Music has its mondegreens, something I wrote about here and here. Now radio jingles may not be universally accepted as music, and for good reason. Nevertheless, they too can be misheard, misunderstood, mangled.
We never had a television set at home. I left India in 1980, around the time that TV was beginning to enter the household; my formative years were therefore spent listening to the radio, and to the gramophone.
Until about 1970, the only radios I’d seen and heard were valve radios. Main-operated, unlike the portable “transistor” radios that were just beginning to make an impact.
So the first sensation I associate with radio is the ceiling fan, signalling the presence of mains electricity, something that I could not take for granted as a child. “Load-shedding” was rampant.
If we had power, then we could switch these things on, and bring about the second sensation of radio: the orange-red filaments of the valves. That was soon followed by sensation number three, that of smell. It was a wonderful aroma, the heating up of the valves.
We were usually incredibly eager to switch the radio on, usually for something like Musical Band Box (on Sundays) or Lunchtime Variety (on all other days). Sometimes the station was just coming on stream then, so the first thing we would hear was the All India Radio Signature tune.
Seems like such a long time ago. But I digress.
Jingle Mondegreens. They do exist.
For example, every child in our family grew up believing that “S-O Simon means happy motoring”, and we would sing it at the top of our voice. We never cared what it meant. Standard Oil, on the other hand, were trying to tell us this.
That was fifty years ago, and I have no difficulty figuring out why we thought the song went S-O Simon. Easily done.
Some ad or the other appeared to use the old Scouting song “It isn’t any trouble just to S-M-I-L-E”. How that became S-L-Om-Buddy I have no idea. But it did.
Sometimes the jingles had other unintended consequences. For example, throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s Beiersdorf used to advertise in Indian cinema with a clip that started “Winter’s here”; it then went on to show you the ravages that your skin would face in the cold, and how all that could be avoided “thanks to Nivea creme”. Most of us just cut the middle bits out, and every time it felt cold, we would say “Winter’s here….. thanks to Nivea Creme”.
Did you have radio jingle mondegreens in your childhood? What were they?