Mott the Hoople and the game of Life.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Andy Kaufman in the wrestling match.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Monopoly, Twenty one, checkers, and chess.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Mister Fred Blassie in a breakfast mess.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Let's play Twister, let's play Risk.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
See you in heaven if you make the list.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Now, Andy did you hear about this one?
Tell me, are you locked in the punch?
Hey Andy are you goofing on Elvis?
Hey, baby.
Are we losing touch?

If you believed they put a man on the moon, man on the moon.
If you believe there's nothing up my sleeve, then nothing is cool.

Moses went walking with the staff of wood.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Newton got beaned by the apple good.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Egypt was troubled by the horrible asp.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Mister Charles Darwin had the gall to ask.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Now Andy did you hear about this one?
Tell me, are you locked in the punch?
Hey, Andy are you goofing on Elvis?
Hey, baby.
Are you having fun?
If you believed they put a man on the moon, man on the moon.
If you believe there's nothing up my sleeve, then nothing is cool.

Here's a little agit for the never-believer.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Here's a little ghost for the offering.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Here's a truck stop instead of Saint Peter's.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Mister Andy Kaufman's gone wrestling [wrestling bears]. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Now Andy did you hear about this one?
Tell me, are you locked in the punch?
Hey Andy are you goofing on Elvis, hey baby, are we losing touch?
If you believed they put a man on the moon, man on the moon.
If you believe there's nothing up their sleeve, then nothing is cool.

If you believed they put a man on the moon, man on the moon.
If you believe there's nothing up their sleeve, then nothing is cool.

If you believed they put a man on the moon, man on the moon.
If you believe there's nothing up their sleeve, then nothing is cool.

If you believed they put a man on the moon, man on the moon.
If you believe there's nothing up their sleeve, then nothing is cool.


Lyrics submitted by Novartza

Man On The Moon song meanings
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103 Comments

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  • +9
    General CommentI believe this very fine song is about appearance (and it's guises so to speak) and how in a sense all we have is appearance. It is directly about Andy, even mentions his name, interestingly. Andy's act was about presentation/story/image/appearance, games if you will. One never knew when Andy was 'on' or 'off'. He always made you ask 'is it real' or is it a game or act?' When Andy brought the audience into 'the act' he reached a transcendent genius where the viewer and the subject are one big presentation. I belive stype saw and understood this genius and thus the inspired honorific song for Andy.

    This I believe is the significance of stype's copious references to games such as 21 risk monopoly and the like. He also associates in the same context as these games, common stories, or myths, such as moses and staff, egypt and the snake, and newton and the proverbial apple, and of course, the man on the moon - which ultimately is a story or image for us since none of can BEGIN to experience this directly. I recall some interesting movie in the 80's where the premise was that the moon experience was all trumped up and contrived...

    In the same way that andy could manipulate the breakfast with blassie, maybe there will be a truck stop instead of st peter's.

    These are some initial impressions of the song. I did have a question on what stype meant by 'never believers'. 'Belief' in my analysis sketched here would be tantamount to knowing appearance, or a set of self consistant premises and propositions such as in a game like monopoly or in a wrestling match (not 'knowledge' or 'reality').
    idic5on May 27, 2004   Link
  • +3
    General CommentIt's about Andy being misunderstood. As much as I liked him, comparing him to Moses, Darwin and Newton wasn't exactly on the mark, but that's what it is about. Genious isn't always understood.

    By the way, the first line of the final stanzay is "Here's a little legend for the never-believer." It's about the theory that he faked his death (truck-stop instead of Saint Peter's.)
    slagoniaon May 05, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentAndy Kaufman died young, of lung cancer. I always thought the song was about being short-changed. Science is capable of some incredible things, like putting 5 million pounds of explosive fuel behind a few men and blasting them to another body in our solar system. But curing cancer, sorry, that's too hard.

    The alternating lines of religion and science (Moses / Newton / Egypt / Darwin) reflect the conflict between faith and fact. The second line of the refrain (up my sleeve / nothing is cool) points out that without some mystery, the march of progress does little to inspire wonder. The never-believer is you.

    Anxiously awaiting my jetpack, universal translator, and a cure for cancer... Ooh look, 5 channels of home shopping network! Yeah, this is the future we wanted. Do you feel short-changed?
    Myself248on May 25, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentIt's clearly about Andy Kaufman and how you shouldn't believe everything you're told, like andy didn't. he was original and wanted to do something different. the movie gets into some detail about it. he didn't want to do a sitcom but was made to believe if he didn't he'd become nothing. he was always playing a game with people. he would do elaborate things even though only he thought it was funny. he was always doing things people thought wouldn't work. you can't get lung cancer if you don't smoke, well andy did. the latter part of the song i think is questioning what happens when we die. how come when andy died, instead of going to st. peter he went to a truck stop (andy would have felt fine at one, he worked at a restaurant at the height of his career) and instead of going to the tradition belief of what heaven is (angels flying), he infact just gets to wrestle all the time. it makes sense because andy's favorite thing to do was wrestle. he just enjoyed it. when he died they found uncashed checks from wrestling stints he did. which lead many to believe he just did it for the fun of it. so maybe andy didn't go to heaven, he just went wrestling.
    Levitator89on July 29, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI dont´t know for sure what this song is really about. I mean, yes, i saw the movie and stuff, but i would like to know everything about Andy and the song (verse by verse). If someone knows something more than the people that already wrote in here, please share your knowledge. Thanx.
    Oiramon July 04, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think that the REM guys must have been big admirers of Andy Kaufman and decided to write a song about him. The film is ok, there are some any tapped questions though.
    M20on April 09, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe song is about three ways of looking at the world:

    1) religious

    Moses / Egypt / St. Peter's

    2) scientific, maybe "flat" reality

    Newton / Darwin, maybe the truck stop

    3) Stipe's preference; Kaufmaneque irony--the game--goofin' on Elvis

    We know that men landed on the moon & that Elvis & Andy are dead. But it's sometimes fun to pretend they aren't. Kinda like pro wrestling, no?
    piscine2000on October 02, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI don't know about the whole song, (that's why I was reading here) but as far as the truck stop/St peter's line goes, I think Mike's speaking about Andy. St. Peter's, is seen as one of art and architectures greatest achievments, whereas a truckstop... well, some people think of Andy as an amazing comic genius, others think he was just insane. I know Mike's a big fan of Andy's, but I'm not sure if he believes he's insane or a genius. The line "are we losing touch?" may be asking if Andy is insane. Also, I'll never understand why people decide to make a comment like- "THIS SONG SUCKS, I HATE IT!" Get a life, you have to much time on your hands, if you're posting on all the songs you hate.
    sacketsharboron December 08, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe song is about questioning. Andy Kaufman built his career on people never knowing whether he was being sincere or putting them on. Many people think Andy's death was an elaborate hoax. Many of the other things mentioned in the songs are also believed to be hoaxes, to some the moon landing, to some religion, and there are many who say the apple never hit Newton.

    The "truck stop instead of st peters" refers to Andys death..did he fake it and go to a truck stop, or did he die and meet st peter? Then the answer.. Mr Andy Kaufman is off wrestling somewhere.. at least he is to the people who were never-believers, who never believed he was being serious. There is even a message to Andy. Have you heard about this? Is he still making fun of Elvis? Is he having fun (still being alive)?
    Kitsune342on June 29, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think the biggest hint is in the first line... Mott The Hoople and the game of life. Get that right and the rest falls into place. Mott The Hoople were the first rock band to sell out a weeks shows on Broadway in 1974. They were set to be the "next big thing"... the next Rolling Stones. Then at the height of their fame they broke up. It's about the uncertainty of life, how lives are cut short, Andy, Elvis etc.... about the risks of playing the game of life, what's real, what's not, who's sure about anything... Did they land on the moon? Did Darwin dare say we were descended from apes? Every day is as certain as monopoly, 21, checkers or chess.
    tooloudon July 25, 2009   Link

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