When I was a kid I loved the song “California Dreamin’.” In Chicago, when all the leaves were brown and the sky was grey, I would imagine living in sunshine and making sand-castles on the beach, the fading taste of Orange Julius playing over my seven-year-old sense memory after a family holiday to Los Angeles.
Although it is just a touch ironic to bother California Dreamin’ when you already live in California, my kids really liked that song too when they were little, and we’d play it fairly regularly in the car rides to and from school. And so it was that Andy heard Will, when he was six or so, singing the song to himself one day; only his version of “If I didn’t tell her…” had, by way of the misheard lyrics telephone game, become “If I didn’t shower, I could leave today.”
There’s just something about wrong lyrics that I simply love. Like when we were kids and my friend Mike’s version of Elton John’s “Bennie & The Jets,” included not “She’s got electric boots, a mohair suit,” but rather “She’s got electric boots, a Moham Sue.” When we asked him what a “Moham Sue” was he just worked his chin with his fingers pensively and said, “It’s just one of those things.”
“A trip to the moon, on gossamer wings… a Moham Sue?”
What’s your favorite mistaken lyric?
Now that we’re into April, maybe we can all be safe and warm, even if we don’t live in LA—singing it loud, proud and maybe even totally wrong, but in the service of all our collective kids.