Sunday, September 4, 2011

No Ten Cent Lovin', No Chicano and No Henna Either. Mondegreen!

According to Gavin Evans in a post he wrote about Mondegreens, the terminology came about thusly.

"The term "mondegreen" was coined by Sylvia Wright in a 1954 Atlantic article. As a child, young Sylvia had listened to a folk song that included the lines "They had slain the Earl of Moray/And Lady Mondegreen." As is customary with misheard lyrics, she didn't realize her mistake for years. The song was not about the tragic fate of Lady Mondegreen, but rather, the continuing plight of the good earl: "They had slain the Earl of Moray/And laid him on the green."

As with most misheard song lyrics, the mondegreen makes as much sense as the actual lyrics do. However, that doesn't really hold true in the song "Hard To Handle" written and recorded originally by Otis Redding. I can't ascertain whether or not the mondegreen in this case was born due to his singing or that of the Black Crowes cover from their first album. I suppose it could have occurred at any point in time since quite a few bands have actually covered the song.

I tend not to like covers. They disappoint me on some level. However, I must say that the Crowes did a bang up job on their cover of it.

Oh yes, the actual words from which the mondegreen originates can be found in the chorus of the song. The mondegreen itself is in the title of this post.

"Boys and things that come by the dozen
That ain't nothing but drugstore loving.
Hey little thing let me light your candle
Cause Mama I'm sure hard to handle now
Gets around."


  1. Sherry:

    I like the comment that Biggie Brownn made on YouTube:

    "hey lil thang lemmeh licha canda cuz, amama im sha hadda handa now. man that's deep"

  2. Great post, that was very interesting.

  3. Whit,

    There are so many Mondegreens that I could write dozens of posts on them, with dozens of misheard words.

  4. Beach,

    I am guilty of hearing both Chicano and Henna in this song from BOTH of the singers. Had a good laugh at myself when I happened across the actual words of the song. I'd claim age, but Otis recorded it in 1968, I believe and I was all of 19 at that time. ROFL.