How come so many of the songs we love have really, really weird (and sometimes dodgy) lyrics?

I was listening to RTE Gold the other day when one of my favourite songs ever came on. It was John Lennon’s #9 Dream.

Great piece of music. Only…

Well, it’s the chorus.

These are the words:

Ah! Bowakawa, pousse pousse
Ah! Bowakawa, pousse pousse
Ah! Bowakawa, pousse pousse

Of course, John never intended for it to make sense.

But singing along as I did, I began to wonder how many songs out there have weird lyrics.

For example, Chestnut Mare.

What were The Byrds thinking when they sang these words written by Roger McGuinn and Jacques Levy?

I’m gonna’ catch that horse if I can
And when I do I’ll give her my brand
And we’ll be friends for life
She’ll be just like a wife

I am pretty sure that something was smoked or dropped before John Sebastian wrote Darlin’ Be Home Soon for the Lovin’ Spoonful. (Indeed, there may be been a lovin’ spoonful involved)

But, darling, be home soon
I couldn’t bear to wait an extra minute if you dawdled
My darling, be home soon
It’s not just these few hours, but I’ve been waiting since I toddled
For the great relief of having you to talk to

Gary Booker and Keith Reid wrote Homburg for Procol Harum. The lyrics make as much sense as the song which initially helped the band break through. What is this about?

Your trouser cuffs are dirty
And your shoes are laced up wrong
You’d better take off your homburg
‘Cause your overcoat is too long

All of The Killers were involved, it seems, writing Human for the Killers. I’d say the hangovers were horrendous.

I’m down on my knees, searching for the answer…

Are we human or are we dancer?

And then there’s the Beatles’ classic Am The Walrus. Good strong weed wasn’t credited on the sleeve. But should have been.

I am the eggman, they are the eggmen,

I am the walrus, goo goo g’joob.

I think Lionel Richie is the only one who understands this line from All Night Long:

Tom bo li de se de moi ya, yeah jambo jambo

Maybe the Gallagher brothers were in a bad mood when they wrote this nonsensical line in Champagne Supernova.

Slowly walking down the hall, faster than a cannonball.

A chap called Jerry Fuller wrote Young Girl for Gary Puckett and the Union Gap. How it didn’t result in a few arrests I don’t know.

With all the charms of a woman
You’ve kept the secret of your youth
You led me to believe you’re old enough
To give me love
And now it hurts to know the truth

And I think we all know that Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody was written very, very late at night,

I see a little silhouetto of a man

Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the Fandango?

Thunderbold and lightning, very very frightening me

Galileo Galileo Galileo Figaro magnifico


But this is nothing new.

When my father gave out about nonsensical lyrics on the pop songs we liked, we would remind him of Mairzy Dotes, a number one in 1944.

Here are some of the lyrics.

Mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey
A kiddley divey too, wouldn’t you?
Yes! Mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey
A kiddley divey too, wouldn’t you?

If the words sound queer and funny to your ear, a little bit jumbled and jivey
Sing “Mares eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy”


Here’s the question.

Do you know any weirder songs?

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