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Misheard Song Lyrics -> Stories -> Tom Waits

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!).


Closing Time album at Amazon.com
Tom Waits', "I Don't Wanna Grow Up"
The Misheard Lyrics:
I don't want a Florida room.
The Real Lyrics:
I don't wanna float a broom.
The Story: Until I looked at the written lyrics of this song in my cd booklet, I always thought that Tom was singing about that he didn't want a sun room a.k.a. Florida room in his house. - Submitted by: I.G. Kriston
Tom Waits', "Kommienezuspadt"
The Misheard Lyrics:
Kommen in zu sp├Ąt
The Real Lyrics:
Kommienezuspadt
The Story: Lost a point because of this on a quiz, but I'm still convinced it's something like that he's trying to say. - Submitted by: Erikmy
Tom Waits', "New Coat of Paint"
The Misheard Lyrics:
Less butter new coat of paint
On this lonesome old town
The Real Lyrics:
Let's put a new coat of paint
On this lonesome old town
The Story: My sister actually misheard this one, now I can't unhear it. - Submitted by: TrashcanMan
Tom Waits', "Sins Of My Father"
The Misheard Lyrics:
I'm gonna take the sins of my brother
Down to the pawn.
The Real Lyrics:
I'm gonna take the sins of my brother
Down to the pond.
The Story: I've been singing along with this song for a while now. I assumed he was taking the sins of his father, mother, and brother down to the pawn shop to 'cash in' on all of his family's sins for personal gain. At the end of the song he sing 'I'm gonna wash them'. When I started thinking about that line, the pawn shop didn't make quite as much sense. I looked up the correct lyrics and it's like when a 3D stereogram comes into focus...oh, now I see. - Submitted by: Keith
Tom Waits', "The Part You Throw Away"
The Misheard Lyrics:
On the porch, geese salute.
The Real Lyrics:
In a Portuguese saloon
The Story: This was misheard by none other than Terry Gilliam. In a discussion with Waits, Gilliam confessed that while transribing the song's lyrics, he had written 'on the porch the geese salute' and he wondered if those were the right words. 'No', Tom answered, 'Those are better!' He promptly wrote the 'new' lyric down. - Submitted by: Sylvester McMonkey McBean
Tom Waits', "Tom Traubert's Blues"
The Misheard Lyrics:
Won't take Matilda, won't take Matilda,
You won't take Matilda with you
The Real Lyrics:
Waltzing Matilda, waltzing Matilda,
You'll go waltzing Matilda with me
The Story: This was the first Tom Waits song I ever heard, and I loved it. I thought it was about a guy in a foreign country trying to get someone to take a girl named Matilda out of the country or something--see, there's the 'innocent victim in a blinded alley,' 'I begged you to stab me...you'd bury the dagger,' and a later line says 'Matilda's the defendant, she killed about 100.' I thought he wanted to get her out of there before she was caught. I figured the 'old shirt that is stained with blood and whiskey' was part of the evidence. I had an elaborate story for the song...and then I was at a friend's house and started singing along with the cd--she gave me the correct version as soon as she stopped laughing (about half an hour later). - Submitted by: Danielle
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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