I’m Cooke’d

Sometimes, one blog is enough.  Sometimes, one blog leads to another.  Sometimes you just have to steal someone else’s topic.

And that’s where I am tonight.  Stealing someone else’s theme.  But, honestly, Bryonic Man, this was much too long to do in a comment.  And you got your pingback.  So that’ll give you an extra hit or two.  No more, though.  Sorry.

Bryonic Man wrote a great post about songs that drive him crazy, and opening the floor to those that drive his readers crazy.  It’s here.    I started to leave a comment, but well, it didn’t quite fit in with his theme of “songs that make you suicidal.”  My story is kinda cute.  Unless, of course, you’re me.  Then you must live in shame for as long as the gods rule.  Maybe longer if you blog it.

It’s not a song I hate, or one that makes me dive for the mute button.  I like this song.  It’s running through my head right now, and I don’t want to jump off the roof.  I could listen to it repeatedly, and sing along happily each time.  Until I pay attention to the lyrics, that is.

This song is one of my clearest, early memories.  A “Sunday night with the family” memory.  I remember Ed Sullivan.  I remember the cute babies hanging from the ceiling of the set with their bows drawn and their arrows pointing.  I remember the tune, although not who sang it.  And YouTube is not helping.

Unfortunately, I remember the lyrics.  Well, I remembered my lyrics.

You know those songs where you can’t quite come up with the right lyrics, they’re muffled, swallowed, unclear?  This isn’t one of them.  These lyrics are, in fact, pretty clear.  Just about anyone listening can figure out what they are.  Except me.  Well, except little me.  If I heard it for the first time today, well, I’m sure I’d get it.

But I happily sang these lyrics until a year or two ago, when I listened to myself singing.  Suddenly, I knew that I had the lyrics wrong.  And that I am, yes, an idiot.  Because I should have figured this out, well, a while ago.  And that’s why this song makes me feel, well, foolish.

I constructed these lyrics I one night while watching the Ed Sullivan Show.  When I was little, long before I knew who Cupid was, and what Cupid did.  And how Cupid had a bow.  A bow with which he shot folks.  Long before I knew much of anything in fact.  And I sang these lyrics for nearly fifty years:

Cute Baby, Draw Back Your Bow

And Let,

Your arrow go

Straight to

My mother’s arm

For Me

I am so glad you don’t really know who I am.


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59 responses to “I’m Cooke’d

  1. You mean it wasn’t? It was a hit with my mom. Of course she never did clue me in.

  2. Your version could’ve been a hit.

  3. Just happened to notice that I missed this delightful post on a fun subject.

    Here are a few lyrical mistakes that I know of from a few of my friends from long ago, who were just a little bit confused…

    Jimi Hendrix did NOT sing “Excuse me, while I kiss this guy!” in Purple Haze.

    Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin did NOT sing “You need Kool-Aid!” to start Whole Lotta Love.

    The singer for The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band did NOT sing “The dog up and died, he up and died… And after 20 years he still breathes”. in Mr Bojangles.

    John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival did NOT sing “Don’t go out tonight, it’s bound to take your life – there’s a bathroom on the right!” in Bad Moon on the Rise.

    I swear I KNEW these kids, and yes they really did sing the non lyrics I’ve recounted above! Me? I’m sure I’ve messed up some myself as well, but of course I don’t remember those. Lol :-) Except for singing along with The Beatles “I wanna hold your gland.” but that was on purpose. ;-)

    • I had heard of the others, but not the Beatles. And it just coincided with an ad for Paul McCartney’s new song “My Valentine.” I wonder if he was thinking of your lyric when he wrote the new one.

  4. Straight to My mother’s arm – that is fantastic! And why wouldn’t your mother’s arm need to be shot through with an arrow?

    I’ve never gotten song lyrics wrong. hehehe :) Okay, maybe once or twice.

    • Well, I did get that it was a good thing to get shot at by a cute baby, for what that’s worth.

      And I’m sure you never got anything wrong, MJ. You are, after all, male. :) (I simply couldn’t resist — forgive me — but some shots are as necessary as they are cheap!)

  5. I’m late to the lyrics party, but I think your version is perfect for as a Mother’s Day song. I really enjoyed this post. Sweet and funny.

    • Thanks, YS! I think it is kind of sweet. I am not surprised that my mom didn’t correct me — how many women know that their children retain some of those wonderful childhood phrases?

  6. Cute baby, shoot my mother. Ummmm. Are there any shrinks among your followers? Dr. Freud, please call your office. Actually, as usual, I LOVE IT! You’re too good for words. Even the wrong words. Love ya! Me.

    • Well, it seemed as if shooting her was a GOOD thing, so I was confused. It just lasted about 50 years.

      And I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a shrink or two out there — those folks are crazy enough to read me.

  7. My sister told me about when her son was singing the song, “My Grandfathers Spectacles” and sang instead, “My Grandfathers Testicles”!!! She said it was the only time she was glad that Dad was hard of hearing!

  8. Hi IT, I’m so glad you like the song, whatever the lyrics. I think that I just pulled the only words that sounded right to my, five year old mind. My mom loved the song and I’m sure it’s because she thought my version was adorable (I wonder if she still thought so when I continued to sing it into my 40s!) And Mom and Dad were pretty lucky in love — happily married for 50.5 years when my Mom passed.

  9. How many times I’ve been singing songs with the wrong lyrics…I stopped counting. I kind of saw myself when I read your post. It made me smile too. Sometimes I just like the beat and since I don’t know the lyrics , I made something up…which kind of make me foolish too. The song is catchy by the way, and I like it. As for cupid needing to redirect the bow to the singers mom…perhaps her mom needed it, right. Everyone is entitled to be in love!

  10. Red

    This sooooo sounds like me! I love it. No wonder you are here… http://mommasmoneymatters.wordpress.com/2012/01/30/awards-vba-cla-la-sa/

  11. Is this a trick question?

    I’m actually pretty sure I have that one right — I learned it in Catholic school and they were fussy about that sort of stuff. Love songs, not so much!

    But I think you have a story to tell, so spill it, PW!

  12. How do you say the pledge of allegiance?

  13. GOF

    Great memories of Sam Cooke and sixties music….you keep singing your own lyrics….it’s your tunefulness that’s important. :-)

    Mrs GOF was singing some more modern song around the house with what she thought was the meaningless lyric “lang bang how” when out daughter reminded her that the real words were ‘ leaving home”.

    • I am a pretty good singer — years of voice lessons. Trouble is I get songs stuck in my head and they stay for a while. I’ll be singing “Cute Baby” for another week or two, or until my husband gets out the duct tape.

      Glad your wife keeps up the tradition of messing up lyrics. You don’t want your wife singing about “leaving home” anyway.!

  14. Made up lyrics are the best. This was a great post! We come up with the zaniest lyrics to fit with what we think the singer is saying, don’t we? ;)

    • One of the things I find funniest is the fact that, in spite of the fact that my lyrics sounded pretty silly, that I never questioned them. Even after I discovered Cupid :).

  15. Thank you for sharing your humiliation … I am absolutely certain that the next time I hear this song, I will break out in a wide smile, and picture your lyrics dancing around in my head. Please feel free to share any other juicy bits about yourself that are sure to become comical fodder for the masses. Loved this!

  16. I too like Arindam’s take on this. Birthing can be ugly sometimes.

  17. MJ at emjayandthem wrote about Kenny Rogers’ song Lucille…”four hundred children and a crop in the field” sometime last year. Her version still cracks me up! http://emjayandthem.com/2011/07/20/four-hundred-children-and-a-crop-in-the-field/

  18. I am going to bet 10:1 your mother got great joy from your lyrics for years, so they were probably right! How many of us have gotten lyrics wrong and sang them that way? I can remember sitting in my basement mourning the death of my idol Jimi Hendrix and I got most of his wrong, didn’t know for years. Iron Butterfly got their own lyrics wrong InnaGadanavida baby…really was supposed to be In the Garden of Eden, I kid you not.

    • Is that the correct lyrics to Inagoddadavida, Baby? I think you need to let Dave Barry know. He’s been wondering for years!

      I’ve recently gotten satellite radio, and the lyrics all seem so clear. I am learning the words to many songs that I thought I knew.

      Thanks for visiting. I just went over and took a quick look at your website. We are kindred spirits in more than just messing up lyrics!

      • My kids bought me table top book of Rock-n-Roll a few years back, it had interviews with some of the old bands and one was Iron Butterfly. The story was they were drunk/high when they recorded the song, they muffed the words but thought it sounded great so left it that way because they couldn’t finish the writing with the original words. Wikipedia has the same story of Doug Ingle (singer) being to drunk / high to properly sing the words.

        I drove my parents insane with the long version of this song as a teenager!

  19. I love that song! One of my favorites. I especially love your lyrics.
    I’m with Barb, I make up my own lyrics all the time, sometimes intentionally, sometimes not. I used to think The Who were singing “Won’t Get Food Again!” Those poor starving musicians….

    • The members of the WHO probably ARE starving after their Superbowl performance. Or at least cutting back. I still haven’t recovered.

      Arindam’s comment said that “we give birth to a new song” each time we re-write the words. It’s a lovely way to think about butchering someone’s music, isn’t it?!

  20. What? Those weren’t the right lyrics? Then Sam Cooke probably sang it wrong for the recording and meant to sing it just the way you did. Not only do I make up lyrics, but most of my husbands sentences, too.

    The David Axelrod post you’ve got in yourside bar makes me smile. Thanks

    • Speaking for one’s husband usually works better than letting him speak for himself, at least in my book. My husband disagrees, though.

      I love the Obama picture — and the story of Mitt Romney driving to Canada with his dog Seamus strapped to the roof of his car is just one of the reasons NOT to vote for Romney!

  21. OMG I love the song and I love you. I’m so glad to know you. Honestly. You don’t want to know some of the things I thought were actual lyrics. LOL LOL

    • Oh, Janice you’re sweet. Based on the number of comments so soon after I posted this piece, I think misunderstood lyrics might just be a topic that everyone can do!

  22. RVingGirl

    Oh Elyse, you made me laugh! I often miss understand lyrics too. So funny!

  23. Ha ! I am not the one and only person in this world, who mess up the lyrics of a song. :) But in reality we are very creative, we give birth to a new song, through our talent of forgetting the lyrics. :)
    By the way I liked your version of that song also. :)

    • I LOVE your way of looking at this — “we give birth to a new song” you, sir, are an optimist!

      Actually I love my lyrics too. It makes me smile every time I hear the song.

  24. Wow, your must really be in love with you.

    • My ____? My mother, I’m guessing. She thought I was pretty cute, actually. But then, she HAD to. She DID NOT set me straight on the lyrics, though…

  25. Yup…we are all there with you…on more than one song I am sure, Elyse! Such a funny post…you ended my day with a smile…thank you so much. :)

  26. Cute! I love your lyrics…better than the originals.

  27. Hi,
    Don’t worry you are not the only one to get words wrong in a song, I have also done this on more than one song. :D
    I have never heard this song before, very nice.

  28. Haha-your versions IS cute.
    Great blog and great blog idea. For way too long Jaimie used to sing Barry Manilo’s Coppa Cabana song as “cocoa banana”‘ and thought those were the words.

  29. If you had been singing the right lyrics for the past 50 years, this post wouldn’t have been nearly as funny :) I think most can think of a song with lyrics we’ve messed up.

Play nice, please.

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