GEICO and the Mondegreen

A “mondegreen” happens when you mis-hear a lyric to a song, and what you mis-hear actually makes sense in the lyric, so to speak.  Examples – When Jimi Hendrix sings “Purple Haze” and says, “Scuse me while I kiss the sky,” some people might hear it as “Scuse me while I kiss this guy.”

There’s a whole world of mondegreens out there.  Creedence Clearwater Revival is not singing about a bathroom on the right, they’re saying that there’s a bad moon on the rise.  Follow me?

Here’s a 1980’s commercial for Maxell cassettes, and you can see how they use the classic Desmond Dekker and the Aces song “Israelites” to accentuate the mondegreen.

So … back in the1980’s, there was a hair-metal band called Ratt.  And they had this one hit, you know it, “Round and Round.”  You remember it, right?  It was played all over MTV, it was played on your top 40 radio station, it was played until it got so stuck in your head you couldn’t remove it if you scrubbed with Brillo.

Yep, with that one lyric in the refrain, “Round and round / When love can find a witch / I skin it tight.”

Yeah, that’s how I heard it.  I figured it was some weird occult sexual fetish that lead singer Stephen Pearcy had, and he was singing about it for all the Top 40 listeners to experience.

I wasn’t a big fan of Ratt, I felt this song was overplayed TO FREAKIN’ DEATH… and in the pantheon of late 1980’s hair metal bands, they were about three rungs below Poison and Mötley Crüe, maybe on the level of Warrant, if I’m being generous.  Ratt came and went, and that was fine with me.  One hit wonder.  Buh bye.

Fast forward to 2020.  And among all the ANNOYING insurance commercials out there – including the goof who drives around town with his pet emu, the talking insurance box, and the dude that keeps annoying Tina Fey – there are the GEICO commercials.  Yep, talking geckos, cavemen, Pinocchio on a date, all that.

GEICO currently runs some home insurance commercials, in which the homeowners complain of the house having a clog problem (cue the family of cloggers).  Another commercial claims that the house has a rat problem, and … you guessed it …

Yeah, it’s almost the same idea as their original music video, although without Milton Berle and with 35 years of age.

But as I heard the commercial, I thought something was off.  Did they change the lyrics to the refrain of “Round and Round”?  Because now it sounds like Stephen Pearcy is singing, “Round and round / when love will find a way / just give it time.”

Well, that’s kinda weak.  Maybe Pearcy gave up his fantasy of doing Wanda Maximoff, or something…

One way to be sure.  Google the lyrics.

And here’s what Google says the lyrics should be:

Round and round
With love we’ll find a way just give it time
Round and round
What comes around goes around
I’ll tell you why

So I’m STILL not catching everything … “With love, we’ll find a way, just give it time…”  Okay.

Of course, now that I hear it THAT way, the original version does sound like Pearcy’s singing those words and not some deep fetish about doing the horizontal bop in the coven.

Wow.  And to think all this time, I’ve been hearing it all wrong.

Resolved, though.  Once we get past his COVID-19 pandemic, and I have an opportunity to visit a karaoke event… I can sing Ratt’s “Round and Round” refrain with three different interpretations of the lyrics.

Then I’ll have to ask about the bathroom on the right.