Song Lyrics · 20 October 2013

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Sometimes it is just as fun to sing made up song lyrics as it is to sing the ones that were actually written.

When writing about Queen songs the a couple weeks ago, I had to look up the lyrics for Bohemian Rhapsody lest I look more the fool than I already am. When I said (three times) that we heard Killer Queen, You’re My Best Friend, and Bohemian Rhapsody, I was going to ask three questions: What is a moosh? Why you gotta moosh? And what does mooshing have to do with the fandango? Referring, of course, to Bohemian Rhapsody.

Naturally, I wanted to spell moosh correctly so I looked up the lyrics. Imagine my surprise when I saw that the lyrics are not “Gotta moosh, gotta moosh, will you do the fandango?” but “Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the fandango?” I had wondered all these years what a moosh was and instead I should have been wondering who or what a Scaramouche was.

The internet provided me with a satisfying answer to that question (Scaramouche is a character from some play), but I know there are other songs where despite the lyrics being on the internet, people still sing their own. Or just mumble. There is even a movie which has a scene that makes fun of the fact that nobody knows any of the real words to Benny and the Jets.

In my case, I do not have an excuse. I have a fakebook (a collection of sheet music with words and chords) which has the real lyrics to the song, but I still can never remember the unintelligible words at the beginning. Before I got the fakebook, I thought Benny and her mother had electric somethings that were not boots. And am I the only one who never heard of mohair shoes?

I am sure there are many other songs with unintelligible lyrics or lyrics that none of us sings correctly, but I cannot mention words to songs without poking a little fun at my wife, The Mindboggling Mrs. Miyoshi.

My wife gave an edict long ago (which I usually ignore) that says I am not supposed to correct my wife when she sings song lyrics that are not part of the original songs she sings. (Of course, I could never correct her on Benny and the Jets.) When I do remember her edict, I still have a hard time biting my tongue when I know the actual lyrics. However, sometimes I just enjoy the new words she makes up.

I really ought not admit it in writing, but I actually find it endearing when The Mindboggling Mrs. Miyoshi makes up her own words to popular songs. Especially, the ludicrous ones she sings.

Sometimes The Mindboggling Mrs. Miyoshi’s lyrics are witty. (“If I was a rich mom”, sung to the tune of If I Were a Rich Man.) Sometimes they just fit the mood she is in. (She might actually sing a real song like Tradition or Sunrise, Sunset.) Usually, they are just downright silly. (“Messmaker, messmaker make me a mess”, sung to the tune of Matchmaker, Matchmaker) Often, she just makes up words on the spot to go with whatever she is doing (which may or may not be sung to a song from Fiddler on the Roof) and we all have a great laugh. (And while it is not exactly making up new lyrics to old songs, it is especially funny to hear The Mindboggling Mrs. Miyoshi beat box and rap.) Regardless of what she is singing, there are times when she laughs so hard at herself that she is not able to continue. And we all laugh with her. Sometimes so hard that everybody has tears.

Whether I am listening to my wife’s mindboggling renditions of songs or hearing my own botched lyrics or even just mumbling to the beginning of Benny and the Jets, I find it amazing that we find such joy in songs we have no clue of what their true words are. Then again, I might still be wondering what mooshing was instead of wondering who Scaramouche is. Actually, I probably will still wonder since I have already been wondering so long. I suppose that is at least part of why we have so much fun singing songs. Whether we know the lyrics or not.

© 2013 Michael T. Miyoshi

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