Four hundred children and a crop in the field

Poor Kenny; ole Lucille picked a fine time to leave him, didn’t she? Except for the fact that the song lyrics were actually, “four hungry children and a crop in the field.”

I remember riding my 5 speed along a dirt country road, my face in the wind, braids in my hair, and belting out all the popular hits of the time.  I loved to sing, and I still do, except that, most of the time I had the words … all wrong.


“There’s a Bathroom on the right”  oops .. it’s really “There’s a Bad moon on the rise…” (Bad Moon Rising, by Credence Clearwater Revival AKA CCR)

Who could forget “The girl with Colitis goes by..”  Um that’s the “Girl with kaleidoscope eyes,” from the Beatles’ Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds (later sang by Elton John.)

Speaking of … I remember crooning “Hold me closer, Tony Danza!” except that the words were actually,”Hold me closer Tiny Dancer” from Elton’s “Tiny Dancer.”  Oops.  Hey … who wouldn’t want Tony Danza to hold ’em closer? I’m

Tony Danza .. hubba hubba (image from Facebook)

just saying …

In hindsight, I committed many a “Mondegreen” (for more, click the link).

It doesn’t happen as often now .. but still I still feel a pinch of embarrassment when I realize that a song I love and have been singing along to ….I’ve been  singing with the wrong words all this time.  Somehow though, I am sure I’m not alone.

Here’s some vintage Kenny with the lyrics to back me up; an interesting side note, my parents took us to see Kenny Rogers and the First Edition in concert.  I think I was around 8 or 9.  I remember reading every detail in the programme, how much I enjoyed the concert  (“Something’s burning…and I think it’s LOVE..!”) and how handsome I thought he was .. for an “old” man.  Ha!

How about you?  Ever realized … 10, 20, 30 years AFTER the fact that the song you’ve been singing along to doesn’t exist as you sing it?  🙂

Categories: Attitude, Family, Friendship, Fun, Growth, Humor, Joy, Life, Men, music, Personal, Random, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Useful Information | Tags: , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

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30 thoughts on “Four hundred children and a crop in the field

  1. This is so funny. I just mumble through most Elton John songs…

  2. This is SO funny: I have thought so many times about writing a post on this subject: So – if I decide to do that at some future date, you’ll read this again:
    The funniest one was a lyric in the song “Hazy Shade of Winter”. My ex-husband thought Simon & Garfunkel were singing “Look around, Lisa Brown” and the actual lyrics were “Look around, leaves are brown”.
    I never thought about “bathroom on the right”. My son introduced me to the term Mondegreen.

    Fun post!

    • Simon and Garfunkel were the source of many a-mangled lyric in my day (My sisters played their Albums all the time and at full volume .. oy … “Cecilia … you’re breaking my heart … you’re shaking my collie dance daily (actually .. it’s ‘confidence’ …oops)”

      Thanks, Dianna, for weighing in .. fun stuff! MJ

  3. I assumed I was the only one who thought it was four hundred children and a crop…Yikes! That’s too funny.

  4. cooper

    “Take the back, right turn” (sung to the beatles Paperback Writer)
    Kenny Rogers and the first editions…wow…just dropped in to see what condition my condition was in….remember those tv commercials where kenny was selling his book on how to play guitar???

    • Coop I had to sing your lyrics to get it — yes, I can totally hear it … “Right turn, right turn) instead of “writer, writer” – HA HA HA!! And yeah, what condition my condition was in … I do remember those commercials .. and his rosy glasses. Mom & Dad took us to a lot of “shows” and, living where we did, we didn’t get the “A” listers but we kids didn’t care .. it was Kenny Rogers – whoop whoop!! Cheers, MJ

  5. This is so funny! I know I’ve done the same thing, but can’t think of an example off the top of my head. But whatever, songs, or mis-use of a word or phrase…these things happen along the way!
    Love the four hundred children!


    • My brother had problems with his car and was singing, “You picked a fine time to leave me loose wheel…” but he did so on purpose. I still laugh about that. I am sure you will think of an example, Sheila … for me, any of my youngest sing-a-long pop songs are where I seemed to goof the most … long before the internet and armed with only AM radio, we only had 1 chance to get it right … and often, we didn’t.


  6. Ohhhh this is sooo funny. At birthdays my father would launch into his traditional Dutch songs. Talk about mondegreens…we sang along too having no clue how or what we were singing. One time my dad scratched his head and asked us “Which song haven’t we sung yet?” Someone called out “Viva la burra” (Long live the donkey) to which my dad remembered the “Hip-hip hoorah” song. With Spanish-English-Dutch in our household, it’s a wonder we can speak any language plainly. Thank you for the memory! 😉

    • Georgette, I can only imagine all the possibilities in your multiple language household! Cheers – MJ

      • “Four hundred children and a crop in the field”…still chuckling…you have changed this song forever in my mind.

      • Well .. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing .. but yes it will probably now stick with you that way 🙂 MJ

  7. Kathy

    LOL, Back in my youth I used to think, WOW is that possible to have so many children? So I sit here this morning and giggle that I wasn’t the only one riding my bike singing those words to that song. To funny. Thanks for the flash back MJ.

  8. Cher’s song, “Half breed.” I would sing, “Half-breed, days on heaven’s shore.” When the lyrics were, “Half-breed, how I learned to hate the word” I’m sure there were others … most certainly there were others.

    Kenny Rogers and his wife (at the time), Marianne Gordon, lived in Athens, GA while I was in college at UGA. I was babysitting and took the boy to his basketball practice. While I was sitting on the bleachers, Kenny, his wife and their son walked in the gym. His son was on the kid’s team. I remember seeing both Kenny and his wife sitting on the bleachers watching their son practice. The two were stunning. Simply stunning.

    • You so know I was singing Cher’s song with your words, right? Fun stuff!

      What a neat story about Kenny & Marianne. If I remember correctly, she had been Miss “something or other” (GA?) and was beautiful – dimples galore. In his day, he was rather foxy, too. Cheers! MJ

  9. I love it MJ. My significant other was raised in another country and, not surprisingly, learned the same lyrics as you to that Kenny Rogers’ song. Also, she sings along with Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer as “they shouted out with Gleem” (toothpaste)
    As always, I love your stuff.
    Sincerely, John

    • “they shouted out with Gleem!” How cute is that? 🙂 Thanks, John, for weighing in … this seems to be a universal … trend. MJ

  10. You’re Tony Danza lyrics were hilarious! I cracked up when I read that. When I was younger there was a song called “Love Rollercoaster” that my parents would listen to all the time. I used to think the words were “Burn your house down…woo hooo hooo, burn your house down…” It wasn’t until Red Hot Chili Peppers redid the song and I realized that it was “Rollercoaster, woo hooo hooo”. Oops!

    • I know “roller coaster” and just sang along with it last weekend! And .. I didn’t know that the RHCP re-recorded it, cool!!

      Still wish for a Tony Danza-hold-me-closer moment .. hee hee,

      Thanks for weighing in, Michelle 🙂 MJ

  11. As a high school sophmore I was getting ready for basketball practice (in the locker room) singing what I thought were the correct lyrics to an Eddie Money song. I sang “I think I’m in love, cuz I can’t get it up.” when an upper classman walked by me and said “you idiot…the song is ‘I think I’m in love cuz I can’t get enough!!”
    I thought “Wow…that’s a really profound love if he can’t even get up for her.” But I was corrected…thank goodness.

    • HA HA !! Rich that is a hilarious example of a mondegreen; thank you for sharing it … I will never hear Eddie Money the same 🙂 MJ

  12. Oh my gosh, I immediately knew you were talking about a Kenny Rogers song! That’s exactly how I heard the words way back when too!

    Most recently, I thought Jason Aldean sang, “You can be my tail light Juliet, I’ll be your redneck Romeo.” My son set me straight. Tan-legged. Not tail light. Of course, that make much more sense. 🙂

  13. Georgette sent me back to this piece — it is brilliant. All four hundred children say so! It must have been before I discovered you.

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