Can You Name These Popular Songs If We Mess Up the Lyrics?


By: Ashley Ehman

7 Min Quiz

Image: Darkroom / Interscope

About This Quiz

Have you ever had one of those moments where you realize you've been singing the lyrics to your favorite song wrong this whole time? (Who would actually think that Starship was singing "We built this city on sausage rolls"?!)  Sometimes people sing the wrong lyrics on purpose. Other times, their ears lead them astray, and they don't even know they're wrong! Make no mistake about it; we purposely messed with the lyrics of some of the most popular songs throughout the decades. We've included songs from all the way back to the groovy 1970s up to some of today's most popular hits to grace your radio dial.

From power ballads to soul tunes, we've covered every genre of music in the questions of this quiz. There's something for everyone, so it's time to prove just how musically sound you are! Consider yourself formally warned: There are some iconic jams in this quiz, so the likelihood of getting a song stuck in your head is extremely high.  

Earworms aside, did you know that Elvis had a thing for blue suede shoes? Or will you mistake his footwear choices for dew shaded shoes? Just 35 questions stand between you and the title of Lyrical Genius. 

"Best friend sat me down in a restaurant chair / Panini press, get you out of my hair." What messed-up chart-topping song is this?

Melissa Viviane Jefferson, known as Lizzo, recently climbed to the top spot of the Billboard Hot 100 after releasing her iconic bop, "Truth Hurts," more than two years ago.


"Well, since my woman left me / Well, I found a new place to sell / Well, it's down at the end of Lonely Street" are the first lyrics heard in which well-known song?

The very first record that Elvis Presley ever recorded was for his mother as a gift. He was eighteen at the time and had to pay a whopping $4 to press and record the musical gift.


"I'm talking toe rings on our toes, toes / Ripping up all our clothes, clothes / Boys calling up our phones, phones" is actually what song in disguise?

Kesha's primary musical influence is her mother, Pebe. Her mother's songwriting talents can be seen most notably in the song "Old Flames Can't Hold a Candle to You," which was sung by Joe Sun and Dolly Parton.


"Her hair is classic gold / Her lips are a nice disguise / Her hands are never old / She's got Sasha Cohen eyes." When they aren't completely messed up, these lyrics belong to which song?

"Bette Davis Eyes" is arguably one of Kim Carnes' most notable achievements, but she has other impressive songs under her belt. She collaborated with Kenny Rogers in "Don't Fall in Love With a Dreamer" and did a well-received cover of "More Love."


"I saw him standin' there by the soft-serve machine / I knew he must a been getting some ice cream." These tangled-up lyrics actually belong to which song that was covered by Britney Spears?

Joan Jett received a lot of rejection when she originally tried to pitch her solo album. In fact, the album was rejected by more than 20 different music labels. In order to remedy this problem, she co-founded a label of her own.


"On a dark deserted highway, cool breeze in my hair / Warm smell of Febreze, ya, rising up through the air" is the incorrect opening to which song?

The "Hotel California" album was met with a lot of success, and it became one of the top-20 best-selling albums in the U.S. The other Eagles' album to do this was "The Eagles Greatest Hits."


"You're still the one I run from / The one I got away from / You're still the one I hate for life" is the twisted chorus to which tune?

Shania Twain has always shown a love for music, even from a young age. She was performing at nearby clubs as early as eight years old, and by the time she turned ten, she had already written an original song.


"Risin' up, back on my feet / Did my time, took my advances / Went the distance, now I'm back on the streets / Just a man and his will to survive." This animal-themed tune is called what?

Best known for their song "Eye of the Tiger," Survivor came into existence in 1978 in Chicago, Illinois. The original band was made up of Jim Peterik and Frankie Sullivan, and they were most successful during the 1980s.


"Just dust those old records off the shelf / I'll sit and listen to 'em on my couch / Today's top hits ain't got the same soul" are the jumbled opening lyrics to what song?

Despite growing up in the era of The Beatles, Seger was more drawn to the music of James Brown, Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding and Little Richard. His most valued album was "James Brown Live at the Apollo, Volume 1."


"I guess I should of closed my heart / When you drove me to the site / Where your mustangs run free." When written with the correct words, these lyrics come from which song?

In addition to being a talented songwriter for his own music, Prince was also responsible for the music of tons of other artists. One such song was "Manic Monday" for The Bangles.


"Life in Saran wrap, it's all plastic / You can braid my hair, undress me everywhere / Imagination, life is your creation." What is the name of this song that has had its lyrics toyed with?

While they grew to global fame with their hit "Barbie Girl," the Danish-Norwegian group Aqua was originally called Joy Speed. They got the inspiration for their name from a poster.


What song opens with almost these lyrics: "She take my spirit when I'm in need / Yeah, she's a bad person indeed / Oh, she's a gravedigger / Keeping me down, that digs on me"?

Despite his fame as a singer, Kanye West produced music for other singers before he laid down vocals to his own songs. Some of the people he has worked with the likes of Jay-Z, Drake and Justin Bieber.


"Susie Ann is not my mother / She's just the girl who claims that I am the son / But the kid is not my one" is the discombobulated chorus to what pop song?

Michael Jackson was obviously good at what he did, but he is the most decorated artist ever! Even since his passing, Jackson still holds this title, with over 800 awards to his name.


"Oh, her stars, her stars make the eyes look like they're not shinin'" is a muddled lyric from which song?

Bruno Mars was born with the name Peter Gene Bayot Hernandez, which is quite the mouthful! He got his stage name from a wrestler named Bruno Sammartino. The 'Mars' part came from girls describing him as "being out of this world."


"You can prance / You can thrive / Having the time of your life" are inaccurate lyrics to which song?

Despite never formally announcing the end of the musical group, ABBA last performed together on December 11, 1982. They have reportedly been offered up to $1 billion to tour again but have turned it down.


"I saw him today at the reception / A can of pop in his hand" are nearly accurate lyrics from which song?

The group originally got their start in London, where Jagger, Richards, Jones, Watts and Wyman came together to form one of the most popular rock groups ever. By 1965, the only group who could compete was the The Beatles.


"I've never felt a dinosaur in the flesh / I rip my meat on wedding rings in the movies" are the incorrect opening lyrics to which popular jam?

"Royals" was the hit single that brought Lorde much of her initial fame. The popular single reached the top spot on the U.S. Billboard 100 in 2013 and won the young artist two Grammys.


"Every step you take / Every sound you make / Every branch you break / Every snack you take / I'll be watching you." What song do these inaccurate lyrics belong to?

Despite their immense success, The Police band members went their separate ways in 1984. Sting went on to a successful solo career, and Copeland made a name for himself in scoring movies.


"You may say I'm just creamer / But I'm not the only one" are false lyrics from what soft tune?

John Lennon's musical success was cut short when he was assassinated by Mark David Chapman. Prior to following through with his plans to shoot Lennon, Chapman had received an autograph from the singer.


"Well, I've heard there was a secret gourd / That David played and it pleased the horde" is the incorrect opening to which song?

Despite it being a Leonard Cohen original, "Hallelujah" has seen the most success when it was covered by Jeff Buckley. It has also been covered by Pentatonix, Tori Kelly and Rufus Wainwright.


"Hating you / Isn't the right thing to do / How can I ever change things / That I do" are the incorrect opening lyrics to which famous tune?

The very first time that Fleetwood Mac performed together was at the Windsor Jazz and Blues Festival in England. At the time, Stevie Nicks was not a part of the original lineup, so she was not there.


"Too late, my ride has come / Sends shivers down my spine / Heart's aching all the time / Goodbye, everybody, I've got a show." This is only one part of what power ballad?

Queen's lead singer, Freddie Mercury, is said to have invented the art of stand-free mic singing. During one performance, his mic stand broke, and he saw this as an opportunity to use it as a prop and continued to do so in other performances.


"She was pure like fresh bread / No one could ever burn / The memory of my bread pan / Could never cause me pain." This stanza of incorrect lyrics belongs to what song?

While they've been known to open for Bob Seger in more recent times, the J. Geils Band has had a number of memorable acts open for them! Some of the openers for their shows included The Eagles, ZZ Top and The Allman Brothers.


"Name me your name, baby / Name me your car / Name me your color, darling" are the almost correct lyrics that open what song?

Despite the success that Blondie had with the song "Call Me," it was not originally supposed to be sung by the band. When it was first written, the song was going to be recorded by Stevie Nicks.


"I'll be your cream, I'll be your dish, I'll be your fantasy" is the altered opening line to what song?

Formed in 1994, the Australian group Savage Garden was made up of lead vocalist Darren Hayes with Daniel Jones playing the instruments. The band got their name from an Anne Rice novel.


"Stroke that tattoo on your shoulder / Drive the streets right off the corner / Of the apartment that you stole / From your roommate back in Boulder / We ain't ever getting older." These muddled lyrics belong to what ear worm of a song?

From New York City, Andrew Taggart and Alex Pall are the dynamic duo that comprise The Chainsmokers. They first rose to fame with their popular song "#SELFIE," which became a viral sensation.


"All the lonely Starbucks lovers" is a mixed-up lyric to what song?

Despite her success at singing and performing, Swift had originally dreamed of breaking into musical theater. After years of trying out and never earning a role, she stuck to songwriting.


"No one looked as I walked by / Just an invitation or a quick hi / Said no to him again and again / First, he took my shirt, then he ran" are the mixed-up opening lyrics to what song?

Stevie Nicks caught her first break with one of her Fleetwood Mac band members, Lindsey Buckingham. The first group they were in together was called Fritz, where Nicks sang lead vocals.


"Through the shore we reach the storm / I give it all but you want more / And you're waiting for me" are almost correct lyrics from which popular ballad?

In addition to a strange band name, one particular member of U2 also has a bizarre stage name. Born Paul David Hewson, Bono got his show name from an advertisement for hearing aids.


"We're all dying people / With so much to live / Understand me, sugar / Since we've got to be here / Let's live / I love you." In their correct form, these lyrics belong to what song?

Marvin Gaye's original name was Marvin Gay. During his youth, because of his last name and his father's tendency to crossdress, Gaye was bullied. He added the "E" to his name when he started to gain fame.


"Ridin' on a pony / Lean all in my Sony / Cheated on my baby / You can go and ask her." This little hit that we've messed up goes by what title?

Lil Nas X, or Montero Lamar Hill, broke into the rap scene with his hit "Old Town Road" that he made with Billy Ray Cyrus. The song achieved a large amount of its popularity from the TikTok app.


The correct version of the lyrics "I'm in the bar with my besties, try'na get a lil d- / I keep it down on the low-key, 'cause I don't want to feel / I said shawty he was checkin' up on me" can be found in what song?

Terry Raymond IV, or as he's more popularly known, Usher, was destined to be a singer. He first began performing when he joined his church choir at six years old. Later in his young life, he was discovered through a show called "Star Search."


"Up in the tub / Just filled up / I'm doing my own little thing / You decided to strip / But now you wanna drip / 'Cause another soap is foaming me." Which queen sang this discombobulated jam?

While she seems completely comfortable on stage, Beyonce actually has a tendency to be shy when she's in front of large crowds. In order to get over this, she created her alter-ego, Sasha Fierce.


"Let's pee in a corner / Let's pee in the spotlight" is a messed-up lyric from what song?

When they were originally trying to figure out what they were going to name the band, R.E.M. members were considering "Cans of Piss" for their band name. They randomly found R.E.M. in the dictionary, however, and settled on that.


"Old friend, why are you so sly / Ain't like you to hold back / or hide from the fight." Released in 2011, what emotional ballad is this?

Adele Laurie Blue Adkins was inspired by the likes of the Spice Girls and Ella Fitzgerald during her younger years. It obviously paid off because her album "21" is the fourth-highest-selling album of all time in the United Kingdom.


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