Top 10 Songs Where Bad Grammar Sounds Good

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

By Sarah Wharton and Paul Silverman
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    "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

    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

    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.

    "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

    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.

    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

    "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

    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

    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?

    "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


    Your Comments

    • Kif

      What about “Cooler Than Me” by Mike Posner?

    • Elizabeth

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

    • lauren

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

    • Don Robinson

      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

    • i know a bit

      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”.

    • Online Content is Getting Wors

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

    • Matthew Naylor

      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.

      • Charles Banks

        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

    • Name

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

    • sanz

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

    • Bethany

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

      • Brianna Young

        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