This is where they walked, swam, hunted, danced and sang…..R.E.M.’s “Cuyahoga” video.

“Cuyahoga” was released in the summer of 1986 on R.E.M.’s fourth album, Lifes Rich Pageant. This is my 2nd favorite R.E.M. song of all-time (right behind “Don’t Go Back To (Rockville)” and my 2nd video for an R.E.M. tune.

I’d started work on the video a long time ago but lost interest in it soon after my previous R.E.M. video was blocked from view almost everywhere (except the U.K….who comes up with these country by country policies anyway!? LOL!). I recently found the other video was now being allowed to play and was excited to get back into “Cuyahoga”. Happy to find, upon upload of the completed video, that is was also being allowed to happily play for most to see. If yer already a fan of the tune, I hope you’ll enjoy the video I was able to put behind it….if you aren’t familiar with this truly gorgeous tune, well….I hope the video helps seal the deal! 😉

From WiKi: The source for the title of the album is based on an English idiom. Its use is very old, but R.E.M.’s use is, according to Peter Buck, from the 1964 film A Shot in the Dark, minus the apostrophe:

Inspector Clouseau opens car door and falls into a fountain.
Maria: “You should get out of these clothes immediately. You’ll catch your death of pneumonia, you will.”
Clouseau: “Yes, I probably will. But it’s all part of life’s rich pageant, you know?

The missing apostrophe in the title is deliberate. Nearly all contractions used by R.E.M. lack apostrophes, though “life’s” in this case is a possessive. The cover of the album depicts drummer Bill Berry on the upper part of the cover and a pair of bison, signifying an environmental theme.

With R.E.M.’s fan base beginning to grow beyond its college rock boundaries, Lifes Rich Pageant proved to be at the time the band’s most commercially successful album in the U.S., peaking at #21 on the Billboard charts and scoring them their first gold record.
In the UK, the album managed a #43 peak. Slant Magazine listed the album at #52 on its list of “Best Albums of 1980s” saying “Lifes Rich Pageant stands as a nearly seamless transition between the band’s formative period and their commercial dominance.”

Another ecologically minded song, “Cuyahoga”, refers to the once heavily polluted Cuyahoga River that flows into Lake Erie at Cleveland, Ohio. The song includes the lyric we burned the river down, which refers to the several occasions (most famously in 1969) when the river actually caught fire.

[Lyrics]
Let’s put our heads together and start a new country up
Our father’s father’s father tried, erased the parts he didn’t like
Let’s try to fill it in, bank the quarry river, swim
We knee-skinned it you and me, we knee-skinned that river red

(chorus 1)
This is where we walked, this is where we swam
Take a picture here, take a souvenir

This land is the land of ours, this river runs red over it
We knee-skinned it you and me, we knee-skinned that river red
And we gathered up our friends, bank the quarry river, swim
We knee-skinned it you and me, underneath the river bed

(repeat chorus 1)

(chorus 2)
Cuyahoga
Cuyahoga, gone

Let’s put our heads together, start a new country up,
Underneath the river bed we burned the river down
This is where they walked, swam, hunted, danced and sang,
Take a picture here, take a souvenir

repeat chorus 2)

Rewrite the book and rule the pages, saving face, secured in faith
Bury, burn the waste behind you

This land is the land of ours, this river runs red over it
We are not your allies, we can not defend

(repeat chorus 1)

(repeat chorus 2 2x)

Screen captures for alternate thumbs:

Thumb9Thumb4Thumb5Thumb6 Thumb7Thumb8

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