“Big Ol’ North Carolina” And Getting the Lyrics Wrong

Now that it appears the weather is finally cooperating, I’m excited to go out and “cruise.” The roommates and I take a car out and drive through Philadelphia, with windows down and music loud. It’s by far one of my favorite weekend activities. I love the whole thing but especially the singing. What I lack in expertise I make up for in enthusiasm.

I love listening to music but when it comes to the lyrics, I often fall short. It’s like I don’t think about what I’m singing or if it makes any sense at all.

Sometime last summer, the Boyfriend and I were driving through town, listening to music on the stereo, and singing much too loudly for our own good. About halfway through the song that was playing, I asked him what the song was called. “Jet Airliner,” he replied. Oops. For the last ten years of my life, instead of singing “big ol’ jet airliner,” I’d been singing “big ol’ North Carolina.” I relayed this information to him, and he just looked at me. “What? Why? Why would you think that was the lyric?”

I don’t know…I really don’t. But I know I’m not the only one who struggles with song lyrics. I won’t forget the time Dad asked me why Rihanna was singing about stubborn armpit hair in her song “Under my arm forever-ever-ever” or the time my friend’s dad belted out Augustana’s “Boston” as “Utah Mermaid, you don’t even care….”

Lyrics are difficult! I was particularly embarrassed the other day when my mom of all people had to correct me, telling me that Jay-Z was singing “holy grail,” not “hold ya breath.” And there is no explaining the logic in the fact I sang “Ten Rounds of Jose Cuervo” as “Ten Rounds of Holes Incredible” for basically forever (maybe it’s because I first heard it before I knew what Jose Cuervo was, but still). I have perfect hearing, I swear.

My inability to correctly interpret lyrics isn’t going to stop me from singing though. At least I’m not as bad as these people.

Which songs do you always get wrong? Do you have the same problem?

Xoxo, Taylor



7 thoughts on ““Big Ol’ North Carolina” And Getting the Lyrics Wrong

  1. I love it when I mishear lyrics of songs. The name of your post: I used to hear it as “Big old Chan in a lighthouse”.

    My favorite mishearing is from Suite: Judy Blue Eyes, where “thrill me to the marrow” became “bill me to the Pharaoh.”

    Even if you get the words wrong, I think the important part is to enjoy it.


    • That’s quite the interpretation of “Big Jet Airliner” – I’m glad I’m not the only one! And I agree. I don’t really care what I’m singing as long as I’m having fun.

      Thanks for reading!



  2. No, I’ve got one of those memories that if I hear it or read it once I remember it. It doesn’t stay in my head all the time but if asked a question or the song plays it’s like a file drawer opening and out pops the info. Handy at uni and it drives my husband nuts as he has this wonderful tendency to change his mind and then try to say he always felt that way – not easy to do with me. My mum on the other hand is hysterical with lyrics to songs as is my sister.


      • Weird thing is I am TERRIBLE with faces!! And yeah Michael does wish on occasion that I had a less than stellar memory – except of course when he is trying to track down infor or articles for a paper then he’s more than happy to utilise the filing cabinet that is my brain.


  3. Pingback: [M.M.X.I.V. 107] Bill me to the Pharaoh! | Never A Worry

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