"Hummingbird" as written by and Jeff Tweedy....
His goal in life was to be an echo
Riding alone, town after town, toll after toll
A fixed bayonet through the great southwest to forget her

She appears in his dreams
But in his car and in his arms
A dream can mean anything
A cheap sunset on a television set can upset her
But he never could

Remember to remember me
Standing still in your past
Floating fast like a hummingbird

His goal in life was to be an echo
The type of sound that floats around and then back down
Like a feather
But in the deep chrome canyons of the loudest Manhattans
No one could hear him
Or anything

So he slept on a mountain
In a sleeping bag underneath the stars
He would lie awake and count them
And the gray fountain spray of the great Milky Way
Would never let him
Die alone

Remember to remember me
Standing still in your past
Floating fast like a hummingbird

Remember to remember me
Standing still in your past
Floating fast like a hummingbird

A hummingbird
A hummingbird

Lyrics submitted by eastcidskl

"Hummingbird" as written by Jeff Tweedy


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Hummingbird song meanings
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  • +2
    General Commenti see it like this: at particular moments people are a part of your life, and in the present, and the future, the past exists. it's a perpetual movement. so, the past actually lasts forever, and the people that are present in those certain moments in your life hover there, even after we die, floating like a hummingbird, forever.
    our life is like a string of pearls. each pearl represents a certain moment in, a small part of, your life, but the string is life, earth, the stars and mountains, and we see it as lasting forever and always present. this makes me think: do the stars see each of our lives, our existences, as just one small moment? just one pearl? and if so, what do they see as the string? what is always there for them? what is their stability?
    is it empty darkness of the universe?

    it must be so beautiful to be a star.

    fork... im so trippin.
    lemmingmeringuepieon November 03, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI agree with both ultraspamboy and Notthatpunk18.

    After just seeing Wilco live for the 2nd and 3rd time (1st being in 2003 at the Adelaide BDO) last week, i decided to have a bit of a re-read of some of their more powerful songs. This was absolutely breath-taking live.

    As i was listening to AGIB in my car this morning, i just couldn't help but think of the Hell Is Chrome reference being carried into this song through the line "Deep chrome canyons of the loudest Manhattans"

    What an amazing song writer Jeff Tweedy is. Sky Blue Sky sounds fantastic too :o)
    Tweed Boyon April 24, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentHis goal is to be an echo. To me this is the key. He has found his perfect love, but she isn't really, his pure idea of romance is sullied by the gritty and painful reality of failed relationships. So as he travels through the towns, and chrome canyons to finally sleep on a mountain he realizes he is forever changed. The perfect pure love he had for this woman is lost forever. That is unless she remembers. The only way that part of him will continue is in her memory. So his goal to be an echo is to have that pure and innocent person he was when he loved her live on. This may be my favorite Wilco.
    bigdog1701on September 24, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Commentsorry, not "Big Sur" but rather "The Dharma Bums". sorry, i read them both in like a week. my bad
    Notthatpunk18on March 23, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentTo the person who thought it was an ode to Kerouac, it's really more of an ode to Kerouac's Big Sur compatriot, Henry Miller. Miller published a book of essays in 1965 called "Stand Still Like the Hummingbird" which more or less outlined his viewpoints on life. There is an essay entitled "My Life As An Echo" where Miller tries to write about himself and ends up digressing. In a review of an Ionesco play Miller employs a stream-of-consciousness imagist rant in which he writes "Remember? Remember to remember!"

    Tweedy's protagonist is a Milleresque one. In "Learning How To Die", Greg Kot tells us that for a period of time, Tweedy dipped into Miller's pseudonovel, "Tropic of Cancer," as if it were a bible. He apparently went though Miller's library, as the "deepest chrome canyons of the loudest Manhattans" line reflects Miller's attitude toward urban areas like New York in his road journal, "The Air-Conditioned Nightmare" - a dead miasma of ticker tape, emotionlessness, and poverty. The love interest seems to have been fabricated by Tweedy to give some more emotional depth to the song, but the underlying idea is based upon the experiences and writing one of Tweedy's favorite scribes. He subtly references Miller's philosophies a couple more times on AGIB - especially in "Hell Is Chrome" and "Theologians."

    I find it pretty neat that Tweedy foreshadows this sort of songwriting on "Poor Places" -

    "There's bourbon on the breath of the singer you love so much
    "He takes all his words from the books that you don't read anyway."
    semipseudonymon July 09, 2007   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI love this song, and the more I listen to it, the more I picture Woody Guthrie. "Riding alone, town after town, toll after toll. A fixed bayonet through the great southwest to forget her" Woody travled across the nation several times during his liftime. He had traveled Route 66, he boasted, enough to run it up to 6,666, back and forth, across the county as whim and winds took him. All the while, he never seemed to find what he was looking for. "Her" could be refering to either his mother or his first wife , Mary. "A cheap sunset on a television set can upset her. But he never could" makes me think of his mother who suffer ed from huntingtons disease, that made her very easy to displease. Woody was in a way, similar to an echo. He would settle down in one place only to leave and not turn up for months. It mentions him living in loud cities and qiet mountains. Woody lived in both places several times. The chorus is what really gets me. Woody Guthrie had the need to be remembered by others and the ability to be remembered by everyone he talked to. He would try to make the biggest difference wherever he went.

    Although Tweedy probably didn't write this song about Woody, I know he is an inspirations to Tweedy's music. I like thinking that it's about him because as a 12 year old Okie boy, Woody Guthrie is my biggest heroe and Tweedy is my second. So it's cool to think of one of my heroes singing about my other heroe. Great song. Wilco Rocks.
    sce1301on March 17, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis, to me, is one of wilco and tweedy's best written songs. there's just something so poetic about it and the similies and metaphors fit the subject matter perfectly.

    how can it get any better than, "Remember to remember me, standing still in your past, floating fast like a hummingbird"?
    bottlerocket88on December 06, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe chorus is beautiful. makes me think of all those people from grade school, high school, college that you know you'll never see again after graduation. theyre just frozen in your past unchanging.
    PJ10on June 28, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti thought it was about a guy who loved a girl, but she didnt love him back. he stands still in her past as she floats around like a hummingbird
    "A cheap sunset on a television set can upset her
    But he never could" he wanted it to be meaningful, but it wouldnt happen
    thisisjimon October 22, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTo me this song is about getting out of the 'deep chrome canyons of the loudest Manhattans.' because no one could even hear him there. yet when he's in nature, like a hummingbird, he could be heard even if it was just an echo. and things like the milky way and the mountains would never let him die alone and would always provide him company. and even if there was a girl who he left behind, he has the memory of her and she has the memory of him.
    thisisfalseon October 29, 2004   Link

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