Spotify unleashes most commonly misheard song lyrics list

12 Jul 2013

'Sharif don't like it/rock the cat box/rock the cat box ...'

Actually, The Clash wasn’t instructing anyone to rock the cat box despite what some listeners of Rock the Casbah may believe. And that’s not the only lyrical blunder, as revealed by Spotify in its list of most frequently misquoted song lyrics.

The music-streaming service polled 1,042 people about songs they most often hear other people singing incorrectly.

In top spot is the 1976 song by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, Blinded by the Light. Fifty-two per cent of the survey respondents said they heard “Wrapped up like a douche/when you’re rollin’ in the night” instead of the right words, “Revved up like a deuce/another runner in the night.”

Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix is the second most-common song to confuse listeners, with the line, “excuse me, while I kiss the sky”. Nineteen per cent of survey respondents reported hearing, “excuse me, while I kiss this guy”. (This line has been misheard so often in this way that is has spawned a mangled lyrics website, KissThisGuy.)

Rounding up the top 3 is a line from The Clash’s Rock the Casbah. Instead of hearing “rock the casbah”, 14pc of survey respondents said they heard “rock the cat box”. (As you do.)

Why do we misunderstand lyrics?

How is it possible to mix up cat box with casbah in this case? Dr Wei Ji Ma, an assistant professor of neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, may have the answer, NBC News Health reported.

It’s difficult to understand what someone is saying (or singing) unless the listener is looking directly at the speaker (or singer’s) face, Ma said.

“Understanding speech can be difficult, especially when it’s noisy,” Ma had said. “If you only have sound information, you will sometimes make mistakes.”

Here are the rest of the lyrical mistakes that make up Spotify’s top 10 list:

Song: Tiny Dancer, by Elton John

Actual lyric: “Hold me closer, tiny dancer.”

Misheard lyric: “Hold me closer, Tony Danza.”


Song: Bad Moon Rising, by Creedence Clearwater Revival

Actual lyric: “There’s a bad moon on the rise.”

Misheard lyric: “There’s a bathroom on the right.”


Song: Paradise City, by Guns N’ Roses

Actual lyric: “Take me down to Paradise City.”

Misheard lyric: “Take me down to a very nice city.”


Song: Panama, by Van Halen

Actual lyric: “Panama!”

Misheard lyric: “Animal!”


Song: Like a G-6, by Far East Movement

Actual lyric: “Like a G-6.”

Misheard lyric: “Like a cheese stick.”


Song: Waterfalls, by TLC

Actual lyric: “Don’t go chasing waterfalls.”

Misheard lyric: “Don’t go Jason Waterfalls.”


Song: I Try, by Macy Gray

Actual lyric: “My world crumbles when you are not near.”

Misheard lyric: “I blow bubbles when you are not here.”

Cat box image via Shutterstock

Tina Costanza was a journalist and sub-editor at Silicon Republic