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Misheard Song Lyrics -> Stories -> Johnny Rivers

Misheard lyrics (also called mondegreens) occur when people misunderstand the lyrics in a song. These are NOT intentional rephrasing of lyrics, which is called parody. For more information about the misheard lyrics available on this site, please read our FAQ.

This page contains a list of the songs that have stories about their misheard lyrics submitted.

Song names are sorted by first letter, excluding A and The. This is sorted by song title only, not by song title and performer. So if two different performers preformed the same song, you'll see misheard lyrics for both on the same page (provided the song title was spelt the same both times, and misheard lyrics have been submitted for both!).


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Johnny Rivers', "Help Me Rhonda"
The Misheard Lyrics:
Everybody help everybody
The Real Lyrics:
Help me, Rhonda, help, help me, Rhonda
The Story: The Beach Boys version is perfectly clear, but my first exposure to the song was Johnny Rivers' cover circa 1975. I discovered I was wrong when a friend told me about a party for a classmate of hers named Rhonda at which this song figured prominently! - Submitted by: Lady Mondegreen
Johnny Rivers', "Poor Side Of Town"
The Misheard Lyrics:
It's hard to find nice things
On a four-sided cow.
The Real Lyrics:
It's hard to find nice things
On the po' side of town.
The Story: I was in 6th grade, listening to my father's oldies collection with my friends. None of us could make out the lyric, so we agreed it was a 'four-sided cow.' - Submitted by: Leigh
Johnny Rivers', "Secret Agent Man"
The Misheard Lyrics:
Al's a man who leads a life of danger.
The Real Lyrics:
There's a man who leads a life of danger.
The Story: Everyone thinks it is Al, who is the man who lives the life of danger ever since a commercial in which the dog was called Al, and he stole and sandwich while his owner got the door. They sang, 'Al's a man who leads a life of danger.' - Submitted by: Bob
Johnny Rivers', "Secret Agent Man"
The Misheard Lyrics:
He's a secret, Asian man
A secret, Asian man.
The Real Lyrics:
Secret agent man
Secret agent man.
The Story: This is what I thought the lyrics were when I was 5 years old. I used to go around singing it everywhere...grocery stores, playgrounds, etc. - Submitted by: Leah
Johnny Rivers', "Secret Agent Man"
The Misheard Lyrics:
Secret Asian Man, Secret Asian Man
They've given you a number, and taken away your hand.
The Real Lyrics:
Secret Agent Man, Secret Agent man
They've given you a number, and taken away you name.
The Story: I've sung the song this way my whole life until one day my parents were paying attention and couldn't stop laughing. I seriously didn't know! - Submitted by: Meghann
Johnny Rivers', "Secret Agent Man"
The Misheard Lyrics:
Secret Asian Man
The Real Lyrics:
Secret Agent Man
The Story: My mother was singing along to the theme song from the television show. - Submitted by: Louis Mills
Johnny Rivers', "Secret Agent Man"
The Misheard Lyrics:
Secret Asian Man
The Real Lyrics:
Secret Agent Man
The Story: The song was playing on the radio in the car. My sister confidently launched into her version, singing 'Secret asian Man.' After sufficiently teasing her (and spreading the story among my friends), I co-opted the misheard lyrics as a nickname for my Asian-American friend Hoa C. - Submitted by: Brian B.
Johnny Rivers', "Secret Agent Man"
The Misheard Lyrics:
Secret Asian Man
The Real Lyrics:
Secret Agent Man
The Story: When I was about 10 or 11 I misheard these lyrics, and the actual lyrics later in the verse that are: 'they've given you a number, and they've takey your name'. I thought it was about the American relocation camps for Japanese POWs after WW2.They were given an inmate number, and called by it alone, and the whole thing was kept almost enirely hidden from the public- which is why it was 'Secret Asian Man' - Submitted by: Jamie Dunn
Johnny Rivers', "Secret Agent Man"
The Misheard Lyrics:
Secret Asian Man
The Real Lyrics:
The title of the song, Secret Agent Man
The Story: A young girl in the office that I work in, approximately 30, constantly sings the wrong words to songs on the radio. We laugh and reply, "Kelli, what are you singing"? I must say that she is a good sport about it, as she never hears the end of it. - Submitted by: Teri Maravich
Johnny Rivers', "Secret Agent Man"
The Misheard Lyrics:
Secret Asian man
The Real Lyrics:
secret agent man
The Story: My son was about 4 or 5 and heard the song on a cartoon and thought that the person singing said Asian man instead of agent man. He would argue with me that it was Asian, not agent. - Submitted by: Sarah Hart
Johnny Rivers', "Secret Agent Man"
The Misheard Lyrics:
Secret agent man
Secret agent man
They're giving you a llama
And that's what I can say.
The Real Lyrics:
Secret agent man
Secret agent man
They're giving you a number
And taking away your name.
The Story: This girl, Erin was 4 and everyone in the car was singing this song. Later in the day, she started singing her version, which made up crack up. I think I like her's better. - Submitted by: Faris
Johnny Rivers', "Secret Agent Man"
The Misheard Lyrics:
There's a man who leads a life of danger
To everyone he meets he's Brendan Fraser.
The Real Lyrics:
There's a man who leads a life of danger
To everyone he meets he stays a stranger.
The Story: Even though I knew the lyrics, it just always sounds like he's talking about Brendan Fraser, which would be awfully weird if true. - Submitted by: Roger Clemente
Johnny Rivers', "Secret Agent Man"
The Misheard Lyrics:
secret agent man
The Real Lyrics:
she craves Asian man
The Story: I was just listening to the song and...started sing about some girl craving Asian man...my mom asked me what I was doing and I said singing a song...and she then told me what the real words were, we started laughing. - Submitted by: Riley
Johnny Rivers', "Secret Agent"
The Misheard Lyrics:
Secret Asian man
Secret Asian man
They've given you a number and taken away your name.
The Real Lyrics:
Secret agent man
Secret agent man
They've given you a number and taken away your name.
The Story: I was about 12 years old, and I sincerely thought this song was about Japanese internment camps. - Submitted by: Kari
Indexes: [#] [A] [B] [C] [D] [E] [F] [G] [H] [I] [J] [K] [L] [M] [N] [O] [P] [Q] [R] [S] [T] [U] [V] [W] [Y] [Z]

New entries in this section are currently reviewed by Brian Kelly. Previous editors (if any) are listed on the editors page.

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