Rock history is littered with the odd and generally comical phenomenon of misheard lyrics. Given rock’s penchant for raw emotion over enunciation, it kind of comes with the territory. Among the more famous examples include Jimi Hendrix classic “Purple Haze,” with the line “Excuse me while I kiss the sky” notoriously misheard as “Excuse me while I kiss this guy.” Manfred Mann’s Earth Band’s Bruce Springsteen-penned classic rock staple “Blinded by the Light,” where the car-referencing lyric “Revved up like a Deuce” has been often confused for “wrapped up like a douche.” Ouch.
Modern rock heroes like Green Day are just as susceptible to their lyrics being misheard, as evidenced by the numerous examples found on amiright.com, which specializes in unearthing the countless reader-submitted ways listeners mishear the worlds to songs. Here are five of our favorite wildly misunderstood song lyrics by Green Day.
The Misheard Lyrics: “Do you know the time, and listen to me whine/About a crackhead girl named Ann Marie?”
The Real Lyrics: “Do you have the time, to listen to me whine/About nothing and everything all at once?”
“My stupid boyfriend, who listens to only rap, claims that Green Day is the only rock group that he likes,” explained one submitter known as Frann. “He was fooling around with my guitar and I caught him singing these lyrics. Not only did I tell him his lyrics were extremely wrong, I was mad because he mentioned Ann Marie, which is the name of a girl he happened to have cheated on me with at one time.”
“Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)”
The Misheard Lyrics: “The Indian is right/I hope you have the time of your life.”
The Real Lyrics: “But in the end it’s right/I hope you had the time of your life.”
“I would sing this song in front of my Green Day-crazed cousin,” said Hannah on the site. “She would look at me kinda funny. Then I read the lyrics in her CD case and felt way embarrassed.”
“No One Knows”
The Misheard Lyrics: “Call me irresponsible /Call me a b****, you will.”
The Real Lyrics: “Call me irresponsible/Call me habitual.”
“The way Billie Joe says ‘habitual’ in this song just sounds different,” related Andrea. “I mean, I thought that people call him a b**** all the time or something. That he was sad about it, so he put it in his song.”
The Misheard Lyrics: “I’ll bet you Truman differed from the hollow lies.”
The Real Lyrics: “I beg to dream and differ from the hollow lies.”
“I expected to hear them directly knock (George W.) Bush at least once in this song,” explained site user Matt W. “So I thought maybe they were saying Truman was a better President.”
The Misheard Lyrics: “Kill all the f**s and donut cream!”
The Real Lyrics: “Kill all the f**s that don’t agree!”
“This came from my 7-year-old son,” lamented user Tony. “First I laughed, then realized he got the word ‘f**s’ correct. Not so good!”
The Misheard Lyrics: “After 10 cups are copied in bacon”
The Real Lyrics: “After 10 cups of coffee, I’m thinking”
“My little brother was listening to his American Idiot CD and playing this song,” remembered Shiru101. “I heard the line and suddenly thought, ‘I didn’t know Green Day wrote funny lyrics for such serious political songs.’ Then I looked up the real lyrics.”
On September 24, starting at 3PM PT/6PM ET, Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt, Tre Cool will be primed and ready to blast through tunes both old and new in the tiny venue, the Red Bull Sound Space. The band will also participate in a fan Q&A.
–Scott T. Sterling, CBS Local