Sunday, March 08, 2009


I’ve been listening to the new Van Morrison album, “Astral Weeks” and I remembered what adults were saying about the music we kids listened to back in the 70’s; “How can you listen to that crap? You can’t even understand the lyrics!”

After listening to this new collection for about a half hour I realize there had been maybe four words that I actually understood. Van Morrison has always been a bit of a mumbler, but he has now risen to the point where he is 99.9% mumbler. The occasional understandable word does squeak out, but now I’m not sure if they were actual words, or a mumble that sounded like words.

Lyrics that are misunderstood can be a lot of fun. Remember Credence Clearwater Revival singing “And there’s the bathroom’s on the right” that was actually supposed to be, “There’s a bad moon on the rise.” Who can forget the Michael Jackson song Billie Jean where Jackson sings, “The chair is not my son.” Does anyone actually know the words to Louie Louie?

Van Morrison could have a treasure trove of misunderstood statements if only he could announciate a little better.


Blogger loopymamain06 said...

I was in eighth grade when someone gave me a tape of "war" it took me over an hour of replaying the song to get "War!, huh! what is it good for? Absolutly nothin'!" 8 tracks wern't out yet......LOL

5:48 AM  
Blogger darev2005 said...

A few months ago someone sent me a youtube video of Joe Cockers "With a little help from my friends" with subtitles of what it sounded like he was saying. It was amazing and funny. Unfortunately, they have pulled the video. I think he was the inspiration behind Nirvana and the whole mumbling thing.

6:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And who can finish this lyric....Blinded by the light...dressed up like a Douche??


6:57 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

I’m still discovering that I screwed up lyrics to old songs - and now I do it with new ones.
As a kid I thought the line “Ava Maria” was “I have my reasons.”
(That long, drawn out singing of those words...)

7:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

8:47 AM  
Blogger MissKris said...

Van Morrison and I go way back but I have to agree. I guess it's the Celtic Soul in him coming out. There's a scripture that refers to "the groanings of the Spirit", words we can't articulate. Maybe that is Mr. Van's feelings as he sings his music. That said, the one line I never undestood and mis-sang forever was "Later on we conspire, As we sit by the fire" in "Winter Wonderland"...I thought for sure it was 'perspire', not 'conspire'. Made sense to me!! And yes...Neil Diamond shows my age but I saw him in concert here in Portland when "Play Me" was popular - that's not the reason that song means so much to me - and it was, undoubtedly, the best concert I have ever been to. That man can entertain! And he was onstage for what seemed like forever...definitely got our money's worth. We hated to see him stop!

9:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Van Morrison is one of the great bards of our time. From his days with 'THEM' and the surprise hit "Gloria" to today... pure genius. The arrangements, the instrumentation, the musicians, it's all killer. I heard a snipet from this new live thing on NPR and boy are you right about the mubeling. I think I'll listen to the original Astral Weeks as a refresher prior to delving into the mystic of the new. They say things to silly to say can be sung.
After singing it hundreds of times as a surefire dance floor crowder, I was sure I knew the original lyrics to "Louie Louie" but I looked them up and damn I didn't. While looking up those lyrics it became apparent that we would be living in a different world if The Kingsmen version of Louie Louie had come with a libereto.

9:48 AM  
Blogger g said...

First of all, the best version of Louie Louie is by Motorhead (of course).

I love this post Guy. one of my favorite mumblers is (was) michael hutchins, lead singer of INXS. Listen to "The One Thing" and you will know what I'm sayin. "rarely talks and mashed potatos"...

ELO with Evil Woman (thought it was midevil woman).

when my eldest daughter was about 4, i would bring her to preschool and she would listen to my cd of eric burdon/war "spill the wine". she would sing along "doo wah, knick knack world"

12:20 PM  
Blogger Auntie said...

love Van. but Astral Weeks came out years ago, didn't it?

1:49 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Loopy, great example. I still haven't figured it all out.

Darev, We could use sub titles for all sorts of music that I come across.

Anon,...Another runner in the night. I'm from Jersey so I may have an edge.

Beth, Aaron Nevelle sang it clearly. I always found it funny to hear his angelic voice coming from a guy that looks like a prisoner.

Anons 2 & 3, I think I'll live with the mystery.

Kris, I probably know all of his songs, but somehow can't wrap myself around his Vegas type persona.

g, isn't INXS a boy band?

Auntie, this is a live collection.

2:52 PM  

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