R.E.M. Lyric Annotations FAQ
R.E.M.: Lifes Rich Pageant: Cuyahoga


 [Lifes Rich Pageant]

Cuyahoga is a native American tribe and river in northern Ohio. [Ron Henry]

Cuyahoga, gone.

"start a new country up"
I.e., American replacement of native culture with a new country. [Ron Henry] * Or a comtemporary revolution, to rectify the problems our father's father's father's revolution caused. [Chris Piuma]

"Our father's father's father tried, erased the parts he didn't like"
An alternate hearing of the line is "our father's father's father's tribe erased the parts he didn't like"; that is, describing the European settlers of North America as an invading tribe who rewrote history, and using the same word, tribe, to describe the two sides (as opposed to "civilization" wiping out the "savages" -- which is obviously the re-written version). [Ron Henry]

"we burned the river down"
The Cuyahoga River in Cleveland caught fire in [1969], fueled by the massive pollutants. [Ron Henry]

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Lyrics from Kipp Teague's Lyric Archive.