The Top Ten: Mondegreens

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The Independent Culture

Suggested by Don Phillips. The word comes from a childhood mishearing of 'They have slain the Earl o'Moray/ And laid him on the green' as 'And Lady Mondegreen', from the traditional ballad 'The Bonny Earl of Murray', admitted to by Sylvia Wright in a 1954 Harper's Bazaar article. I asked for new ones.

1. 'You're simply the best, better than an hour's rest'

Rafael Behr's friend thought for years Tina Turner in "Simply the Best" was comparing her lover with putting her feet up ("Better than all the rest")

2. 'Easy chew'

From "Metal Guru" by T Rex, misheard by Tim Mickleburgh. ("Is it you?")

3. 'Britons never, never, never shall be saved'

In her twenties, Jan Huntingdon was still singing the last line of "Rule Britannia" thus. ("Never shall be slaves")

4. 'The ants are my friends, they're blowin' in the wind'

What Bob Dylan really meant, according to David Head. ("The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind")

5. 'Sue Lawley'

The Police's hymn to the former Desert Island Discs presenter. ("So lonely") Nominated by Lynn Loader

6. 'Mick and Phyllis are lovers'

What Lee "Budgie" Barnett's brother thought Stevie Wonder was singing in "Sir Duke". ("You can feel it all over")

7. 'I don't know why we had a divorce: we'd roll and fall in brie' 

Bertha Mason's take on the opening lines of "Wuthering Heights", by Kate Bush ("Out on the wiley, windy moors/ We'd roll and fall in green")

8. 'It shrouded oft our martyred Ed'

David Mills pretends to think "The Red Flag" contains this line. ("It shrouded oft our martyred dead")

9. 'All the whisky in the sea'

Sunny's ex-girlfriend's version of the chorus of "Club Tropicana", by Wham! ("All that's missing is the sea")

10. 'They are the eggmen/ I am the walrus'

The Beatles. Bob Francis says: "Nonsense of course – never found out the real lyrics"

Next week: True Meanings of Medicines (such as Perindopril and Finasteride: naughty fairies from a Tchaikovsky ballet)

Coming soon: Animal Noises in Other Languages. Send your suggestions, and ideas for future Top 10s, to

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