Friday, February 12, 2010

HEY, KIDS, *mumble mumble mumble*

Okay, so while we're talking about music, let's talk about the KING of mis-heard lyrics, Sir Elton John!

I remember a few years back, hearing about how some parents were up in arms about Bennie and the Jets (which, really? That song came out, like, thirty-five years ago) because it mentioned kids fighting their parents.

And I was, like, it DOES? Because I'd been listening to that song since Hector was a pup and I'd never heard that part.

So, of course, I had to pull out my ALBUM (am old) and give it a listen, and sure enough, there it was, "We'll fight our parents out in the streets/to find who's right and who's wrong".

Huh. Never heard that before. Of course, any Elton John song is chock-full of words evidently spoken in some made-up language, because despite repeated listens, you're still going, "WHAT? WHAT did he say?"

And it's not so much that Elton John doesn't enunciate (unlike the late Kurt Cobain, who sang like he had a mouthful of marbles), it's that the lyrics make no damn sense to begin with.

May I submit an excerpt from "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road":

"Back to the howling old owl in the woods/hunting the horny back toad"

What. the. f*ck. is a HORNY BACK TOAD, for Pete's sake?! And DO NOT direct me to the Wikipedia entry, because to be honest, that would just piss me off at this point.

And Elton John's already pissing me off enough for one day.


downtown guy said...

Strangely, I was talking to someone about this not three days ago. The issue with Elton's lyrics is that Bernie Taupin writes the lyrics first. He sends them to Elton, who sets them to music. The problem is, if the words don't scan quite the way Elton feels they should go, he just changes them slightly until they fit, but he doesn't care if that muddies the meaning. So "horny back toad" could have started as horny toad, toad, hopping toad - anything, before Elton changed it to fit his melody.


Bridgett said...

I never sang it that way...the phrase I sang (which made more sense to me) is
"back to the howling old owl, left from this heart attack town..."

but, you know, it's Elton John so you basically can make up anything and it sounds plausible.

rockygrace said...

downtown, SOMEBODY's gotta know this stuff - might as well be you!

And Bridgett, I thought it was "back to the (mumble mumble) out in the woods, hunting the honeyback trout*" - I like your version better.

*Which DOES NOT EXIST, as far as I know. Then again, neither does the *&%*& horny back toad.

Heather said...

I'm sorry, I know your post was more of a rant, but really I was laughing. Horny back toad! LOL! We have horny toads here in Texas, but I never knew it was in the song.