Song lyrics that get your goat

16 years ago

I posted the following 'complaint' in the Music Room, and only got a few responses. My mistake - this is The Place Where The Language Lovers Go.

As readers, do you find yourself listening to the lyrics of songs and cringing at some of the howlers? For example, I bought the excellent Eric Clapton CD "Me and Mr Johnson" for DH, but really wanted to cross out the title and amend it to "Mr Johnson and I" in big black marker pen...

To me, Dylan's 'Lay Lady Lay' is a good song for the chicken coop, while Clapton's 'Lay Down Sally' could be sung to the giant gorilla who is climbing up the side of the Empire State Building with Charlie Brown's little sister in his sweaty palm.

For more song lyrics to make your English teacher cry, listen to Oasis ("take that look from off your face"), the Rolling Stones ("hey, you, get off of my cloud") or the 1990s hit by Space ("the female of the species is more deadlier than the male").

What are your pet hate bad or stupid lyrics?

Comments (60)

  • veer
    16 years ago

    Anyanka, I am useless at song lyrics, I just seem unable to 'hear' them and I pride myself on being able to hear a mouse-trap snap through closed doors and walls at least a foot thick; so it is not an audibility thing.
    The only 'words' that have stuck in my mind are those of songs and hymns we used to sing at junior school . . . and some of those are most suspect and don't stand up to close scrutiny.
    On the other hand a tune will go round and round in my head for hours at a time.

    Here is a link that might be useful: McArthur Park

  • MusicMom
    16 years ago

    Okay, somebody translate this line from "Straight to My Heart" by Sting:

    "I'll be true to no one but you."

    What exactly is he saying here? "I'll be true to you," or "I'll mess around but you're the only one I'll be true to?" That line irritates me, though I really like Sting in general.

    Jankin, that song is right at the top of my barf list.

    I've always liked Bohemian Rhapsody--it's just strange enough for me. I don't think it should really qualify for this thread though, because the lyrics are stupid by design. :)

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    I Am Helen Reddy. I LOVE that song. (Helen Reddy and Ray Burton) I am woman, hear me roar In numbers too big to ignore And I know too much to go back an' pretend 'Cause I've heard it all before And I've been down there on the floor No one's ever gonna keep me down again Oh yes, I am wise But it's wisdom born of pain Yes, I've paid the price But look how much I gained If I have to I can do anything I am strong (strong) I am invincible (invincible) I am woman You can bend but never break me 'Cause it only serves to make me More determined to achieve my final goal And I come back even stronger Not a novice any longer 'Cause you've deepened the conviction in my soul Oh, yes, I am wise But it's wisdom born of pain Yes, I've paid the price But look how much I gained If I have to I can face anything I am strong (strong) I am invincible (invincible) I am woman I am woman watch me grow See me standing toe to toe As I spread my lovin' arms across the land But I'm still an embryo With a long, long way to go Until I make my brother understand Oh, yes, I am wise But it's wisdom born of pain Yes, I've paid the price But look how much I gained If I have to I can face anything I am strong (strong) I am invincible (invincible) I am woman Oh, I am woman I am invincible I am strong I am woman I am invincible I am strong I am woman
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  • janalyn
    16 years ago

    Someone must have been on drugs when they wrote this one -- and it was a hit. Too bad I couldn't insert the sound of muskrat giggles, the song makes me gag:

    Muskrat Love

    Muskrat, muskrat candlelight
    Doin the town and doin it right
    In the eveninÂ
    ItÂs pretty pleasinÂ

    Muskrat susie, muskrat sam
    Do the jitterbug out in muskrat land
    And they shimmy
    And sammyÂs so skinny

    And they whirled and they twirled and they tangoed
    Singin and jingin the jango
    Floatin like the heavens above
    It looks like muskrat love

    Nibbling on bacon, chewin on cheese
    Sammy says to susie honey, would you please be my missus?
    And she say yes
    With her kisses

    And now heÂs ticklin her fancy
    Rubbin her toes
    Muzzle to muzzle, now anything goes
    As they wriggle, and sue starts to giggle

    And they whirled and they twirled and they tangoed
    Singin and jingin the jango
    Floatin like the heavens above
    It looks like muskrat love

    La da da da da ...

  • ccrdmrbks
    16 years ago

    thanks. now they are ALL stuck in my head-but especially jankin's-I'm old enough to know the tune to that one!

    I really don't get my knickers in a twist if the lyrics have an extra word or two for rhythm, or meter-I just hate the preachy, ***phobic, violent, or "message" songs.
    Larryp-I have always loathed Bohemian Rhapsody-starting with-why is it called the Bohemian Rhapsody?
    On the other hand-the 18 minute version of Layla can make me embarrass my children by opening all the car windows, blasting the volume and singing along at the top of my lungs-and the words to Layla aren't exactly high art:

    WhatÂll you do when you get lonely
    No one waiting by your side?
    YouÂve been running and hiding much too long.
    You know itÂs just your foolish pride.

    Layla, youÂve got me on my knees.
    Layla, IÂm begging, darling please.
    Layla, darling wonÂt you ease my worried mind.

    I tried to give you consolation
    When your old man had let you down.
    Like a fool, I fell in love with you,
    Turned my whole world upside down.


    LetÂs make the best of the situation
    Before I finally go insane.
    Please donÂt say weÂll never find a way
    And tell me all my loveÂs in vain.


    something about the guitar riffs and the drum solo-and it being an iconic song of my youth!

  • ccrdmrbks
    16 years ago

    In my head, I always hear Muskrat Love overlaid with Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road

  • bookmom41
    16 years ago

    For the record, I liked "Bohemian Rhapsody" (and "Killer Queen") as well as "Layla" and any other music involving Eric Clapton and his guitar. Album rock from the 60's and 70's, Yes, ELP, Jethro Tull, the list goes on.

    For strange lyrics devoid of any grammar constructs you can't beat the Grateful Dead; wonderful music for listening, singing, dancing, drinking (all at once, even!) But what does it mean? I didn't know back in my collegiate days and certainly don't now.

    For any Kinks fans, how about this song? I am always amazed at folks who know and even like the song but think Lola is a girlfriend...

    I met her in a club down in old soho
    Where you drink champagne and it tastes just like cherry-cola [lp version:
    C-o-l-a cola
    She walked up to me and she asked me to dance
    I asked her her name and in a dark brown voice she said lola
    L-o-l-a lola lo-lo-lo-lo lola

    Well IÂm not the worldÂs most physical guy
    But when she squeezed me tight she nearly broke my spine
    Oh my lola lo-lo-lo-lo lola
    Well IÂm not dumb but I canÂt understand
    Why she walked like a woman and talked like a man
    Oh my lola lo-lo-lo-lo lola lo-lo-lo-lo lola

    Well we drank champagne and danced all night
    Under electric candlelight
    She picked me up and sat me on her knee
    And said dear boy wonÂt you come home with me
    Well IÂm not the worldÂs most passionate guy
    But when I looked in her eyes well I almost fell for my lola
    Lo-lo-lo-lo lola lo-lo-lo-lo lola
    Lola lo-lo-lo-lo lola lo-lo-lo-lo lola

    I pushed her away
    I walked to the door
    I fell to the floor
    I got down on my knees
    Then I looked at her and she at me

    Well thatÂs the way that I want it to stay
    And I always want it to be that way for my lola
    Lo-lo-lo-lo lola
    Girls will be boys and boys will be girls
    ItÂs a mixed up muddled up shook up world except for lola
    Lo-lo-lo-lo lola

    Well I left home just a week before
    And IÂd never ever kissed a woman before
    But lola smiled and took me by the hand
    And said dear boy IÂm gonna make you a man

    Well IÂm not the worldÂs most masculine man
    But I know what I am and IÂm glad IÂm a man
    And so is lola
    Lo-lo-lo-lo lola lo-lo-lo-lo lola
    Lola lo-lo-lo-lo lola lo-lo-lo-lo lola

  • bookmom41
    16 years ago

    In reviewing, I've veered away from the "lyrics that get your goat" topic. If I like the artist, I don't think the lyrics get my goat at all. Country music and its lyrics, can, however, make my goat act up. Poor grammar is an art form on the country stations and I can only listen for so long with my two DH-juniors in the car who love country. "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy" and "Billy's Got His Beer Goggles On" (which my 8 year old son gave as an answer in Scattergories) are two choices in particular which make me want to, in the vernacular, crash my truck.

  • dido1
    16 years ago

    But why should we think that pop-song lyrics ought to be good, or 'poetry', anyway? It's the music that's most important - the thing that sells. It's only when lyrics get pretentious and start shouting 'listen to me', I've noticed, that I start to take offence. I was quite happy to accept the moronic words of '50s popsongs and still am - Elvis P. etc.:

    'Return to sender,
    'Address unknown,
    'No such number,
    'No such zone.'

    we used to sing, as we did our Chrismas job as students: helping to deliver the local mail! As far as pop-music goes, if I have to listen, I just want to tap my foot and humalong. Blow the words.

    And when it comes to the 'Classics'........ What about the words then, I ask? For instance:

    'Hallelluja, hallelluja,
    'Hallelluja, hallelluja hall-ell-u-ja.
    'Hallelluja, hallelluja,
    'Hallelluja, hallelluja,
    'Halle-llu-ja -'

    Mindbending, isn't it!


  • mwoods
    16 years ago

    McArthur's Park by Jimmy Webb is one of those songs whose lyrics still mystify people. Many think it's a love song but back when it was written I can remember a bunch of us as grad students staying up all hours discussing the meaning. Some felt it was Viet Nam and others,myself included felt it was about ecology and the destruction of the environment. Who knows,but oh how I love this song.

  • MusicMom
    16 years ago

    I like the Weird Al rendition of Lola better than the original...

    I met him in a swamp down in Dagobah
    Where it bubbles all the time
    Like a giant carbonated soda
    S-O-D-A, soda
    I saw the little runt sitting there on a log
    I asked him his name
    And in a raspy voice he said Yoda
    Y-O-D-A, Yoda, Yo-Yo-Yo-Yo Yoda


    Some of Weird Al's parodies even make the originals palatable. :)

  • larryp
    16 years ago

    Ahhh Bookmom you touch my heart. Lola is my all time absolute fave. Washed over by an ocean of nostalgia every time I hear it. Might be about a transvestite but has an aura of innocent joy to me.
    Amazing how much sexual content slips under the radar of even the most straightlaced of listeners. The Blues is absolutely replete with sexual references and a lot of it has passed down through Rock and Roll - a sexual reference in itself.
    My old mum used to love The Beatles especially Penny Lane. Used to do the housework singing joyfully about "finger pies". She had absolutely no idea what she was crooning about. Larry

  • ginny12
    16 years ago

    Muskrat Love. One of the worst songs ever written. Fixed in my brain is the moment during the nation's Bicentennial in 1976 when Queen Elizabeth, Prince Phillip and entourage, visited the White House for a celebration of the great event. The Captain and Tenille (sp?) were the entertainers and regaled the distinguished audience with...Muskrat Love. All those distinguished faces frozen in mixed confusion and revolt. Almost fell off the couch laughing and embarrassed for us. Will never forget it.

  • ccrdmrbks
    16 years ago

    Oh yes, I'd forgotten that-with Jackie Kennedy we got ballet and Pablo Casals....for the Bicentennial, instead of Bernstein or Copeland...President Ford gives our distinguished visitors...Muskrat Love!

  • martin_z
    16 years ago

    cece - I have to say that I love Layla, but only the first half. Once that long instrumental at the end with the clunky piano starts, I lose interest. It's played with as much passion and soul as a steamhammer. Totally dreadful. I thought it was quite interesting the one time I saw Clapton in concert, there was no sign of that second half of Layla...!

    My objection to Bohemian Rhapsody is that it's not long enough...there is enough good music in that song to convert into a twenty-minute piece of music with theme development etc etc. It could have been something really exceptional. As it is, it's just annoying and clever-clever.

    But we've got to be careful here - or we'll get into a discussion of rock music in general.

    Songs that REALLY get my goat?

    Sheena Easton.

    Ma Bay bee takes the more nin-train
    He works from nine to five an-then
    He takes an oth er home again
    To find me way tin for-him.

    Such horrible words and such an irritatingly catchy tune! URGGGHHHHH!

  • anyanka
    Original Author
    16 years ago

    Cece, just reading the Layla lyrics sent a shiver down my spine - it is such a heartrending, intense song. The words may not be Shakespeare, but they are genuinely felt.

    Unlike the following:

    When the moon hits your eye like a big-a pizza pie
    That's amore
    When the world seems to shine like you've had too much wine
    That's amore

    Bells'll ring ting-a-ling-a-ling, ting-a-ling-a-ling
    And you'll sing "Vita bella"
    Hearts'll play tippi-tippi-tay, tippi-tippi-tay
    Like a gay tarantella

    When the stars make you drool just like pasta fagiole
    That's amore
    When you dance down the street with a cloud at your feet, you're in love
    When you walk in a dream but you know you're not dreamin', signore
    'scusa me, but you see, back in old Napoli, that's amore

  • ccrdmrbks
    16 years ago

    martin-I love that part-playing along on the steering wheel...getting stares at red lights!

    Anyanka-for years I thought that song was a "rewrite for advertising purposes" because the local pizza parlor used the first few lines in their commercial-imagine my surprise to find it's a real song!
    Another pet hate-Christmas songs that have been "modernized" with "funny" words. leave my chidlhood memories alone!

  • Chris_in_the_Valley
    16 years ago

    I'm another that never hears the words to songs.

  • biwako_of_abi
    16 years ago

    I can't think just now of any lyrics that annoy me--though I'm sure there must be some. However, it bothers me greatly when I can't catch what the words are at all. For instance, it seems to be part of Enya's style to have the words blend in as if her voice were just another instrument. It took me a while to get used to not being able to catch all of them and I almost gave up on her at first. Glad I didn't give up, though! I was especially happy when I found out all the place names in "Orinoco Flow"--a favorite.

    For decades I was also tormented by Belafonte's "Island in the Sun". He sings,

    "I pray (hope?) the day will never come
    When I can't awake to the sound of drum.
    With calypso songs philosophical."

    I couldn't catch it on my old LPs, and it was just a year or two ago that I finally realized he must be singing, "Never let me miss Carnival"!

    But will someone please tell me the meaning of the line
    "You can tell the sun in his jealous sky
    When we walked in fields of gold"?

    I love "Fields of Gold" so much I have bought no fewer than 5 versions of it, but that line seems to make no sense. Is the sky jealous of the lovers? Is it really the sun that is jealous? Does "tell" mean "inform," or does it mean "understand" or "notice"? Why say that, anyway? Heeeelp!

  • jankin
    16 years ago

    This is a lyric that pleases me. (sorry but I rarely get a chance to promote it) as does the tune
    mainly because it's off the wall.

    De Bat (Fly in My Face)
    Fly in me face
    Fly in me face
    Fly in me face
    Fly in me face
    Well I hope de bat don't come out and fly in me face tonight

    Well I come home from a party
    And I'm feelin' a little spaced
    And I walk on in the kitchen and
    A bat fly in me face
    Well de bat come down the chimney
    You see he wait in the fireplace
    When he hear that I'm getting a little snack
    De bat fly in me face

    Fly in me face
    Fly in me face
    Well I hope de bat he don't come out
    And fly in me face tonight

    De bat he rat got wings
    All the children know that
    What I need to know from the lord
    Is how you get de wings on the cat
    They say a bat's got radar
    And he can fly through fan
    But what I am afraid of is
    That he got another plan
    To fly in me face
    Fly in me face

    Well I hope de bat he don't come out
    And fly in me face tonight
    Fly in me face

    One thing I forgot to tell you about the human race
    Everybody get a little upset when a bat fly in they face
    Fly in me face
    Fly in me face
    Well I hope de bat he don't come out
    And fly in me face tonight

  • ccrdmrbks
    16 years ago


  • Chris_in_the_Valley
    16 years ago

    Hmmm, are those words to De, er, excuse me, Die Fledermaus?

  • bloodanna
    16 years ago

    The lyrics to My Humps by The Black-eyed Peas.

    "What you gon do with all that junk?
    All that junk inside your trunk?
    IÂma get, get, get, get, you drunk,
    Get you love drunk off my hump.
    My hump, my hump, my hump, my hump, my hump,
    My hump, my hump, my hump, my lovely little lumps. (Check it out)

    I drive these brothers crazy,
    I do it on the daily,
    They treat me really nicely,
    They buy me all these ice-ys.
    Dolce & Gabbana,
    Fendi and then Donna
    Karen, they be sharinÂ
    All their money got me wearinÂ
    Fly gearrr but I ainÂt askin,
    They say they love my ass Ân,
    Se7en Jeans, True Religion,
    I say no, but they keep givinÂ
    So I keep on takinÂ
    And no I ainÂt fakinÂ
    We can keep on datinÂ
    I keep on demonstrating.

    My love, my love, my love, my love
    You love my lady lumps,
    My hump, my hump, my hump,
    My humps they got u,
    SheÂs got me spending.
    (Oh) Spendin all your money on me and spending time on me.
    SheÂs got me spendinÂ.
    (Oh) Spendin all your money on me, on me, on me"

    *shudders* It gets worse and they play it on the radio!

  • georgia_peach
    16 years ago

    American Pie by Don McLean is a fun song to sing out loud to, but really, I must scratch my head and admit I feel like an outsider in a room full of people who know the inside scoop to these words. It's all part of its charm, though.

    A long long time ago
    I can still remember
    How that music used to make me smile
    And I knew if I had my chance
    That I could make those people dance
    And maybe they'd be happy for a while
    But February made me shiver
    ¡¡¡¡with every paper I'd deliver
    Bad news on the doorstep
    I couldn't take one more step
    I can't remember if I cried
    When I read about his widowed bride
    But something touched me deep inside
    The day the music died

    *Bye, bye Miss American Pie
    Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
    Them good ole boys were drinking whiskey and rye
    Singing this'll be the day that I die
    This'll be the day that I die

    Did you write the book of love
    And do you have faith in God above
    If the Bible tells you so?
    Now do you believe in rock and roll?
    Can music save your mortal soul?
    And can you teach me how to dance real slow?

    Well, I know that you're in love with him
    'cause I saw you dancing in the gym
    You both kicked off your shoes
    Man, I dig those rhythm and blues
    I was a lonely teenage broncin' buck
    With a pink carnation and a pickup truck
    But I knew I was out of luck
    The day the music died
    I started singing(*)

    Now, for ten years we've been on our own
    And moss grows fat on a rolling stone
    But that's not how it used to be
    When the jester sang for the king and queen
    In a coat he borrowed from James Dean
    And a voice that came from you and me
    Oh and while the king was looking down
    The jester stole his thorny crown
    The courtroom was adjourned
    No verdict was returned
    And while Lennon read a book on Marx
    The quartet practiced in the park
    And we sang dirges in the dark
    The day the music died
    We were singing(*)

    Helter skelter in a summer swelter
    The Byrds flew off with a fallout shelter
    Eight miles high and falling fast
    Landed foul on the grass
    The players tried for a forward pass
    With the jester on the sidelines in a cast
    Now the half-time air was sweet perfume
    While sergeants played a marching tune
    We all got up to dance
    Oh, but we never got the chance
    'Cause the players tried to take the field
    The marching band refused to yield
    Do you recall what was revealed
    The day the music died?
    We started singing(*)

    Oh, and there we were all in one place
    A generation lost in space
    With no time left to start again
    So come on Jack be nimble, Jack be quick
    Jack Flash sat on a candlestick
    'Cause fire is the devil's only friend
    And as I watched him on the stage
    My hands were clenched in fists of rage
    No angel born in hell
    Could break that Satan's spell
    And as the flames climbed high into the night
    To light the sacrificial rite
    I saw Satan laughing with delight
    The day the music died
    He was singing(*)

    I met a girl who sang...

  • friedag
    16 years ago

    Georgia, don't worry, even some of us oldsters don't get all the allusions in "American Pie." I can pick out the Buddy Holly references and some of the others (e.g., Marty Robbins' "A White Sport Coat and a Pink Carnation"), but I never really understood the lines about the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost catching the last train for the coast [paraphrase]. Maybe there's something deep there that I don't know. But I can sure kick off my shoes whenever I hear "American Pie."

    "De Bat" thing -- I love it! But I have to quibble with the inconsistency of de bat and de wings with the Lord and the chimney, etc. ;-)

  • merryworld
    16 years ago

    Bloodanna, if you think listening to My Humps is bad, you should see the video.

    So many songs have a great tune, but it seems so little work went into the words that they don't even make sense.

    The song that annoys me the most, "To All the Girls I've Loved Before". Lets be real, Julio and Willie are not talking about love.

    I love U2 but Vertigo is just silly (below is copied and pasted from Daps Lyrics):

    Unos, dos, tres, catorce [1,2,3,14]

    Turn it up loud, captain!

    Lights go down
    It's dark
    The jungle is your head
    Can't rule your heart
    I'm feeling so much stronger
    Than I thought
    Your eyes are wide
    And though your soul
    it can't be bought
    your mind can wander

    Hello, Hello
    Hola! [Spanish for Hello]
    I'm at a place called vertigo (D?nde est?s?) [Where are you?]
    It's everything I wish I didn't know
    Except you give me something I can feel

    The night is full of holes
    Those bullets rip the sky
    Of ink with gold
    They twinkle as the boys play rock and roll
    They know that they can't dance
    At least they know

    I can't stand the beat
    I'm askin' for the cheque
    Girl with crimson nails
    Has Jesus 'round the neck
    Swinging to the music
    Swinging to the music

    Hello, Hello
    I'm at a place called Vertigo (D?nde est?s?) [Where are you?]
    It's everything I wish I didn't know
    But you give me something I can feel

    All this, all this can be yours
    All of this, all of this can be yours
    All this, all of this can be yours
    Just give me what I want
    And no one gets hurt

    Hello, Hello
    I'm at a place called Vertigo
    Lights go down and all I know
    Is that you give me something I can feel
    You're teaching me ...aaahhh
    Your love is teaching me ...aaaah
    How to kneel

    Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah...
    Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah!

  • janalyn
    16 years ago

    Just a random thought here...I have lots of them and usually keep them to myself, but what does "get your goat" really mean? I use that expression too but how and why did that phrase come to mean what it means, if you get my meaning? ;-)

  • cookiepa
    16 years ago

    I may be from PA and I have not been raised listening to this music, but I'm a country music fan. I have to admit I'm a convert and I used to make fun of the lyrics and the songs. I really enjoy it now and I know sometimes the lyrics can drive some people crazy. Maybe it's my age.....

  • MusicMom
    16 years ago

    Janalyn, here's an entry from one of my favorite sites:

    "Could you shed some light on the origin of the phrase get my goat?

    This is another one of those "no one is sure" etymologies. The earliest example of the phrase comes from a letter written by Jack London in 1910. It has been suggested that to get one's goat, meaning "to annoy or irritate", derives from the supposed practice of putting a goat in a racehorse's stall to calm the horse. A gambler might pay a stable boy to remove the goat, upsetting the horse and, possibly, the results of the horse's race. That explanation seems tenuous to us. Others, however, have suggested that the phrase might be related to the word scapegoat, which has a known, and very interesting, etymology..."

    My only complaint with this site is that they've been so inconsistent in updating it...

    Here is a link that might be useful: Take Our Word for It

  • janalyn
    16 years ago

    What would I do without you all? Hugs to musicmom.

    I imagined some peasant whose sole source of income and food (feta cheese) was his goat and some enormous eagle had carried it off. Or Scottish raiders or.....And the peasant screaming and shaking his fist, "He got my goat!"

    I never would have come up with a goat in a racehorse stall.

  • rosefolly
    16 years ago

    I'm not usually annoyed by a song that uses informal grammar throughout the song. It seems to fit the nature of the song. I either like the song as it is -- and often I do -- or I dislike it for reasons other than grammar.

    What I find jarring is when the writer suddenly slips in the wrong pronoun for an easy rhyme in a song that does not display this tone, say, the phrase "with you and I" instead of "with you and me". A number of popular songs do this, none of which I can recall at the moment. But it is not unusual for me to sing along to the car radio and correct the grammar as I sing. Given that I can do this on the spur of the moment, and maintain a rhyme, I can't think it was anything but sheer laziness that led to the bad grammar. If not that, then perhaps it was inspired by a belief that the listener would be so ignorant as to prefer it?

  • anyanka
    Original Author
    16 years ago

    Georgia, I love 'American Pie' (and will sing along quite recklessly), and have come across the following explanation/s in the past, but can't remember where:
    the first verse is about the death of Buddy Holly. The jester is Bob Dylan, the King usually Elvis but the Queen varies; the Sergeants/marching band lines refer to the Beatles (Sgt Pepper specifically); The Byrds had a song or album called Eight Miles High. The Jack be nimble verse is about the Altamont festival, where the Hells Angels killed someone while the Stones were playing. The girl who sang the blues is supposed to be Janis Joplin.
    Don McLean has alwas declined to comment on any of these speculations, though!

  • martin_z
    16 years ago

    Try this. It's quite interesting.

    Here is a link that might be useful: American Pie - lyrics discussion

  • rosefolly
    16 years ago

    Martin, that was absolutely fascinating. Thanks! No way to know how much is real, and how much is speculation, but I had a lot of fun reading it.


  • sheriz6
    16 years ago

    I like the Weird Al lyrics to "American Pie" (another Star Wars song). To the best of my recollection, here's the chorus:

    Oh my, my, this here Anakin guy
    May be Vader someday later - now he's just a small fry
    And he left his home and kissed his mommy goodbye
    Sayin' "Soon I'm gonna be a Jedi"
    "Soon I'm gonna be a Jedi"

  • mwoods
    16 years ago

    I went to a Don McLean concert once and they turned off all the lights except for a spot and he sat on a stool and sang American Pie with only his acoustic guitar as back up. He has an amazing voice.

  • anyanka
    Original Author
    16 years ago

    Thanks, Martin - that is one comprehensive attempt at interpretation! I like the fact that it's full of 'maybe' and 'possibly'. Mwoods, I saw McLean live in London in the mid-80s and he was unfortunately quite awful. He had a terrible backing band, for one thing. However, his 'Solo' album captures what you must have experienced - it was recorded live in the UK, and features all the best version of his best songs (in my opinion) with no backing band whatsoever, just the man, guitar or banjo, and a crowd that sounds like it had a choir planted in it.
    Not one bad lyric in sight though... couple of rude ones, lots of beautiful ones, but all worth listening to.

  • martin_z
    16 years ago

    I saw him about five years ago in a small theatre in Hayes in West London. Front row tickets, no less. He played with just one keyboard player on stage with him. It was really very very good.

    I found that "Weird Al" parody on the internet - it's brilliant. I understand it was done with Don McLean's agreement, which I think is pretty good of him. (Though, on the other hand, he gets royalties from it, so...)

    And the Jedi I admire the most
    He met Darth Maul - and now he's toast
    I'm alive, and he's a ghost...
    But still, I'll train that boy.

  • MusicMom
    16 years ago

    Oh heavens (pun intended), I almost forgot my all-time favorite gaggy lyrics:

    Drop kick me Jesus through the goal posts of life
    End over end neither left nor to right
    Straight through the heart of them righteous uprights
    Drop kick me Jesus through the goal posts of life.

    Make me, oh make me, Lord more than I am
    Make me a piece in your master game plan
    Free from the earthly tempestion below
    IÂve got the will, Lord if youÂve got the toe.

    Drop kick me Jesus through the goal posts of life
    End over end neither left nor to right
    Straight through the heart of them righteous uprights
    Drop kick me Jesus through the goal posts of life.

    Take all the brothers whoÂve gone on before
    And all of the sisters whoÂve knocked on your door
    All the departed dear loved ones of mine
    StickÂem up front in the offensive line.

    It's one redeeming quality is that it's educational. I hadn't ever heard the word "tempestion" before. ;)

    Here is a link that might be useful: A page with an MP3 of the real song.

  • martin_z
    16 years ago

    Never mind "stick 'em up front in the offensive line" - I think all the lines are offensive!!

    That is truly appalling.

  • MusicMom
    16 years ago

    Yes, pathetic isn't it? I suppose it must have sold a copy or two, but I can't believe anyone listens to it for the sake of spiritual enrichment, nor do I think football fans would be particularly impressed. It's hard to indentify the target audience that would actually buy it.

    Now that I think about it, many of the songs that used to be identified as "Country-Western" seem to be along these lines--cheesy hook phrases coupled with contrived cleverness. I suppose that's why I've never liked the genre much.

  • moongirl719
    16 years ago

    I love this thread!

    My longtime fascination with McArthur's Park prompted me long ago to look into these lyrics. My understanding is that a) Jimmy Webb was truly screwy and on drugs, or at least most of his lyrics seem to express that sentiment; and b) Webb explained at one time that the cake was a metaphor for a relationship...the idea that the cake is melting means that the relationship is over and he'll "never have that recipe again" refers to the idea that love like that will never come again. As for the sweet green icing, that always stumps me. The park is green, is the grass melting? Or is the icing on the cake green, too? It's never quite clear.

    American Pie - another one I've spent many hours pouring over. I understand the Queen is possibly Janis Joplin, and I've also heard that the Jester is Dylan, while Satan is Mick Jagger (a reference to "Sympathy for the Devil") Bottom line, this has been suspected for many years as McLean's homage to old rock-n-roll and its sad demise. He refuses to explain it, prefering to allow people their own interpretations. It's a great song nonetheless, filled with what I think is great imagery and metaphor, and of course, a wonderfully catchy tune.

    Oh I laughed outloud to Muskrat Love! I love the Captain and Tenille but that song always weirded me out. I always imagine little woodland creatures cuddling with cartoon hearts floating over their heads. It's not a good image.

    I'll throw another onto the fire. It's not a classic or anything - and I suppose grammatically it's fine - but it has grated on my nerves ever since it came out. Not to mention my 5-year-old niece could have written it!

    I'm a barbie girl, in the barbie world
    Life in plastic, it's fantastic!
    you can brush my hair, undress me everywhere
    Imagination, life is your creation
    Come on Barbie, let's go party!

    I always thought "Stand" by REM was lyrically off-kilter; first you stand in the place where you live, then face north, then think about direction and wonder why you haven't before (why you haven't WHAT before??) Later he goes on to say that if you get lost, carry a compass! Well why would I be lost if I'm standing in one place?

    As for bad grammar, bad writing, bad EVERYTHING, I nominate R Kelly's "In The Closet" fiasco.

  • biwako_of_abi
    16 years ago

    Here's one that used to annoy me because it kept running through my head. If you know it, too, then you can probably guess my age. (Please don't!)

    It begins with something about how a chicken got tired of always saying, "Chick-chick," so one day he began to say something like the following (if my spelling is correct):

    "Chickery chick, chala, chala
    Chackala romey in a bananika
    Bollika, wollika, can't you see
    Chickery chick is me?"

    Every time you're sick and tired of just the same old thing,
    Sayin' just the same old words all day,
    Be just like the chicken who found something new to sing,
    Open up your mouth and start to say,

    "Chickery chick, chala, chala
    Chackala romey in a bananika
    Bollika, wollika, can't you see
    Chickery chick is me?"

    I might also offer up

    "Cement-mixer, putty-putty" and "Rag-mop, dooddily-oot DA-deeada!"
    from the same era, but I guess I'll spare you.

    I was actually quite fond of another nonsensical song, Mairzy-doates.

  • Elly1
    16 years ago

    What a wonderful thread....
    Rather than song son lyrics that annoy me, it causes me to remember songs like"MacArthur Perk by Jimmy Webb, and American pie.......Also, this has always been one of my personal favorites (By Leonard Cohen)....
    I love to read this forum, but just started to post today!

    Here is a link that might be useful: Suzanne

  • anyanka
    Original Author
    16 years ago

    Moongirl, glad you're enjoying this - it has been so much more rewarding than the original posting in the Music Room! Please give us some lines from 'In the Closet', as I don't actually know it and would like to know what I am missing.

    Elly, I have been thinking about starting another thread for favourite song lyrics, to keep them separate from this... Leonard Cohen is one of my favourite songwriters. As far as I know, he started out as a poet and then put his words to music.

  • Elly1
    16 years ago

    Hi anyanka and everybody else,
    That sounds like a wonderful thread - there are so many songs out there that are actually "poetry". I was watching "Sunday Morning" on CBS yesterday and they interviewed Kris Kristofferson (? spelling) who wrote so many so many beautiful and "poetic" songs - ..."Sunday Morning Comin' Down" and "Me and Bobby MaGee" come to mind - and there are so many others.......I always felt that Bob Dylan (although not a great singer in my opinion) wrote some beautiful stuff.
    You people have really renewed my interest in some of these songs and I am remembering how much I love so many of them.
    Thank you all so much!!

  • moongirl719
    16 years ago

    Oh wow, anyone not familiar with R. Kelly's "Trapped in the Closet"? Where you been?? For those who don't know, it is a 12-part epic song that plays out like an opera (or hip-hopera) replete with various characters and complex plotlines. It was laughed at, parodied and discussed ad nauseum all over blogs, TV, music and the entire entertainment world throughout all of last year and cited as the worst - or at least the most hilarious - song of 2005. The videos are priceless. Many people love it purely for its cheesiness, the lyrics sound like they were made up on the spot in the studio. By accident. You have to hear it believe it. With lyrics like "Then I went up to the closet, and I got into the closet, now I'm trapped in the closet, and he's walking up to the closet."

    Here's a site which gives you the entire low-down:

    In the meantime, let me tempt you with some of these tour de force lyrics:

    ...he looks around the kitchen and says, "Something is really weird," and she says,"why do you say that?"
    he says,"cause you keep trying to get me out of here,"
    he says, "Ever since I been in this house your face has change from white to red,"
    and remember when I first walked through the door you acted like youve seen a ghost from the dead,"
    And he says,"Girl if your hiding something I'm gonna be so mad,"
    then he hears something falling he says,"What the f*#k was that?"
    she says,"Sounds like it came from upstairs sounds like the plumbing,"
    he says, "woman that sound didn't come from upstairs I'll be d**n if you're up to something,"
    he says, "now the sound that I just heard came from this kitchen,"
    And he looks over by the stove while she's easy over by the dishes,
    and he walks over to the refigerator and pushes it back,
    and he looks her in the face looks like she's about to have a heart attack,
    and he notices the pie on the counter one slice is missing now the storys getting scary,
    cause he comes to realize that Bridgette's allergic to cherries,
    and he slowly looks at her while her face is red as hell,
    he's breathing real hard moving closer she says,"hon you don't look so well,
    and then he says, "Move"
    she says,"No"
    he says, "Move"
    she says,"No"
    "b**ch move!"
    she moves
    and then he looks at the cabinet,
    get close up to the cabinet,
    now hes at the cabinet,
    now he opens the cabinet,
    now pause the movie cause what I'm about to say to y'all is so d**n twisted,
    not only there's a man in the cabinet but the man is a midget...

  • anyanka
    Original Author
    16 years ago

    Wow, I'm so upset I missed out on that! Thank you, Moongirl.

  • moongirl719
    16 years ago

    I hope you are being facitious Anyanka!

  • anyanka
    Original Author
    16 years ago

    Firmly tongue in cheek, Moongirl.

  • Bizzo
    16 years ago

    What a great thread!! Growing up I was a big Burt Bacharach fan... and now I have the tune to Wives and Lovers in my head... and the lyrics ARE AWFUL!

    I'm one of those who is a Bohemian Rhapsody fan... because it has a place in my history. It is awful... I find the lyrics are weird and the tune is amusing.

    Thanks to those who have shared Weird Al lyrics. Made me bust up laughing. The one I seem to recall is "I wanna new Duck"

    so, for annoying lyrics that stick in my head... (copied from Zango)

    You say that we've got nothing in common
    No common ground to start from
    And we're falling apart
    You'll say the world has come between us
    Our lives have come between us
    But I know you just don't care

    And I said "What about Breakfast at Tiffany's?"
    She said, "I think I remember the film,
    And as I recall, I think we both kinda liked it."
    And I said, "Well, that's the one thing we've got."

    I see you - the only one who knew me,
    And now your eyes see through me
    I guess I was wrong
    So what now? It's plain to see we're over,
    And I hate when things are over -
    When so much is left undone.

    And I said "What about Breakfast at Tiffany's?"
    She said, "I think I remember the film,
    And as I recall, I think we both kinda liked it."
    And I said, "Well, that's the one thing we've got."

    by Deep Blue Something