"Mr. Richards" as written by and Mike Mills Peter Buck....
Mr. Richards, your position
Is a messenger pigeon
Left behind you when the camp moved on.
We thought that you would listen
But the words had never crystallized
Into a truth that you might own, hey hey.

[Chorus]
Mr. Richards, your decision.
Pay attention, pay attention.

Mr. Richards, you're forgiven
For a narrow lack of vision
But the fires are still raging on.
The public's got opinions
And these consequences border on
The compound that you raised
Will sell it see, hey hey.

[Chorus]

So listen, your intention;
Sign the papers, stamp the ribbon.
You're mistaken if you think we'll just forget.

You can thump your chest and rattle,
Stand in front of your piano,
But we know what's going on.
Yes we know what's going on.
We're the children of the choir, hey
And we know what's going on.

Mr. Richards, your conviction
Had us cheering in the kitchen,
Now the jury's eating pigeon pie.
So tell me how is prison?
Have they taught you how to listen?
We've begun to bridge the schism.
Pay attention, pay attention.

[Chorus]

You can thump your chest and rattle,
Stand in front of your piano
But we know what's going on.
Yes we know what's going on.
We're the children of the choir, hey
From the compound fire, hey
And we know what's going on.
Yes we know what's going on.


Lyrics submitted by Sanjaiah

"Mr. Richards" as written by Mike Mills Peter Buck

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

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Mr. Richards song meanings
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8 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentObviously Michael is showing extreme derision for this political character Mr. Richards. In my mind I reconcile the personna of the title-character as being Richard Perle, an arch-conservative architect of the Iraqi war in the Dept. of Defense who worked directly with Wolfowitz, Cheney, and Rumsfeld in bringing about Bush's folly in the ME. He (Perle) has since back-pedaled from this poistion, saying that at the time it was the right choice to make but regretfully he was wrong. Well thanks a whole f'in' lot "Mr. Richards."

    I believe the judicial references in this song really are about the court of public opinion which has since found all those original planners of this war (mentioned above) guilty, despite their own recantations that, at the time, they were only doing what they fel was best for the country/world.
    peacefrogxon April 07, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentpeacefrogx, that makes more sense than my interpretation. I thought it was about Michael Richards, aka Kramer. As disgusting as his comments were, I thought the tone of this song was a bit too harsh if referring to that.
    ratanxon April 09, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI had thought of the michael richards link too - especially the line about 'stand in front of your piano'. 'youre forgiven for a narrow lack of vision' could be about richards racist outburst. maybe its about both a perle type figure and michael richards.
    ramshotelon April 13, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIts not about Kramer. It's pretty obvious its a political message towards Dick Cheney.
    wolfofwaron April 21, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI had some thoughts on the following lines:
    - You can thump your chest and rattle --> that's what wild animals (a gorilla and a rattlesnake) do to impress/scare off opponents
    - Stand in front of your piano --> try to look distinguished/impressive (perhaps posing for a photo).
    Appartently Mr Richards is trying to save his own position (which is a messenger pigeon left behind when the camp moved on --> mr Richards has lost support and back-up now that the (political) situation has changed).
    hansjebrinkeron April 27, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI had my fingers crossed that it was Keith Richards. But he hasn't done time in decades. The Michael Richards thing would make sense. But as the first comment stated, it must be about the bush administration guy. Obviously because Michael Stipe is anti-Bush.
    Nolesy101on May 06, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentit's about Cheney = Stipe said so @ Merriweather Post Pavillion 6-11-2008. Went to my ~20th REM show there last week. My first one in 8 years.

    I have to say that though the last REM show I saw was shit, this one ROCKED! Little America for the first time LIVE and Driver 8 for just the second. I even heard they played "Pilgrimage" at the show in NC the night before.

    The more I listen to this album the more and more I like. As a very old REM fan, if you have a chance to see this tour you MUST. Make sure to stay for the encore - Johhny Marr jumps in.
    rajwoodsonon June 15, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentgood song, but the lyrics irritate me. if Mr. Richards isn't the guy's real name, why the pseudonym?
    worse yet, if it's about Cheney, then it comes off really, really wimpy, like they're too afraid of the guy to call him out by his real name.

    Plus, if it's about the Cheney, guess what? He's not in prison!
    pthalomarieon August 06, 2008   Link

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