"Drive" as written by William Berry, Michael Stipe, Peter Buck and Mike Mills....
Smack, crack, bushwhacked
Tie another one to the racks, baby

Hey kids, rock and roll
Nobody tells you where to go, baby

What if I ride
What if you walk
What if you rock around the clock
Tick-tock, tick-tock
What if you did, what if you walk?
What if you tried to get off, baby?

Hey, kids, where are you
Nobody tells you what to do, baby

Hey kids, shake a leg
Maybe you're crazy in the head, baby

Maybe you did
Maybe you walked
Maybe you rocked around the clock
Tick-tock, tick-tock
Maybe I ride
Maybe you walk
Maybe I drive to get off, baby

Hey kids, shake a leg
Maybe you're crazy in the head, baby

Ollie, ollie
Ollie, ollie, ollie
Ollie, ollie, in come free, baby

Hey, kids, where are you?
Nobody tells you what to do, baby

Smack, crack, shack-a-lack
Tie another one to your back, baby

Hey kids, rock and roll
Nobody tells you where to go, baby

Maybe you did
Maybe you walk
Maybe you rock around the clock
Tick-tock, tick-tock
Maybe I ride
Maybe you walk
Maybe I drive to get off, baby

Hey kids, where are you?
Nobody tells you what to do, baby

Hey kids, rock and roll
Nobody tells you where to go, baby, baby, baby


Lyrics submitted by Novartza, edited by rickeylee

"Drive" as written by William Berry Michael Stipe

Lyrics © WARNER,

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Drive song meanings
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37 Comments

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  • +4
    General CommentThe point, my guess...

    Life sucks and there's no escaping except through death.

    Rebelling against the system always leads you back in the end. There's no way around it, the futility of changing things is that huamns are still in charge no matter what.

    The teens become the next adults and they are as bad as the past generation, maybe worse, maybe not so. It seems like we always get the after-effects of their past mistakes and we correct them but make other mistakes in the process.

    I call this the theory of the endless cycle.

    This kind of song is rare, and that is why I love it. Nobody really has the brass to admit that cycle is endless, there is no way to break it. Humans are roaches that are guilty of recidivism, so my view of it all, we're screwed until the real end comes.

    We are on the countdown to extinction.
    OpinionHeadon June 20, 2007   Link
  • +3
    General Comment1st, give up the ollie north thing. he was a scapegoat anyway. here: Olly olly in-come-free, used in children’s games to signal that the game is over or that the main player has given up hope of winning. ever played hide n go seek? u are 'it', you give up. you shout ollie ollie all come free, (or ollie ollie oxen free, same thing.) it is about giving up on the game of life. not suicide, mind you, in particular. just giving up on the 'game' part. compare/contrast with john lennon's 'watching the wheels'
    omega-alatiaon December 26, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General CommentDidn't anyone consider the obvious drug-reference this song has? It even starts with it....smack...crack...think about it. The whole song can describe the life of a drug addict, who is spiralling downwards from what used to be a game, a fun past time recerational habit, but now is turning into something more serious and dark.
    wendywellon January 17, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWell, I was hoping someone would give me the real answer here. IE..an explanation straight from the horses mouth (Michael Stipe)...But I guess you can't have everything, right? Lol. Anyway, I've always believed that this song held great importance. I always knew there was a strong, dark meaning behind it, because I remember being a little girl, & hearing Michael do the "don't drink & drive" campaign thing. Lots of celebs did that one during the early-mid nineties, & the song played in the background as he spoke. All these years later, it still haunts me. So, since I don't have an answer from him, here's my take.

    I do believe that it's about the futility of life, of being a teenager, & wanting to fix & change everything. As a teenager, we have this sense that everything's wrong, & if the generations before us were to stupid & f***ed up to fix it, then we'll be the ones! IT'S OUR TURN! But as you get older I'm 21 now, you realize that everything works against you. Society in general, rules, regulations, & the people in charge, IE politicians, lawyers, the president, etc. You start realizing that the whole thing blows. It stinks to high Heaven, & you can smell the rot from thousands of miles away, but you can't fix it, because society is against you. And, the people in your own peer group who had the wise ideas in the first place, are now washouts, doing lines in the back of some frickin' tore-down hoopty, or drunk off their asses in some friends parent's basement, because they were to lazy to get off their asses & try to get a REAL job. One where they could effect the change they so desperately wanted. You get the drive, then you lose it as quickly as you get it, because you become a disaffected, disillusioned, apathitic idiot, who can't see past your own bullshit. It's like a depressed person. They get these crazy highs, that are quickly followed by these I-want-to-slit-my-wrists-&-die lows. & that class, is what happens to our youth. And that to me, is what this song is all about.
    You may all go back to your regularly scheduled programming now.

    Great song, great for the times. That's what I liked about 90's music in general, it ACTUALLY had a message. Dark, sinister, haunting, affecting, to be held up as a warning,
    "This is what can happen to you, so watch what the Hell your doing, & maybe you can prevent it."
    Belongs right up there with songs like "Pepper" from The Butthole Surfers, "Better Man" & "Jeremy" from Pearl Jam...& songs of that nature.
    MaggieMichelleon February 09, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentHaunting song. Listen to it in bed at night right before you fall asleep.
    magoosh008on November 18, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti feel like its about freedom...."nobody tells you what to do" is a good illustration of this...

    but mostly because of the video. crowd surfing is something i have always attributed to freedom. you are in the air, listening to a kick ass song from your favorite band...pretty much just awesome.
    I_think_im_dumbon April 24, 2011   Link
  • +1
    MemoryI'm not sure what the intention of this song was, but do know that when it came out I was into crack cocaine pretty heavy, and to me this whole song was talking about. Hell I even stole the tape so could listen to it more.

    I credit this song (right or wrong) for making me realize what an idiot I was.

    If really read into it, can see where I'm coming from. Rock Around the Clock isn't just a happy days theme, its about a 3 day crack binge. Shake a leg, is the withdraw,

    What if you rock around the clock
    Tick-tock, tick-tock.
    What if you did? What if you walk
    What if you tried to get off, baby

    Means, what if you do survive the binge, only a matter of time before it kills you.

    Smack, crack. Shack-a-lack
    Tie another one to your back

    is about coke and heroin speedballing and tying another monkey to your back.

    I dunno, but quit crack cold turkey soon after that, So intentional or not, I gotta hand it to him, he saved my life. Sorry I stole your cassette.
    chefgroovyon July 11, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti always thought "ollie" was the famous CRIMINAL oliver north...a reference to how he was absolved of any wrongdoing by being portrayed by the military/media as a hero, an image that lasts until this day
    ZinbobDanon April 28, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTo me this song is about all that was going on in the US around the time it was written and how no one in the younger generation seemed to care. The Ollie thing would make sense then, as well as "bushwhacked" which I'm pretty sure refers to the 92 election.
    sein514on June 11, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is another one for me that I don't think, I just listen. i like it.
    yogaboaton November 18, 2004   Link

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