Have you ever been singing along to a song you've loved for months, or even years, and a friend or family member interrupts you to let you know you're not actually singing the right lyric? It rocks your world when you realize you've been interpreting something you thought you knew so well incorrectly all this time.
The good news is you're not alone. In fact, what you're experiencing is so common that it has a name: mondegreen. According to Merriam-Webster, the term refers to "a word or phrase that results from a mishearing especially of something recited or sung." This happens with lyrics in all music genres, and country is no exception. The Southern twang synonymous with the genre has caused many fans to misconstrue what their favorite singer is saying, leading them to frantically Google the lyrics to prevent another incredibly embarrassing moment down the line.
Misheard lyrics can be nonsensical, hilarious, and sometimes straight-up shocking. To help save you from humiliation at your next country karaoke night, Stacker compiled a list of misheard lyrics from iconic country songs by artists like Garth Brooks, Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, and Shania Twain, using news articles, music publications, and social media posts for reference.
Read on to see which country classics you may have been singing wrong this whole time.
-Misheard: "And you think that I would daunt you"
-Correct: "And you think about it, don't you?"
"9 to 5" is a classic song from a classic movie, but that doesn't mean people will always get the words right. This misheard lyric from Dolly Parton's title track from the 1980 film is kind of understandable, though. She is a little daunting—she's a living legend!
-Misheard: "Take your cap and leave my shredder"
-Correct: "Take your cat and leave my sweater"
Contrary to popular belief, Keith Urban cares more about his sweater than his shredder in the 2004 hit "You'll Think of Me," which is kind of a bummer. How funny would it be if Urban was most concerned about shredding paper post-breakup?
-Misheard: "I am Batman"
-Correct: "I am that man"
Yes, Brooks & Dunn's 1996 hit is called "I Am That Man." But in the chorus, many fans apparently thought the duo was singing, "I am Batman." Seems like a missed opportunity for a collaboration with DC Comics.
-Misheard: "I've got posters on my walls of skinning kittens straight"
-Correct: "I've got posters on my wall / of Skynyrd, Kid, and Strait"
File this one under misheard lyrics we're thankful aren't right. Gretchen Wilson isn't singing about having posters on her walls "of skinning kittens straight" in her 2004 debut single; she's just a fan of country legends like Lynyrd Skynyrd and George Strait.
-Misheard: "They'd like to f--- their sister"
-Correct: "They'd like to buck the system"
Apparently, many people thought Garth Brooks was going "against the grain" in another way. If you also have been singing this commonly misheard lyric from Brooks' 1991 hit album "Ropin' in the Wind," you'll be relieved to know you're wrong.
-Misheard: "I'm stuck in wholesome prison"
-Correct: "I'm stuck in Folsom prison"
Despite "Folsom Prison" being in the song's title, that apparently doesn't stop people from mishearing the lyrics in Johnny Cash's 1955 classic.
-Misheard: "And all that extra hold gel in your hair, I don't like it"
-Correct: "And all that extra hold gel in your hair oughta lock it"
The follow-up line in Shania Twain's 1998 smash hit "That Don't Impress Me Much" definitely makes this lyric clearer: "'Cause heaven forbid it should fall outta place." But we can't say we blame country music fans for thinking "lock it" and "like it" sound pretty similar with Twain's trademark twang.
-Misheard: "Like she was God's little sister"
-Correct: "Like she was Garth Brooks in a skirt"
The correct lyric in this case may be more of a head-scratcher than the misheard one. In this 2003 Kenny Chesney single, the country crooner isn't singing about God's little sister; he's singing about "Garth Brooks in a skirt."
-Misheard: "If you give me a hot girl, well, you may never get it back"
-Correct: "If you give me your heart, girl, well, you may never get it back"
This mix-up in Brett Eldredge's 2017 single "Somethin' I'm Good At" isn't totally unreasonable considering how similar "hot" and "heart" sound with Eldredge's accent, but it's good to know he's not planning on holding a hot girl hostage.
-Misheard: "Back of the bar, sticky Steves"
-Correct: "Back at the bar, as thick as thieves"
If there were really sticky Steves at the back of the bar, it's no wonder Blake Shelton was hoping to forget them. In the actual lyrics of this 2016 track, he's just hangin' with some friends he's super tight with—no stickiness included.
-Misheard: "Am I saddlin' up or settlin' down?"
-Correct: "Am I settlin' up or settlin' down?"
Honestly, in a country song, "saddlin' up" sounds like it'd be the right lyric, but Miranda Lambert is actually asking if she's "settlin' up or settlin' down" in this 2020 hit that came out five years after she and Blake Shelton divorced.
-Misheard: "I'm not big on sausage gravy"
-Correct: "I'm not big on social graces"
The misheard lyric in Garth Brooks' 1990 hit "Friends in Low Places" is far less alarming than the one in "Against the Grain." It's also quite hilarious. Will we ever know how the country music legend feels about sausage gravy, though?
-Misheard: "Slide your pretty little cellphone over"
-Correct: "Slide your pretty little self on over"
Sure, it makes more sense for Jason Aldean to be singing, "Slide your pretty little self on over," in his 2012 song "Take a Little Ride," but it's fun to imagine that he was just really interested in the woman's "pretty little cellphone" instead.
-Misheard: "So don't hold it back and just run it"
-Correct: "So don't hold it back and just flaunt it"
So many people thought "American Idol" runner-up Lauren Alaina was singing, "So don't hold it back and just run it," in her 2016 song "Road Less Traveled," and it turns out, the lyrics are actually wrong in the lyric video and the album jacket, according to Alaina. Doesn't get more confusing than that!
-Misheard: "She rattled the a-- in my plastic cup"
-Correct: "She rattled the ice in my plastic cup"
Here's a case where a Southern accent is to blame. In this David Lee Murphy-Kenny Chesney collaboration from the former's 2018 album "No Zip Code," the word "ice" sounds like a crass word for a certain body part.
-Misheard: "Yeah, birds need bees / And I sneeze whiskey"
-Correct: "Yeah, birds need bees / And ice needs whiskey"
Fans know Luke Bryan is singing about the birds and the bees in the 2019 song "Knockin' Boots," but the confusion comes in when he starts talking about whiskey. It's clear singing the word "ice" with a Southern accent leads to misunderstandings.
-Misheard: "How to chase a rabbit down a driveway"
-Correct: "How to chase forever down a driveway"
Country singer Lainey Wilson spoke about the commonly misheard lyric in "Things a Man Oughta Know" in a 2021 interview with CMT. After singing it aloud, even she admitted it does sound like she's saying, "How to chase a rabbit down a driveway," in her 2020 hit. "Technically, a man oughta know how to do that," she joked. "So it could be either/or."
-Misheard: "That good eat, that long drink, that sugar on your lips"
-Correct: "That good ish, that long trip, that sugar on your lips"
Chris Lane is getting his "Fix" in this 2016 song, but it's not on good eats and long drinks like many fans thought. The country singer cleared up the misunderstanding during a performance in 2019, admitting his disbelief that people misheard the lyrics.
-Misheard: "White sand, cocaine"
-Correct: "White sand, cold can"
Jake Owen may sing about white sand in his 2014 single "Beachin'," but he's not singing about another white grainy substance, despite what many have thought.
-Misheard: "Look what God gave her, a perfect tee-mater"
-Correct: "Look what God gave her, how perfect He made her"
Once again, a Southern accent is to blame for fans mishearing a lyric—but in this case, it's more about how one would think a country singer raised in Tennessee, like Thomas Rhett, would say the word "tomato." The truth is, in the chorus of his 2019 single "Look What God Gave Her," Rhett is actually singing about a woman, not a piece of fruit.
-Misheard: "I've got syphilis flyin' all around town"
-Correct: "Hot gossip was flyin' all around town"
It's hard to understand this misheard lyric from Martina McBride's 2003 song "Wearing White," especially considering how she pauses between "gos-" and "-sip." But let's set the record straight: McBride is not singing about a sexually transmitted disease.
-Misheard: "Breaker-breaker one-nine / She's a big ol' turd"
-Correct: "Breaker, breaker 1-9 / She's a big ol' flirt"
Fans have mistaken "American Idol" alum Josh Gracin singing about "a big ol' flirt" as "a big ol' turd" in his 2004 country hit "Nothin' to Lose." Whomever the song is written about is surely happier to be referred to as a "flirt" instead.
-Misheard: "I'm either gonna get over you or I'm gonna grow out my hair"
-Correct: "I'm either gonna get over you / Or I'm gonna blow out my ears"
Without context, the misheard lyric in Eric Church's 2016 track "Record Year" might seem like it could make sense, but when you hear the rest of the lyrics, you understand what he's really trying to say. "Blow out my ears" refers to the country star listening to his records way too loud as he tries to get over an ex. It's all about the context clues.
-Misheard: "We had pantyhose and a view of the parking lot"
-Correct: "We had a patio with a view of a parkin' lot"
The world may never know if Thomas Rhett has pantyhose, as many thought he was singing in his 2016 single "T-Shirt." But we do know he has a patio with less-than-stellar scenery.
-Misheard: "Wearin' my sex shoes"
-Correct: "Wearing my six-shooter"
We're not sure what "sex shoes" would be, but thankfully, they're not what Toby Keith is singing about. He's instead talking about slinging a "six-shooter," which makes much more sense considering this 1993 song is called "Should've Been a Cowboy."
Story editing by Jaimie Etkin. Copy editing by Paris Close. Photo selection by Clarese Moller.