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New study identifies the most misheard lyrics and artists

on April 22, 2014, 2:18pm

From when the song debuted in 1999 to just last year, I swore Eiffel 65’s “Blue (Da Ba Dee)” contained the lyric “I’m blue/If I was gray I would die.” In fact, I once got into a shouting match with someone in a college English class regarding the line, arguing that “I’m blue da ba dee da ba die” was not only stupid, but contextually inappropriate. When I finally saw the (blue) light, I was sure that my blunder had to be a fairly common mix-up. Now, thanks to a new list compiling the most misheard lyrics of all time, I realize I am as isolated as the song’s titular hero. (The song is about sadness and isolation and not just techno-loving aliens, right?)

In a poll of 2,000 adults (via The Telegraph), UK company Blinkbox Music found that Ozzy Osbourne, Lady Gaga, Jay ZPrince, and Bob Dylan are among the most misunderstood artists in popular music history. Here’s the official breakdown of the top 10 by percent of individuals who misheard the respective musicians.

01. Ozzy Osbourne (28%) — Is this actually in reference to his interviews?

02. Lady Gaga (22%) — This one doesn’t make sense. Unless people can’t hear through all that mediocrity.

03. Shaggy (22%) — OK, now this makes total sense.

04. Sean Paul (14%) — See above.

05. Jay Z (14%) — Hov’s inclusion isn’t surprising; however, it is surprising that people are clearly still listening to “I Can’t Get Wit That” or “In My Lifetime” in 2014.

06. Rihanna (14%) — Again, people seem to spend more time listening to “Pon de Replay” than “Pour It Up”.

07. Miley Cyrus (13%) — All I have to submit is this video.

08. Jimi Hendrix (10%) — This one stumped me. Until I remembered the one time I thought a pizza place with the sign “Excuse me, while I tip this guy” used a rare Hendrix line rather brilliantly.

09. Prince (9%) — Must be all the numbers in song titles that keeps throwing people off.

10. Bob Dylan (8%) — See: His entire discography.

So, the question begs to be asked: which songs contain the most misunderstood lyrics of all time? Differing slightly from the previous, that list features ABBA’s “Dancing Queen” cementing the top spot with 22% of the vote. It’s followed by cuts from Queen (“We Will Rock You”), Madonna (“Like a Virgin”), Rihanna (“We Found Love”), and Spice Girls (“Wannabe”), among others. Consult the full list below as you ready new tabs for A-Z Lyrics or MetroLyrics.

01. ABBA – Dancing Queen (22%)
Wrong: See that girl, watch her scream, kicking the dancing queen
Right: See that girl, watch that scene, diggin’ the dancing queen
CoS Take: Wherein people subconsciously reveal some deep, dark inner urges. 

02. Queen – We Will Rock You (18%)
Wrong: Kicking your cat all over the place
Right: Kicking your can all over the place
CoS Take: Sports have driven plenty of people to dumb things, but hopefully not animal abuse.

03. Bon Jovi – Living on a Prayer (12%)
Wrong: It doesn’t make a difference if we’re naked or not
Right: It doesn’t make a difference if we make it or not
CoS Take: Somehow, the incorrect line works much better.

04. Madonna – Like a Virgin (12%)
Wrong: Like a virgin touched for the thirty-first time
Right: Like a virgin touched for the very first time
CoS Take: In which people’s perception informs reality.

05. The Monkees – I’m a Believer (12%)
Wrong: Then I saw her face, now I’m gonna leave her
Right: Then I saw her face, now I’m a believer
CoS Take: We missed out on the sickest burn in pop history.

06. Johnny Nash – I Can See Clearly Now (11%)
Wrong: I can see clearly now Lorraine has gone
Right: I can see clearly now, the rain is gone
CoS Take: Who is Lorraine?! Does no one understand context?!

07. Rihanna – We Found Love (11%)
Wrong: What it takes to form a line
Right: What it takes to come alive
CoS Take: Because nothing says romance like neat and orderly queues.

08. Jimi Hendrix – Purple Haze (9%)
Wrong: Excuse me while I kiss this guy
Right: Excuse me whilst I kiss the sky
CoS Take: See, I’m not alone.

09. Spice Girls – Wannabe (9%)
Wrong: If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get rid of my friends
Right: If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends
CoS Take: There are legions of men that wish it was actually the incorrect one.

10. Starship – We Built This City (8%)
Wrong: We built this city on logs and coal
Right: We built this city on rock and roll
CoS Take: I’d be able to stomach this song if it really included references to architecture and/or the Industrial Revolution.

List aside, I think we all know the real winner: