Things have been misunderstood for as long as we've attempted to communicate with one another. The advent of recorded songs simply allowed us to set our confusion to music.

The syllables align with a phrase of your own but are, in fact, quite wrong. There's a name for these misheard things: a mondegreen. The name itself comes from another misunderstanding. Writer Sylvia Wright coined it in the '50s after admitting she'd long thought the last line from a favorite old Scottish ballad was "and Lady Mondegreen" when "The Bonnie Earl o' Moray" actually ends with the line: "And laid him on the green."

The scientific process of these misunderstandings has been explained, as misfires happen between the act of hearing and our brain's meaning-making process. In some cases, the busy distractions of instruments and other singers are also blamed. Either way, these new words end up matching the song's built-in rhythms and a new, completely wrong verse is created.

Things can take a comical turn when people insist on singing their own versions. Like many people who misunderstand lyrics today, Wright freely admitted that hers was incorrect – but felt the replacement line was better than the original. It gets even funnier when the new lines don't make any sense at all, as with "there's a wino down the road" or "hold me closer Tony Danza."

Stacker has rounded up 50 famously misheard songs, with explanations about what's actually been sung, to help sort out the biggest mondegreens in music history:

Explaining 60 Famously Misunderstood Lyrics

From 'hold me closer Tony Danza' to 'there's a wino down the road,' Stacker clears up some of the biggest mondegreens in music.

Gallery Credit: Madison Troyer

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