f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

July 16, 2008

joe cocker: mondegreen maven

Filed under: q.s. quickies — David Giacalone @ 11:13 am

Mondegreen Follow-up (see our prior post on misheard lyrics): At the height of his fame (before he calmed down and/or took some serious elocution lessons), the soulful, twitchy British rocker Joe Cocker was surely capable of inspiring more mondegreens — misheard lyrics — than any singer on the planet. Yes, Bob Dylan is also a major Mondegreen Muse, but mushy-mouthed Cocker is Da Mondegreen-Maker-Man.

Ultimate proof of his status atop Mt. Mondegreen comes in a YouTube clip called “Birthday Greetings from Joe Cocker, Woodstock 1969,” with Joe Cocker singing “A Little Help from My Friends” . It includes captioning and clipart “for the clear-headed,” who might not otherwise catch all of the mondegreens. Thanks to Schenectady-Albany radio host Don Weeks, of WGY.com for presenting this merry-maker.

I laughed so much watching Cocker’s Woodstock video (in fact, even more the second time and with a friend), that I’m imbedding below a YouTube clip for the very first time at f/k/a, to help spread the Modegreenian fun.

Warning: Last night, I got a tummy ache from laughing at this clip. Disclaimer: You might not even smile (but that would be sad indeed).

Click to see a more conventional attempt to transcribe Cocker’s actual rendition of the song “A Little Help from My Friends.” Also, read and compare the “official” lyrics to the Beatles’ song. Then, check out the uncaptioned YouTube version, and make up a few Mondegreens of your own.

crackling beach fire —
we hum in place of words
we can’t recall

… by Michael Dylan Welch – The Heron’s Nest (Dec. 2004)

You can learn much more about Joe Cocker at his official website, which has a discography and information on his charitable work for Cocker’s Kids. At 64-years old, Joe Cocker is still doing a lot of touring. His official biography is “Joe Cocker: With A Little Help from My Friends,” by J.P. Bean (2003).

first date
she keeps humming
All Right Now

… by dagosan [click for video of Bad Company performing “All Right Now.” Any good misheard lyrics in there?]


  1. “Dancing with the chicken slacks…”

    — Sam Cooke, “Twistin’ the Night Away”

    Comment by Anne — July 17, 2008 @ 9:45 pm

  2. Oh, man, Anne, I always thought it was “chicken shacks.”

    Comment by David Giacalone — July 17, 2008 @ 10:41 pm

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