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R.E.M. — Driver 8
Album: Eponymous
Avg rating:
7.7

Your rating:
Total ratings: 2090









Released: 1988
Length: 3:19
Plays (last 30 days): 1
The walls are built up stone by stone
The fields divided one by one

And the train conductor says
Take a break, driver 8
Driver 8, take a break
We've been on this shift too long
And the train conductor says
Take a break, driver 8
Driver 8, take a break
We can reach our destination
But we're still a ways away, but it's still a ways away

I saw a treehouse on the outskirts of the farm
The power lines have floaters so the airplanes won't get snagged
The bells are ringing through the town again
The children look up, all they hear is sky-blue bells ringing

And the train conductor says
Take a break, driver 8
Driver 8, take a break
We can reach our destination
But we're still a ways away, but it's still a ways away
But we're still a ways away, but it's still a ways away

A way to shield the hated heat
A way to put myself to sleep
A way to shield the hated heat
A way to put myself, my children to sleep

He piloted this song in a plane like that one
She is selling faith on the Go Tell Crusade
Locomotive 8, Southern Crescent, hear the bells ring again
The fields of wheat is looking thin

And the train conductor says
Take a break, driver 8
Driver 8, take a break
We've been on this shift too long
And the train conductor says
Take a break, driver 8
Driver 8, take a break
We can reach our destination
But we're still a ways away, but it's still a ways away
But we're still a ways away, but it's still a ways away
Comments (334)add comment
 Chewie wrote:
Why is the album listed as Eponymous? This was from Fables of the Reconstruction... 

Side one – "Early"


"Radio Free Europe" (original Hib-Tone single) (1981) – 3:47"Gardening at Night" (different vocal mix)1 – 3:30"Talk About the Passion" (from Murmur, 1983) – 3:20"So. Central Rain" (from Reckoning, 1984) – 3:15"(Don't Go Back To) Rockville" (from Reckoning, 1984) – 4:32"Cant Get There from Here" (from Fables of the Reconstruction, 1985) – 3:39 Side two – "Late"

"Driver 8" (from Fables of the Reconstruction, 1985) – 3:23"Romance" (from soundtrack album to the 1987 film Made in Heaven) – 3:25"Fall on Me" (from Lifes Rich Pageant, 1986) – 2:50"The One I Love" (from Document, 1987) – 3:16"Finest Worksong" (mutual drum horn mix) (from "Finest Worksong" single) – 3:50"It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" (from Document, 1987) – 4:05 

Third that!
 jkamm14 wrote:
This song is the perfect distillation of R.E.M.'s sound and what made their early records so great: Peter Buck's signature jangly guitar riffs (never better than on this tune), Michael Stipe delivering Southern-twanged lyrics that were both earnest AND obtuse, Mike Mills with great backing vocals and a sneaky fantastic bass line that drives the song, and Bill Berry holding down the fort with his solid, understated drumming. I point to this song, along with "Fall On Me" and "So. Central Rain", whenever try to explain why I love this band's 80s output so much.
 
Hear, hear!!!
This song is the perfect distillation of R.E.M.'s sound and what made their early records so great: Peter Buck's signature jangly guitar riffs (never better than on this tune), Michael Stipe delivering Southern-twanged lyrics that were both earnest AND obtuse, Mike Mills with great backing vocals and a sneaky fantastic bass line that drives the song, and Bill Berry holding down the fort with his solid, understated drumming. I point to this song, along with "Fall On Me" and "So. Central Rain", whenever try to explain why I love this band's 80s output so much.
 Chewie wrote:
Why is the album listed as Eponymous? This was from Fables of the Reconstruction... 
 

Eponymous was an early career compilation.
I know there’s lots of R.E.M. haters, but I LOVE THIS!
 Chewie wrote:
Why is the album listed as Eponymous? This was from Fables of the Reconstruction... 
 
It's a greatest hits collection.

Why is the album listed as Eponymous? This was from Fables of the Reconstruction... 
"The children look up, all they hear is sky blue bells" - the line that made me an REM fan.
I was lucky enough to see them live, right when they were starting out. Great show!
Athens, '84- Those were good times....
 treatment_bound wrote:

Really?  I just can't imagine Berry, Buck, Mills & Stipe sitting around their studio in late '83 listening to this:


   

 Melinda was mine
'Til the time that I found her
Holding Jim, loving him

 
I can
 treatment_bound wrote:

Really?  I just can't imagine Berry, Buck, Mills & Stipe sitting around their studio in late '83 listening to this:


   

 Melinda was mine
'Til the time that I found her
Holding Jim, loving him

 
In 1993 I was in Washington DC with friends at American Uni and Mighty Mighty Bosstones played and showed up at our after show party, and all Dickie played was Neil Diamond which we had in our CD collection.   The rest of the band bitched that it was like being in the tour bus again.  Neil is the man.  A solitary mam.  He plays and writes brilliant music.  
Image result for locomotive gifs
 treatment_bound wrote:
This song should have at least been a minor hit in the Summer of '85.

Instead, we got the theme song from "St. Elmo's Fire" by John Parr!

 
..there was also "Every Time You Go Away (You Take A Piece Of Meat With You)" by Paul Young from that summer.  Actually, maybe it's best forgotten.
This song should have at least been a minor hit in the Summer of '85.

Instead, we got the theme song from "St. Elmo's Fire" by John Parr!
.
            Siamese girls excel in kappatronics.
I Love this Song.Very Good.
 wgsu_1978 wrote:

I can.
 
Agree.  These days I read many negative comments about Diamond—but not from songwriters.  He is highly respected in that group as he should be.
ALWAYS LOVE IT  {#Cowboy}
 treatment_bound wrote:

Really?  I just can't imagine Berry, Buck, Mills & Stipe sitting around their studio in late '83 listening to this:


   

 Melinda was mine
'Til the time that I found her
Holding Jim, loving him

 
I can.
 bokey wrote:

Same notes and chords as when Neil Diamond wrote it in 1966.They just removed part of the melody,changed the title from "Solitary Man" and changed the lyrics.

 
Really?  I just can't imagine Berry, Buck, Mills & Stipe sitting around their studio in late '83 listening to this:


   

 Melinda was mine
'Til the time that I found her
Holding Jim, loving him
 hencini wrote:
I learned to play this song on the guitar in the summer of 1996. I can still play it note for note. Great song. Great band.  

 
Same notes and chords as when Neil Diamond wrote it in 1966. They just removed part of the melody,changed the title from "Solitary Man" and changed the lyrics.
 teleskialaska wrote:
{#Bananapiano}

Keep on dancing Lazarus

 
Thank you, teleskialaska!  I hope you are having a marvelous time right this minute...

everybody in my homeless camp loves this song...  we be dancing... 
Definately
A long drive song
 Proclivities wrote:

 REM were not the "first" anything - other than maybe the first band named after a sleep cycle.

 
{#Clap}--Thanks "Procliv", best laugh I've had all day on another crappy Friday...
 LongGoneDaddy wrote:
have been an r.e.m. fan since '85, and never considered them 'alt-country"...is that just because they were from Athens?  Jason and the Scorchers were alot more 'alt country"...Stipe's way too weird (in a good way) to be considered country, although Peter Buck prolly wouldn't mind the reference.  And yeah, Gram Parsons was a granddaddy of that sound, and Buck Owens before him, and so on and so on....



 
Mike Mills wouldn't likely mind being referred to as "Alt-Country" I mean just take a look at his Nudie suit collection!
SO overplayed! Queue this one up again in 2017 or so.
I learned to play this song on the guitar in the summer of 1996. I can still play it note for note. Great song. Great band. 
{#Bananapiano} Lazarus wrote:

Everybody in my mushrooming multitude of churches kicked off their shoes and jumped to their feet...  everybody's hips be moving...  love this song...

as I have said numerous times before, bb_matt has bad body odor...

 
Keep on dancing Lazarus

 


 bb_matt wrote:

Yes, so you've said numerous times before ... yawn.

 
Relax and smile bb_matt...

We know you are more sophisticated than most, but it really is o.k. to enjoy music.


 Lazarus wrote:

Everybody in my mushrooming multitude of churches kicked off their shoes and jumped to their feet...  everybody's hips be moving...  love this song...

 
Yes, so you've said numerous times before ... yawn.
In jr. high, I once wrote to get info from the R.E.M. fan club. Their flyer offered lots of cool stuff but clearly stated something to the effect of "We cannot provide lyrics."
Kindatiredofthissong. Itsnotabadsong...andilikeREM.
 misterbearbaby wrote:
Tight tune, great hook, well played. Whutmordooyawant?

 
Notagoshdarnthing!
I remember getting a ride to high school in the back of some older kid's car back in fall of 1985. The kid had Driver 8 on the tape deck, and every time the song finished, he would rewind and play it again. It was a sunny, cold day, and I remember sitting there, hunkering down in the back seat and trying to be as unobtrusive as possible, listening to this revelatory music coming out of the speakers, over and over again.
Tight tune, great hook, well played. Whutmordooyawant?
 zepher wrote:

I think someone needs to get back to the year 1985....



  Dear Jesus, please let your humble servant, Mister Bear, go back to 1985.


 rromulus wrote:
Just Wiki it! 

 "Driver 8" was the second single from R.E.M.'s third album, Fables of the Reconstruction. Released in September 1985, the song peaked at #22 on the U.S. Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. It was not released in Europe.

The song refers to the Southern Crescent, a passenger train operated by the Southern Railroad until 1979, and continues today (with fewer stops) as the Amtrak Crescent. The music video shows Chessie System trains running around Clifton Forge, Virginia.

Guitarist Peter Buck admitted in the liner notes for the band's 2003 compilation album In Time: The Best of R.E.M. 1988-2003 that the verse chords for the song "Imitation of Life" were unintentionally taken from the verse chords of "Driver 8."



 
I think someone needs to get back to the year 1985....



Everybody in my mushrooming multitude of churches kicked off their shoes and jumped to their feet...  everybody's hips be moving...  love this song...

Shazam!  Love it!  We be dancing!  Amen!
 
Just Wiki it! 

 "Driver 8" was the second single from R.E.M.'s third album, Fables of the Reconstruction. Released in September 1985, the song peaked at #22 on the U.S. Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. It was not released in Europe.

The song refers to the Southern Crescent, a passenger train operated by the Southern Railroad until 1979, and continues today (with fewer stops) as the Amtrak Crescent. The music video shows Chessie System trains running around Clifton Forge, Virginia.

Guitarist Peter Buck admitted in the liner notes for the band's 2003 compilation album In Time: The Best of R.E.M. 1988-2003 that the verse chords for the song "Imitation of Life" were unintentionally taken from the verse chords of "Driver 8."



We be dancing!!!!  Love it!!!!

 Misterfixit wrote:

It's an allegoric and ironical poem.  See, "train leaving the station" can mean many things:  fleeing from bad things; the feeling of total evacuation after a healthy bowel movement; and so on and so forth.  Now, when the song includes your mean old momma on board, wearing a cowboy hat, with a mullet, going across the Texas plains towards the Atcheson, Topeka and Santa Fe depot in Gainesville, TX, with you standing in front of the on-rushing train, holding your hands out in plaintive supplication, discovering you are naked as the day you entered this Veil of Tears from between your Crack-Addled Skank Mother's tattooed, pierced, and pendulous labia, hearing the sounds of the Grim Reaper fast approving you from behind using a diamond hard steel sharpening tool as Seen on TV on his razor sharp sickle, you finally realize that you have either reached the Coda of your Life and you are doomed to repeat this primal horror for all eternity ... OR you realize that you are actually at the Segue of a part of your life, whereupon you will reach out to destroy said demons and find True Peace in the Arms of Our Loving and Most Holy Baby Jeeeesus.  Amen.
 

I have noticed a certain, errm, scatological quality to your writing.  Only on RP will you read something like this.  Bravo.
 rdo wrote:


{#Pray}
 

Thank you!  Hope you are having a marvelous day...

this song is marvelous...  this whole album is marvelous...
 
Takes me back to when I first heard R.E.M. Loved them then, still love them.
 Lazarus wrote:


Yes, it be me...  I have been saved...  I am a sinner no more...

everybody in my church loves this song...
 
 

{#Pray}
 rdo wrote:
Is that u??
 

Yes, it be me...  I have been saved...  I am a skinner no more...

everybody in my church loves this song...
 
 Lazarus wrote:

Everybody in my church be dancing...  love it...
 
 



Is that u??

Everybody in my church be dancing...  love it...
 
Of course this was from
Fables Of The Reconstruction
 Misterfixit wrote:

It's an allegoric and ironical poem.  See, "train leaving the station" can mean many things:  fleeing from bad things; the feeling of total evacuation after a healthy bowel movement; and so on and so forth.  Now, when the song includes your mean old momma on board, wearing a cowboy hat, with a mullet, going across the Texas plains towards the Atcheson, Topeka and Santa Fe depot in Gainesville, TX, with you standing in front of the on-rushing train, holding your hands out in plaintive supplication, discovering you are naked as the day you entered this Veil of Tears from between your Crack-Addled Skank Mother's tattooed, pierced, and pendulous labia, hearing the sounds of the Grim Reaper fast approving you from behind using a diamond hard steel sharpening tool as Seen on TV on his razor sharp sickle, you finally realize that you have either reached the Coda of your Life and you are doomed to repeat this primal horror for all eternity ... OR you realize that you are actually at the Segue of a part of your life, whereupon you will reach out to destroy said demons and find True Peace in the Arms of Our Loving and Most Holy Baby Jeeeesus.  Amen.
 
Please, go and write some lyrics for.... most bands anyway....


super marvelous...

 


We be dancing...  love it...

 


bingo by jingo... this song rocks...  love it...

 
 Misterfixit wrote:

It's an allegoric and ironical poem.  See, "train leaving the station" can mean many things:  fleeing from bad things; the feeling of total evacuation after a healthy bowel movement; and so on and so forth.  Now, when the song includes your mean old momma on board, wearing a cowboy hat, with a mullet, going across the Texas plains towards the Atcheson, Topeka and Santa Fe depot in Gainesville, TX, with you standing in front of the on-rushing train, holding your hands out in plaintive supplication, discovering you are naked as the day you entered this Veil of Tears from between your Crack-Addled Skank Mother's tattooed, pierced, and pendulous labia, hearing the sounds of the Grim Reaper fast approving you from behind using a diamond hard steel sharpening tool as Seen on TV on his razor sharp sickle, you finally realize that you have either reached the Coda of your Life and you are doomed to repeat this primal horror for all eternity ... OR you realize that you are actually at the Segue of a part of your life, whereupon you will reach out to destroy said demons and find True Peace in the Arms of Our Loving and Most Holy Baby Jeeeesus.  Amen.
 

Where can I buy some of that?
 cc_rider wrote:
Does this song actually mean anything? Don't get me wrong, I like it a lot (not quite as much as Romeo), and I keep trying to make sense of it. I like the imagery though, maybe that's all there is to it.
 
It's an allegoric and ironical poem.  See, "train leaving the station" can mean many things:  fleeing from bad things; the feeling of total evacuation after a healthy bowel movement; and so on and so forth.  Now, when the song includes your mean old momma on board, wearing a cowboy hat, with a mullet, going across the Texas plains towards the Atcheson, Topeka and Santa Fe depot in Gainesville, TX, with you standing in front of the on-rushing train, holding your hands out in plaintive supplication, discovering you are naked as the day you entered this Veil of Tears from between your Crack-Addled Skank Mother's tattooed, pierced, and pendulous labia, hearing the sounds of the Grim Reaper fast approving you from behind using a diamond hard steel sharpening tool as Seen on TV on his razor sharp sickle, you finally realize that you have either reached the Coda of your Life and you are doomed to repeat this primal horror for all eternity ... OR you realize that you are actually at the Segue of a part of your life, whereupon you will reach out to destroy said demons and find True Peace in the Arms of Our Loving and Most Holy Baby Jeeeesus.  Amen.
In 1984 I started college. This was the first true college radio song I ever heard and it opened up a whole new world to me. Songs that dont find a place on commercial radio, and arent necessarily about a relationship (90% of all songs it seems).
My first introduction to alternative music and I have never looked back. Like kids in the 50's who discover rock and roll, the world never looked the same again. 
stinkereeno
quik mute 
 cc_rider wrote:
Does this song actually mean anything? Don't get me wrong, I like it a lot (not quite as much as Romeo), and I keep trying to make sense of it. I like the imagery though, maybe that's all there is to it.
 
It's a train travelling song.  There are lots of trains running thru Athens, GA, and this song is just part of the local flavor.  Seems to me alot of Stipe's early songs do conjure images, because very often you can' even tell what the hell he's singing.  This imagery effect is particularly pronounced on "Fables of the Reconstruction", but the lyrical style greatly evolved with "Life's Rich Pageant".
 driver8 wrote:
Hi RP  {#Wave}
how weird - i have been on RP for months - and to get on and hear this song!  
 
The Bill works in mysterious ways...

{#Wave} back atcha...
Does this song actually mean anything? Don't get me wrong, I like it a lot (not quite as much as Romeo), and I keep trying to make sense of it. I like the imagery though, maybe that's all there is to it.
Hi RP  {#Wave}
how weird - i have been on RP for months - and to get on and hear this song!  
Wow¡ Stipe!!
This sounds pretty just singing it on guitar——that's the mark of a good song.
This CD is a great collection of early REM songs!
LOVE IT!! {#Sunny}


love this song soooo much...  awesome!
 


Everybody in my hotel room kicked off their shoes and jumped to their feet...  everybody's hips are moving...  love this song...

 
 bokey wrote:

{#Eek}

   REM was just an overpromoted crappy bar band.With no record company, there would be no REM because they had high school band level talent..

 
Warren Zevon (RIP) would beg to differ with you....as do I. {#Foot-in-mouth}


This song is soooo good it puts a spring in my step this spring night...  love it!

 
have been an r.e.m. fan since '85, and never considered them 'alt-country"...is that just because they were from Athens?  Jason and the Scorchers were alot more 'alt country"...Stipe's way too weird (in a good way) to be considered country, although Peter Buck prolly wouldn't mind the reference.  And yeah, Gram Parsons was a granddaddy of that sound, and Buck Owens before him, and so on and so on....


 missyanneb wrote:
My favorite band. Ever. still.
 

yup.

This is from my least favorite of their albums even (well, maybe tied for that with Green) and it's still a 9 easy...
 Tippster wrote:
Gram Parsons my ass.  R.E.M were the first alt-country band.
 
"Alt-country" is a term that didn't exist until the 1990's.  As good as they were, REM were not the "first" anything - other than maybe the first band named after a sleep cycle.
Driver 8? No. Racer X, yes. But, good tune.


We be dancing...  love it...
 


marvelous...  love it...

 
My favorite band. Ever. still.
My favorite REM song. From the glory days. Hail, hail... {#Notworthy}


magnificent...
 

Everybody in my hotel room loves this song...
 
 terrapin52 wrote:
An amazing song from when REM was worth listening to. (Up to Document, not beyond)

 
You're joking. Green was great, Out of time was brilliant, automatic for the people was one of the best albums ever, monster had some classics and even new adventures had some gems in it. after that, i agree, it was a downhill slope.

An amazing song from when REM was worth listening to. (Up to Document, not beyond)

 ppak wrote:

"R.E.M were the first alt-country band." Interesting idea.  R.E.M were the first in a lot of areas that will be appreciated after we are all dead.  Best in Alt-country beng awesome, no doubt.  Tippster you are correct as usual.  R.E.M were the Beatles/Stones of the 80s. No higher praise imaginable in my mind.
 

Again, REM were little boys growing up in Georgia when Gram Parsons was doing his thing. Chronology, I'm jes sayin'.
Take a break, Steve. You earned it, even if you never wanted it. R.I.P.
Love, love, LOVE the chords in this song.


We be dancing...  love this song!


 
 Tippster wrote:
Gram Parsons my ass.  R.E.M were the first alt-country band.
 
"R.E.M were the first alt-country band." Interesting idea.  R.E.M were the first in a lot of areas that will be appreciated after we are all dead.  Best in Alt-country beng awesome, no doubt.  Tippster you are correct as usual.  R.E.M were the Beatles/Stones of the 80s. No higher praise imaginable in my mind.




I'll dance to this...

 
If you get the chance check out the live acoustic versions of this and the next song from the original album - maps and legends.  Assuming you're a REMhead too.
 Tippster wrote:
Gram Parsons my ass.   R. E. M were the first alt-country band.
 
{#Eek}

   REM was just an overpromoted crappy bar band. With no record company, there would be no REM because they had high school band level talent. Occasion good lyrics though.

 Gram was a groundbreaking,genre creating  icon, despite his problems.

Sky blue bells ringing ..... {#Cowboy}


Everybody in my hotel room just started dancing...  the volume went wayyyy up...  love it...



Tiger Woods shouting at his new caddie, "DRIVER 8!"
 Tippster wrote:
Gram Parsons my ass.  R.E.M were the first alt-country band.
 

Ummmmm, I loved REM during this period, but no. I assure you there were plenty of alt country bands before the early 80s.
Great song, man! I can just envision an old train slowly rolling down a rusty track on an overcast Georgia day.{#Cowboy}


18 people are in my hotel room right now, and we be dancing...  turned the volume wayyyy up...  love this song...

 

 Dave_Mack wrote:

Summer 2017 {#Dancingbanana_2}

You can sit in with us!

 

Mmmmm, yes please?
 Krispian wrote:

When are you guys coming to Vancouver?

 
Summer 2017 {#Dancingbanana_2}

You can sit in with us!

Makes me happy!


What a great classic...  we be dancing once more...  love it...

 
I always that he sang "Take a break, drive a rig" - like they are promoted being a truck driver
Gram Parsons my ass.  R.E.M were the first alt-country band.
 Dave_Mack wrote:
Extremely catchy.  Another song for my band of the future.
 
When are you guys coming to Vancouver?



Absolutely awesome song...  we be dancing with wild abandon...  love it...

 



love it...

 
 gabrielle7nt wrote:


Ooooh, I wanna play in it. {#Tongue}
 
Right.  You're in.

 Dave_Mack wrote:
Extremely catchy.  Another song for my band of the future.
 

Ooooh, I wanna play in it. {#Tongue}
Extremely catchy.  Another song for my band of the future.
 toterola wrote:
Still my favorite, after all these years...{#Dancingbanana}
 


I know what you mean...  it has been a while...  we be dancing...

 
{#Dancingbanana_2} {#Sunny} {#Dancingbanana_2} {#Daisy} {#Dancingbanana} {#Cheers} {#Dancingbanana_2} {#Music}  A favorite for all time!



Just 42 people are dancing here now, but it is early...  great song...  we love it...


 

Still my favorite, after all these years...{#Dancingbanana}


848 people are dancing here right now...  love it...

 
 mandolin wrote:


...REM took a decidedly different tack after they left IRS (actually, after green), which more-or-less coincided with michael stipe coming out...correlation in no way implies causality, but it remains a useful benchmark for referencing a shared historical era...
 

Interesting, if rather didactic explanation. Unfortunately, I doubt the comment from gjeeg was intended as a "useful benchmark".
 katiediddler wrote:
Such a breath of fresh air at the time.
 
If you lived in Chernobyl.

Yawn.
I always love this song — like so many REM songs! Make your own story for the words and lyrics and make it good!!! Drivin music for people who listen from home. 
 handsomened wrote:
 

Poacher, you are a mean and petty piece of work.  Your pettyness is sooooo not good for the ears . . . or eyes.
Lighten up.{#Rolleyes}

 


Well said!  This song rocks... we be dancing...

 
 

Poacher, you are a mean and petty piece of work.  Your pettyness is sooooo not good for the ears . . . or eyes.
Lighten up.{#Rolleyes}

Poacher wrote:
Poacher wrote:
Welcome to the Romeotuma 
Oh dear, did I touch a nerve? It is a bit like watching a schoolchild trying to carve out his place in the playground - and failing. Tell you what young man. . . ask matron to double your medication, I am sure it will help.