(Follow me, don't follow me)
I've got my spine, I've got my orange crush
(Collar me, don't collar me)
I've got my spine, I've got my orange crush
(We are agents of the free)
I've had my fun and now it's time
To serve your conscience overseas (over me, not over me)
Coming in fast, over me

(Follow me, don't follow me)
I've got my spine, I've got my orange crush
(Collar me, don't collar me)
I've got my spine, I've got my orange crush
(We are agents of the free)
I've had my fun and now it's time
To serve your conscience overseas (over me, not over me)
Coming in fast, over me

(Follow me, don't follow me)
I've got my spine, I've got my orange crush
(Collar me, don't collar me)
I've got my spine, I've got my orange crush
(We are agents of the free)
I've had my fun and now it's time
To serve your conscience overseas (over me, not over me)
Coming in fast, over me


Lyrics submitted by Nelly, edited by echolot

Orange Crush Lyrics as written by Peter Lawrence Buck William Thomas Berry

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Orange Crush song meanings
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  • +9
    General Comment

    I would guess that this site is read and commented on by mostly those 40 and under. If there were many comments by those old enough to serve in Vietnam there wouldn't be much debate on the "meaning" of this song. There are of course many songs by many artists that have more of what you might call an "inspiration" than a lyric by lyric meaning and I would bet this song does contain a bit of that. (there will always be some public ambiguity as Mr. Stipe himself has been quoted and misquoted about the song and has made or has been reported to have made conflicting statements on its meaning) but there is so much of this song that could have been taken out of dialogue that I have heard with my own ears that I have no doubt that not only did the author intend to call up the specter of Vietnam but he had the assistance of someone who was there. (of course, perhaps, Michael Stipes father - if not his father directly, there could have been so many other connections...sadly, there is often much that fathers never say directly..I do not know how it was for his family, I am speaking unfortunately from my own experience) There are terms like "Orange Crush" itself, which, yes, referred to Agent Orange, but there are lesser known habits of speech like the reference to "counties" and "truck stops" ..."all the trucks jacked up and our wheels in slush" This whole song echoes with things I can almost smell when it plays... I could explain more but I would like everyone who has or will question this song to go and find a veteran and discuss the experience of war with them. It does not have to be a Vietnam vet, each war and each experience was different (my own Father was a WWII vet and some things were so different and some were appallingly the same...and some I will never know about, as my father is gone now and so much - even of what we knew in common was left unsaid) but if you will forget about the politics of any given war for awhile or whether or not you agree or disagree as individuals with whomever you may find, who will speak to you (you also might be surprised at the wide range of views..) and just listen, I guarantee you will learn something worth knowing...perhaps even more of what was referred to in this song... But in listening and should you decide to take that story with you, regardless of of what you decide it means to you, you will be one more who will not forget...

    donotforgeton October 15, 2010   Link
  • +3
    General Comment

    way to copy/paste from songfacts and pretend u found all that out for urself...

    ZinbobDanon February 16, 2005   Link
  • +3
    General Comment

    Ok, here is my take on it. My college Professor is making us write our interpretation of this song for our final in class. Some thing he handed out to us said"During the Vietnam war, the US militatry conducted field experiments to develop combat enhancing drugs. These drugs, mostly LSD and mega doses of amphetamine were given to US troops to see if the drugs improved their combat effectiveness" That is a good piece of info but it goes on to say"The LSD and amphetamine combination was quickly dubbed "spine" by the soldiers because the drugs induced a state of hyper awareness that kept users awake and attentive. Soldiers who took the drug were "straight on spine" a condition that lasted for hours if not days." This would explain the i have got my spine now to the orange crush part. The paper also said that the soldiers smoke opium laced joints which were refered to as orange crush. Now after watching the music video as well i don't think it is about agent orange too much for the fact that you never see a good reference to it in the video. If you have not watched the video i urge you to do so.

    Rookamainiaon May 10, 2007   Link
  • +3
    My Interpretation

    From what I make out, Stipe's voice sings 'serve your conscience overseas' and the chorus replies 'over me, not overseas', so the chorus is kinda in a contradiction with the established patriotic opinion. Also, I think that the band had much to say about how the video would look like and you have this child that is now a man and, thus, a possible hint to a father-son relationship: the son is now a man and he will wage his own war, possibly a pacifist struggle. The fact that Stipe's father was in Vietnam is, I think, significant in this context.

    avalonbyrneon September 13, 2010   Link
  • +3
    Song Meaning

    it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see its about agent orange and how they would fly overhead and spray it on the Vietnamese.

    And the thing about spines refers to courage!

    CorgiKidon July 22, 2012   Link
  • +3
    Song Meaning

    it was written about 'Agent Orange' a herbicide used by the US Military in Vietnam. It's about how they would fly overhead & spray the Agent Orange on the Vietnamese. Tons of people, mostly Vietnamese, got cancer, had horrendous birth defects, etc., some of those affected were US's own soldiers themselves as a result of the spraying. The "I've got my spine" is about a US soldier who appreciates that he still has his spine in tact (literally) but the lyrics are him remembering back to all the spraying & how wrong it was but he didn't realize at the time all the damage it would cause.

    EternalTearsOfSorrowon August 16, 2018   Link
  • +3
    My Interpretation

    "Follow me, don't follow me I've got my spine, I've got my orange crush Collar me, don't collar me I've got my spine, I've got my orange crush We are agents of the free I've had my fun and now it's time to Serve your conscience overseas (Over me, not over me) Comin' in fast, over me"

    Right so this is how the song opens. It's when the soldier is a 18 year old or so in the states. He's just got out of high school and has been enjoying the summer but he gets his draft notice. He's conflicted as to whether he should go or not, (Follow me, don't follow me) but ultimately his patriotic feeling wins over. He wants to be a man and keep his respect by going to war (I've got my spine --> doesn't want to be seen as spineless or weak), but he's still childish at heart (I've got my orange crush --> it's a kid's drink, a soda). He still believes in the benevolent intentions of America in Southeast Asia (We are agents of the free) and he's going to do his patriotic duty overseas. And it all happened so fast; just a month ago he was in school. (Comin' in fast, over me)

    "High on the booze In a tent Paved with blood Nine inch howl Brave the night Chopper comin' in, you hope"

    So this is pretty hard to hear in the song but it's pretty obvious. Vietnam sucks: they drink to keep down the depression from their friends dying, homesickness, doubt in the justification for the war; there's fear everywhere and the VC 'own the night;' the soldiers just want to go home, and pray for a chopper to come and save them from this hell.

    So this is where I get annoyed, because all of the lyrics sites that I've gone to say that the rest of the song is just repeating the chorus part. But I think the lyrics should change. Cause this is how I heard them when I first heard the song, and I think it makes more sense this way:

    "Follow me, don't follow me I've got my spine, I've got my orange crush Collar me, don't collar me I've got my spine, I've got my orange crush We are agents BY DECREE I've had my fun and now it's time to SELL your conscience overseas (Over me, not over me) Comin' in fast, over me"

    So now the whole meaning of each of these has been flipped. Now the stress is on "DON'T" follow me and "DON'T" collar me. He's angry at the government for forcing him into this war and doesn't want others to go through what he went through. Now he says "I've got my spine" meaning he's glad that he hasn't been deformed by Agent Orange (tons of people, mostly Vietnamese, got cancer, had horrendous birth defects, etc. Some of those affected were our own soldiers), because he was somehow involved with spreading it (maybe he flew the planes that dropped it or was a foot soldier in areas that had been hit by it) and that it's his "crush" because he hates it. Like he's been told it's for the better by the government, he's been 'made to love it,' (crush) but he sees its evil. And yeah, the soldiers are agents of the government unwillingly, and they are 'agents' just like the herbicide Agent Orange -- they're simply tools of the government. "I've had my fun" is clearly like 'Okay I've seen Nam, I'm done with this sh*!t, get me out' whereas before it meant 'I've had my childhood, my good high school memories, my last normal summer, now I'm ready to become a man.' Then "sell your conscience overseas" is pretty simple, either referencing Monsanto (so evil) or just that soldiers returning from Nam had lost their conscience during the war. And then "Over me, not over me/Comin' in fast, over me" could mean both Agent Orange is being dropped over the soldier or that the chopper is finally "comin' in fast", and he's going home.

    But those AREN'T the lyrics. I just misheard them and thought they were the real ones, but according to 2 different lyrics sources he actually does repeat the exact same chorus over again, without "SELL" or "BY DECREE." But I think it works better! And the interpretation still works either way, really.

    Outthereon May 28, 2015   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    "I've got my spine, I've got my orange crush"

    Its about an 17-19 year old kid... I am strong like a man- but still I like my soda pop (Orange crush was super popluar during the early 70s). SO a young kid who feels indestructable, yet, feels obligated to join the army and go to veitnam. And yes Agent Orange is a big part of this song too, I think its about the duality of a country that obligates its young men and women to fight in a war, then poisons them with agent orange.

    "I've had my fun and now its time to Serve your conscience overseas (over me, not over me)"

    Paveclawon April 13, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Agent Orange, in 'Nam, with the M16!!!

    Thats interesting though, I had always wondered if this song had any real meaning. (I love the part where he's yelling on the megaphone)

    ZidaneTribalon June 09, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Stipe sometimes introduced this in concert by singing the US Army jingle, "Be all that you can be, in the Army. Orange Crush was an orange flavored soft drink but this song IS about Agent Orange, a chemical used by the US to defoliate the Vietnamese jungle during the Vietnam War. US military personnel exposed to it developed cancer years later and some of their children had birth defects. Stipe's father served in Vietnam in the helicopter corps.

    JeffKaos71on February 02, 2005   Link

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