This post’s title comes from the Beatles’ famous song “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds”. What? Yes, for some reason the printed lyrics actually say “the girl with kaleidoscope eyes”, but some people hear it that other way.

This sort of thing seems to be called a “Mondegreen”, for reasons explained by Jon Carroll in his article “Mondegreens Ripped My Flesh”. Thanks go to Bernie DeKoven’s DeepFUN for the tip. Other examples abound, such as Bob Dylan’s “Dead ants are my friends, they’re blowin’ in the wind” and Simon & Garfunkel’s “Like a bridge over trouble, Walter, I will lay me down”.

There are mondegreens in many languages. In Portuguese the canonical example is Claudio Zoli apparently singing “trocando de biquíni sem parar” (“endlessly switching bikinis”) instead of “tocando B.B.King sem parar” (“endlessly hearing B.B.King”); there’s an entire blog devoted to examples from Brazilian sources.

I remember my mother quoting some German mondegreens… I’ll post a few after I get a chance to talk to her.