Top 10 Songs Where Bad Grammar Sounds Good

When it comes to rock 'n roll lyrics, sometimes using correct English just won't work.

View as Slideshow

"I Feel Good" by James Brown

"I Feel Good" by James Brown
Corrected: "I Feel Well"

When right sounds wrong:

I feel well! I knew that I would...
When I hold you in my arms
I know that I can't do any wrong
And when I hold you in my arms
My love won't do you any harm

"I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" by U2

"I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" by U2
Corrected: "I Still Haven't Found for What I'm Looking"

When right sounds wrong:

But I still haven't found for what I'm looking
But I still haven't found for what I'm looking
But I still haven't found for what I'm looking
But I still haven't found for what I'm looking

"Rocket Man" by Elton John

"Rocket Man" by Elton John
Corrected: "Rocket Person" (our gender-sensitive choice)

When right sounds wrong:

And I think it's going to be a long, long time
'Til touchdown brings me around again to find
I'm not the person they think I am back home
Oh no, no, no
I'm a rocket person
Rocket person, burning up the fuse up here alone.

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"Me and Bobby McGee" by Janis Joplin

"Me and Bobby McGee" by Janis Joplin
Corrected: "Bobby McGee and I"

When right sounds wrong:

You know feeling good was good enough for me
Good enough for my Bobby McGee and I

"I Can't Get No Satisfaction" by The Rolling Stones

"I Can't Get No Satisfaction" by The Rolling Stones
Corrected: "I Can't Get Any Satisfaction"

When right sounds wrong:

I can't get any satisfaction
I can't get any satisfaction
Because I try, and I try, and I try, and I try
I can't get any, I can't get any

"Who You Gonna Call? (Ghostbusters)" by Ray Parker, Jr.

"Who You Gonna Call? (Ghostbusters)" by Ray Parker, Jr.
Corrected: "Whom Are You Going to Call? (Ghostbusters)"

When right sounds wrong:

If it's something weird, and it doesn't look good
Whom are you going to call? Ghostbusters!
I'm not afraid of any ghost

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"Ain't No Sunshine" by Bill Withers

"Ain't No Sunshine" by Bill Withers
Corrected: "There Is No Sunshine"

When right sounds wrong:

There is no sunshine when she's gone
And this house just isn't a home
Any time she goes away

"Who Do You Love?" by Bo Diddley

"Who Do You Love?" by Bo Diddley
Corrected: "Whom Do You Love?"

When right sounds wrong:

Whom do you love?
Whom do you love?
Whom do you love?
Whom do you love?

"What's Love Got To Do With It?" by Tina Turner

"What's Love Got To Do With It?" by Tina Turner
Corrected: "What's Love Have to Do with It?"

When right sounds wrong:

What's love have to do, have to do with it?
What's love but a second-hand emotion?

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"Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On" by Jerry Lee Lewis

"Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On" by Jerry Lee Lewis
Corrected: "A Whole Lot of Shaking Going On"

When right sounds wrong:

We aren't faking
A whole lot of shaking going on

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14 thoughts on “Top 10 Songs Where Bad Grammar Sounds Good

  1. “I feel good” functions as a subject, linking verb, and predicate adjective. Therefore, the adjective “good” is modifying the subject “I.” So, the grammar in “I feel good!” is actually already correct. Changing it to “I feel well” would imply that the singer is good at feeling things, physically touching things.

  2. Number six actually correctly uses “who”. Whom is only used following a preposition. For example, “for whom” or “to whom”.

    1. No, in the Ghostbusters lyric, “whom” would be correct, as in “You are going to call whom?” It’s a receiver of action; therefore, the objective form is used.

      But i agree with those who say this article is awful. Most of the “errors” aren’t errors at all. But even if they were, no one expects popular music to use formal grammar, right?

  3. I’m an ESL teacher, and all of your “supposed” corrections are completely wrong. Pick up a grammar usage guide and correct yourself!

  4. Number three isn’t bad grammar, it’s political correctness. But since the writers are so interested in cultural sensitivity, here’s some other songs that need to be changed:

    Barbara Streisand: Person in Love

    Donna Fargo: Happiest Person in the Whole USA

    Ray Charles: I’ve Got A Person

    And the Doobie Brothers’ Black Water is insensitive. It should be African-American Water

  5. Actually, “I Feel Good” is correct because James Brown was referring to his emotional state as being “good”, not his physical state of being “well”.
    You could make the comparison with the phrase, “I feel bad”. You wouldn’t say badly, the adverb, because “good” and “bad” are both modifiers of “I”, not “feel”.

  6. I’m actually mad at myself for taking the time to scroll through this slideshow. Made it half way through.

  7. 2 is correct – there is no rule against ending a sentence in a preposition unless you’re speaking Latin.
    3 is correct – political incorrectness does not constitute a grammatical error
    4 is correct – the correction presented is actually an overcorrection. ‘Me’ is the correct form for the first person to take when it’s an object. Try “This isn’t very good for me.” vs. “This isn’t very good for I.” ‘Me’ is clearly correct. Adding another object doesn’t change the case.
    9 is correct – The apostrophe-s is a stand in for has, as in “What has love got to do…”. The ‘got’ is a filler word with no specific function, but is not ungrammatical. The proposed correction is “What has love have to do…”, which doesn’t make sense. “What does love have to do…” would make sense, but ‘What’ and ‘does’ do not contract.

    1. Thanks for clearing that up for me. Especially #3. For a second there I thought I was going to have to start calling Spider-Man Spider-Person ! :P

  8. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Or, as McCartney’s dad tried to get him to sing, yes, yes, yes.

  9. 2, 3, 4, and 9 are not ungrammatical, and most of the others are either dialectical or trivial. This is nothing.

  10. Actual correct grammar on the Janis Joplin song would be “Good enough for my Bobby McGee and me” :) But who’s nitpicking? LOL

    1. I… was actually thinking the same thing but was doubting myself for a minute there. Pretty sure “I” should only be used if you take out the other person and would STILL use I. If you take out the other person and use me, I think “me” is correct. In this case, it’s “good enough for Bobby Mcgee and me”. “Good enough for I” doesn’t seem right.

      But yeah, who’s nitpicking? lol

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