♫♪I was born in a column by Herb Caen♫♪
While recording their Beggars Banquet album the Rolling Stones put together a song they released as a single in 1968 that rocketed to the top of the charts and reinstilled the band into rock and roll fame. Adding an electric shock to their bluesy roots, Jumpin' Jack Flash hits all the right chords so that from the opening riff your head is boppin' and your feet are tappin' and you start to sing the lines along with Mick. ...Well, if you can remember them correctly.
♫In a hole at the bottom of a driving range.♫
Keith and Mick claim the title came from being awakened by a passing gardener outside. Mick asked who that was, and Richards said "That's Jack... jumpin' Jack". Mick muttered "flash" and on it went. They've gone on to say the lyrics are about getting out of the swirl and confusion of psychedelia with your head intact, and the success of the song, coming after the acid-fuelled Their Satanic Majesties Request album, showed they were practicing what they were preaching. A jumping jack is a common toy that's been around forever: like a two-dimensional marionette, often in the figure of a jester that you 'jump' about with strings attached to its limb. The Jack of the song claims to have extraordinary and archetypical life circumstances, but despite this, he's all right, and, in fact, enjoying it all.
♪I was raised by two lesbians in drag.♪
"I was raised by two lesbians? Come on, Mick. Fuck a duck!" - Terry Doolittle
A mondegreen is the word given for mishearing lyrics (itself made up from the mishearing of the end of a poem's line). In the 1986 film, Jumpin' Jack Flash, Whoopi Goldberg plays Terry Doolittle, a quirky but competent bank employee who manages funds for clients via computer communication. She finds herself having to try to solve a riddle in which the clue to is to find the key in the song. At first leaping and rocking out in her apartment to the song, she become more and more frustrated as she tries to figure out exactly what is being said, so that in the end, she just goes to a music shop and buying the sheet music.
"Mick, Mick, Mick! Speak English! English!" - Terry Doolittle
The answer isn't in the lyrics, anyway, but in the key of the first chord*. From there Terry enters a spy-thriller-romcom which is both silly and fun. Goldberg's role is far removed from her previous film, The Color Purple: foul-mouthed, brassy and innovative. It is the first film using someone conversing with someone else via computer. Cleverly, once Terry visits the home of the person she is talking with and hears his voice on an answering machine, she can then 'hear' him talking as she types to him afterwards. The movie isn't coherent, mostly due to first-time director Penny Marshall taking over filming halfway through, but it's a good bit of entertainment, from Aretha Franklin's version of the song to Terry's way of getting out of a villian's clutches by chomping on his crotch.
♫♪Jumpin' Jack Flash, it's a gas gas gas.♫♪
Misheard lyrics of the song culled mostly from the film.
* The key she types, B-Flat, has turned out to be another case of homophony: one of the main goofs of the film is that it's not B-Flat but B. I'm not a musician so i can't be sure, but looking at the chords for the song, it seems it's actually A. Please correct me if you know what the chord really is. It doesn't matter too much as a goof, as the riddler got it wrong too.