Ongoing History of New Music

Ongoing History Daily: Mondegreens

Ever heard of a “mondegreen?”  This is the term given to an incorrectly interpreted song lyric. 

The best example might be the people who think Jimi Hendrix is singing “Excuse me while I kiss this guy” in his song, “Purple Haze.”  The term “mondegreen” dates back to 1954 when someone misheard a phrase in a Scottish song as “Lady Mondegreen” instead of “laid him on the green.” 

The word has been used by musical types since the 50s, but it’s only now–2008–that the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary has decided to include it. 

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38165 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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