Man On the Moon

Album: Automatic For the People (1992)
Charted: 18 30
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  • Mott the Hoople and the Game of Life, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
    Andy Kaufman in the wrestling match, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
    Monopoly, twenty-one, checkers, and chess, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
    Mister Fred Blassie in a breakfast mess, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
    Let's play Twister, let's play Risk, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
    I'll see you in heaven if you make the list yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

    Now, Andy, did you hear about this one?
    Tell me, are you locked in the punch?
    Andy, are you goofing on Elvis?
    Hey baby, are we losing touch?

    If you believed they put a man on the moon
    Man on the moon
    If you believe there's nothing up his sleeve
    Then nothing is cool

    Moses went walking with the staff of wood, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
    Newton got beaned by the apple good, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
    Egypt was troubled by the horrible asp, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
    Mister Charles Darwin had the gall to ask, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

    Now, Andy, did you hear about this one?
    Tell me, are you locked in the punch?
    Hey Andy, are you goofing on Elvis?
    Hey baby, are you having fun?

    If you believed they put a man on the moon
    Man on the moon
    If you believe there's nothing up his sleeve
    Then nothing is cool

    Here's a little agit for the never-believer, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
    Here's a little ghost for the offering, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
    Here's a truck stop instead of Saint Peter's, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
    Mister Andy Kaufman's gone wrestling, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

    Now, Andy, did you hear about this one?
    Tell me, are you locked in the punch?
    Hey Andy, are you goofing on Elvis?
    Hey baby, are we losing touch?

    If you believed they put a man on the moon
    Man on the moon
    If you believe there's nothing up his sleeve
    Then nothing is cool

    If you believed they put a man on the moon
    Man on the moon
    If you believe there's nothing up his sleeve
    Then nothing is cool

    If you believed they put a man on the moon
    Man on the moon
    If you believed there's nothing up his sleeve
    Then nothing is cool

    If you believed they put a man on the moon
    Man on the moon
    If you believed there's nothing up his sleeve
    Then nothing is cool Writer/s: John Michael Stipe, Michael E. Mills, Peter Lawrence Buck, William Thomas Berry
    Publisher: Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., Universal Music Publishing Group
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 51

  • Michellemiller from Buda, TexasLong story.. but worthwhile

    I was confused about truth and lies at the very beginning of Covid. I prayed in despair for truth that God reveal what is truth in the matter. My cousin visited for the first time ever and we talked about how coincidences are not coincidental at all. She went home the following day. Next day my husband and I chat for a moment as he was making his way to work about Jim Carey and his role as Andy Kaufman in the Movie man on the Moon. Shortly after he leaves. I begin going through my books on a bookshelf and from my first Bible falls a movie ticket. It’s the stub for the movie Man on the Moon when I saw it in theaters in 1999. On the back I wrote the three people I went to see it with and the town which was Plainview, Texas. One of the names was my cousin who had just visited. I called to tell her about the coincidence of mine and my husband’s convo and the fact I stumbled across the tick just within an hour later not even realizing I had that possession. As I told her about it I shared the part that we watched it together when I visited her in Plainview. She was shocked because when she got home the night before from our visit she watched a movie with her kids, she was telling them about Jim Carey and decided to watch Man on the Moon because she vaguely remembered enjoying it. She said she was trying to remember who she saw it with and I call her the very next day with the answer, literally pre planned 21 years earlier by no coincidence. The next day was my sons 16th birthday so with Covid in full effect we were limited to options for celebration so he decided we would order burgers from fudruckers. As we sat in the parking lot waiting for our burgers to be cooked I told him about this crazy Man on the Moon story. He was also shocked. After the story the food was ready so I went inside to pay while he added his fixings to his burger. There was music playing inside but I didn’t notice until we exited into the strange silence of Covid and no one being in public that the song on the speakers kept playing in my subconscious after we exited. It was REMs Man on the Moon. We went back inside to verify it, and in fact it was that song. We literally lost our s--t with amazement. So when I get home I tell my husband and my neighbor. The next day all day the words C to D kept playing over in my mind compulsively without any idea why or what it even meant. My husband being a songwriter, I asked him what C to D was thinking it sounded like a musical reference but unclear why it’s stuck in my head. He had no idea outside of it possibly being simply music notes what it meant or why it kept nuancing my thoughts. The next day it was still replaying in my head so I googled C to D Man on the Moon, just a shot in the dark, and the first article to populate was The Rolling Stones article mentioned above about it originally being called C to D interlude. My mind was blown. I rushed to call my neighbor and best friend to tell her about this recent mine blow and she said I’m literally in Academy Sports buying my nephew an inflatable bumper car for the pool and I can’t figure out which batteries it takes. It’s saying I can use C or D and I can’t make sense of it and you call me to tell me about a mind fu@$ regarding C to D. Regarding my prayer and the lyrics of the song my conclusion was that reality is of our making and we are in a time of false reality and no coincidence because coincidence implies it’s outside of our control when we create our reality based in lies or truth it’s our decision... anyways.
    Also after reading the comments I see that Stipe also received this as a message from a higher power and only delivered the message given to him. One more thing, one of the first microbiologist to buck the narrative of Covid saying it’s a hoax and only real because we choosing gullibility to believe it is real claimed it has never been proven or seen under a microscope and contradicts every scientific fact regarding viruses prior to its inception. Well his name is Dr. Andy Kaufman. Dr. Kaufman is also a psychologist that clearly recognizes the manipulation being played out on a gullible world over trusting and lacking curiosity for truth. Another funny non coincidence is that Dr. Andy Kaufman’s theory is called Operation MoonShot... you can’t make this s--t up!!!!!
  • Robie from NcWell, what he is saying is that ‘if you believe they put a man on the moon’ you will believe anything... being a Flat Earther myself we all know you can’t land on the moon
  • AnonymousSheldon from Indianapolis:

    The fact that you criticize another’s perspective of a Hollywood recording thanks in part to the work of Stanley Kubrick and liken his view point (which has myriad of scientific evidence to support his claim) to that of believing in “Santa Claus” tells me you’re probably not mentally fit to have such a conversation with other adults. Science has always been about testing the the theory, which he’s accomplished. Challenging the belief or narrative (hypothesis) is the foundation of science !! Literally!! Yet time and time again I see and hear science fan boys/girls who in their cognitive dissonance reject any sort of contrary viewpoint and seek to silence the “dissenter” or put them on an attempted condescending level of childlike proportions, as opposed to taking up the very essence of science they claim to love and hold as religion. Ironically their/ your behavior reveals your inner workings far more than you know, as hypocrisy and ignorance are the walls that have been used to hold up the very low ceiling of your mind. Furthermore, it’s not even a clever analogy. We all know Santa Claus as lied to your children by millions of warped minds tends to describe (lie to your children, while raising them up to not be liers? Insanity I tell you!) . How do we know it’s a lie? Because we perpetuate the story and put ourselves in it and carry the lie out by having to take on the role as “Santa” that night and put the gifts out, eat the cookies, drink the milk, then tell the children come morning that it was a fat guy with “flying reindeer” and elves. You yourself, all of you who teach such rubbish only to take it all away at another time ARE THAT LIE. YOU ARE THE CONSPIRACY. YOU’RE THE HOAX! You gave the easiest example of conspiracy to debunk as you are the conspiracy himself. Are you an astronaut? Have you been to the moon? Did you see it first hand with your own eyes? The same eyes that lied t your children about fat man and looked at them with the same eyes and said I love you? Did those eyes see the Moon or Mars? No. So you defend something that you actually can not even back up with clear and irrefutable evidence, yet whip people across the back with it as though it were truly facts. The thought of that alone , IMO shows how inhumane you are, how ignorant you’ve chosen to live your life, and how pathetic a life that is by trying to force your theory on others.

    As to the site that facilitated this thread, REM fans, and just lovers of this song, like me... I apologize for my comment and the vibration it gives off. Great song, great band, great comments from so many of you. I have convictions that are only what they are called because I stand behind them. And for those who have a mind of their own, they will understand that those convictions have zero to do with a moon or astronauts.
  • Frank from Nythe song is just about kaufman always playing everyone. Did you hear about this one? Are you locked in the punch? He was just having fun. He may NOT be dead lol
  • Brandon from OregonLife is a constant pull between belief and disbelief, between using logic/reason to define your reality and faith in something spiritual/magical/otherwordly/consipracy that you don't have evidence for. Andy Kaufmann blurred those lines, not knowing what part of his persona was staged and what part was the core of Kaufmann. What was real, and what was the lie: it made him seem otherworldly. His story becomes myth. This song is about that. Even his own death becomes a myth, maybe he's still alive today doing Tony Clifton performances. This song touches on that magic with references to Kaufmann's own life and other beliefs/myths (depending on which side of the coin you're on).
  • Olen Neal from CharlotteI have no proof if my "epiphany" about this song is true so maybe some people here could verify it. I just read that Andy Kaufman's favorite comedian who also inspired him was Jonathan Winters, which makes sense since they were both completely unpredictable.

    With that said, Jonathan Winters was arrested in the early '60s for climbing the mast of a ship in a harbor somewhere (a trawler I believe) while having a mental breakdown and when the police asked what he was doing he said he was the "man in the moon".
  • Rob from Bethel ParkI thought the lyrics, "Andy did you hear about this one..." "... would you believe they put a man on the moon..." For people in the 90s, not everyone understood that the moon landings took place in the 60's and Andy died in the early 80s. The song itself is about fooling people of a different generation- at least those lines, I've always figured. OF COURSE Andy heard about that one, he lived through it! He didn't die before that, as the song, I think, suggests. All the younger people (an entire generation and probably generations to come...) are likely to be fooled wondering what Andy would have thought about the moon landing if he had lived long enough. That in itself is a true tribute to Andy.
  • Tadly from Flyover Land, UsaFirst time poster. Like the site. Nice to have enlightened civil discourse.

    Forgive the length of my take on this. It took me 20 years to get it all cohesive in my mind. My favorite REM song.

    For iimagery, I see a design borrowed from visual art: "iconography" - here, it is a study of pop images, myth images, true history images, and religious images. Collectively: a personal iconography by Stipe about himself and the broader themes via Kaufman. Stipe borrows a lot from visual arts up and down the REM catalog. For proof, look no further than my verse 3 comments.

    For Themes, I agree with any who said: belief v disbelief, star v fan, dogma v inquiry, life/afterlife.

    As background, Stipe introduced the song on one tour, and his intro got recorded live, as (roughly) "this next song is about a journey, one we are all going to take, we had to pick one person to go with us; we picked in my opinion the greatest comedian of the 20th century". I *think* it is in Roadmovie (Monster tour). So that seems to be the single seed that grew up into this amazing tree.

    verse 1: personal, pop imagery -

    Mott the Hoople and Andy each dealt very differently in perceptions. Ian Hunter broached the star/fan boundary in his stage swagger - glam, but rough and not intending any of-the-era ambiguity (Simon Frith: the ballad of Mott, 1991). Mott kept it real and the fans identified. Andy? He incited his fans. He needed the wall between star/audience, the wider the better!!! Maybe Stipe identifies with both? Maybe he even does things a bit like each would, in the song?
    The games list, to me, reinforces a universal need for suspending disbelief, and also a time when we accept rules as a given. By Line 5 the speaker shifts to dialogue with someone off camera (" let's play... Let's play..."). Line 6 "See you in heaven if you make the list", "You" may be universal, but I also kinda think its aimed at Andy, in part because "Making the list" is entertainment lingo that Andy would know, but I had to research. It means being an official invitee to a private party. So, immediately there is a clear satire on the rules for getting into heaven (with the church- as institution- being the rule maker).

    Verse 2: myth and historical imagery-
    Moses/staff Newton/apple, are types of myth. The first is dogmatic, the second is a popular - and false-- historical tale. Per "It crawled from the South" (1997), the "asp" image was stolen from a film reviewer's pun about Liz Taylor's "behind" as Cleopatra. So here, Stipe has nonsense 'up his sleeve'. Line 4 aligns with scientific inquiry opposite of dogma (historical note: Darwin never openly rejected his faith, but he was not at all devout either.)

    Verse 3, (someone asked earlier & I saw no reply) - pop art and religious imagery

    " Here's a little agit...". Agit is probably Agit Prop, a form of visual art which uses agitation and propaganda techniques for its message (e.g., Soviet poster campaigns under Lenin). Aso, I believe the line ends in "nether-believer"(not " never believer"). I think it is fair to see Stipe dropping a hint about what is to come next, and for whom.
    "Here's a little ghost for the offering". I can think of 2 possible meanings. 1) A board game called Little Ghost, origin 1960, basically a Caspar knock-off, aimed at children. I am on the fence because it is not as well-known as the other games. 2) it is pure wordplay: reworking " giving up the ghost". Giving is like giving for an offering, but, here he is giving the idea of what a ghost is. Why is the ghost "little" ? Maybe just to mirror the line above. Maybe it figuratively means "not a lot". So, it subverts church institutional orthodox "giving". I like how #2 mirrors Verse 1, line 6. But it could be another inside joje we dont get, or something ekse.
    "Truck stop/St. Peter's" I love the guy who said it questions why everyday things can't be religious as well. Agree! I only add that the contrast echoes the idea from "the list" (what is less exclusive than a truck stop?).
    "Mr. Andy Kaufman's gone wrestling (wrestling bears)". The parenthetical is vague. I dont think Andy claimed he could, or ever did, wrestle a real bear. But ... I hear from the interweb that " bear" is alternative orientation slang that one might conclude quite aptly fits many pro wrestler body-types, especially of that era. Thats way better than what I was gonna speculate.

    Chorus- to me the 'if' conditionals and double negatives explain themselves: The first 2 lines arent necessarily one question. One is fragment, one not. Cool.
  • Racer from PolandFirst before commenting on the song... this site is awesome. Just reminded of my favorite song and wanted to check what the song really is about (of course like many I have my own ideas) and got lost in reading comments :)
    The message the song carries to me is to question things from time to time. It is not always true what they show us in TV and it is worth double-checking. Having doubts is not always a bad thing.
    20 years ago I was rather thinking it is irony for narrow-minded people who are always against and always smell a rat... maybe the first impression was right but I like my newest interpretation.
  • Wendy from Bethesda , MdThis is so obvious.
    "Man on the Moon" reminds me of my grandmother and my belief that if I can believe in all the things I see on earth, then I have to believe in heaven and life after death.
    Believing in Andy Kaufman's comedy begs the ultimate question in life: In the ultimate game of life, do we believe in heaven? Where do we go after we die? Michael starts out saying this song is about the Game of Life. He talks about growing up playing those simple childhood games and watching Kaufman's comedy as a child and then he says, in the real game of life, we die like Kaufman. He is asking "Andy, where are you?" "Where did you go after you died?" "See you in heaven if you make the list? Then he says, "Did you hear about this one?" He's asking, "Are you already in heaven?" Are you still living on after death?" Here's a word "for the never-believer," who doesn't believe in heaven. He says, "the gall of Darwin" to believe in evolution and to say God (and heaven) doesn't exist and you believe that, just as you believe Kaufman's stunts. If they can put a man on the moon and you can believe that and that Moses parted the Red Sea and if you can watch Kaufman's stunts and believe that, then you have to believe in heaven and that Kaufman is in heaven "goofing on Elvis" living on, just like Elvis, whom so many people believe is living on and spotted every day. He's saying that some believe Elvis is spotted everywhere like at truck stops, but can't believe he's in heaven with St. Peter. Michael says actually he's in heaven living on and so is Kaufman, doing the same thing he always did with us, goofing on someone.
  • Patrick from Atlanta, GaI've read that Cobain actually played this song before or during his "suicide."
  • Paul from Melbourne, AustraliaMichael Stipe certainly confuses and makes mystery of the song as much as much is he intrigues, although my perspective is I feel it is really quite simple. For example the lyrics, 'Mr. Charles Darwin had the gall to ask... yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah'. These 'yeahs' after historical mentions of figures mainly in Western Culture are not just Stipes' urge to outdo Cobain. The 'yeahs' with their lower dynamic (volume) and speech-like non-commitment indicate 'irony', of people looking at Newton, Darwin, and Cleopatra with no research and going oh whatever I don't believe that even though there is sufficient evidence to prove otherwise. It is I suspect possibly about people's willing to go by popular media and non-credible internet sites instead of the painstaking novel, the scientific theory paper, the most credible historian, and out of this the ridiculous time-wasting debates that ensue. This culture has some of the most dishonest, lying, ungenerous, sensationalist media around, and why?

    Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah...... the song is about the blurring of fact and fiction but in the context of people, as well as me, for who can believe almost anything on their TV screens or papers (or bible) it's ridiculing us, for our tenacity to be easily persuaded, especially so by emotional force. And that's the other clever notion of this song, it is serious but it is also jokey with the Andy Kaufman talk demonstrating for a figure such as Kaufman to ridicule people's willing to immediately lose their brains to watch Elvis (yes great performer but in another light) and be emotionally controlled, to watch a wrestler, etc then even believing Kaufman faked his death, an obvious rumour which, well, doesn't seem be true. The songs American campfire feel around the beautiful pine trees is possibly ridiculing the whole of Western Culture.

    The Chorus 'If you believe, there is nothing up my sleeve, then nothing is cool' is quite evident of Stipe playing with the listener in irony to show that some listeners may try to see if there is something up his sleeve but when their isn't it is boring to them, so they reinvent 9/11, moon landings, people's deaths (Hendrix) because their lives are that plagued by boring daytime routines, TV controlled imagination and no spirituality that they have to resort to this so then they can feel good or have something interesting.
    The campfire is the ultimate irony (of which it could also be a bar, room, whatever, a meeting, whatever) as the acoustic guitar might display, the impassioned performer trying to persuade and win the hearts of the few there, by being egotistically tender, hypercritical, overconfident, and yet people believe! They take it seriously! This song according to Ann Powers is also joking about human endeavours by placing them alongside boardgames, 'Twister... Risk.' Powers may be intending to show that what is the point of these life long endeavours when people don't care or more accurately don't care to believe it. It also may demonstrate humans sense of "self-importance", who will find us, are we the greatest, in clear complete ignorance of their brother species. In essence they should really just have one, not try t 'classify' everything and be joyous, work hard and do it for the meaning of itself: fulfillment. In other words, look at many perspectives, explore.

    The Chorus line 'If you believe, They put a man on the moon, Man on the Moon' seems to indicate with the passionate, emotional tone of delivery that they (band) know it is so because the evidence is irrefutable, I mean I won't go mad but this is billions of dollars to NASA with countless research for the moon landing (in short what is the point of faking that?), if people only went to their website for climate change... AS well. Stipe's tone is urgent, 'you know this? They put a man on the moon, isn't that amazing?!' Julia Gillard was Australia's first female prime minister, and she had the courage and warrior-like strength to take all the scared (because they are scared they will lose tradition, lose their strength because they are actually very weak, etc), misogynistic bulls--t dished out to her. Including to have some incredible policy decisions in three years (which shows how pointless and destructive politics are when you focus solely on appearance, gender and personality instead of ethos and policies), isn't that amazing?
    The lyrics are satirising people's gullibility to believe anything, any of the adverts that proclaim you need them when you don't that don't give you anything, cults, religion, you name it. Of course here you can criticise me but I hope you do because it is the only way I and you will learn not to be gullible and 'face the music', face the facts and learn with humility and self-ridicule.
  • Reidy from Liverpool, United KingdomMy thoughts are that this song relates to gullibility and the time Andy Kaufman and Jim Ross had a "unscripted" fight on the letterman show in the 80's. some people still argue whether it was scripted or not. I think michael stipe is cynical on religion and the moon landings etc, so he is saying that if you believe in them then you probably believe that Andy Kaufmans TV persona is really him.
  • Tony from Cary, NcThe overall theme is summarized by, "If you believe there's nothing up my sleeve, then nothing is cool". Basically, fun in life is often imagination and imagination is often stimulated by disbelief.

    The other lyrics are supporting details, of which Andy K. is the poster child. For example, the first verse and the "yeah-yeah"s represent tedium. The Game of Life, Andy really wrestling, Fred Blassie, Twister, making a list and going to heaven, yawn (or yeah-yeah-yeah). Groovin on Elvis, locked in the punch, Man on the Moon? Everyone knows that!

    Moses should be boring, too - unless you don't believe he just walked with the staff of the wood. Newton getting beaned is boring - unless you consider the fact he developed the theory of gravity from this event. Perhaps an asp is responsible for Cleo's demise - unless we use a little imagination (nice suicide ref earlier). Darwin has the gall to ask, disbelieves and look what happens.

    If you believe there's nothing up my sleeve, then Moses walked with a staff, Newton got beaned and Darwin was a s***-stirrer. But ... if you think there's more to the story, cool stuff happens.

    IMO, of course.
  • Paul from Nelsonville, OhThe "if you believe they..." was what draws me here. Two things about the Moon landing have always puzzled me. First, (and this may be explainable), but how were we able to bring back perfect photos of the ship leaving the Moon? Also, in 1969 it is my understanding that it took a large room to hold 1mg of memory. The technology to compress the storage needed for memory was many years off. And, the pc had not been invented, as well as the hand held calculator. Now, does this trip add up?
  • Andy from New Jersey, NjFor me, I don't believe this song has anything to do with the moon landings, Kaufman was the master of "is this real?" so i think REM are pretty much just relating the antics and life of Kaufman to the moon landings also something that many people weren't and still aren't sure if what they saw was real, but i don't believe this song really is a comment on the landing, also Kaufman was seen by some as crazy (from another planet).
  • Cindy from Evansville, InThis is such a great song, with so many different ways you could try to understand/analyze it. That's what makes it such a great song.
  • Sheldon from Indianapolis, InFor Michael in Indy.If you think the moon landings were faked, then I believe you probably still believe in Santa Claus.
  • Dasher from Brisbane, AustraliaBeing that Andy Kaufman was always making people question reality, The line "if you believed they put a man on the moon",Was not only a challenge to the populace ,But a tongue in cheek mocking of the gullibility of a nation and the world.
  • Jess from Buenos Aires, ArgentinaI met Michael after a show in Buenos Aires last year and had the opportunity to ask him about it, he smile and said: "I already had the music, and the words came up from somewhere so I put them in the same random way that they came to me. Not big deal, you know!" ...Anyway, who cares about the meaning, the song itself is wonderful!!!!!!! Thanks REM!!!... AND DON´T STOP "LOOKING FOR ANSWERS FROM THE GREAT BEYOND" !!!
  • Nelson from P-goula, Msp.s. Mark from Austin. 'the asp bit' is most likely the skepticism surrounding Cleopatra's death. Once again we are faced with believing a myth. Did a snake kill her by the river, or did she kill herself as the Roman's had captured her city?
  • Nelson from P-goula, MsThe main lyric is 'if you believed they put a man on the moon."

    So, what does this mean?

    If you don't believe they put a man on the moon, it means you believe Hollywood produced the hoax.

    I assume then, that 'if you believed they put a man on the moon' implies the believer is fooled by Hollywood.

    How does this connect to Andy Kaufman/the film? At one point his girlfriend and him joke about the real Andy Kaufman.

    Well, "if you believed they put a man on the moon...If you believe there's nothing up their sleeve, then nothing is cool."

    I think the song is based around a skepticism of truth, extraordinary truths. The ultimate question being is the comedian the actual Andy Kaufman. Other ones included in the song, debate the existence of heaven, evolution, moses, and newton's apple.

    The central skepticism is one against production, man on the moon/andy haufman. Both of which might just be acting/hollywood lies?
  • Coffeegod from Brandon, MsMark from Chicago, I doubt you would get a, pardon the pun, straight answer from Michael. He lives for abiguity.
  • Mark from Chicago, IlWhy don't we just ask Stipe what he meant?
  • Bertrand from Paris, FranceR.E.M.'s album [b] Automatic For the People [b] is one of the top artistic achievements of the 1990's in popular music. "Man On the Moon" is one of the most memorable and beautiful songs from the album. It is a moving tribute to comedian Andy Kaufman, and it is much more than that. The song is also a meditation on a wide range of elements of popular culture and memory.

  • John from Btown, WiI believe that most of the song is talking about how Andy's entire life was based on practical jokes... His fightings with the King/his tv special's static problems, Tony Clifton. If you believe they put a man on the moon refering to the speculation surrounding the moon landings. If you think theres nothing up my sleeve then nothing is cool. Refering to how Andy was only having fun if there was a joke involved.
  • Ed from Incognito, IlUnbelievable song by an unbelievable, highly under-rated band.
  • Matthew from Milford, MaMan, I thought that it was saying "Now, Annie did you hear about this one?" Serves me right for thinking this to be a love song...
  • Mike from Hillsboro, NjI think the "here's a truck stop instead of St. Peter's" bit is about rumors that Kaufman had faked his own death, a stunt he had talked about for a while; instead of meeting St. Peter in Heaven, Kaufman might be hanging around at a truck stop. R.E.M. rocks.
  • Mark from Austin, TxDan, Ashburn, VA has the exact same idea of this song as I do. I see it as a message about Life and how the Divine and the inspirational and BEAUTY are to be found everywhere. The first verse is about what appear to be very silly and superficial (but fun!) persuits of games and comedy entertainment. The various games mentioned reflect the aspect of "luck" and "chance" in Life. The second verse tells about much more serious and "important" studied sciences and the great contributions to society by Charles Darwin, Moses, Newton and I'm not sure about the Asp reference. Stipe sums it up with "Here's a little agit for the never-believer. Here's a little ghost for the offering. (here's a little inspiration for YOU) "Here's a truck stop instead of St. Peters"
  • Michael Gould from Indianapolis, InThis is for Mason. The setting is the present (late 1970s), and the first manned mission to Mars is on the pad, ready to go. When NASA authorities realize that a major subcontractor's faulty life support system design has doomed any chance of a successful flight, they decide to fake the landing rather than scrub the mission.
    Minutes before launch, the bewildered crew are removed from the ship and flown to an old U.S. Army base deep in a desert. They are then informed that whether they like it or not, they will fake the TV footage from Mars. Initially they refuse, but the authorities imply that their families will be murdered if they do not cooperate.
  • Mark from Lincoln, EnglandThe song is about death. its about michaels vision of the journey. 'heres a truck stop instead of saint peters' is the reference to the fact people were claiming to see ELVIS at really random places long after his death.. like at a truck stop , hence could the truck stop be instead of st peters ?
  • Jon from Oakridge, OrHe could be talking about the Basketball game 21.
  • Benjamin from Amsterdam, NetherlandsI'm not an R.E.M. fan, but 'Man on the Moon' is a song I like very much.
  • Dorian from Pontefract, EnglandGood lord! what's wrong with all of you? 21 is a card game! it's the English name for Black Jack; to us, blackjack is a totally different game, so we call it 21.
  • James from Sydney, AustraliaThe line "Heres a truck stop instead of St. Peter" is in reference to St. Peter guarding the pearly gates. Rest or Die.
  • James from Vidalia, GaI still remember when I discovered this tune and what it was about. As a long time fan of Kaufman (and REM) it remains among my favorite songs. I'm lucky enough to have a copy of most Friday's episodes including the one with Kaufman. They did a fine job recreating it for the Carrey film.
  • James from Sydney, AustraliaI actually think the line "Here's a truck stop instead of St. Peter" refers to a choice of stopping for a break, or losing it all.

    St. Peter being the guardian of the Pearly Gates
  • Mason from Prior Lake, MnI think the line,

    "If you believe they put a man on the moon, man on the moon.
    If you believe there's nothing up their sleeve, then nothing is cool"

    refers to the fact that some people believe the Moon landings were faked by the US government so that it would look like we were ahead in the space race. There was even a book written about it (I forgot the title). Does anybody know if Andy Kaufman ever did any routines about this theory? I have a friend who thinks the Moon landings were faked, and what do you know? His name is Andy.
  • Dodge from Lexington, KyThe Movie Man On The Moon was a very toutching movie i have probally seen it over 20 times and it never gets old the song is excellent i really like REM and the songs they released for the movie where ALL good im only 17 but i wish i could have been there to see some of andy kaufmans stunts especially the one he pulled on the show "Fridays" The Show similar to SNL in 1980 to 82
  • James from London, Englandtheir are 56 uses of the word 'yeah' In this song!
  • Dan from Ashburn, VaR.E.M. writes lyrics that speak to many different levels. "Here's a truck stop instead of St. Peter's" should make you ask yourself 'what's the difference between a truck stop and St. Peter's cathedral in Rome?' If God (or the supreme being, whatever) is everywhere, can't we find Him in a truck stop as well as St. Peter's? Is Michaelangelo's Pieta of the grieving Mary (in St. Peter's) any more representative of the Divine than an old man drinking his coffee. You don't have to go to St. Peter's to have a spiritual experience, you can have it anywhere--that's what reality is. Kaufmann was the king of challenging people's perception of "reality" in the 70s.
  • Bryttany from Charlotte, Ncdoes anyone know the purpose of this verse? "Here's a little agit for the never-believer. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
    Here's a little ghost for the offering. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
    Here's a truck stop instead of Saint Peter's. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
    Mister Andy Kaufman's gone wrestling [wrestling bears]. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah."
  • Alex from New Orleans, LaI think it parodies "My Dinner with Andre"
  • Chad from Orlando, FlHe mentions "Fred Blassie in a breakfast mess." This is a reference to the Andy Kaufman movie "My breakfast with Blassie," in which Andy and Fred have a talk over a breakfast parodies another movie but i can't think of the title right now
  • Epp from Pittsburgh, PaThe life story of comedean Andy Kaufman. Stipe is a big fan of 'outlaw humor' since he has also metions fellow groundbreaking comedian Lenny Bruce in End Of The World
  • Adam from Portland, OrMinor correction: the movie about the game show "Twenty-One" was called "Quiz Show", not "Game Show".
  • Jason Lee from New York, NyPatrick, although the phrase "twenty-one" may refer to the 1950s game show, I thing it's probably more likely referring to blackjack.
  • Dennis from Aberdeen, Scotland"Mister Andy Kaufman's gone wrestling": Andy used to hold the title of InterGender Wrestling Champion and it is doing that where he met his wife.
  • Patrick from Conyers, GaThe phrase "twenty-one" is mentioned along with names of board games ("Monopoly, Twenty-One, Checkers and Chess..."). "Twenty-One" was a famous TV game show during the 1950s, which was later cited for being "rigged", causing one person to constantly win every game (Charles Van Doren). The entire episode was the subject of the movie "Game Show."
  • Chris from Hamilton, New ZealandI love REM. This album is of real quality. i like the vidoe for every body hurts. the music on here is very clinical and crisp.
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