Michele Bender photo

Michele Mikesic Bender

Readers confessed. Misheard – and mis-sung – rock lyrics amused and embarrassed many of us.

Amy shared a painful memory. “A bunch of us were on my porch listening to WKYE when ‘My Sharona’ by the Knack came on. We joined in, but my friends gasped when I sang ‘Mice Aroma.’ “

“I was sure Kansas said, ‘Ducks in the Wind,’” e-mailed Colleen.

Kim’s dad swore The Oak Ridge Boys wailed “Hell’s Fire.” Elvira would have been shocked.

British accents created a language barrier. Queen didn’t chant “Another one rides the bus.” But the Beatles knew “She had a chicken to ride.”

Lois harmonized with the Fab Four performing “Paperback Writer” at a traffic light. “Take the right back turn,” she trilled.

Romantic rock ballads frequently challenged listeners.

Kathy recalls crooning, “Just call me Angel of the Morning. Angel. Just brush your teeth before you leave me, baby ...”

Del Shannon’s “Runaway” proved agony loves company.

“I’m a-walkin’ in the rain, trip and fall and I feel the pain, wishin’ you were here with me, to share this misery ...”

Brian Wilson asked “Rhonda” to help him solve a serious problem. “Well, since she put me down, there’s been owls peckin’ at my head ...”

Some tunes expose colorful, even outrageous, milestones in music history.

Carly Simon wrote “You’re So Vain” to diss Mick Jagger when their love affair soured.

Two readers posted their versions.

Paul wrote: “You had one eye in the middle and you watched yourself a lot ... you’re so strange.”

Yep, that would send me running to James Taylor for sure.

Maggie@gmail added, “I had dreams, there were clowns in my coffee ...”

The 1963 “Louie, Louie” scandal blew the needle off the absurdity meter. The Kingsmen, an obscure L.A. group, set a calypso sea chanty to a lively rhythm, but kept the original Jamaican dialect.

“Three nights and days, I sailed the sea; me think of girl ... aah … constantly. Aah, on that ship, me dream she there; I smelled the rosebuds in her hair ...”

Parents, still reeling over the antics of Elvis and Chuck Berry, reacted to a rumor that obscenities were concealed in the lyrics.

J. Edgar Hoover, who was apparently experiencing some down time, launched a 36-month investigation. G-Men analyzed the vinyl disc (with our tax dollars), even experimenting by playing the record at different speeds.

It never occurred to the bureau to contact the actual songwriter or singers and just ask them.

A 119-page FBI report was inconclusive. “The words could not be interpreted.”

I couldn’t make this stuff up. As a teen, I remember a fuss over the song, but I never knew the extent of it.

All was forgotten when John Belushi and the “Animal House” gang saluted “Louie” at the infamous toga party.

The alleged “naughty“ rendition appears on Page 14 of J. Edgar’s term paper.

Often, our brains foolishly believe that rock melodies celebrate foods.

Is “Lay Down Salad” diet advice from Eric Clapton?

Bachman-Turner’s “… bacon carrot biscuits …” sound yummy.

Paul Simon had an identity crisis. “I am a rock; I am an onion.”

Steve Perry began his ode to “Oh Sherrie” shrieking, “Cinnamon gum ...”

Prince described a gal who wore “… raspberries and grapes ...”

I saved my favorite for last. “One ton tomato … oh … oh …oh …One ton tomato ...”

“Guantanamera ...!”

And so we end summer on a positively high note.

Thank you, everybody.

Michele Mikesic Bender is a Johnstown resident and regular community columnist for The Tribune-Democrat.​ She can be reached at MsGeezerette@aol.com.

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