(Don't Go Back To) Rockville

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"(Don't Go Back To) Rockville"
Single by R.E.M.
from the album Reckoning
B-side "Catapult" (Live)
Released October 16, 1984 (1984-10-16)
Format 7", 12"
Recorded 1984
Genre Jangle pop,[1] country rock[2]
Length 4:55
Label IRS
Writer(s) Bill Berry · Peter Buck · Mike Mills · Michael Stipe[3]
Producer(s) Don Dixon and Mitch Easter
R.E.M. singles chronology
"So. Central Rain (I'm Sorry)"
"(Don't Go Back To) Rockville"
"Cant Get There from Here"

"(Don't Go Back To) Rockville" was the second and final single released by R.E.M. from their second studio album Reckoning. The song failed to chart on either the Billboard Hot 100 or the UK Singles Charts.

The song was written by Mike Mills (credited to Berry/Buck/Mills/Stipe) as a plea to his then girlfriend, Ingrid Schorr, not to return to Rockville, Maryland,[4] where her parents lived.[5] Schorr, who later became a journalist, has written about her amusement with the factual inaccuracies about her relationship with Mills and the background of the song that often appear in books about the band.[5] Peter Buck has stated that the song was originally performed in a punk/thrash style, and that it was recorded for this single in its now more-familiar country-inspired arrangement as a joke aimed at R.E.M. manager Bertis Downs.[6]

Over time, Mike Mills has taken lead vocals instead of Michael Stipe. On R.E.M.'s appearance on VH1 Storytellers in 1998, Mills performed the song solo on piano. A live version of the song was released as the B-side to "Leaving New York" in 2004 and on R.E.M. Live in 2007.

Cover versions[edit]

  • 10,000 Maniacs released a cover of the song as a B-side to their 1992 single "Candy Everybody Wants."
  • The Long Tall Texans covered it on their 1999 album Aces and Eights.
  • The Irish singer David Kitt included it on his 2005 album Black and Red Notebook.
  • Hootie and the Blowfish covered the song at the annual Memorial Day town festival, Hometown Holidays, in Rockville, Maryland in 2005.
  • J Church covers the song, appearing on the Surprise Your Pig: A Tribute to R.E.M. compilation, as well as their album Camels, Spilled Corona And The Sound Of Mariachi Bands.
  • Funk supergroup Cameo frequently covers the song during live performances.
  • Widespread Panic covered the song on 12/30/09 at Philips Arena, Atlanta, GA with Mike Mills on guitar.

Track listings[edit]

All songs written by Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Michael Stipe unless otherwise indicated.

European singles

  1. "(Don't Go Back To) Rockville" (Edit) – 3:55
  2. "Wolves, Lower" – 4:14
  3. "9-9" (live)1 (12" only)
  4. "Gardening at Night" (live)1 (12" only)

US singles

  1. "(Don't Go Back To) Rockville" (Edit) – 3:55
  2. "Catapult" (live)2


1 Recorded at the Theater El Dorado, Paris, France; April 20, 1984.
2 Recorded at the Music Hall, Seattle, Washington; June 27, 1984.


  1. ^ Reckoning AllMusic review
  2. ^ Janovitz, Bill. "(Don't Go Back To) Rockville". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-02-14. 
  3. ^ "ALBUMS". R.E.M.Hq. 2011-12-18. Retrieved 2012-02-14. 
  4. ^ Black, Johnny (2004). Reveal: The Story of R.E.M. Backbeat Books. ISBN 0-87930-776-5.
  5. ^ a b Schorr, Ingrid. "HERMENAUT: I'm Reading as Fast as I Can: Minnie Minnola's Story". Archived from the original on 2009-09-26. Retrieved 2009-09-24. 
  6. ^ Liner notes to R.E.M.'s Eponymous.