When I was in high school, one of my friends gave me a book about commonly misheard song lyrics, and ever since then, I've been on the lookout for hilarious examples in daily life. Keep in mind that for most of my adolescence, there was no such thing as the internet, so if you didn't get the lyrics in the cassette or CD jacket, you were SOL.
My sister's misunderstanding of Hall & Oates is a classic. For several years, she listened under the impression that the name was a verb, and that Daryl and John were physically Haulin' Oats.
She will reluctantly cop to this mistake, and likely point out that my biggest musical confusions result from not actually listening to the lyrics rather than misinterpreting them. I was 35 before I paid any attention to the words to Reba McEntire's "Fancy." My sister laughed her ass off when I called her up, shocked, and said, "Oh my God she made her daughter become a prostitute?!?"
Some of the best examples came from my job a few years ago, when I spent most of the day in a workroom with several other people and a vinyl sign-making machine. It wasn't hard work, but it was tedious, so we broke the boredom by listening to (and singing along with) lots of music.
One day we started talking about The Beach Boys for some reason, and my coworker mentioned that he liked their song about the biscuit.
"The ... what?" I asked.
"You know. 'She's my little biscuit. You don't know what I got'."
I had to inform him that the song was about a little deuce coupe and not snack food.
There was also an instance where Carly Simon sang this line: "You walked into the party like you were walking onto a yacht/Your hat strategically dipped below one eye/Your scarf it was apricot."
Someone said, "What's a scarfat?"
But my favorite comment on song lyrics is just that -- a comment -- rather than a misreading. We had a contractor on our team for a few weeks in that workroom, and one day "Bad Bad Leroy Brown" came on the radio. It seemed that this young guy was hearing it for the first time, and Jim Croce was really getting his point across.
He listened to the line: "He got a custom Continental/He got an Eldorado, too/He got a 32 gun in his pocket for fun/He got a razor in his shoe."
And my new coworker just shouted, "Oooooowheeee! That Leroy Brown sound like a BAD dude!"
Yes indeed, sir. That is the general gist, and you've understood it perfectly.