French Fries, Buses On Time and Stockwater Tea

by Michelle Miles

I bet you’re wondering what the title has to do with Pop Culture, aren’t you? Today is Garbled Lyrics Day. Today, I’m dedicating my post to those lyrics you just can’t understand in your favorite tunes. Apparently, our siblings love our garbled lyrics, too. Read on.

When I decided to write this post, I emailed my BFF and asked her if she had any. She replied with, “My sister is the queen of this kind of stuff. Remember that Bobby Brown song, ‘Every Little Step’? The lyric is, ‘No matter what your friends try to tell ya, we were meant to fall in love.’ My sister sang, ‘No matter what your French fries tell ya...’”

Heh. Do you think French fries will tell ya we were meant to fall in love?

And here’s another one from BFF’s sis: the song, “Africa” by Toto has lyrics that go, “I bless the rains down in Africa...” But she sang, “I guess it rains down in Africa...”

Perhaps there’s some sort of radio to ear ratio I’m not aware of. I’m not immune to it, either. Why, just the other day, as I was driving to work I heard the song “Jet Airliner” from Steve Miller Band. You know how it goes, “Big ol’ jet airliner. Don’t carry me too far away.” I used to think it was, “Big Old Jed had a light on…” and I always wondered why Jed carried a light too far away.

Here’s another favorite and I’ve heard this from several folks. Creedence Clearwater Revival sang, “There’s a bad moon on the rise,” but if you listen real close, it sounds like, “There’s a bathroom on right.”

I did a little poll of some chapter-mates to see what their favorite garbled lyrics were. One member said, “Forever I've thought the first line to Michael Jackson's 'Bad' was, 'Your bus on time'. Instead, after he's dead I learn it's, 'Your butt is mine'. That even makes more sense.”

It may make more sense, but your bus on time is a lot funnier.

Another chapter-mate shared her experience of garbled lyrics, 'Evita', and her sister. They were signing the songs at the top of their lungs when she belts out "stockwater tea". I’ll let her relate the story:

My sister asked, 'What'd you say?'

"Stockwater Tea," I answered.

"What's that?" she asked.

For God sake, I mean after all I've traveled the world, learned a different language, I'm older by 5 1/2 years, dang I know a few more things than my little sister. I said with great knowledge and experience, "Stockwater tea. It's a tea in England."

"I've never heard of that kind of tea," she said.

Well, I argued and argued. In the end, I had to give it up. It wasn't 'stockwater tea', which, by the way, doesn't exist. The lyrics were 'star quality'.

Heh. Stockwater tea, anyone? I’m not sure I’d want to drink anything made with stockwater. Whatever that is. ;)

Of course, you can find any lyrics these days by Googling the song. But what fun is that? I like the garbledy-ness.

So what’s your favorite garbled lyrics? Share with us here!

Michelle Miles is an avid movie watcher, writes romance, drinks coffee and collects shoes. You can learn more about her books at


  1. I really hate ACDC so it's not like I know the names to all their songs or anything. Until just last year, I thought that instead of saying "Thunderstruck" they were saying "f@@k this s@!t!" hahahaha

    Leigh Clements
    The Mystery Maiden
    Shot In The Dark

  2. I love 'stockwater tea'. I hope I always show that kind of star quality...

    My favorite garbled lyrics:

    When my husband was a kid, he thought the Band-aids commercial said "They hold on tight in the bathtub and they bring you soapy suds."

    Really they "cling to soapy suds."

    But he'll sing his version to me for a laugh every now and then.

  3. LOL! Great post, Michelle. You wouldn't believe how many wrong lyrics I've discovered I've been singing thanks to Rock Band! And it's hard to break xx years of habit!

  4. Now that's funny. My earliest memory was being so confused about this song I thought was saying, "Smokettes in your eyes." I thought, What are smokettes?" Years later I realized it was "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes."

  5. Blinded by the Light. The words I heard were "hung up like a Duchin or the ruler in the night." As there was a piano player my folks liked, Eddie Duchin, I thought they referred to him!

    Of course, I was wrong. Revved up like a deuce, another runner in the night are the actual lyrics.

  6. LOL! Oh these are so true, and I'm *still* realizing lyrics that I thought I knew (ala 'stockwater tea')were total bunk. Example: Meat Loaf's song "Masculine."

    Lyric heard: "When she wants to play rough, I'm master then."

    Actual lyric: "When she want to play rough, I'm masculine."

    I still like my version better. ;D


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