‘There’s a bathroom on the right’ and other popular song lyrics our readers get wrong

(Illustration by Christopher Cherrington | The Salt Lake Tribune)

“Don’t go ’round tonight. It’s bound to take your life. There’s a bathroom on the right.”

“I swear,” wrote Scotty Chance, “that is what John Fogerty sings.”

The Stansbury Park resident is not alone when it comes to the song “Bad Moon Rising.” Over the past 50 years, several Salt Lake Tribune readers thought Creedence Clearwater Revival was offering directions to the loo.

The actual words, though, are, as the title suggests, “There’s a bad moon on the rise” — and they are among a chorus of musical phrases where what was sung and what we heard just didn’t match up.

The term for these misquoted lyrics, explains West Jordan resident Guy Briggs, is “mondegreens.”

[RELATED: When Christmas songs go wrong — at least in our ears]

It was coined in 1954 by American writer Sylvia Wright. As a girl, Wright said she had misheard the lyric “and laid him on the green” in a Scottish ballad as, “and Lady Mondegreen.”

We asked readers to share their funniest “mondegreens” with us. So read along — and sing along — to some of the best (listed here by title and artist and edited for space and clarity).

“Got My Mind Set on You” (George Harrison) • “I got my mom to sit on you.”

— Kyle Chilton, Spanish Fork

“Smooth Operator” (Sade) • “My son thought (it) was ‘smooth Doppler radar.’ I still sing it like that sometimes.”

— Pattie S. Christensen-Ellis, Draper

“Southern Cross” (Crosby, Stills & Nash) • “Lookin’ for that Mormon girl” instead of “looking for that woman girl.”

— Cathy Gilmore, Murray

“Angel of the Morning” (Juice Newton) • “Just brush my teeth before you leave me.” The actual lyric: “Just touch my cheek before …”

— Hilary Brown, Salt Lake City

“Apologize” (Timbaland) • “It’s too late to call the child.” Actual lyric: “It’s too late to apologize.”

— Grace Tueller, Provo

“The Pina Colada Song” (Rupert Holmes) • “If you like bean enchiladas.”

— Terri Carroll, Glendale, Ariz.

“Beast of Burden” (The Rolling Stones) • “I’ll never leave your pizza burning.” Actual lyric: “I’ll never be your beast of burden.”

— Hadley Clark, New Haven, Ct.

“Every Time You Go Away” (Paul Young) • “You take a piece of ‘meat’ with you.” Actual lyric: “A piece of me with you.”

— Annette Holbrook, Weatherford, Texas

“Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” (AC/DC) • “Dirty knees and the thunder chief.”

— Jess Wilkerson, Salt Lake City

“Michelle” (Beatles) • “Michelle, my belle, someday monkeys play piano well.” Actual lyrics are in French: “Sont des mots qui vont tres bien ensemble.”

— John Oblad, Las Vegas

“Sunday Bloody Sunday” (U2) • “My younger brother and I used to love the U2 song ‘Someday Maybe Monday.’”

— Patrick Mason, Logan

“Thunder” (Imagine Dragons) • “Every time the auto tune voice says ‘thunder’ it sounds like ‘fun dip,’ so that’s how I’d sing along.”

— David Kennedy, Glendale, Ariz.

“Panama” (Van Halen) • “Padded Bra.”

— Willy Van Voorhis, Salt Lake City

“Hit Me With Your Best Shot” (Pat Benatar) • “My grandpa would sing, ‘Hit me with your pet shark.’”

— Victoria Kay, Burbank, Calif.

“Unconditionally” (Katy Perry) • “‘Uncooked DiGiorno’ in the chorus is one I can’t unhear.”

— Alex Crandall, Arlington, Va.

“Drift Away” (Uncle Kracker) • “For years, I sang, ‘Give me the Beach Boys and free my soul.’ It took my cousin laughing at me before I learned the correct words.” Actual lyric: “Give me the beat boys.”

— Nate Mellen, Layton

“Calling All Angels” (Train) • “’Calling on Egypt.’ I maintain that my version was much more interesting.”

— Julia Durrant, Portland, Ore.

“Lucille” (Kenny Rogers) • “When Kenny Rogers sang about Lucille leaving, I always thought, no wonder; with ’400 children and the crops in the field.’” Actual lyric: “Four hungry children.”

— Paul Buchi, Ogden

Dude Looks Like a Lady” (Aerosmith) • “Treat her like a lady.”

— Kate Warner, South Jordan

“Hungry Heart” (Bruce Springsteen) • “Everybody’s got a hungry horse.”

— Jennifer Heighton, Murray

“Purple Haze” (Jimi Hendrix) • “For years I thought that Jimi Hendrix was bisexual because he sang, ‘Excuse me while I kiss this guy.’ Years later, I realized it was ‘kiss the sky.’”

— Connell O’Donovan, Salt Lake City

“Hollaback Girl” (Gwen Stefani) • “My husband thought Gwen Stefani was singing, ‘I ain’t no Harlem black girl,’ and couldn’t figure out why she would sing that.”

— Jenny Vitrano, Bountiful

“Sunglasses at Night” (Corey Hart) • “Don’t mess around with the guy who shaves a mole.” Actual lyric: “Don’t masquerade with the guy in shades, oh no.”

— Cami Christensen, Salt Lake City

“Margaritaville” (Jimmy Buffett) • “My kids love to make fun of me when I sing, ‘Wastin’ away again in Margaritaville. Searchin’ for my lost shaker of sauce’ — instead of salt. It makes sense to me.”

— Cynthia Tibbetts Lyman, Salt Lake City

“God Bless America” • “Stand beside her and guide her through the night with a light from a bulb.” Actual lyric: “A light from above.”

— Betty Raines, Salt Lake City

“Blinded by the Light” (Manfred Mann’s Earth Band) • “Wrapped up like a douche, another runner in the night.” Actual lyric: “Revved up like a deuce, another roller in the night.”

— Jeremy Beckham, Salt Lake City

“Tiny Dancer” (Elton John) • “Hold me close a Tony Danza.”

— Eric Lee, Edmonds, Wash.

“I’m Every Woman” (Whitney Houston) • “‘Climb every mountain.’ My family still makes fun of me for that.”

— Elenor Gomberg, Salt Lake City

“Rock You Like a Hurricane” (Scorpions) • “My daughter thought the Scorpions had a sponsor: ‘Here I am, brought to you by a Hurricane.’”

— Shelley Cleveland, Cedar City

“Dancing Queen” (Abba) • “See that girl. Watch her scream. Kicking the Dancing Queen.” Actual lyric: “See that girl. Watch that scene. Digging the dancing queen.”

— Ian Murphy, Las Vegas

“Dirty Laundry” (Carrie Underwood) • “I heard ‘all the eight-tracks in the world ain’t gonna clean your dirty laundry.’ I asked my husband what eight-tracks had to do with anything? ‘Ajax, honey, Ajax.’”

— Susan McNally, Columbus, Mont.