"Little America" as written by and Peter Buck Bill Berry....
I can't see myself at thirty I don't buy a lacquered thirty
Caught like flies preserved for tomorrow's jewelery again
Lighted in the amber yard a green shellback green shellback
Preserved for tomorrow's eyes in tree beer tar black brer sap
The biggest wagon is the empty wagon is the noisiest
The consul a horse Jefferson I think we're lost

Who will tend the farm museums? Who will dust today's belongings?
Who will sweep the floors, hedging near the givens?
Rally round your leaders it's the mediator season
Diane is on the beach, do you realize the life she's led?
The biggest wagon is the empty wagon is the noisiest,
The consul a horse, oh man I think we're lost
The biggest wagon is the empty wagon is the noisiest,
A matter of course, Jefferson, Jeffer

Lighted in the amber yard, a green shellback, green shellback
Sky-lied, sty-tied, Nero pie-tied, in tree tar-black brer sap,
Reason has harnessed the tame, a lodging, not stockader's game
Another Greenville, another Magic Mart, Jeffer, grab your fiddle,
The biggest wagon is the empty wagon is the noisiest,
The consul a horse, Jefferson I think we're lost
The biggest wagon is the empty wagon is the noisiest,
The consul a horse, Jefferson I think we're lost


Lyrics submitted by xpankfrisst

"Little America" as written by Peter Buck Bill Berry

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group

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Little America song meanings
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  • 0
    General CommentOne of my all time favorite R.E.M. songs.
    If you ever drove any where in the south then the line "Another Greenville" makes sense... since there seems to be one in each state. Magic Mart was an old quck stop type of store.
    versustheseaon July 04, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe ultimate 'man, we're always on tour' state of mind song. but anyone whose known REM since way back when knows without being told that this song was originally recorded when the band was playing over 200 gigs a year, going show to show in an old green Ford cargo van. There is no mystery here.
    peacefrogxon August 30, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI've always thought that "The consul a horse" refers to Emperor Caligula's horse Incitatus, who was made a senator and nearly became a consul.
    Reckoningon April 14, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentLOVE THIS SONG.

    The reference to "Jefferson" is not a historical reference, but a reference to R.E.M.'s manager at the time, Jefferson Holt. Somewhere in the late 90's / early '00's, Jefferson got fired by the band, I think because of some indiscretions with a member of R.E.M.'s crew. Now when Stipe sings this song, he changes "Jefferson" to "Washington."
    PencilNeckedGeekon January 21, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI was never lucky enough to see R.E.M. live back in the day, but I've heard/seen a number of bootleg shows from this period, and I can honestly say that their 1984 "Little America" tour in support of Reckoning generated some of the greatest live bootlegs in my collection. I could never imagine having to play over 200 shows a year, much less being able to do so while all the while retaining my enthusiasm for the songs and my ability to play them as well as R.E.M. did. That fact alone shows that R.E.M. truly was one of the greatest live bands to ever play during their prime. The shows included with the deluxe editions of Murmur and Reckoning are only the tip of the iceberg. This band was something truly special.
    HyperBullyon February 24, 2011   Link

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