Research shows which rock and metal song lyrics are most often misheard

Ever had a song you thought you were singing right for years and then finally looked up the lyrics and realized you got some of them wrong? ONE new survey from Wordfinder has compiled the best songs with lyrics that people most often mishear, and a few rock and metal cuts made the list.

Wordfinder polled over 1,000 Americans for the survey to see which songs and genres have lyrics that people get wrong the most. Subjects were presented with clips of various songs and given four sets of lyrics to choose from based on what they heard.

Mishearing lyrics often leads to a phenomenon called “mondegreen.” A mondegreen is “a word or phrase resulting from a mishearing, especially of something recited or sung,” as defined by a writer named Sylvia Wright in 1954.

Among the genres included in the results are rock, heavy metal, folk, pop, hip-hop/rap, EDM and R&B. No. 1 song Americans mishear—with a whopping 70 percent getting the words wrong—is Metallica‘s “Enter Sandman,” according to the results, and it was heard most often by members of Generation X, Millennials and Generation Z.

Other rock and metal songs that made the top 40 include “Sex on Fire” by Kings of Leon, The Beatles“I want to hold your hand,” Nirvana‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ Queen‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ Elvis Presley‘s “Suspicious Minds” Bon Jovi‘Livin’ on a Prayer’ The police‘s “Message in a Bottle” and The rolling stones‘ “The beast of burden.”

However, metal and R&B were the genres least likely to be misheard. The Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger was named the hardest artist to understand besides rapper Young Thug.

So what mondegrees did people come up with for some of these tunes?

In “Enter Sandman,” where the chorus says, “Exit Light / Enter Night,” study participants believed that the words were, “Eggs and candles / End all nights.”

The chorus of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is, “With the lights off it’s less dangerous / Here we are now, entertain us.” The results show that many people thought the words were, “With the lights out, it’s Las Vegas / Hear me now, entertainers.”

Funnily enough, many people reported that they actually prefer the lyrics they thought were real over the real ones, with 75 percent of heavy metal fans liking their own words better and 55 percent of rockers sharing the same sentiment. However, the 20 percent difference shows that more rock fans would rather know the actual words than metal fans.

See some graphs below and read them the whole study here.

Top 40 Misheard Songs

Original + misheard song lyrics word finder

Wordfinder Misheard Lyrics Graph

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