Don't Go Back To Rockville

Album: Reckoning (1984)

Songfacts®:

  • This is about Ingrid Schorr, a girl the band knew at the University of Georgia whose hometown was Rockville, Maryland. She got a lot of attention on campus as classmates lamented her departure. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    victoria - gaithersburg, MD
  • This is one of the few R.E.M. songs where bass player Mike Mills wrote most of the lyrics and sings the lead vocal. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Sam - Lincoln, NE
  • The band had already been playing this song in a much faster, punk-like style for a long time and didn't even consider it for the Reckoning album until their legal advisor, Bertis Downs, begged them to "at least do one take of it for me ... please!?!?"

    Drummer Bill Berry remembers tweaking the song to mess with Downs: "To playfully suggest to him that the song wasn't in contention, we recorded a much slower version than he was accustomed to hearing and we sprinkled it with a Nashville twang to drive the point home. It started out silly, but when Mike added piano, the tune took on new light. Thanks, Bert!" (Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage 1982-2011)

Comments: 8

  • Cody from Madera, CaMichael Stipe sings lead on the song, but in more recent live performances Mike Mills sang lead instead (one instance is on the R.E.M. Live album).
  • Jeff from Mt. Pleasant, ScThe lyrics suggest that it could be about a bump in a relationship between two band members, one of which has left for a spell. "At night I drink myself to sleep and pretend I don't care that your'e not here with me." -- "Something better happen soon or it's going to be to late to bring you back." rejoin the band? There are no factories in Rockville MD.
  • Claude from Kingston, MaMike Mills does not sing the lead in this song. He sings the harmony on the chorus and that's it. Stipe sings lead. It's very obvious.
  • Chris from Newcastle Upon Tyne, United KingdomI don't think the speaker actually loved her, he only wanted her because he couldn't have her, as she was leaving.
    'It's not as if I really need you'
    'If you were here I'd only leave you'
    It's also about sticking to education, as it's what's best, ie ending up in some factory, 'stay another year' is also interesting, it's one year, it may seem a long time, but the benefits will be huge.
  • Doctor from Birmingham, United KingdomOne of my favourite songs of all time...

    MIKE MILLS is my idol! he's a legend!
  • John from Poprt Washington, WiMichael Stipe is in fact, bi..As if that has anything to do with anything.
  • Lisa from Herzegova, BosniaMichael Stipe is gay! So I don't think it was him..but I believe it was another band member who was going out with her.. They're not too keen on this song. It's one of my favourites though!

  • Mark from Lincoln, EnglandAnd Mike had a crush on her and was tempted to throw it all away chasing her and forgoe his chances with the band .....the ' dont go back to rockville' and ' you will wind up in some factory' are references to how close and infactuated he was to this woman
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Richie Wise (Kiss producer, Dust)

Richie Wise (Kiss producer, Dust)Songwriter Interviews

Richie talks about producing the first two Kiss albums, recording "Brother Louie," and the newfound appreciation of his rock band, Dust.

Creedence Clearwater Revival

Creedence Clearwater RevivalFact or Fiction

Is "Have You Ever Seen the Rain" about Vietnam? Was John Fogerty really born on a Bayou? It's the CCR edition of Fact or Fiction.

Pam Tillis

Pam TillisSongwriter Interviews

The country sweetheart opines about the demands of touring and talks about writing songs with her famous father.

The End Of The Rock Era

The End Of The Rock EraSong Writing

There are no more rock stars - the last one died in 1994.

Tom Waits Lyrics Quiz

Tom Waits Lyrics QuizMusic Quiz

Pool balls, magpies and thorns without roses - how well do you know your Tom Waits lyrics?

Stan Ridgway

Stan RidgwaySongwriter Interviews

Go beyond the Wall of Voodoo with this cinematic songwriter.