Drive (R.E.M. song)

"Drive" is a song by American alternative rock band R.E.M. It is the first track on and the lead single from their eighth studio album, Automatic for the People (1992), and was the first song lead singer Michael Stipe wrote on a computer.[2] "Drive" peaked at number 28 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number one on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart, and number two on the Billboard Album Rock Tracks chart. Internationally, "Drive" became R.E.M.'s then second-biggest hit on the UK Singles Charts, peaking at number 11, and their biggest hit in Norway until "Supernatural Superserious" in 2008, reaching number three. Elsewhere, the song reached the top 10 in Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, and Switzerland.

Single by R.E.M.
from the album Automatic for the People
  • "Winged Mammal Theme"
  • "World Leader Pretend"
ReleasedSeptember 21, 1992 (1992-09-21)[1]
LabelWarner Bros.
R.E.M. singles chronology
"It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)"
"Man on the Moon"

Despite the success and popularity of the song, it was left out of the band's Warner Bros. Records "best of" compilations In Time: The Best of R.E.M. 1988–2003 and Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage 1982–2011. However, a live version of the song was included in the special edition two-disc set of In Time that included rarities, live versions, and B-sides. The version featured was the "funk" version, which has never been studio-recorded. The song is also included on the 2003 live DVD Perfect Square, the 2007 live CD/DVD R.E.M. Live, and the 2009 live CD Live at the Olympia (and its accompanying DVD This Is Not a Show). This song was also sampled in the song "Space Bound" by Eminem on his 2010 album Recovery.

B-side "Winged Mammal Theme" is a re-working of the "Batman Theme" originally intended to appear in Batman Returns; the song went unused in the film's final version.


The title itself is derived from Stipe and R.E.M.'s support for what would eventually become the "Motor Voter Bill" and the lyric "Hey, kids, rock 'n' roll" is an homage to the song "Stop It" by fellow Athens, Georgia group Pylon; Stipe has also said the song is an "obvious homage to 'Rock On' by David Essex," which features a similar line.[3]

"The arrangement of 'Drive' was, in part, inspired by Queen," reported Scott Litt. "Pete and Mike are big Queen fans. Queen records, for all their bombast, sounded like each player had a personality."[4]

Mike Mills has said "'Drive' is just telling kids to take charge of their own lives. [Pause.] Among other things."[5] To Peter Buck: "It's a subtle, political thing. Michael specifically mentions the term 'bush-whacked'. But if you want to take it like 'Stand', that's cool, too. You like to think that you can appreciate these songs on any level you want to. I have a lot of records I listen to when I'm just doing the dishes. Like Ride records. I really like Ride a lot. And I have no idea what the songs are about. And I really don't care. I don't even worry about it. Lyrics are the last thing I listen to, unless someone is hitting me over the head with it."[5]

Music video

The song's video, directed by Peter Care, was shot over two nights in late August 1992 at Sepulveda Dam in the Sherman Oaks area of Los Angeles. "I remember Oliver Stone came," Michael Stipe said in 2001.[2] "I was trying to get a film produced with him at the time. And River Phoenix came – we were friends. And Oliver had been drinking and they got into a fight in my trailer. It was fun to watch. And it kind of fuelled the energy that this video, from beginning to end, kind of carries through it."

Actor Adam Scott appeared as an extra in the video.[6]

Track listings

All songs were written by Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Michael Stipe except as noted.



  1. "New Releases: Singles" (PDF). Music Week. September 19, 1992. p. 19. Retrieved June 22, 2021.
  2. An Hour with R.E.M., MTV Europe, April 28, 2001
  3. Black, Johnny (2004). Reveal: The Story of R.E.M.. Milwaukee, WI: Backbeat Books. ISBN 0-87930-776-5.
  4. Mojo #21, August 1995
  5. Melody Maker, 1992
  6. Automatic For the People, R U Talkin' REM Re: Me?, May 2, 2018
  7. Drive (US 7-inch single vinyl disc). R.E.M. Warner Bros. Records. 1992. 7-18729.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  8. Drive (US cassette single sleeve). R.E.M. Warner Bros. Records. 1992. 4-18729.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  9. Drive (US CD single disc notes). R.E.M. Warner Bros. Records. 1992. 2-18729.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  10. Drive (UK CD1 liner notes). R.E.M. Warner Bros. Records. 1992. W0136CD.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  11. Drive (UK CD2 liner notes). R.E.M. Warner Bros. Records. 1992. W0136CDX.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  12. Drive (UK 7-inch single sleeve). R.E.M. Warner Bros. Records. 1992. W 0136.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  13. Drive (UK cassette single sleeve). R.E.M. Warner Bros. Records. 1992. W0136C.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  14. " – R.E.M. – Drive". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  15. " – R.E.M. – Drive" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  16. " – R.E.M. – Drive" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  17. "Top RPM Singles: Issue 1876." RPM. Library and Archives Canada.
  18. "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 9 no. 45. November 7, 1992. p. 51. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
  19. Nyman, Jake (2005). Suomi soi 4: Suuri suomalainen listakirja (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Tammi. ISBN 951-31-2503-3.
  20. " – R.E.M. – Drive" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts.
  21. "Top 10 Sales in Europe" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 9 no. 44. October 31, 1992. p. 22. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
  22. "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Drive". Irish Singles Chart.
  23. "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 44, 1992" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40 Retrieved December 19, 2018.
  24. " – R.E.M. – Drive" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  25. " – R.E.M. – Drive". Top 40 Singles.
  26. " – R.E.M. – Drive". VG-lista.
  27. " – R.E.M. – Drive". Singles Top 100.
  28. " – R.E.M. – Drive". Swiss Singles Chart.
  29. "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved December 19, 2018.
  30. "R.E.M. Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  31. "R.E.M. Chart History (Alternative Airplay)". Billboard.
  32. "R.E.M. Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard.
  33. "R.E.M. Chart History (Pop Songs)". Billboard.
  34. "The RPM Top 100 Hit Tracks of 1992" (PDF). RPM. Vol. 56 no. 25. December 19, 1992. p. 8. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
  35. "The RPM Top 100 Hit Tracks of 1993". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved December 19, 2018.