Denny Sinnoh's "Akihabara Starlight"

oku and wonder

My mistake:  Add me to the list of confused people who have misunderstood  lyrics in pop music.

One of my favorite singer-songwriters is Hanako Oku.  She sings in Japanese, which I do not speak …  but I still enjoy her beautiful songs.

The other day I was in the grocery store listening to her great “Birthday” album on my cell phone through headphones.  A trip to the store is a lot of fun if you bring Hanako Oku with you.

One of my favorite tunes on the album is チョコレート  which translates as “Chocolate”.  It is a very upbeat, happy song.   The harmonica part reminds me of  those done so well by “Little Stevie Wonder”.  I started to fantasize — right there in “Dairy” — about how Wonder-san  and Oku-san  would have made a great team-up on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand,  circa 1965.  Unfortunately, Hanako Oku was not born until 1978.

I made the collage above.  Click on it to view full size.

“Chocolate” is a great song, I’m even listening to it as I write this up.  You can listen to it on the “Zing” website!

or here

Great, isn’t it?    I love that part where she sings “Why so gloomy” in English.  Chocolate makes you happy!   In that store, I just kept getting happier and happier!  No reason to be gloomy people!  I had many strange looks from the other customers — but who cares — I’m in Oku-Heaven!

As it turn out, another blogger (The Penguin) set me straight.  She is  not singing “Why so gloomy” …  the real lyric was “massugu ni” — which means  “straight” or “straight ahead” in Japanese ( as far as I can tell from Google translate).  (Please see The Penguin’s post on his “Thoughts on Hanako Oku” blog for the full sing-along lyrics to this wonderful song.)

I will have to add my misunderstanding to a growing list of famously misunderstood song lyrics.

In Jimi Hendrix’s psychedelic classic “Purple Haze” — a song about dropping acid —  a lot of people thought they heard:  “Scuse me, while I kiss this guy.”

The actual lyric is :   “Scuse me, while I kiss the sky.” 

I was not a big fan of the Bruce Springsteen- penned song “Blinded By The Light” which was a hit for the Manfred Mann Band.  This after I was often forced to listen to my drunken friends sing …

“Blinded by the light … wrapped up like a douche, another rumor in the night.”   (Those inebriated idiots would not listen to reason: ITS NOT “DOUCHE” I would proclaim.)

The car enthusiast  Mr. Springsteen of course wrote it as:  

“Revved up like a Deuce, another runner in the night.”

This link below describes some of the more famous misunderstandings.  Aging baby-boomers such as myself have watched in awe as friends of ours made these mistakes.  

As Elton John once sang:  “Hold me closer Tony Danza…”

WHY SO GLOOMY?  Please enjoy!


Comments on: "Hanako Oku: “Why so Gloomy” ?" (7)

  1. If I may make another correction, I’m pretty sure it’s a melodica, not a harmonica. A melodica has that silliness that the harmonica doesn’t have, and it doesn’t have the metal reed sound that the harmonica has.
    I don’t blame you for thinking it’s a harmonica, though. If you can find it, I think she plays it for one of the live performances of “TAKOYAKI”.

    Everyone has misunderstood song lyrics or couldn’t figure them out at all at least once, including me. I was stuck on the second line of the third verse in APO HIking Society’s “Anna” for years until I realized that they’re saying “Your smile, babe, it fools me” — even the lyrics sites and the CD booklet get it wrong!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you, I think I saw her play one on the 2012 DVD concert on Takoyaki. I wonder if she plays it on the album?

    Hope you like my fantasy. One of the great things about Hanako Oku is that her music can send you into a joyful reverie!


  3. I was on Wikipedia today and I found out that the term for this phenomenon is mondegreen.
    … and now I


    • (the above comment was posted erroneously)

      I was on Wikipedia today and I found out that the term for this phenomenon is mondegreen.

      … and now I realize that it was in the article you linked to:
      “In fact, it’s so prevalent a problem that there’s actually a word for it: mondegreen”


  4. min0ru28 said:

    Interesting observation.


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