“It’s only words,” sang the Bee Gees back in the Seventies. Hopefully the rest of the pop world has a similarly nonchalant stance on language, as it seems quite a few stars are almost impossible to understand for the average fan.
A new poll of 2,000 adults, conducted by Blinkbox Music, has revealed that Ozzy Osbourne, Lady Gaga, Prince and Bob Dylan are among the acts we find it hardest to hear correctly. Almost a third of people polled (28%) said they couldn’t understand rocker Osbourne’s Brummie whine, while 22% struggled with Gaga and Jamaican-American singer Shaggy.
Abba’s Dancing Queen, meanwhile, has the most misheard lyric, with 22% of those polled hearing “See that girl, watch that scene, diggin’ the dancing queen” as “See that girl, watch her scream, kicking the dancing queen”.
Queen’s We Will Rock You came second – “Kicking your cat all over the place” replacing “Kicking your can all over the place” – and Bon Jovi’s Livin’ on a Prayer was third, with listeners hearing “It doesn’t make a difference if we’re naked or not” in place of “It doesn’t make a difference if we make it or not”
One notable absentee from the list was REM’s The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight, which topped a similar poll back in 2010 thanks to its perpetually confusing “Call me when you try to wake her” – or “calling Jamaica”, as we might sing – refrain.
10 music acts who are hardest to understand:
1. Ozzy Osbourne (28%)
2. Lady Gaga (22%)
3. Shaggy (22%)
4. Sean Paul (14%)
5. Jay Z (14%)
6. Rihanna (14%)
7. Miley Cyrus (13%)
8. Jimi Hendrix (10%)
9. Prince (9%)
10. Bob Dylan (8%)