘Good for You’ music video. YouTube/Selena Gomez

Selena Gomez’s single “Good for You” was a 2015 hit, but some fans misheard the song’s opening line “I’m 14 carats,” which refers to diamonds, as “I’m farting carrots.”

In an interview with BBC Radio 1‘s Scott Mills, the singer laughed at the incorrect, vegetable-focused lyric and said the radio hosts may be mishearing it because of their English accents.

She also confirmed that the lyric was “I’m 14 carats.”

Listeners have also misheard the lyrics of another hit Selena Gomez song.

A scene from the ‘The Heart Wants What It Wants’ music video. YouTube/Selena Gomez VEVO

In yet another lyric mishap, people misheard part of Gomez’s song “The Heart Wants What It Wants.”

In the song, a distorted version of Gomez’s voice sings “What the heart wants” a few times, but people have hilariously misheard the line as “What the Farquaad.”

Lord Farquaad is a popular villain from the 2001 “Shrek” movie. Following the single’s release, some people even made YouTube videos dedicated to the Shrek villain and Gomez’s lyric that seemed to reference him.

This misheard lyric has become a meme that comes around at the end of every April.

A scene from the video for ‘It’s Gonna Be Me.’ Jive

The now infamous meme, Justin Timberlake’s titular line in the NSYNC song “It’s Gonna Be Me” is not “It’s gonna be May,” despite what our ears seem to be telling us.

This misheard lyric has become a popular meme that comes around annually just before the first day of May. Over the years, even members of the band have gotten in on the fun by posting Instagrams of the misheard line.

Many have had fun purposely misunderstanding the lyrics of “Livin’ On A Prayer.”

A scene from the video for ‘Livin’ On A Prayer.’ YouTube/Bon Jovi

This popular song by Bon Jovi seems simple enough with its repeating lyrics, “Woah, we’re halfway there / Woah-oh, livin’ on a prayer,” but it is still misheard, whether deliberately or not.

One of the most famous misheard iterations is: “Woah, we’re halfway there / Woah-oh, Squidward on a chair.”Squidward is a popular character from the show “SpongeBob SquarePants,” which aired in 1999. Bon Jovi’s song was released in 1986 – so, no, this track not a tribute to the animated, tentacled character and furniture.

In 2016, there was even a viral Twitter trend that involved making memes out of things that sound like they could be the song’s “Livin’ on a prayer” lyric, including “Lizard on a chair” and “Lemon and a pear.”

Guns N Roses’ “Paradise City” has a funnily misheard lyric about animals.

A scene from the ‘Paradise City’ music video. YouTube/ Guns N’ Roses

Some people seem to have a bit of trouble understanding a lyric from Guns N’ Roses’ popular 1987 song “Paradise City.”

Although the lyric contains the name of the song, some have thought the song’s line “Take me down to Paradise City” is actually “Take me down to prairie-dog city.”

Eminem and Rihanna’s hit song “Monster” has a misheard line related to condiments.

A scene from the ‘Monster’ music video. YouTube/EminemMusic

Eminem’s 2013 song “Monster” features Rihanna and one of her lines is sometimes misheard.

In the chorus, Rihanna sings, “I’m friends with the monster that’s under my bed,” but the song lyrics are often misheard to be “I’m friends with the mustard that’s under my bed.”

“Empire State of Mind” has a famously hilarious misheard line.

A scene from ‘Empire State of Mind.’ YouTube

Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’ hit 2009 song “Empire State of Mind” has a misheard line that doesn’t quite make sense.

Some have mistakenly thought the lyric “Concrete jungle where dreams are made of” was actually “Concrete jungle wet-dream tomato.”

In 2018, musician Ed Sheeran said even he was one of many who misheard this line of Jay-Z and Keys’ song. The incorrect lyrics have since been immortalised on YouTube and have even become a meme.

“Burnin’ Up” has one commonly confused lyric that some fans think even Joe Jonas doesn’t know.

A scene from the ‘Burnin’ Up’ music video. YouTube/Jonas Brothers

The Jonas Brothers’ 2008 summer anthem “Burnin’ Up” has one widely debated lyric in its chorus. And recently, a fan reached out to Joe Jonas on Twitter to ask if the lyric is “Baby,you turn the temperature hotter” or “Baby, who turned the temperature hotter?”

Instead of answering the question, Joe responded to the tweet asking people what they thought the lyric was. Some fans then began speculating that he was only asking because perhaps he doesn’t actually know what the lyric is.

Others pointed out that Joe should know this line considering in 2013, his brother Nick famously interrupted the band’s Kiss 98.5 performance to set the record straight on this lyric.

“Do you know it’s ‘WHO turned the temperature hotter?’ cause everyone always sings ‘YOU turn the temperature hotter,'” he said. “I’ve always been curious if they know.”

Even the title of “Penny Lane” has been misheard by some listeners.

The Beatles performing in the ’60s. Getty Images

Released in 1967, The Beatles’ iconic song “Penny Lane” is actually about a neighbourhoodPaul McCartney and John Lennon spent a lot of time in when they were younger.

But some people have been pretty confused about the track’s title and lyrics – a number of listeners have mistaken the song as being about a woman called Aunt Elaine.

The song starts with the lyric: “In Penny Lane, there is a barber showing photographs,” and so the track would be pretty bizarre if “Penny Lane” was swapped out for “Aunt Elaine.”

This hit song from “Grease” has been misheard as a bizarre fashion trend.

A scene from ‘Grease.’ Paramount Pictures

Though it was a musical first, “Grease” (1978) is a well-known film and the movie’s hit “You’re the One That I Want” is a popular duet to sing along to.

But not everyone singing along has the lyrics quite right.Some have heard the line, “I’ve got shoes, they’re made of plywood.” The lyric is actually, “I’ve got chills, they’re multiplying.”

One of the best-known misheard lyrics is in Jimi Hendrix’s “Purple Haze.”

Jimi Hendrix performing live. Evening Standard/Getty Images

Jimi Hendrix’s 1967 hit “Purple Haze” has a misheard lyric that’s really made a name for itself.

The song goes “‘Scuse me while I kiss the sky,” but so many people have misheard it as “‘Scuse me while I kiss this guy” that some fans think Hendrix started singing that version of the lyric during live shows, as a joke.

“Kiss this guy” grew to become the grandfather of misheard lyrics and even inspired the name of the misheard-lyric website kissthisguy.com.

Listeners have a hard time understanding some lyrics of “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

A scene from the ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ music video. YouTube/Queen Official

It seems fairly common to mishear the lyrics to Queen’s 1975 hit, “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

Many people sing the lines “Scaramouch, scaramouch will you do the fandango” and “Bismillah! No” incorrectly because of their obscure words and references.

But there’s another line later in the song, right before the head-banging guitar solo, that is consistently misheard.

The real lyrics are “Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me,” but people have misheard it as everything from “Beelzebub has a devil for a sideboard” to “The algebra has a devil put aside for me.”

Keith Urban cleared up a debate about the commonly-misheard lyric in “You’ll Think of Me.”

A scene from the ‘You’ll Think of Me’ music video. YouTube/Keith Urban Vevo

Grammy-nominated country singer Keith Urban is famous for songs like “Blue Ain’t Your Colour” and “You Look Good in My Shirt.”

But his 2002 track “You’ll Think of Me” has left fans debating over a lyric in the chorus.

Listeners couldn’t decide if the line was “Take your cap and leave my sweater” or “Take your cat and leave my sweater” – it’s actually the latter.

Urban confirmed the lyric in 2019 when “The Bobby Bones Show” reached out to him about it. He even followed up with a funny video by demonstrating the correct version with an actual cat.

“Dancing Queen” has a misheard lyric that turns the cheerful song violent.

A scene from the music video for ‘Dancing Queen.’ YouTube/ABBA Official Vevo

1976’s “Dancing Queen” is one of ABBA’s most iconic hits, but some listeners have grossly misheard the song’s chorus.

The actual lyrics are “See that girl, watch that scene, diggin’ the dancing queen,” but some seem to think it’s “See that girl, watch her scream, kicking the dancing queen.”

According to NPR, a British poll revealed that this particular line from “Dancing Queen” was the no. 1 most-commonly misheard lyric in 2014.

Rihanna’s background tracks on “FourFiveSeconds” are sometimes comically misheard.

A scene from the ‘FourFiveSeconds’ music video. YouTube/Rihanna Vevo

The unlikely team of Rihanna, Kanye West, and Paul McCartney came together to create “FourFiveSeconds,” which they performed for the first time at the 2015 Grammys.

Rihanna has a few background tracks sprinkled in during West and McCartney’s verse. During one of them, she says, “I’m on a mystery,” but Capital East Midlands radio station pointed out that it sounds like she’s saying “I bought a Listerine.”

The rom-com “27 Dresses” helped point out some commonly-misheard lyrics in “Bennie and the Jets.”

A scene from the ‘Bennie and the Jets’ official music video created in 2017. YouTube/Elton John Vevo

Elton John and Bernie Taupin composed “Bennie and the Jets” in 1973, but the song’s popularity resurged in 2008 when it was featured in the rom-com “27 Dresses.”

In the film, Katherine Heigl and James Marsden’s characters perform the song at a dive bar with some interesting lyrical decisions.

They get almost every lyric wrong, but one particular line that’s even contested by some real-life listeners is “She’s got electric boobs and mohair shoes.” The line is actually “She’s got electric boots, a mohair suit.”

The defunct app Vine helped make this “Because of You” misheard lyric famous.

A scene from the ‘Because of You’ music video. YouTube/Kelly Clarkson Vevo

Kelly Clarkson became a pop sensation after winning the first season of “American Idol” in 2002, and her track “Because of You” was released on her second studio album, alongside hits like “Since U Been Gone.”

“Because of You” is an emotional breakup ballad, but it received a funny twist in a clip for the defunct six-second-video platform Vine.

One user pointed out that the lyric “I never stray too far from the footpath” sounds a lot like “I never stray too far from the salad bowl.”

Some listeners were shocked when they thought Jake Owen was singing about drugs.

A scene from the ‘Beachin” music video. YouTube/Jake Owen Vevo

Jake Owen’s “Beachin'” was a popular country song back in 2013, but a lot of listeners were confused by part of the song’s chorus.

Many have misheard the lyric“White sand, cold can” as “White-sand cocaine,” giving the song a slightly less chill-day-at-the-beach vibe.

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