Stand (R.E.M. song)

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Single by R.E.M.
from the album Green
B-side "Memphis Train Blues"
Released January 1989
Format 7" Single/12" Single/3" CD Single
Recorded 1988
Genre Alternative rock
Length 3:10
Label Warner Bros.
Producer(s) Scott Litt & R.E.M.
R.E.M. singles chronology
"Orange Crush"
"Pop Song 89"

"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 quickly rose up the charts, peaking at number six on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming R.E.M.'s second top 10 hit in the United States. The song reached number 48 on the UK Singles Charts. The song reached number 16 in Canada.


The lyrics to "Stand" speak of finding direction in one's life ("Think about direction / Wonder why you haven't before"), and of doing more than only contemplating change or wishing for it ("If wishes were trees / The trees would be falling"). The speaker urges for the listener to "Stand" in his or her personal and professional lives and make changes.

Singer Michael 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 ’60s 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.”[1]

"Weird Al" Yankovic parodied "Stand" for his 1989 album, UHF, as "Spam".

Alvin and the Chipmunks covered the song as a bonus track for their 2007 video game of the same name.

"Stand" was used as the opening theme song to the early 1990s Fox comedy Get a Life, starring Chris Elliott.[2] In keeping with the song's theme, the show concerned a 30-year old paperboy who is content to live at home with his parents and not seek direction.

The song 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.

The song is an example of "truck driver's gear change", as the last two rounds of the chorus are each one whole step higher than the one previous.[3]

Track listing[edit]

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


Chart (1989) Peak
Canadian Hot 100 16[citation needed]
Irish Singles Chart 17[citation needed]
UK Singles Chart 48[citation needed]
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 6[citation needed]
U.S. Billboard Modern Rock Tracks 1[citation needed]
U.S. Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks 1[citation needed]


  1. ^ Michael Stipe on "Stand",
  2. ^ Shales, Tom (1999-03-11). "'Get a Life': Rewind to That Perfectly Silly Sitcom". The Washington Post. p. C1. 
  3. ^ Alan Cross (2006-09-10). "How To Talk Like A Rock Snob 6". The Ongoing History of New Music. CFNY-FM.
Preceded by
"Charlotte Anne" by Julian Cope
Billboard Modern Rock Tracks number-one single
January 28 – February 4, 1989
Succeeded by
"Dirty Blvd." by Lou Reed
Preceded by
"The Love in Your Eyes" by Eddie Money
Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks number-one single
February 11, 1989
Succeeded by
"Driven Out" by The Fixx