mysql server not starting, mysqld_safe returns error

Hello all.

Having a weird problem that started today.

Working on an AWS instance, I rebooted the instance and mysql did not start. After much trouble shooting I got it down to mysqld_safe in /usr/bin. When I try and run mysqld_safe (/etc/init.d/mysql calls this I believe) in /usr/bin I get get this:

120914 17:14:23 mysqld_safe Logging to ‘/var/log/mysql/error.log’.
expr: syntax error
120914 17:14:23 mysqld_safe Starting mysqld daemon with databases from /var/lib/mysql
120914 17:14:23 mysqld_safe mysqld from pid file /var/lib/mysql/ ended

Notice the “expr: syntax error”

When I run /usr/sbin/mysqld directly mysql starts up and I can connect.

Nothing has changed on the system or especially that file so I am at a loss for what is going on.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Meant to include the version: Ver 14.14 Distrib 5.5.23, for Linux (x86_64) using readline 5.1
Ubuntu Lucid