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R.E.M. — 7 Chinese Brothers
Album: Reckoning
Avg rating:
7.4

Your rating:
Total ratings: 1491









Released: 1984
Length: 4:06
Plays (last 30 days): 3
This mellow, sweet, short-haired boy, woman offers pull up a seat
Take in one symphony now, we've just begun to battle
Wrap your heel in bones of steel, turn the leg, a twist of color
Autumn waited hold it to you in the colored come another

Seven Chinese brothers swallowing the ocean
Seven thousand years to sleep away the pain
She will return, she will return

This mellow, sweet, short-haired boy, woman offers pull up a seat
Take in one symphony now, we've just begun to battle
Wrap your heel in bones of steel, turn the leg, a twist of color
Autumn waited hold it to you in the colored come another

Seven Chinese brothers swallowing the ocean
Seven thousand years to sleep away the pain
She will return, she will return

This mellow, sweet, short-haired boy, woman offers pull up a chair
Take in one symphony now, I guess we lost that battle
Wrap your heel in bones of steel, turn the leg, a twist of color
Autumn waded seven seas swimming colored come

Seven Chinese brothers swallowing the ocean
Seven thousand years the Communi did reign
She will return, she will return
Comments (202)add comment
 mardisoninnc wrote:
I recall a local band, comprised of a couple of good friends from my youth, tentatively using the name "7 Chinese Brothers" about 25 years ago.  The band name was picked as a sort of homage to R.E.M.  They had the foresight and legal wisdom to change their band name, though. 
 

There was a great "alt-country" NYC-based band around in the 90s called 5 Chinese Brothers. Just phenomenal. Lotta great memories. At least we have those!
 SmackDaddy wrote:


Oh hell, that's why I couldn't find info on it! I remember reading the book as a kid and was sure REM was referencing it. Thaniks!
 I used to read this to my brothers - I thought it was 7 - I believe 5 is an unlucky number for some....The Emperor probably made 2 brothers 'disappear'?!

 ziggytrix wrote:

Fictional, not unknown.

Why seven and not the original five? I guess Stipe needed it to be two syllables?
 

Oh hell, that's why I couldn't find info on it! I remember reading the book as a kid and was sure REM was referencing it. Thaniks!
 chinaski wrote:
Those were the days.
First saw REM at the original 9:30 on F street in '82 when all they had were demo cassettes to hand out. What a fun show. Watched the happy hour sound check when there were not even 10 people in the place. Their label was in legal battle with the DC hometown band Rapid Eye Movement. REM's label had more $ and better legal types and so Rapid Eye Movement was required to change names or cease and desist. They became Egoslavia. Today the entrance to the original 9:30 in the Atlantic Building at 930 F is the main entrance to a J. Crew.
 
A J. Crew! That's sad to hear. I saw Mitch Easter's band Let's Active there (for those that don't know Mitch and REM are tight). 
Athens, GA !
Something profoundly beautiful about early REM !
This song supremely illustrates it !
 murrayn wrote:
Love this cover of "Voice of Harold".


 

Damn Skippy.
 smackiepipe wrote:
Problem is, I heard "Voice of Harold" off of Dead Letter Office before I ever heard this. So, this song sounds great, but the lyrics are all messed up.

 
Shout out to West Columbia!
Those were the days.
First saw REM at the original 9:30 on F street in '82 when all they had were demo cassettes to hand out. What a fun show. Watched the happy hour sound check when there were not even 10 people in the place. Their label was in legal battle with the DC hometown band Rapid Eye Movement. REM's label had more $ and better legal types and so Rapid Eye Movement was required to change names or cease and desist. They became Egoslavia. Today the entrance to the original 9:30 in the Atlantic Building at 930 F is the main entrance to a J. Crew.
From my favorite REM album.  Thank you.
Love this cover of "Voice of Harold".

Problem is, I heard "Voice of Harold" off of Dead Letter Office before I ever heard this. So, this song sounds great, but the lyrics are all messed up.
I recall a local band, comprised of a couple of good friends from my youth, tentatively using the name "7 Chinese Brothers" about 25 years ago.  The band name was picked as a sort of homage to R.E.M.  They had the foresight and legal wisdom to change their band name, though. 
Love this one.  Always will.
On hearing this album played my nephew said - I didn't know you like country music. 
 ziggytrix wrote:

Fictional, not unknown.

Why seven and not the original five? I guess Stipe needed it to be two syllables?

 
Heck, let's go further back... why not the original ten?
Timeless. Still shining bright.
 coloradojohn wrote:
This was so unique, so amazingly in tune and so alive with all the right frequencies, waveforms, punctuations, percussions, and timing.

Whereas, to others, this a snooze.
Sorry. 
This was so unique, so amazingly in tune and so alive with all the right frequencies, waveforms, punctuations, percussions, and timing.
 Steely_D wrote:
IRS period REM was the best band in America.

WB period REM didn't deserve to record. 

 
IRS period REM were the best band in America...but that was like picking low hanging fruit. I loved their sound, but couldn't understand half the lyrics.
 Steely_D wrote:
IRS period REM was the best band in America.

WB period REM didn't deserve to record. 

 
Bit harsh?! They evolved as a band as all bands with longevity will?! Are you saying Green, Out of Time, Automatic for the People, New Adventures in Hi-Fi and Monster had nothing to offer?! 
IRS period REM was the best band in America.

WB period REM didn't deserve to record. 
 Coldcreek wrote:
Unusual, REM ish - song about unknown  Chinese personalities
 
Fictional, not unknown.

Why seven and not the original five? I guess Stipe needed it to be two syllables?
It's the drums, stupid. 
 patrick30 wrote:
comin from led zeb to rem?
 
led zeb?

at least you didn't go with led zed!

 
comin from led zeb to rem?
thats what i call a bad transition!
My favorite R.E.M. album. Every song is excellent they were really clicking on this one.
I still firmly believe that REM were one of finest bands of musicians I have had the privilege to listen to.  I don't think I have heard anything from them that I don't like, or wouldn't be happy to spend my money on.
minimalist REM is some of the best REM
Unusual, REM ish - song about unknown  Chinese personalities
This is so subtly good.  Or is it, "good in a subtle way," perhaps?  Either way, I know the disc is here somewhere, but off to iTunes to download anyway.  This needs to be in regular rotation in my car and I'm inherently lazy.
 oldviolin wrote:
meanwhile, back at the ranch...

 

Is this the one about Granny and the indians?
meanwhile, back at the ranch...

Everybody in my mushrooming multitude of churches be dancing buck ass naked...  love this song...
 
Takes me back to 1984 when this song took me back to a picture book that I loved as a child.
Man, these guys are so good.  
Love it; been a while since I heard some old REM...

Everybody in my church loves this song... (and this whole seminal album...)

Reminds me of the time I took off for the West Coast from snowy Boulder Spring Break of '87 with this in the tape deck as I left...NICE! 
Can't go wrong playing REM!!!
Yeah, I was 19 once. Get your 1984 on.
unabashed revelry in the accounting office now ...{#Dancingbanana}
 sirdroseph wrote:

Wow, you have taken wrong to an uber level! Losing my Religion is what I despise, what REM became. This song represents them at their best!{#Notworthy}
 

I have to agree, the early REM is the best.  This is the song that got me into them.
 Remonster wrote:
This. This. This.
More please.
More.
 
I agree!

 
This. This. This.
More please.
More.
 treatment_bound wrote:

Well, at least 7 anyway.
 

indeed...  love it...

 
Can't say I'm really liking this tune. I do like REM, but not this song so much.
 romeotuma wrote:


... dozens of people here just started dancing...

 
 
Well, at least 7 anyway.
 fredriley wrote:
This reminds me of what gripes me about REM, that they produce some absolutely brilliant songs (eg Losing my Religion) which tempt you into buying their albums, then when you get the disc home you find that only 2 or 3 of the songs are any good and the rest are dross. This, sadly, is what I'd consider dross, a shame as they've done so much else that is stunningly good. Passable, right enough, but hardly memorable.
 
Wow, you have taken wrong to an uber level! Losing my Religion is what I despise, what REM became. This song represents them at their best!{#Notworthy}
 Hannio wrote:


Wow, I guess my take is completely 180 out of phase with you.  I love this and a lot of the under-(and un-)played gems on REM albums, and can't stand some of the more popular songs.
 
That is right.   It's like Bill and I are loving two different bands sometimes (this one is a gem though).   They really broke through with a big hit in Losing My Religion.  A mediocrity at best.  It was the beginning of the end.   I would love to hear Begin the Begin here, or my fav Time After Time.   Both neglected to a baffling degree.



Absolutely marvelous... dozens of people here just started dancing...  love it...

 
{#Bananajam}{#Drummer}
I prefer "Voice of Harold"... : )


Everybody in my hotel room loves this song...

 
we seem to do the same thing in different parts of the world, romeotuna :-)
7 c b is sooooo good for the ears^^

I didn't discover R.E.M. until Green and then I went back and bought Murmur but found it a little shoegaze-y for my tastes so i didn't bother with the rest. This is pleasant enough, though.
 romeotuma wrote:
This song is still as good for the ears as the day Reckoning came out in 1984 so many years ago...  still love it...
 We be dancin ... {#Roflol}




Volume just went wayyyy up...  everybody in my hotel room be dancing...  love this song...

 


 cohifi wrote:

They are both good! 

 

Indeed, Voice of Harold is one of my favs from them too. I especially like when he mentions West Columbia SC. Shout out!{#Cowboy}
If you're looking to quickly kill the bliss that always follows The Rain Song segueing into this is a d——d good way to do it.



This song is soooo good for the feet...  we be dancing...  love it...

 
 smackiepipe wrote:
I'm in a tough spot, as I first heard 'The Voice of Harold'  from Dead Letter Office before hearing this, where Stype reads the lyrics from an album cover to this musical backing. I like it better for the humor-factor.

 
Rumour has it that that version was recorded very late at night and they all had 'had a few'. Makes me like it even more.


a must!
I was "coming of age" musicially and these guys were leading the way.  When coming from listening to Seasons in the Sun to this, it was quite an awakaning.  I thank "Chim" in college and still love these guys (their old stuff anyway).  Saw them in a gymnasium in Washington DC. 



This song is still as good for the ears as the day Reckoning came out in 1984 so many years ago...  still love it...

 

I'm with you, Hannio. Give me Maps and Legends over Nightswimming any day. Loved REM so much more when they were redefining the establishmnent. 
 Hannio wrote:


Wow, I guess my take is completely 180 out of phase with you.  I love this and a lot of the under-(and un-)played gems on REM albums, and can't stand some of the more popular songs.
 


 smackiepipe wrote:
I'm in a tough spot, as I first heard 'The Voice of Harold'  from Dead Letter Office before hearing this, where Stype reads the lyrics from an album cover to this musical backing. I like it better for the humor-factor.

 
They are both good! 

SUPER "SUCKO"!
Bill says Reckoning probably his favorite REM album, as do I... circular logic says that this is proof that he and I both have impecable taste.
I'm in a tough spot, as I first heard 'The Voice of Harold'  from Dead Letter Office before hearing this, where Stype reads the lyrics from an album cover to this musical backing. I like it better for the humor-factor.

Loved that book when I was a little kid
 fredriley wrote:
This reminds me of what gripes me about REM, that they produce some absolutely brilliant songs (eg Losing my Religion) which tempt you into buying their albums, then when you get the disc home you find that only 2 or 3 of the songs are any good and the rest are dross. This, sadly, is what I'd consider dross, a shame as they've done so much else that is stunningly good. Passable, right enough, but hardly memorable.
 

Wow, I guess my take is completely 180 out of phase with you.  I love this and a lot of the under-(and un-)played gems on REM albums, and can't stand some of the more popular songs.


Ah!  7 Chinese Brothers in all their mumbled glory!
 LongGoneDaddy wrote:
i remember this book from early grade school days.  great album, Howard Finster album cover as well.  26 years ago? (i hate chronology)
 

There were only five Chinese brothers in the book I remember.  I guess there was a different one that had seven though.

* edit:
7 bros5 bros
This reminds me of what gripes me about REM, that they produce some absolutely brilliant songs (eg Losing my Religion) which tempt you into buying their albums, then when you get the disc home you find that only 2 or 3 of the songs are any good and the rest are dross. This, sadly, is what I'd consider dross, a shame as they've done so much else that is stunningly good. Passable, right enough, but hardly memorable.
 sirdroseph wrote:
One of my all time REM favs!! Back when they were really good!{#Yes}
 
Yes sir!  {#Sunny} Saw them at the Tower Theatre before they "broke" in a big way ... magical!



fantastic song...  love it...

i remember this book from early grade school days.  great album, Howard Finster album cover as well.  26 years ago? (i hate chronology)
One of my all time REM favs!! Back when they were really good!{#Yes}
 tompoll wrote:
Still my fav album of theirs.
 

Yes, it's great...  love this song...


Simply. Awesome.
Still my fav album of theirs.


This is actually one of my all-time faves...


Ditto.
Back when Michael's voice was just starting to move to the front of the mix..


Man, I love this song...


 toterola wrote:
Man, those were the days... such great music. Thanks Bill. {#Wave}
 
Just dug my old REM cd's out the other day and loaded them in my truck ... like partying with old friends {#Cheers}

 Rockitz wrote:
Same crap from the most boring band in the business. Whine whine whine...
Try and come up with something new guys. Or even better, quit and become recluses so we don't have to hear from you again.
 
So I take it you missed the entirety of glam-rock? I swear that if they had put HALF of the hairspray budget into actual writing, they would have had something.

Nice


This song is soooo good for the ears...  love it...


This has got to be one of the greatest rock albums ever... I listen to it reapeated still (just last night as a matter of fact) and never cease to be amazed by it..
Man, those were the days... such great music. Thanks Bill. {#Wave}
"Wrap your heel in bones of steel"

"7000 years to sleep away the pain"

I love this song! Beat you this time Romeo {#Lol}



This song is so good... and it brings back so many memories...  yeah, I love it...




Love it...


 Rockitz wrote:
Same crap from the most boring band in the business. Whine whine whine...
Try and come up with something new guys. Or even better, quit and become recluses so we don't have to hear from you again.
 
Uh. this song is from their album released in 1984.

Twenty five years ago it was unquestionably extraordinarily fresh and wonderful. And I still love the heck out of it.

Same crap from the most boring band in the business. Whine whine whine...
Try and come up with something new guys. Or even better, quit and become recluses so we don't have to hear from you again.


This really is a great song...


I was in a good place when this alumn came out.  Now...
Don't forget precious, precocious & pretentious. californiatwin wrote:
Because they are very annoying, whining and just plain overplayed.
sweet!
Smells like REM. A solid 1.
garthwb wrote:
Play them on the hour, every hour!
Indeedly-do! :bounce: :bounce: :bounce:
Play them on the hour, every hour!
zaknafein wrote:
It can be done, but why would you want to?
Because they are very annoying, whining and just plain overplayed.
ArbiterOfGoodTaste wrote:
I dare RP to go one work week, 5 days without any REM. Can it be done?
It can be done, but why would you want to?
superflyLD wrote:
I love this song... back when REM was at their best imo. :bounce:
:yes:
Isn't that guitar part the theme to Entertainment Tonight?
ArbiterOfGoodTaste wrote:
I dare RP to go one work week, 5 days without any REM. Can it be done?
Yeah - I dare you Bill! Can it be done? - I can only hope!
Nabla wrote:
Well, I am wondering a bit why they call themselves "R.E.M."? Wouldn't "S.E.M." be better (standing for Slow Eye Movement...)? :ask:
because S.E.M. stands for scanning electron microscope which would fit even less :snooty:
ArbiterOfGoodTaste wrote:
I dare RP to go one work week, 5 days without any REM. Can it be done?
Not sure why RP would do that. Keep playin' 'em, Bill.
Well, I am wondering a bit why they call themselves "R.E.M."? Wouldn't "S.E.M." be better (standing for Slow Eye Movement...)? :ask:
I love this song... back when REM was at their best imo. :bounce:
badean wrote:
Best REM album ever.
It's almost embarassing, the number of 10s on this album. :redface:
I dare RP to go one work week, 5 days without any REM. Can it be done?
RobK wrote:
I love the whole album and this is one of my favorite songs. It has a yearning quality that always gets me. Maybe it's the lyric "she will return", and the way in which Michael sings it. Good to keep in mind that when this album came out (pretty long time ago by now) there really wasn't any other band making music that sounded like this. They really invented a whole new sound for rock music, which is rare. Plus it's just so goddam good.
yes! just so goddam good! My daughters and I love the seven chinese sisters too.
...old REM, like old U2, is the best...
badean wrote:
Best REM album ever.
Amen