Seven Musicians Who Flubbed Their Own Songs

Sure, even professionals and stars forget the lyrics now and then — but these take the cake

When you have a catalogue of songs that includes multiple albums, you’re bound to forget a lyric or two here and there, especially when performing live in all kinds of venues.

It happens to even the most talented and experienced of musicians. Madonna was seen recently in an Instagram video celebrating her 59th birthday and singing along to her song “B-Day,” originally released in 2012.

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There was only one problem: She couldn’t remember the lyrics. The singer captioned the video: “When you can’t remember the words to your own song … Still a Happy Girl!'”

Madonna is certainly not alone in missing a beat. Here’s a look at seven musicians who messed up the singing of their own songs — and some of these names will most definitely surprise you.

1.) Justin Bieber. The 23-year-old star took part in what has become the most streamed song in history — but he’s not terribly good at remembering the lyrics. Some of “Despacito” is in Spanish and not sung by Bieber himself. You would think this would be enough reason for him to avoid the song in an impromptu performance.

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Bieber proved in front of a live audience in New York City this year that he simply doesn’t know the chorus to “Despacito.” He sang, “Blah blah blah dada dada blah” and threw in words like “dorito” to make up for not knowing the Spanish chorus lines in the song. “I don’t know the words,” he said multiple times to the audience — which seemed completely unfazed.

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2.) Adele. The English star may be one of the most praised singers currently working — and she’s incredibly gifted — but she has a little trouble with memory sometimes. Plenty of videos show her flubbing her own songs at live shows.

What gets her in trouble are her in-the-moment reactions to her mistakes. She’s known for cursing when she messes up.

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“Oh f***!” the 29-year-old singer uttered at a Denmark concert in 2016 when she couldn’t make it through one of her biggest hits, “Rolling in the Deep,” the first time around. She’s had similar reactions at other concerts. At most venues, though, she does manage to keep it together and dives right into her songs after giving herself a moment to pause and think.

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3.) Kanye West. West, 40, often goes on incoherent tirades at his concerts. His mind works fast and runs in many directions at once, as public appearances and interviews have suggested.

But he doesn’t just forget the lyrics to his own songs — he takes it further. He seemed to forget lyrics from Queen’s famous “Bohemian Rhapsody” at a live performance in 2015. The song was sung way off-key and West skipped entire sections of the song, leading many to believe he’d out-and-out just blanked on the words. Ouch.

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He also flubbed his song “Ultra Lightbeam” in a performance on “Saturday Night Live” this year and was caught messing up lyrics to his song “Good Wife” at the SXSW music festival in Austin, Texas, in 2009.

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4.) Ariana Grande. This singer, whose recent Manchester concert was the target of a terror attack, straight-out forgot the lyrics to her song “Right There” at a 2013 live performance. Yet the 24-year-old singer stopped, looked offstage, giggled and admitted: “I forgot the words to the songs!”

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Still, she continued humming it and eventually put things back on track. The innocent nature of her mistake and the way she owned up to it seemed to win over the audience.

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5.) Mariah Carey. The pop star has a long history of lapses. At a New Year’s Eve concert in New York City last year, the singer controversially seemed to have forgotten the lyrics to her songs, as she needed the audience to finish many lines for her. This was impressive, since she was also caught lip-syncing to the tunes beforehand.

“I’m going to say let the audience sing, OK?” she said in frustration when the vocals weren’t lining up with her lip movements. She added, “I wanted a holiday, too. Can I not have one?”

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On “The Today Show,” Carey also flubbed her tunes — she appeared to forget the words to one of her biggest hits, “Always Be My Baby.” Instead, she simply made noises through many parts of the song, which had audience members wondering exactly what was going on.

At other performances, she’s been caught lip-syncing, including in this performance of “Fantasy,” another big hit of hers.

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6.) Elvis. The King of Rock and Roll had a huge music catalogue, one that is still celebrated today. It’s understandable he’d mess up some lyrics here and there.

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But Presley was a good sport about his mistakes — and often laughed off the small blunders with his audience.

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7.) Miley Cyrus. At a show in 2009, the singer got a little ahead of herself when singing “Fly on the Wall” during “The Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway,” a British television variety show.

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Cyrus forgot and skipped entire lines of her song when she reached the second bridge. Yet she continued without missing a beat once she remembered her place in the tune.

(photo credit, homepage image: Sphark/pjayofficial, Flickr; photo credit, article image: esheehanphotos, Flickr)

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