Stand (R.E.M. song)

"Stand" is a song by the American alternative rock band R.E.M., released as the second single from the album Green in 1989. The song peaked at number six on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming R.E.M.'s second top 10 hit in the United States, and topped both the Mainstream Rock Tracks and Modern Rock Tracks charts. The song reached number 48 on the UK Singles Chart and number 16 in Canada. It was placed on R.E.M.'s Warner Bros. Records "best of" album In Time: The Best of R.E.M. 1988–2003 in 2003, as well as the 2011 compilation album Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage.

R.E.M. - Stand.jpg
Single by R.E.M.
from the album Green
B-side"Memphis Train Blues"
ReleasedJanuary 1989
LabelWarner Bros.
R.E.M. singles chronology
"Orange Crush"
"Pop Song 89"
Music video
"Stand" on YouTube

The song is an example of phrase modulation, as the last two rounds of the chorus are each one whole step higher than the one previous.[5] The song is meant to be a self-aware "tongue-in-cheek" 1960s-esque bubblegum pop ditty, meant to resemble the music of The Banana Splits, The Archies and The Monkees.[4]

"Stand" was used as the theme song for the 1990–1992 Fox sitcom Get a Life, starring Chris Elliott. It was parodied by "Weird Al" Yankovic as the song "Spam" on the album UHF – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack and Other Stuff.


Singer Michael Stipe has said of the song's meaning, "It's about making decisions and actually living your life rather than letting it happen"[6] Stipe has said of the song's origin that he and the other band members were discussing The Banana Splits, The Archies, The Monkees, and similar 1960s’ pop groups. "They threw these super bubblegummy songs at me, and I said, 'I'll raise you and see you one.' And I wrote the most inane lyrics that I could possibly write. Now, it was a very intentional thing to do that. I really like most of those songs, in fact."[7] Guitarist Peter Buck described "Stand" as "without a doubt, [...] the stupidest song we've ever written. That's not necessarily a bad thing though", comparing the song to "Louie Louie" by the Kingsmen in terms of 'stupid' lyrical content.[8]

Critical receptionEdit

Betty Page from Record Mirror commented, "Ah, this Michael Stipe — a god amongst men, apparently (along with Michael Hutchence, of course). What a curiously endearing accent the boy has. This is one of the REMers' more commercial gems — quirky but with an appealing guitar noise and a very nice tune to boot. This would make me want to go and listen to the LP, which I suppose is the idea. Stipe, you have Presence with a capital P."[9] The song was called "A splendid pop song..simultaneously stupid and profound. Stipe writes about the need for orientation in one's life, as if based on a series of steps for an unknown, invented, dance."[6]

Track listingEdit

All songs written by Berry, Buck, Mills and Stipe except where indicated.

1st issue

7" Vinyl & Cassette single

  1. "Stand" – 3:10
  2. "Memphis Train Blues" – 1:38

12" Vinyl & 3" CD single

  1. "Stand" – 3:09
  2. "Memphis Train Blues" – 1:37
  3. "(The Eleventh Untitled Song)" – 3:56

Notes: The UK 3" CD single with the catalogue number W7577 CDX came in a leaf-shaped sleeve.

"(The Eleventh Untitled Song)" is an extended instrumental version of the closing (eleventh) unlisted (untitled) track from the album Green.

2nd issue – released later in 1989 with different cover art (a picture of the band on stage) in the UK instead of "Pop Song 89."

  1. "Stand" – 3:09
  2. "Pop Song 89" (Acoustic) – 2:56
  3. "Skin Tight" (Live Ohio Players cover, written by Jones, Pierce, Bonner, Middlebrooks) – 2:03

Note: live track recorded in Orlando, Florida 30 April 1989



  1. ^ Pinnock, Tom (April 1, 2016). "R.E.M.: "If we couldn't be successful being who we were, then we didn't want to be successful"". Uncut. Time Inc. Retrieved October 23, 2017.
  2. ^ Greene, Andy (May 10, 2013). "R.E.M. Reflect on 'Green' on the Album's 25th Anniversary". Rolling Stone. Retrieved October 23, 2017.
  3. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Green - R.E.M. | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved December 7, 2020.
  4. ^ a b Lukowski, Andrzej (November 23, 2011). "Album Review: R.E.M. - Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage 1982-2011". Drowned in Sound. Archived from the original on October 20, 2012. Retrieved December 7, 2020.
  5. ^ Alan Cross (2006-09-10). "How To Talk Like A Rock Snob 6". The Ongoing History of New Music. CFNY-FM.
  6. ^ a b Buckley, David (2012-05-31). R.E.M. Fiction: An Alternative Biography. Random House. ISBN 978-1-4481-3246-1.
  7. ^ Michael Stipe on "Stand",
  8. ^ Buck, Peter (2003). In Time: The Best of R.E.M. 1988–2003 (booklet). Warner Bros. Records.
  9. ^ Page, Betty (January 28, 1989). "45". Record Mirror. p. 29. Retrieved August 25, 2021.
  10. ^ "25 Years Ago This Week: February 26, 1989". Retrieved September 22, 2015.
  11. ^ RPM Top Singles - April 24, 1989 RPM Magazine
  12. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – R.E.M.". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved March 7, 2021.
  13. ^ "R.E.M.: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company.
  14. ^ "R.E.M. Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved March 7, 2021.
  15. ^ "R.E.M. Chart History (Alternative Airplay)". Billboard.
  16. ^ "R.E.M. Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard.
  17. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 51, No. 8, December 23, 1989". RPM. December 23, 1999. Archived from the original on September 7, 2017. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  18. ^ "1989 The Year in Music: Top Pop Singles". Billboard. Vol. 101, no. 51. December 23, 1989. p. Y-22.
  19. ^ "Billboard Top 100 – 1989".