By deaf emmet
I think Springsteen is the worst. You always have to scream the lyrics along with Bruce and none of us (Well me, anyway) know the words to the damn songs. But that doesn’t stop us, does it?
On one of my rare (getting rarer) strolls to the Camden post office, I was screaming along with Bruce (I wonder what the neighbors think) to one of my favorite songs, “Prisoner in disguise.” I happened to look at the iPod and the song title was actually “Brilliant disguise.” I had been singing it wrong for decades.
So tell me what I see when I look in your eyes
is that you baby or just a brilliant disguise?
I had to wonder when people like Tipper Gore complained about rock ‘n roll lyrics because 90 percent of the people just sing them phonetically. Long before it was adopted by the Red Sox as their theme song, I was screaming “She tells lies, oh, oh, oh!” to the song “Sweet Caroline.” Hey. It fits. I hate the song and hate the singer so I just sing “She tells lies” when it comes up.
The Rolling Stones are another great band to scream along with. I defy anyone to repeat all the words to “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.” I always sang “I was born in a class five hurricane.” Only much, much later did I learn that the correct words were “a crossfire hurricane,” whatever that is.
I was born in a cross-fire hurricane
and I howled at my ma in the driving rain,
but it’s all right now, in fact, it’s a gas!
But it’s all right. I’m jumpin’ jack flash.
I actually saw Jimmy Hendrix perform live in the old Fillmore Auditorium. There were only three of them but they were so loud that they moved the buttons on my shirts. I think they changed my heartbeat. Hendrix ruined me forever when he pointed to the bassist, Noel Redding and sang “excuse me while I kiss this guy.” I never heard the right words ever again.
Purple haze all in my brain
lately things just don’t seem the same
Actin’ funny, but I don’t know why
‘Scuse me while I kiss the sky.
The classic malapropism rock song, of course, was “Louie, Louie,” by the one-hit wonders the Kingsmen. If you wanted to get a party started, or resurrected after playing some Bob Dylan tunes, “Louis, Louie” always did it. We always heard that the FBI was investigating the band and the lyrics. No one knows who penned the incredibly filthy lyrics, but they spread like wildfire, all across the country. Maria was one of the smartest people at Northeastern, so she was assigned to figure out the filthy words, write them down and carry them around for future reference. One day she announced that she has discarded the profane document. “Imagine if I’m hit by a car and they find those words in my pocket,” she argued. No one argued back.
Fine little girl she waits for me
Me catch the ship for cross the sea
I sail the ship all alone
I never think I’ll make it home.
I know a woman (I do!) who knows most of the words to most of the old songs. But in a candid moment she broke down and admitted that she sang “There’s a bathroom on the right,” instead of the classic words “There’s a bad moon rising.”
Well, don’t go around tonight
well, it’s bound to take your life
there’s a bad moon on the rise
Everyone has their rock ‘n roll malapropisms. I know that you do, too. Sing it.