Friday, August 28, 2009

Never Miiiiind….

Have you ever gotten the words wrong to a song? Of course you have. Everyone has. There are web sites dedicated to this phenomenon, the best of which is called “Kiss This Guy,” after a mis-hearing of Jimi Hendrix’s “Purple Haze.”

So maybe a better question is, have you ever gotten the words wrong to a song…and liked your version better?

This happened to me with the Paul Kelly song I mentioned yesterday, “Careless.” Alert readers will probably have already guessed why I had no luck Googling the line, “How many cats in New York City?” I couldn’t find the line in any lyric database because the question is actually, “How many CABS in New York City?” I’ve been humming this wrong for the better part of two decades.

Paul Kelly is generally regarded as the closest thing Australia has to a poet laureate, and rightly so. He’s a master storyteller, and a brilliant songwriter. The collection I picked up in Australia, Songs from the South, has been in my car CD player for weeks now.

But, come on. Cabs? Really? Don’t you think the question of how many cats there are in New York is a lot more interesting? Taxis are regulated—someone somewhere must know the answer to that question. But how many cats…? I mean, how would you even count them all? My version really gives you something to think on.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

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