Study Shows Which Rock + Metal Songs’ Lyrics Are Most Often Misheard
Was there ever a song you thought you were singing correctly for years, and then finally looked up the lyrics and discovered that you got some of them wrong? A new study by Wordfinder by YourDictionary has rounded up the top songs with lyrics people most often mishear, and a few rock and metal cuts made the list.
Wordfinder by YourDictionary surveyed over 1,000 Americans for the study to see which songs and genres have lyrics that people most often get wrong. Subjects were presented with clips of various songs and given four sets of lyrics to choose from based on what they heard.
Mishearing song lyrics often leads to a phenomenon called "mondegreen," A mondegreen is “a word or phrase that results from a mishearing especially of something recited or sung," as defined by a writer named Sylvia Wright in 1954.
Among the genres included in the results are rock, heavy metal, folk, pop, hip-hop/rap, EDM and R&B. The No. 1 song that Americans mishear — with a whopping 70 percent getting the words wrong — is Metallica's "Enter Sandman," according to the findings, and it was misheard the most-commonly by members of Generation X, Millennials and Generation Z.
Other rock and metal songs that made the Top 40 include "Sex on Fire" by Kings of Leon, The Beatles' "I Want to Hold Your Hand," Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit," Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody," Elvis Presley's "Suspicious Minds," Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer," The Police's "Message in a Bottle" and The Rolling Stones' "Beast of Burden."
Metal and R&B, however, were the genres least likely to be misheard. The Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger was named the hardest-to-understand artist in addition to rapper Young Thug.
So, what mondegreens did people come up with for some of these tunes?
In "Enter Sandman," where the chorus says, "Exit light / Enter night," participants in the study thought the words were, "Eggs and light / End all nights."
The chorus in "Smells Like Teen Spirit" is, "With the lights out, it's less dangerous / Here we are now, entertain us." The findings show that many people thought the words were, "With the lights out, it's Las Vegas / Hear me all now, entertainers."
Funny enough, a lot of people reported that they actually prefer the lyrics they thought were correct to the real ones, with 75 percent of heavy metal fans liking their own words better and 55 percent of rock ones sharing the same sentiment. That 20 percent difference, though, shows that more rock fans would rather know the actual words than metal fans.
See some graphs below and read the full study here.