"Radio Free Europe" as written by and Peter Buck Bill Berry....
Beside yourself if radio's gonna stay
Reason: it could polish up the gray
Put that put that put that up your wall
That this isn't country at all

Raving station, beside yourself

Keep me out of country in the word
Deal the porch is leading us absurd
Push that push that push that to the hull
That this isn't nothing at all

Straight off the boat where to go?
Calling on in transit calling on in transit
Radio Free Europe, radio

Beside defying media too fast
Instead of pushing palaces to fall
Put that, put that, put that before all
That this isn't fortunate at all

Raving station, beside yourself
Calling on in transit, calling on in transit
Radio Free Europe, radio

Decide yourself, calling all of the medias too fast

Keep me out of country in the word
Disappoint is into us absurd

Straight off the boat, where to go?
Calling on in transit, calling on in transit
Radio Free Europe
Radio Free Europe

Calling on in transit, calling on in transit
Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Europe

Lyrics submitted by jhines0042, edited by stormville

"Radio Free Europe" as written by Peter Buck Bill Berry

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

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Radio Free Europe song meanings
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  • +3
    Song MeaningRadio Free Europe does indeed broadcast news to countries that lack a free press, or have an undeveloped press.

    One of its original purposes was to provide news and an outlet for refugees, and knowing this makes this song make more sense.

    "Calling all in transit" - "Straight off the boat, where to go?" "keep me out of country"

    Much of it sounds like broken English, like something Babelfish might spit out...or something a refugee with poor English might say.

    "Instead of pushing palaces to fall" - Radio Free Europe was created to encourage the people in these countries to rise up and take over their government in order to secure their freedom. It is the 'defying media', and it defies the media of the countries it is broadcast to.

    The song wasn't meant to have a clear meaning, and it's very open-ended, but it is clearly talking about the actual Radio Free Europe.
    WingedWolfon September 21, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General Commentthe catchy little song that made them. its about all the propaganda on the radio during during the cold war.
    epp88on June 04, 2004   Link
  • +2
    Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) is a radio and communications organization which is funded by the United States Congress. The organization exists in Europe and the Middle East. It broadcasts more than 1,000 hours per week, in 28 languages, via shortwave, AM, FM and the Internet. RFE/RL's official mission statement is: "To promote democratic values and institutions by disseminating factual information and ideas."

    The National Committee for a Free Europe was founded in June 1949 in New York. RFE was the broadcasting arm of this organization. The headquarters was established in Munich and it transmitted its first short-wave program on July 4, 1950, to Czechoslovakia.
    The organization received its funds from the Congress of the United States and until 1971 they were passed to RFE through the CIA. The broadcasts were part of a general CIA psychological warfare campaign directed behind the Iron Curtain. The CIA created general guidelines and had daily input into the handling of news items. The CIA funding of RFE was not publicly acknowledged until 1971 at which point the organization was rechartered in Delaware as a non-profit-making corporation, oversight was moved to the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB), and the budget was moved to open appropriations.

    In 1975, RFE was merged with a very similar Congress funded anti-communist organization called Radio Liberty (RL, founded in 1951 by the American Committee for the Liberation of the Peoples of Russia) and the group name was officially changed to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL).

    Soviet authorities regularly attempted to jam RFE/RL broadcasts and these efforts did not end until 1988. From 1985 until 1993 the organization also ran Radio Free Afghanistan.
    The collapse of the Soviet Union reduced the budget for RFE/RL: its headquarters were moved to Prague in 1995 and European operations were curtailed (save those of the South Slavic Department). However operations were expanded elsewhere: in 1998 Radio Free Iraq and a Persian service, were started; in 1999 a service was started in Kosovo; and in 2002 Radio Free Afghanistan was restarted and the Persian Service was incorporated into Radio Farda. In addition, in 1994 the mission of the International Broadcasting Bureau was transferred to the Broadcasting Board of Governors.

    DAS JETSon August 25, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI don't think it's about the propaganda on the radio during the cold war, but rather the exclusion of anything remotely related to Western culture by the communist Eastern governments - this included radio stations. The line "straight off the boat, where to go?" seems to allude to immigrants or defects who have left those countries and experience free culture for the first time. It should also be noted that Michael Stipe's lyrics at this point in R.E.M.'s evolution were incredibly murky and cryptic, and were meant to set the atmosphere, rather than tell a direct story, or give meaning. Although, it can be said that this song has some sort of significant meaning.
    IvoKenton December 15, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI can remember Stipe, in an interview with either CREEM or Rolling Stone, at the time, saying that he remembered an old TV Public Service Announcement on which a radio announcer is introducing a song "on Broadway" in an eastern European tongue, and he wondered why anyone in that part of the world would care about anything on Broadway.
    Since i, too, remembered that TV spot, plugging Radio Free Europe, i remember that. He also commented something like it being a "friendly" way to spread Imperialism.
    i had a completely different take on the lyrics at the time. One person told me that he had heard the song was about getting nukes ("radio_-activity) out of Europe. Since the lyrics were as murky as they were, i guessed this was possible.
    xtos1961on April 26, 2012   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningFirst off the lyric is "decide yourself" not "beside yourself".

    I strongly believe that this song was inspired by the RFE TV commercial mentioned by xtos1961. It was a very effective commercial that implied that rock and roll ("On Broadway") could help liberate the youth of Eastern Europe, at that time suffering under the Soviets. The "decide yourself" refers to the fact that RFE needed our financial support to survive.
    stormvilleon February 20, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General CommentGymmo, thanks for the info. It seems to me this was on TV before 1971, but i will take your word for it, as the rest of the description fits perfectly.
    xtos1961on July 16, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General Commentcan't understand that no-one commented on this song yet! great song! though there are better ones by rem..
    loon June 30, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is just such a catchy song.
    I like the Original Hib-tone version on Eponymous better than the one on Murmur.
    Relinquo1on May 01, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBetween Michael Stipes sorry diction, and the occasionally non-sequitor lyrics, somehow miraculously, I fell in love with this song, the band, and the rest of this album.
    The Hib-Tone version is cool, but I prefer the album version much more myself.
    Major Valoron April 12, 2005   Link

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