Dirty Deeds and Thunder Chief

3 Jan

During my high school days, my friends and I spent a lot of time cruising Main Street. We would swap up driving duties, but the route was always the same. Circle through the Kroger parking lot. Head down Main. Circle through Sonic. Then, head back up Main to Kroger. Along the way, we stopped in parking lots to talk or just talk between cars as we drove. Sometimes, we drove all the way to the town square, but a more redneck crowd hung out there. But, no matter the car or the route, we always had the stereo cranked up.

Our cruising soundtrack could come from the popular stations or cassettes, but it included 70s and 80s gold. Rock was the norm with AC/DC, Aerosmith, KISS, Black Sabbath and Guns n’ Roses. Sometimes, things got lighter with The Eagles, U2, The Police or The Cars. I don’t really believe there is such a thing as the “Good Ol’ Days”, but things were relatively idyllic. They were funny too as we played practical jokes and got into as much mischief as possible. However, nothing was more funny than when I was cruising with my best friend.

I put in an AC/DC greatest hits cassette, and we were rocking out. “Hell’s Bells”. “Highway to Hell”. “Back in Black”. Then, “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” came on, and my buddy started singing, “Dirty deeds and thunder chief.” I must have had a weird look on his face because he suddenly stopped.


Why are you singing Thunder Chief?

That’s what the song says.

No, it doesn’t.

Yeah, it does.

I hit rewind, and we listened again.

See, it says Thunder Chief. It’s about an Indian.

No, it’s not. It’s about dirty deeds that are done dirt cheap.

We argued about it for 30 minutes, and on January 2, 2012 he still thinks the song says Thunder Chief.

I was thinking about this the other day and began to think about songs that I got wrong. Mistaken lyrics have become a popular Internet search, and entire websites are dedicated to the musical misconceptions of people. I realize that some of my mistakes are probably typical, but hopefully they are not too stupid.

1. Rocky Mountain Way by Joe Walsh – This actually came from a conversation with a high school friend. He was an Alabama fan, and I was a Tennessee fan. For those from other parts of the world, these two types of creatures do not mix very well. We had a basketball coach at the time named Don DeVoe that wasn’t very good, and my friend said listen to this:

Out to pasture

Think it’s safe to say

Don Devoe’s been fired.

I thought this was fantastic – a rock legend was a Tennessee fan and agreed with me that our coach needed to be gone. Later, I figured out that the line was:

Out to pasture

Think it’s safe to say

Time to open fire.

2. Blinded By the Light – Manfred Mann’s Earth Band – I know this one is typical because the pronunciation is not very clear when they sing:

Blinded by the light

Wrapped up like a douche

Another runner in the night.

I always thought that was so cool. What a Hell of a thing to say in a song – wrapped up like a douche. Unfortunately for me, it says:

Blinded by the light

Revved up like a deuce

Another runner in the night.

What really makes this one funny is that the line is repeated over and over throughout the song. I still think the first way is better.

3. A Whiter Shade of Pale by Procol Harum – This one isn’t as funny, but it is one of my favorite songs. Therefore, I should know how it does. The line that always messes me up is:

As the miller told his tale,

That her face at first just ghostly

Turned a whiter shade of pale.

I always thought it was “mirror” instead of “miller”. In fact, I think my version is an improvement. Think about her looking in a mirror to see how she looks. It isn’t literally telling her, but it is informing her about how appearance.

So, there are a few of the songs that I have misheard (or improved upon) through the years. I am sure that there are a lot more, but they escape me at the moment. What are some of your favorite misheard lyrics? I would find it interesting to hear.

21 Responses to “Dirty Deeds and Thunder Chief”

  1. booksnob January 4, 2012 at 03:00 #

    My husband swears that Stevie Nicks sings “just like a one wing gull” in Edge of Seventeen.

    • Tennessean-Historian-Blogger January 4, 2012 at 03:18 #

      That’s a great one. I always had a crush on Stevie. Then, I saw Fleetwood Mac in concert and she was wearing orthopedic shoes. Reminds me that I need to list my most disappointing concerts. Are you feeling better?

      • booksnob January 4, 2012 at 03:47 #

        I am, thank you for asking! I can’t seem to get rid of the cough yet, but other than that I’m feeling much better.

        I shared this post with Meg (my friend that does the drawings on my blog) and we had a very hilarious conversation about her insistence that it actually is “Thunder Chief.”

        I will post about it soon and link back to you. 🙂

      • Tennessean-Historian-Blogger January 4, 2012 at 03:57 #

        Ha. I can’t believe somebody else thinks the same thing as my friend. Thanks for sharing my post. She makes great drawings. Does she have a blog too?

      • booksnob January 4, 2012 at 03:59 #

        Absolutely, she does!

      • Tennessean-Historian-Blogger January 4, 2012 at 04:10 #

        That’s some funny stuff. You guys know what you are doing at this blog thing.

      • booksnob January 4, 2012 at 04:48 #

        I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit that I pretty much brayed laughter upon reading that. The truth is that I really have zero idea what I’m doing, and my primary impetus for starting the blog was to get out of doing NaNoWriMo last year. >.<

  2. Fern DeVilliers September 26, 2012 at 14:06 #

    Ha Ha. I have a friend who sings the lyrics wrong on purpose. We must be the same age or thereabouts because I used to listen to all those same songs while cruising down main street too LOL!

    • surroundedbyimbeciles September 26, 2012 at 14:40 #

      Thanks for taking the time to read my blog and commenting.

      Maybe your friend pretends to do it on purpose when they get caught. Cruising the main was a rite of passage for our generation. I wonder if it still is.

  3. Tennessean-Historian-Blogger January 5, 2012 at 03:27 #

    Thanks for linking me up. I can’t believe how many people think it’s Thunder Chief.

  4. booksnob January 5, 2012 at 03:39 #

    I know, I can’t either! Looks like a few people have headed your way, which makes me happy. 🙂

  5. Tennessean-Historian-Blogger January 5, 2012 at 04:07 #

    They have, and it’s all because of you. I really appreciate it.

  6. booksnob January 5, 2012 at 04:46 #

    Don’t be silly, your posts are great. 😀


  1. A Few Small Things | snobbery - January 4, 2012

    […] night I read this post by Surrounded by Imbeciles and shared it with Meg.  This is a snippet of the conversation that […]

  2. Charting a Mystery « surroundedbyimbeciles - February 16, 2012

    […] Dirty Deeds and Thunder Chief […]

  3. Looking It Up « surroundedbyimbeciles - April 3, 2012

    […] joe mccallister moustache bridge – I wish I had this when I wrote the post about misheard lyrics. Apparently, he threw his electric razor off the bridge. Mystery […]

  4. Summer Reads Make Me Feel Fine « surroundedbyimbeciles - May 30, 2012

    […] that old tune? “Summer reads make me feel fine”. Wait, I think that me the wrong lyrics. Anyway, summer reads are great, and I have a short list to keep me busy for a while. That’s […]

  5. Thank God for Gas Pumps « Surrounded By Imbeciles - September 24, 2012

    […] Dirty Deeds and Thunder Chief – My ode to lyrics that people mess up. […]

  6. A Post About Posts | Surrounded By Imbeciles - June 10, 2013

    […] of my personal favorites is “Dirty Deeds and Thunder Chief“, an examination of lyrics that people get wrong. You would be surprised at how many people […]

  7. I Can’t Believe It’s Been Two Years | Surrounded By Imbeciles - November 1, 2013

    […] Dirty Deeds and Thunder Chief – I bet you never heard this song by AC/DC. […]

  8. 500 Posts – A Look Back at the Evolution of a Blog | Surrounded By Imbeciles - July 28, 2014

    […] Dirty Deeds and Thunder Chief – I have collected many more examples of this phenomenon since this post was written. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: