They hae slain the Earl o' Moray and Lady Mondegreen

The mondegreen was named for this mishearing of the Scottish ballad, “They hae slain the Earl o’ Moray and layd him on the green“. Everyone has their favourite mondegreens, the gems of innocent misunderstanding which stand out from the contrived or merely smutty. The confusions of my own childhood began at school with “forgive us our Christmasses”, and progressed to Hendrix’s classic “‘Scuse me, while I kiss this guy”.

How much more fruitful for the modern child, whose parents listen to music in languages that I hadn’t even heard of at their age. The imagination can run wild when the lyrics are not in poorly enunciated English, but in Tamashek. Tinariwen’s “Got ash on my knees in Aldershot” is a car singalong favourite.

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