This is always a funny conversation, and I don’t think we’ve had it yet. The idea for this chat floated through my brain in the car this weekend, because Blink-182’s “Dammit” was on the radio while I drove to get a burrito. There is a line in that song that goes, “you’ll show up/ and walk by/ on the arm /of that guy,” and my friend Dave famously misheard it as, “you’ll show up/ and walk by/ on ER/ with that guy,” and ergo believed for a LONG TIME that it was about George Clooney. Around the same time, I was in the car with my friend Brian, and the SPM song “Mexican Radio” came on. “This song is really banal,” Brian said. “What do you mean?” I said. “So he bought a Mexican radio,” Brian said. “Where’s the rest of the story?” The lyric, of course, is “I’m on a Mexican radio,” but Brian had gone through life thinking it was about a dude who bought a nice imported piece of stereo equipment. As for me, it took me like thirty years to realize that the line is “Highway to the Danger Zone,” not “I went to the Danger Zone,” in the Kenny Loggins opus “Danger Zone,” from Top Gun. I don’t even know, you guys. I felt like he was just telling us very directly that, you know, he got in his plane and he went to the danger zone.
(Fun fact: “Danger Zone” was originally supposed to be performed by Toto, but I guess they got stuck blessing in the rains down in Africa. Then Bryan Adams was asked to record it and he said no, because Top Gun glorified war in a way he found distasteful. [I sure that sometimes when he plays that old six-string, he thinks about this and wonders what went wrong.] After Bryan passed, the Top Gun folks approached REO Speedwagon. They wanted to also be able to have a song of their own composition on the soundtrack, and when the producers told them no, Speedwagon decided they were unable to keep on loving anyone in the production. After they passed, Corey Hart was approached and he said no for the same reason as REO Speedwagon did and I cannot even make a bad pun about that because that was a terrible business decision on Corey Hart’s part. Put on your sunglasses, Corey, I cannot even look at you!)
On top of all of that, everyone I knew in college delighted in coming up with variations on what Eddie Vedder might have been singing in “Better Man,” like, “can’t find the butter, ma’am,” and “can’t find the buttered ham,” which, in fairness, isn’t even a thing.
I know you’ve got a funny misheard song lyric story. Take us to the danger zone.