"Cuyahoga" as written by and Peter Buck Bill Berry....
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

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

This is where we walked, this is where we swam
Take a picture here, take a souvenir
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
Cuyahoga
Cuyahoga, gone

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
This is where they walked, this is where they swam
Take a picture here, take a souvenir

Cuyahoga
Cuyahoga, gone
Cuyahoga
Cuyahoga, gone


Lyrics submitted by xpankfrisst

"Cuyahoga" as written by Peter Buck Bill Berry

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

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Cuyahoga song meanings
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9 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentThe Cuyahoga is a river that runs through Cleveland Ohio. During the battles with American Indians in the late 1800s the US Cavalry dumped hundreds of bodies in it. Hence the river red line and the Indian imagery. In the 1970's, the city of Cleveland had polluted the river so bad, that at one point it ended up catching on fire. I think that what Michael's saying here is throughout american history, we destroyed the native people and then we went and destroyed their land. He' saying we oughtta fix things while we still have time. Learn from the mistakes of our forefathers etc.
    DecemberGuyon March 22, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti live 20 feet from the river in cuyahoga falls, ohio.
    ralph2869on September 04, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentEverything Decemberguy says is right on: I'll add that the song mentions a couple of times how the history has been whitewashed. "Erased the parts he didn't like" has a double meaning: to literally erase features of the land, and to erase unpleasant events from history books. "Rewrite the book and rule the pages, Saving face" expresses how history books make the pioneering of America out to be a heroic thing, hiding the ugly past. It's a corollary on the old adage that winners write the history books. They "rule" the "pages".

    I imagine that the line "we are not your allies" is being spoken to Native Americans by the whites coming across them. It's a heartbreaking thought.

    I used to do a fair bit of eating and drinking at a place right next to the river in Peninsula, OH.
    rikdadon November 01, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI actually set the Cuyahoga river in Cleveland on fire once a few years back.. just a little bit. Anyway, I think DecemberGuy said it right.
    schlieffenon July 07, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti live in northeast ohio, not even a mile from the cuyahoga river. to this day, the river is still horribly polluted. the allusion to red water also could be due to pollution, because pollution can sometimes turn the water red. instead of clear, the water is a very murky brown.
    muffinson May 14, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI thought it was in 1969. Maybe I'm wrong. I'm too lazy to verify....
    ebowtheletteron March 03, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI saw Death Cab perform this song along with The Flaming Lips at the Kuyahoga Music Festival. I think it fit pretty well.
    Code Heroon August 08, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti was there too, code hero. easily the greatest live cover ive ever seen,and one of the greatest concert moments ive ever witnessed. it was on the nose note for note and all the performers seemed so into it.
    ralph2869on August 25, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI thought the lyrics were maybe "this land is the land of devourers". Seems to fit the theme at least.
    MrMulleton March 20, 2013   Link

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