Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Where's The Rain?

Last night, Rob and I had fun using his new iTunes gift card to purchase some quality 80's hits for our play list. Took us right back to our youth, I tell you.

For him, it was memories of junior high and high school.

For me, it was memories of leaping off the high dive at the city pool while NightRanger blared from the PA system. Because I was young and not yet in junior high.

Looking back, I'm amazed they even let a five year old on the high dive at all. (ahem)


While we did not select any NightRanger songs for purchase (I KNOW!), we did have fun listening to 30 second snippets of nostalgia. We had enough left on the gift card for one more song, when Rob suddenly remembered his affection for a little Toto now and then. Who can turn down Rosanna or Hold the Line?

He selected Africa as the last song, and we listened to it while it downloaded. We were both singing along to the chorus, when we hit a little snag. A snag that has not been an uncommon one in our marriage.

Rob sang the line, "I bless the rains down in Africa."

I sang the line, "I guess the rain's down in Africa."

I turned to him and said, "Is the line really I bless the rains? Because I have always sung I guess the rain's. Like someone doesn't know where the rain is, but they are guessing it might be in Africa because it is not where they are."

Rob laughed. And laughed. And laughed a little more. And then he said, "You've been singing it wrong." And then he laughed again.

Just to make sure, I looked it up on the wonder that is the internet. And sure enough, the line is "I bless the rains down in Africa." I've been singing it wrong since 1982. That's 25 years, my friends.

So after I confirmed my misunderstanding about the chorus, naturally the rest of the song as I knew it became suspect. I checked out the rest of the lyrics, and I realized that in the second verse the correct lyrics are "Sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti."

Want to know what I have been singing? Since 1982?

"Sure as Kilimanjaro rises like a Lepress above the Serengeti."

I was always so impressed that Toto could work a female leopard/majestic mountain comparison in the middle of a rock song.

Never mind the fact that I have known for years that a female leopard is called a leopardess. She is not, in fact, called a lepress. I'm not even sure what a lepress is, but it sounds seriously contagious now that I think about it.

I've played the song several times today, and the real lyrics sound so obvious to me now. And yet, I have a hard time letting go of my original interpretations.

I'm not surprised at my mistakes, since I have always had a strong tendency to mess things up, but song lyrics seem to be my specialty. Some of my favorite mistakes? Oh, it's so hard to choose, but I managed to narrow it down to these:

In Billy Joel's Scenes from an Italian Restaurant, I always thought he was singing about an Italian girl named Brenda Rinnetti. I just never understood why he sung about her plurally. As in "Brenda Rinnetti were still going steady in the summer of '75, when they decided the marriage would be at the end of July."

Say what, Billy? It dawned on me later (much later) that he was lending his accent to two names: Brenda AND Eddie. (Or Brender and Eddie, as the case may be)

And then there was the classic by Stevie "Guitar" Miller that I always sang as "Big Old South Carolina." Too bad I should have been singing "Big old JET AIRLINER." See a big old jet airliner has a much easier time "carrying me too far away," than The Palmetto State.

Oh, and how could I forget the Cyndi Lauper favorite "Girls Just Want To Have Fun?" While my friends were singing "When the workin' day is done, oh girls just wanna have fun" into their hairbrushes, and bopping around in their big belted sweaters over skinny leggings and leg warmers, I was busy singing something else into my hairbrush. Something that sounded suspiciously like, "What? Oh what can they have done? Girls just wanna have fun."

Apparently, my girls were getting into some kind of trouble right before they were hoping to have fun. Shouldn't it be the other way around?

Of course there are others. So many, many others. These just happen to be some of my favorites. I'm thinking "Don't Forget the Lyrics" may not be my kind of game show.

But enough about me, let's hear from you. Time to fess up about your little lyrical bloopers. You know you have them, don't try to deny it. Pick a favorite, or more than one favorite, and leave me a comment.

If you don't, Brenda Rinnetti, et al, will be very disappointed.


  1. No, no, no. "Kilimanjaro rises like an EMPRESS above the Serengeti." That's how I sing it!

    Must go put on some 70s music now, to erase the 80s earworms....

  2. That's hysterical, I'm laughing out loud.

    I used to sing the Christmas carol "perspire by the fire" rather than "conspire." My mom thought this would be hysterical to tell my then BF. As I was caroling with him, turns out he sung it that way, too! (And mom didn't even get to him yet!)

  3. I always thought it was "I guess the rain's down in Africa" too. I'm blanking on the countless song lyrics I have mangled over the years.

  4. "there's a bathroom on the right"... "haaaang on Snoopy"...

    my favorite is a song I called the pork chop polka... the real words? here you go: Gdzie mi sie podzialy te siwe golebie
    I swear they were singing about pork chops!

    of course, there's always Judy in the sky ... perhaps she was like mary poppins ;-)

    I was never really sure why Arron Neville was betting his pollywogs

    bah-bah-bah-bah-bah-ba-ran (the beach boys)

    "secret asian man"

    i love to sing... what can I say! (perhaps someday I'll learn all the right words... for now, the wrong ones will just have to do!)

  5. Anonymous9:28 AM

    Okay here is a good one, my brother and I would sing at the top of our lungs on our swing set. From "Grease" - You're the one that I want, we'd sing I saw Willy the Bob- what the hell does that even mean anyway? And by the way Johanna, Secret Asian Man too!
    Mirabella MOM

  6. i always sang "gimme the beach boys and free my soul!"

    my husband heard me one day and gave me so much hell. of course, i'm usually the one who is right about song lyrics, which pleased him even more.

  7. VK Lynne6:17 PM

    OK- Carly Simon- I thought she was doing some kind of cooking this "Stuffing a green tomato"- as opposed to the stuff that dreams are made of. Oy.

  8. I'm with Barb, I'm all about the 70's music, man. But I did love me some Night Ranger. I may still have an LP. You know, the ALBUM. Made of vinyl. Sitting next to my 8-tracks.

    Sadly, I'm a pack rat.

    I don't even want to tell you what I thought "play that funky music white boy" was saying. :)

  9. "there's a bathroom on the right"
    (there's a bad moon on the rise)

  10. Have you seen this Youtube video?


Go ahead and say it. You know you want to.