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Misheard Song Lyrics -> Stories -> Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers

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!).


Damn the Torpedoes album at Amazon.com
The Misheard Lyrics:
It's a long day, living in the semen.
The Real Lyrics:
It's a long day, living in Reseda.
The Story: I was half asleep riding on the bus to school one morning s long time ago, and this song was on the radio. Nodding off, I thought I distincly heard Tom Petty say 'living in the semen' and almost freaked out on the bus. When I got home I looked up the lyrics and have one question-where is Reseda? (Editor's note: In California.) - Submitted by: Amanda
The Misheard Lyrics:
Don't mess around with the love machine.
The Real Lyrics:
Baby, you don't have to live like a refugee.
The Story: Well, I was walking around campus and heard this song from a distance. The funny thing is I'd heard it before; but for some reason that day, I heard 'Don't mess around with the love machine' and thought, 'Huh? What song is that?' Then I realized it was 'Refugee'. - Submitted by: Katie
Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers', "Runnin' Down a Dream"
The Misheard Lyrics:
Runnin' down the drain
The Real Lyrics:
Runnin down a dream
The Story: I used to sing the song this way so often when I was a child that even though I know the correct lyrics now, I still tend to sing it incorrectly when I don't intentionally sing the wrong lyrics. I also vividly remember what I thought was the music video for this song which was a black and white cartoon video where the little people repel down the bathtub drain. - Submitted by: Jamie Edwards
The Misheard Lyrics:
Now she's a singer, a Dave Dinger Singer.
The Real Lyrics:
Now she's a swinger dating a singer.
The Story: The Dave Dinger Singers are jingle-singers for a fairly large local car dealership, Dinger Ford. It's highly unlikely that Tom Petty was writing about the melodious Dave Dinger Singers. However, maybe Mr. Petty bought a new or pre-owned Ford there and he felt compelled to.....um, nevermind. - Submitted by: Lili
The Misheard Lyrics:
I was Barney Rubble
The Real Lyrics:
I was Born a Rebel
The Story: funny! - Submitted by: Jeff
The Misheard Lyrics:
Say there ain't no cents
The Real Lyrics:
Say there ain't no sense
The Story: Another confusion here, since "cents" and "sense" sound the same. Anyway, R.I.P. Tom Petty (1950-2017). - Submitted by: Cody Finke
The Misheard Lyrics:
Say there ain't no cents
The Real Lyrics:
Say there ain't no sense
The Story: There can be some confusion between "cents" and "sense" since (no pun intended) they sound the same. Anyway, R.I.P. Tom Petty (1951-2017). - Submitted by: Cody Finke
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers', "Dogs on the Run"
The Misheard Lyrics:
Well we come with wipers on our face
Yeah when the leaves had died and all turned grey
Back when the wind was gold and blue and brown.
The Real Lyrics:
Well we come with what was on our backs
Yeah when the leaves had died and all turned black
Back when the wind was cold and blew them round.
The Story: O.K so I knew it couldn't be wipers on our face but I was convinced about the colours of the wind! - Submitted by: deafguy
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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