It's funny how persistent a mishearing of a lyric is after the first time you think you hear it; and often how much you want the lyric to be the one you heard in your head rather than read on the lyric sheet. Why can't they write the lyrics we want? Here's some excerpts from the list:

P.S.Mitchell (honey@missprint.org):

While we're at it, here's a B&S post!: FAVOURITE MISHEARING:

When I first heard Stars of Track and Field I heard it like this:

"... so you could wed Terry Underwood, feel the city..."

Sad isn't it? A pathetic lack of attention to context. I quite liked
this line, but when I heard the real one about terry underwear I was
very pleased - unsual for a mishearing where I usually want "my lyric"
to be the real one.

Johnston, John CT (John.Johnston@capgemini.co.uk)

i've been wanting to share my number one B&S mishearing for some time
and now the time has come. Cast your minds back to the magnificent
opening of Stars of Track and Field...

"Paint a new coat everyday, to suit your affairs..."

I used to think wow, what a great idea. I pictured somebody staring at
an enormous wardobe thinking "hmm, which coat for today...badass pimp
look, out-of-work-football manager, winsome Indy-kid, ooh and they could
all do with a lick of paint..." I figured that was the way to have the
girls lining up to kiss you at the back of the stairs all of them mad
for your well-painted coat. At last I saw where I had been going wrong.

I was dead surprised when months later I actually read the lyrics. hey

superbob (parachute@earthlink.net)

i taped sinister for a friend and when i saw him the next time i asked
him what his favorite song was. (i didn't put the names of the songs on
his tape) so he had to sing it for me. this is what he sang:

"me and the midget don't see eye to eye on it"

and i said "it's major" and he just thought it was a funny song about
being friends with a midget.

duke of harringay (tangent@mail.zynet.co.uk)

the line 'maybe i should make a move' in forget
my dreams, i thought it went 'maybe i should make
amends', which i kinda like better but then i'm a
loser anyway. hence the line about making amends
in my 'review' of the ep.

'i'm a losing boy'.

gram (gram@interliant.com)

>"Paint a new coat everyday, to suit your affairs..."

For a while II thought it was:

"hey can you call everyday...."

when your mind's not sure and your ears try to fill in the blanks.


The first few listens of "Belle and Sebastian," I thought he was singing:

"Belle was ok, but oh Sebastian
Went too far again
Christ is calling your name" (rather than "Crashed his car in the rain.")

I liked this lyric quite a bit, and thought it went well with the
tongue-in-cheek religion of "The State I Am In" and "If Your Feeling
Sinister," and added a different twist to "Poor Sebastian is heading for a

Funny how it never sounds like you originally thought once you know.

Chris Leonard (cleonard@MURRAYJ.COM)

I always thought in "Seeing Other People" the words "Your kissing your
double, your kissing your reflection" were sang instead of "Your kissing
your elbow etc.".

I thought it was about these skinny long hair boys who go to discos and
get stuck into skinny long hair girls who look the same as them. And It
got me thinking is it incredibly vain to be attracted to someone who
looks like you, or is it worse to think you can do better.

I just read that. I know what I mean.

Charlotte Hall (Charlotte.Hall@smlawpub.co.uk)

B&S mishearings: I thought the line in "My Wandering Days are Over"
was "sex my son, de Winter's gone" and was a reference to a priest's
hopeless adulation for a black and white film character.

Actually that is a complete and utter lie. But I laughed. (Vacuous
Thursday afternoons...)

Matthew A. Neimark (mattn@neurometrix.com)

I thought the first time I heard the State

"My brother had confessed he was gay and said that he loved me for a while"

I think this is classic. Anyone else hear it like this?

Amanda Bergman (a-bergman@nwu.edu)

>>"Paint a new coat everyday, to suit your affairs..."

I'd thought that one was "make a new cult every day, to suit your
affairs..." though I couldn't for the life of me figure out what the hell
that meant.

aural deception at its most amusing, making a mess of song lyrics like this.

Ninette (s9720251@student.let.uva.nl)

sessions version, the line sounds like "At least they know where to put
>it." Either way, it's still a sort of funny musing.
Yeah, well, they actually DO sing it as "at least they know where to put
it". It's especially clear in the Evening session recording I've got on
tape, where Seeing Other People is really, really slow (so I couldn't have
misheard it this time)!
It's funnier this way than on the lyric sheet, I think.


I hate to rehash this topic, but I thought this was funny -
When I first heard "The State I Am In" I thought he was singing,
"...my brother was gay...and said that he loved me for a while."
I thought, hm...incest. Interesting topic. Then I heard another recording
of the song and realized it was "took the heat off me for a while."


>>I'd thought that one was "make a new cult every day, to suit your
>>affairs..." though I couldn't for the life of me figure out what the
>>hell that meant.

I'd thought he sang "making new Cole Porter every day to suit your

silly me!

Francisco Alberto Wong (faw1@columbia.edu)

> >>"Paint a new coat everyday, to suit your affairs..."

And at one point me thoughts

"Making New Coke every day to suit your affairs..."

Remember New Coke? The "New" Formula and the multi-million dollar ad
campaigns? I vaguely do, but I thought Stuart Murdoch boy-genius when he
referred to it, but alas!

Amanda Bergman (a-bergman@nwu.edu)

That "make a new cult everyday" thing is an easy enough mistake to make
BECAUSE IT IS THE ACTUAL LYRIC. (or at least according to the lyrics in the

Though I have noticed that sometimes what is sung varies from what is
printed there...like in "Seeing Other People," the line (according to that
lyric sheet) is: "You're going to have to change/ Or your're going to have
to go with girls/ You might be better off/ At least they know what they're
doing." But in the song itself on the album, as well as in the BBC
sessions version, the line sounds like "At least they know where to put
it." Either way, it's still a sort of funny musing.


For ages I thought it was:
Belle and Sebastian / on the radio / They insulted children / on the radio"
It kinda sucks when you find out that the real lyrics aren't quite as good as
what you thought they were. Oh well.


I know we've had this thread before, but don't you think it's odd that such
a softly-spoken and not very raucous (rock beast Le Pastie de la
Bourgeoisie excepted) band as Belle And Sebastian should create such
confusion with their lyrics? On their theme tune Stuart Murdoch seems to
sing his F's like B's. As in:

"Bella you are ill, you'd better take a weight up off your mind"


"When I was young you were the only bun in town"

which hit a particular note for me since I used to call my only-just-ex-
girlfriend 'Bun' on account of her surname being Bunney.


Too true! This b/f confusion seems to be the cause of most B&S lyrical
problems - I always thought it was "you were the honey bun in town", which is
quite sweet I suppose.
And I was convinced it was Bella who was ill, which sort of alters the whole
context of the song really.


Yeah, I always thought it was "My sellotape days are over" instead of
"My celibate days are over" in "My Wandering Days Are Over".


And why, in the same song, does it say:
"The circus boy is feeling melancholy,
Cannelloni, kinda stupid..."?


[ Century of Elvis ]

P.S. talking about misheard lyrics, I thought it was '..there's these two
vineyards that we got for wedding presents..' and that confused me a lot!

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