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Misheard Song Lyrics -> Stories -> The Kingston Trio

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!).


Capitol Years album at Amazon.com
The Kingston Trio's, "Ally Ally Oxen Free"
The Misheard Lyrics:
Strong and weak, mild and meek
No more high at sea!
The Real Lyrics:
Strong and weak, mild and meek
No more hide and seek!
The Story: My mishearing of this made a connection with an earlier song (from a few years before) by the same group. That song was 'Early In The Morning', which asks 'What you gonna do with a drunken sailor?' This song, wiht the mishearing, could come across as a 'sequel' to that one! - Submitted by: Donna Gelpigi
The Kingston Trio's, "Blow The Candle Out"
The Misheard Lyrics:
We lit the candle doughboys
We had no fear or strike.
The Real Lyrics:
We let the candle go, boys
W e had no care or strife.
The Story: When I first heard this, I imagined that there were candles in the shape of the Pilsbury Doughboy or something like that. - Submitted by: Regina Haniger
The Kingston Trio's, "Deportee"
The Misheard Lyrics:
All they will call you will be tea for tea.
The Real Lyrics:
All they will call you will be deportee.
The Story: As a child, I heard this on a record belonging to my sister. I puzzled long and hard about what it would mean to call anybody "tea for tea". Later I saw the printed title as "Deportee". At first I had no idea what that word meant. I had some growing up to do before I knew what the title meant and could understand the song's meaning. - Submitted by: Clara Suzette Bartilson
The Kingston Trio's, "Genny Glenn"
The Misheard Lyrics:
And with you, and with you, and with you, Genny Glenn.
I'll take you down to glass the town and dance you home again.
The Real Lyrics:
And with you, and with you, and with you, Genny Glenn.
I'll take you down to Glasgow Town and dance you home again.
The Story: When I first heard this song, the mysheard lyrics had me wondering for some time what one does when one glasses a town. But this time I didn't have to wait for lyrics websites to resolve the matter. I learned that there is a place called Glasgow (the one in Scotland, which I've tended to assume the song refers to, although there are other Glasgows as well). Soon after learning that, I figured out for myself the reference in the song, and realized there is probably no such thing as glassing a town. - Submitted by: Kirsten Abercrombie
The Kingston Trio's, "Go Where I Send Thee"
The Misheard Lyrics:
Five for the gusto preachers
The Real Lyrics:
Five for the gospel preachers
The Story: I just barely remember hearing this as a child, around the time when Schlitz Beer had a commercial advertizing that it had 'real gusto'. Being from a pretty unreligious family, I was totally unacquainted with the word 'gospel'. So the word from the beer ad was probably the closest word I knew to 'hear' in place of 'gospel'. But I was confounded in no small way to imagine what 'gusto' might mean, as a property of beer and also something that preachers might preach about. - Submitted by: Ava Murphy
The Kingston Trio's, "Hard Travelin'"
The Misheard Lyrics:
I've been a-dancin'. I've been acquirin'
I've been a-lucky that I ain't got fired.
The Real Lyrics:
I been a-blastin'. I been a-firin'
I been a-duckin' that-a red-hot fire.
The Story: When I first heard this (as a kid), I wondered why a song generally about hard toil suddenly referred to dancing and acquiring on the job (acquiring what, I wondered). But then on second thought, I suppose that doing either on the job could contribute to being lucky to keep one's job! - Submitted by: Kirsten Abercrombie
The Kingston Trio's, "Hobo's Lullaby"
The Misheard Lyrics:
I know the ponies cause you trouble.
The Real Lyrics:
I know the police cause you trouble.
The Story: When I was a kid, my big sister had a record with this on it. First several times I listened to it, I puzzled over how ponies could cause trouble for a hobo. But eventually, on becoming familiar with the whole song, a later reference in it to policemen clued me into the real words. - Submitted by: Edyth Bowen
The Kingston Trio's, "Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream"
The Misheard Lyrics:
And guns, and swords, and unicorns
Were scattered on the ground.
The Real Lyrics:
And guns, and swords, and uniforms
Were scattered on the ground.
The Story: When I first heard this on a CD, I heard it as "guns, and swords, and unicorns". I thought a minute, wondering why unicorns would be scattered there among the guns and swords. Could it be some kind of allusion to war in a hazy legendary past, when soldiers perchance rode unicorns? Then in the middle of that thought it suddenly occurred to me that uniforms would fit the context, so I thought the lyrics must say "uniforms" instead of "unicorns". Checking a lyrics site confirmed the latter suspicion. - Submitted by: Karen Smith
The Kingston Trio's, "M.T.A."
The Misheard Lyrics:
And he chained four to make a plane
The Real Lyrics:
And he changed for Jamaica Plain
The Story: I first heard the song as a child when I would have little chance of understanding that line. This was because (1) I was totally unaware of the phrase 'to change for' a given transit destination, and (2) I'd never heard of Jamaica or any place with Jamaica in its name. So I made out of it what I could. Later as a grown-up, I heard the song again and had little trouble understanding that line. - Submitted by: Robert Jones
The Kingston Trio's, "M.T.A."
The Misheard Lyrics:
But did he ever return, no he never returned
And his fate is still unlearned (Truman Scully).
The Real Lyrics:
But did he ever return, no he never returned
And his fate is still unlearned (shame and scandal).
The Story: For years, when hearing this song, I wondered who Truman Scully was and what he had to do with the story. It was not until the coming of internet lyrics sites that I finally learned that no such person is mentioned in the song! - Submitted by: Kirsten Abercrombie
The Kingston Trio's, "M.T.A."
The Misheard Lyrics:
How can I afford to see my sister end jealousy?
The Real Lyrics:
How can I afford to see my sister in Chelsea?
The Story: When I first heard this song, I was not at all familiar with 'Chelsea' as a place name. - Submitted by: Kirsten Abercrombie
The Kingston Trio's, "Mark Twain"
The Misheard Lyrics:
My granded used to tell me, 'Boy, when I was just your age
I was a river pilot on a shovel called The Stage.'
The Real Lyrics:
My granddad used to tell me, 'Boy, when I was just your age
I was a river pilot on a showboat called The Stage.'
The Story: Here is, if I may cite it, a mishearing that is not my own, but a miscitation that I actually found on a web site, with ludicrous implications. When I heard this song as a kid, it had several mishearings for me, but not this one. In checking web sites to make sure I had the correct lyrics for posting my own mishearings, I found a web site with all the correct lyrics except 'shovel' for 'showboat', before finding other websites confirming that 'showboat' (which I never misheard) is correct, as well as all the other words cited on that first site that I found. My own multiple mishearings of certain words in the song cast some confusion upon its story, but confusion that pales into insignificance alongside the utter chaos that the song must be cast into for anyone who actually heard 'shovel' rather than 'showboat'! - Submitted by: Kirsten Abercrombie
The Kingston Trio's, "Mark Twain"
The Misheard Lyrics:
There were gamblers, drunks, and n*****s
And a minstrel man who danced
Singing gals from Longanore
Imported straight from France
or
There were gamblers, drunks, and beggars
And a maestro man who danced
Singing gals from Longanore
Imported straight from France
or
There were gamblers, trucks, and thinkers
And a minstrel man who danced
Singing gals from Longanore
Imported straight from France
or
There were gamblers, trunks, and thinkers
And a menstrual man who danced
Singing gals from Longanore
Imported straight from France.
The Real Lyrics:
There were gamblers, crooks, and fakers
And a minstrel man who danced
Singing gal, Simone l'Amour
Imported straight from France.
The Story: The above citation contains several of the words that I misheard in this song as I first heard it as a child. But all my actual mishearings were a minor impediment to following the story, compared to what I actually found on one web site. The song is about life on a showboat, and that one site I found cited all the lyrics correctly, except it cited 'shovel' instead of 'showboat' everywhere the latter word occurs, throwing the whole song into ludicrous chaos. Quite a bizarre image, trying to visualize all the song's goings-on occurring on a shovel! - Submitted by: Kirsten Abercrombie
The Kingston Trio's, "Mary Mild"
The Misheard Lyrics:
If you are Lord's and Ladies' sons and you will not play at ball.
I'll build you a bridge of the beams of the sun to play upon a song.
The Real Lyrics:
If you are Lord's and Ladies' sons and you will not play at ball.
I'll build you a bridge of the beams of the sun to play upon us all.
The Story: For years since first hearing this, I assumed for sure that this couplet ended in "play upon a song". That, I thought, just added quaint mystery to this tale of enchantment. Then this year a friend suggested to me that, because of the rhyme scheme, it might say something different like, "play upon us all". When I finally got around to checking a lyrics site, I found that my friend made a good guess! [So no further quaint enchantment is added to the bridge of the beams of the sun!] - Submitted by: Donna Rand Blitzen
The Kingston Trio's, "Molly Dee"
The Misheard Lyrics:
Makes her chili in a mountain of stew.
The Real Lyrics:
Makes her gin in a bathtub still.
The Story: When I was a kid, I first heard this an the misheard version was the closest I could come to figuring it out. Perhaps that was because I'd then never heard of a bathtub still, for making any kind of spirits. And I was far more familiar with making homemade chili than homemade gin. - Submitted by: Robert Jones
The Kingston Trio's, "One More Town"
The Misheard Lyrics:
If there's one more town, I'll be goin'
Fight forty women, I'll be there.
The Real Lyrics:
If there's one more town, I'll be goin'
Fight for the winnin' and I'll be there.
The Story: For most of the years since I first heard this song, I couldn't make out this line correctly. I wondered why the singer might have to fight 40 women to get to the nest town. On hearing it again as a grown up, I did this time guess the correct lyrics before a web site confirmed them for me. - Submitted by: Kirsten Abercrombie
The Kingston Trio's, "Raspberries, Strawberries"
The Misheard Lyrics:
Aleck's friends all lick on Bobby's little baggies of home beer.
The Real Lyrics:
Ah! Les fraises et les fromboises et les bon vins que nous avons bus.
The Story: First heard this song when I knew no French whatsoever, and the above misheard lyric represented what the line sounded like to me. Later, after having studied some French, I listened to it again, hoping I could make out at least some of the real lyrics. But I still couldn't make out anything new, and it all sounded just as much like the misheard version as before! Just recently I found the real lyrics on a web site and now I can say, 'Well, I guess it sort of sounds like that.' - Submitted by: Robert Jones
The Kingston Trio's, "Razors In The Air"
The Misheard Lyrics:
Back up hope and come with me (Ah, my love, don't greet me!)
Chew your foot in Tennessee.
The Real Lyrics:
Pack a poke and come with me (Ah, my love don't grieve me!)
Shoe your foot in Tennessee.
The Story: When I first heard this song, I had no idea what 'pack a poke' meant. So I'd have been unlikely to recognize the phrase. Today, I still don't know exactly what one packs when one packs a poke. But I have heard the phrase. Of course, neither then nor now would I know what 'back up hope' meant. So you could really say I started out pretty clueless to make any sense of the line! - Submitted by: Kirsten Abercrombie
The Kingston Trio's, "Run, Molly, Run"
The Misheard Lyrics:
Molly said to Long John, 'Don't take me for a fool.
If you didn't cut your ears in jail, I'd think you were a mule.
The Real Lyrics:
Molly said to Long John, 'Don't take me for a fool.
If you didn't cut your ears and tail, I'd think you were a mule.
The Story: This song, about a grudge match between two racehorses, has the two exchanging taunts like the one in the above lines. Until I had internet lyric sites to consult, I puzzled much over what I thought I was hearing here. What would a horse be doing in jail, and cutting his ears there? - Submitted by: Kirsten Abercrombie
The Kingston Trio's, "The New Frontier"
The Misheard Lyrics:
Let us begin for a child take walk
The heavenly man sing a freedom song.
The Real Lyrics:
Let us begin for it shall take long
Let ev'ry man sing out freedom's song.
The Story: Here are some more words to this song that I was quite unsure of as a child. I wondered why taking a walk like a child was the the way to begin to make someone in heaven sing a freedom song! As a grownup, I can now check internet lyric sites. On doing so, I found out that by now I had already figured out most of these words and gotten the gist of the lines pretty well. However, the lyrics site did surprise me with 'sing out freedom's song', as I had continued up until then thinking the last part of that line was 'sing a freedom song', a relatively minor point as far as the meaning is concerned. - Submitted by: Kirsten Abercrombie
The Kingston Trio's, "The New Frontier"
The Misheard Lyrics:
Saddle up the horse from this day on
A new generation has been born
Born of the past to keep us free
But out of the rights of the home country.
The Real Lyrics:
Let the word go forth from this day on
A new generation has been born
Born to the task to keep us free
But proud of the rights of the home country.
The Story: When I first heard this as a child, not all the words were clear to me and this misheard version above is the best I could make out these lines. Now with lyrics sites on the web, I've checked out the real lyrics to make sure I've gotten them right. Turns out this is one case where I did pretty much figure out the correct lyrics by myself on listening to the song again as a grown-up. - Submitted by: Kirsten Abercrombie
The Kingston Trio's, "The Patriot Game"
The Misheard Lyrics:
Oh, me name is Old Hunnon, and I'm just gone sixteen
My home is in Montana where I was weaned
I've learned all my life through Lincoln's to blame.
The Real Lyrics:
Oh me name is O'Hannon, and I'm just gone sixteen
My home is in Monaghan where I was weaned
I've learned all my life cruel England's to blame.
The Story: On first hearing this as a child, I thought it was a song of American confederate sympathizers, transplanted to Montana. Only much later did I learn it was a song of Irish rebels. - Submitted by: Robert Jones
The Kingston Trio's, "The River Is Wide"
The Misheard Lyrics:
There'll be a boat that can carry toons
And both shall rule, my love and I.
or
There'll be a boat that can carry tools
And both shall rule, my love and I.
The Real Lyrics:
Build me a boat that can carry two
And both shall row, my love and I.
The Story: I heard this as a child and puzzzled over quite a few words, including those of these lines. My first mishearing above especially conjured up some bizarre images. I imagined the singer and his lover in a boat, being ruled over by cartoon characters! - Submitted by: Kirsten Abercrombie
The Kingston Trio's, "The River Is Wide"
The Misheard Lyrics:
When love is young, then love is fine.
Just like a chimp when first it's new.
But love grows old and wax is cold.
The Real Lyrics:
When love is young, then love is fine.
Just like a gem when first it's new.
But love grows old and waxes cold.
The Story: As a child, I had trouble trying to understand this line, as well as others in this song. My sister was six years older than I at the time (she still is, as a matter of fact!) and had just as much trouble as I did making out the word 'gem'. We both puzzled over comparing new love to a chimpanzee! - Submitted by: Kirsten Abercrombie
The Kingston Trio's, "The Unfortunate Miss Bailey"
The Misheard Lyrics:
'How vast, Miss Bailey,' then he cried, 'your c*** affrights me, really.'
'Dear Captain Smith,' the ghost replied, 'you bruised me unctioned tea leaves.
or
'How fast, Miss Bailey,' then he cried, 'you've come to fright me, really.'
'Dear Captain Smith,' the ghost replied, 'you loosed me engine wheelie.
The Real Lyrics:
'Avast, Miss Bailey,' then he cried, 'you can't affright me, really.'
'Dear Captain Smith,' the ghost replied, 'you used me ungenteelly.
The Story: Whew! This is a difficult song to understand. I'd heard it for years. But until I had internet lyrics sites to consult, I had no idea of many of the words nor much hint of the story being told by the song. Above are a couple of attempts before then to make out the lines quoted. - Submitted by: Kirsten Abercrombie
The Kingston Trio's, "The Unfortunate Miss Bailey"
The Misheard Lyrics:
He took to drinking rabbit pee
And fought upon Miss Bailey.
The Real Lyrics:
He took to drinking ratafia
And tho't upon Miss Bailey.
The Story: The spoken words at the beginning of the song explain that 'ratafia' is 'a light-flavored liqueur of amzing potency'. Trouble was, I couldn't understand even those spoken words until the internet and its lyrics sites became available. - Submitted by: Kirsten Abercrombie
The Kingston Trio's, "The Whistling Gypsy"
The Misheard Lyrics:
She left her father's castle gate.
Left her Gold Bond lover.
The Real Lyrics:
She left her father's castle gate.
Left her own fond lover.
The Story: I remember how, about the same time that this song was current, certain stores gave out Gold Bond Stamps, redeemable for certain merchandise when enough were collected. Other than that, I had no idea what 'Gold Bond' might mean, but that was what I heard in these lyrics.[Ed.'s note: Gold Bond Powder, maybe?] - Submitted by: Heidi Sharpe
The Kingston Trio's, "To Be Redeemed"
The Misheard Lyrics:
Tippin' was your fun now, Gabriel blow his horn.
Where'd you hide your lily hand with all your progress gone?
Hey, you got a thunder in your heart, you got burstin' in your soul.
The Real Lyrics:
If it was to flood now, and Gabriel blow'd his horn
Where'd you hide your guilty hands with all your pockets gone?
Hey, you got a hunger in your heart, you got thirst within your soul.
The Story: As a kid raised in a minimally religious family (at most), I was used to not understanding a lot of the concepts in hymns ans spirituals. As I grew up and learned more religious concepts, it did help me generally understand the words of hymns and spirituals better. But in the case of these particular misheard lyrics, I'm not sure that would have helped much. As a grownup I caught on to some of these words better just by listening more carefully. But without the internet and its lyrics sites, I don't think I would ever have completely figured out the real lyrics in this case! - Submitted by: Kirsten Abercrombie
The Kingston Trio's, "Weeping Willow"
The Misheard Lyrics:
She told me that she really loved me
How could I believe her untrue
When all the angels seemed to whisper
She would approve 'em to the loo?
The Real Lyrics:
She told me that she really loved me
How could I believe her untrue
When all the angels seemed to whisper
She will prove untrue to you?
The Story: This song reminded me of school days when one had to get permission to go to the bathroom! I thought the song actually referred to angels in Heaven having to go to the bathroom, and the one who gave them permission to go being the girl who is the subject of the song! - Submitted by: Lucinda Blair
The Kingston Trio's, "With Her Head Tucked Underneath Her Arm"
The Misheard Lyrics:
In the town of London Lodges life
The ghost of Anne Boleyn wants Sadie Claire.
The Real Lyrics:
In the Tower of London, large as life
The ghost of Anne Boleyn walks, they declare.
The Story: On first hearing this song as a child, I knew nothing of the Tower of London, making me unlikely to correctly hear the reference to it. On growing older and having heard of the Tower of London, I had little trouble hearing that reference correctly, but other parts of these lines still proved hard to hear correctly. It is a neat song, but these opening lines do have a bit of awkward cadence and contorted grammatical construction, and that kept me from hearing them altogether correctly until internet lyrics sites were available to help decipher them. - Submitted by: Kirsten Abercrombie
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]

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