On Wednesday I found out that I was wrong.

In fact, I found out that I have been wrong for a very long time.  

38 years to be exact!

I am embarrassed by my wrongness.

I am also sad that none of my friends and family were aware of my mistake or, more horrifyingly, didn’t think it was their place to correct me.

After all this time, my gaff has been finally exposed to the harsh light of truth.  The revelation rocked my very being to the core and exposed a serious character flaw I did not know I possessed.

I found out on Wednesday, March 4th, 2020,  38 years after the fact….

I’ve been singing the wrong lyrics!

The song in question is the megahit collaborative effort of David Bowie and Queen that rocketed up the pop charts in 1982 “Under Pressure”.  It is a catchy tune that pretty everyone in existence has heard at least once. Most people confuse the musical intro with Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby”, but purists will only recognize the Bowie/Mercury epic.

I heard the song in my sophomore year in high school.  I have owned a version of the song on nearly every possible recorded medium known to man.  I had it on a 45. I had it on vinyl. I had it on Cassette, CD and now MP3. I also have it streaming on Amazon Prime.

Long before James Corden, “Under Pressure” is one of my favorite songs to belt out in the car, windows up or down, depending on the season.  And not only singing but rhythmic head nods and brief drum solos (when stopped) are included in my performance. I have probably heard and performed (for myself) that song well over 100 times over the almost 40 years of being.

Imagine my excitement when on Wednesday morning at 6:37 a.m. I heard it again.  In the morning, I spend 30 minutes on an exercise bike after 10 minutes of stretches.  To pass the time on the bike, I will watch a show on one of the many streaming services we have decided are vital to our way of life.  I am currently working my way through a Science Fiction show called “The Magicians”. In this episode, the cast, in order to defeat some evil entity, has to come together in unity.  They decide to sing a song, which of course is “Under Pressure”. Since, after binging 30 plus episodes, I feel like I am part of the cast and actually started to sing along. Since none of them objected, I continued with them.  

As I am a little hard of hearing, I usually watch TV with the closed captions on.  As I was singing, the lyrics scrolled across the bottom of the screen. As the song progressed to my favorite part (which is also the climax of my personal carpool karaoke) I sing “It’s Saturday night and the pressure is building!”

As I was singing/shouting, the lyrics presented another option.  

Insanity laughs under pressure we’re breaking”

My performance grinds to a halt, as does my workout.  I rewind the video and see the line again, amazed at how the words line up with the movement of the singer’s mouth.  

I paused the video and, reaching for my phone, looked up the lyrics to the song.  The google search confirmed from 4 different sites that the show was correct and I sad to say, was wrong.

On the way to work, I listened to the song (original version).  Like the “YANNI/LAUREL” clip that was the internet sensation a while back, I could now hear it both ways.  At work, I played that part of a song on a loop, unable (or unwilling) to admit my mistake.

I finally conceded my transgression on the way home from work.  I also began to question other favorite songs.

  • Did Starship really build this city on Sausage Rolls?
  • Did Dire Straits get their Money for nothing and their chips for free?
  • Does Kiss recommend that we Rock and Roll all night and Part of every day? 
  • And, of course, did Jimmy Hendrix really sing “Excuse me while I kiss this guy!”

I am joking about those, but these are actual lines of songs that have been miss sung over the years.  Now, I think some of those are on purpose like Weird Al Yankovic does when he releases a parody. Some of my favorites of his are:

  • Another one rides the bus (Another one bites the dust – Queen)
  • Eat It (Beat it – Michael Jackson)
  • Beverly Hillbillies (Money for Nothing, Dire Straits)

Upon, discovering my error, I have started asking people if they have ever discovered that they have sung the wrong lyrics by accident.  In every case, I have got laughter and a resounding “Yes”. Most can’t remember specific instances because it has happened so often.

Music is a huge part of our society and most people feel that singing along with a song connects us to the whole experience better.  I remember being at the John Mellencamp concert at Summerfest in the late ’80s. The whole audience was belting out “Jack and Diane”!  

Music is truly a universal language!  It connects us! Songs are important to us.  We search for the perfect one to dance to at our wedding (The Time of My Life, Bill Medley).  Would the movie “Frozen” be as popular without the megahit “Let it Go”?

There is also another song that I have been listening to a lot longer, ever since I was born.  That is God’s song!

The Bible says that God sings over us!

“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. Zephaniah 3:17”

God’s song is his Love, Grace, and Mercy that he extends to all his children.  The words are sung over his whole creation to let all know who is in control. The song reminds us whose love is important, whose words should be upheld, who is the final judge.

And, like my previous blunder, sometimes I think I know the words and I discover I am way off base.  I substitute lyrics that make sense to me but distort the true meaning of the song. More importantly, I begin to think of it as my song and get jealous when I hear others trying to sing it as well!  I get so busy trying to sing my version of the song, I do not take the time to learn the true lyrics.

In Psalm 46:10 we are encouraged to “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”  By being still, we simply listen to God’s song in our life. We hear his words and how they affect our lives and those around us.  No matter how much we listen, though, we are not going to ever hear the complete song. That performance is saved for a later time and that performance will be out of this world!

Prayer: Lord Jesus, help us to learn the words to your song.  Help us to remember the lines in order to bring hope to those around us. Amen

If these words have impacted you, please feel free to like, share and comment.

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3 thoughts on “Lyrics

  1. Dean constantly corrects my versions of my favorite songs. The hard of hearing is a very good excuse for confusing words. Good for you for having the chops to stand up and admit that you have been wrong, MANY TIMES. 🙂


  2. Ken, excellent post! I need to do better at listening for Gods song for me.
    My favorite lyric miss is from The Beverly Hillbillies: “they loaded up the truck” still sounds like “loomed up the truck” to me, whatever that means!


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