"Losing My Faith": What REM's Biggest Hit Really Is About

Today the song is a trademark of R.E.M. It's hard to believe that back in 1991 the producers almost rejected this masterpiece.

R.E.M. "Losing My Religion" (1991) - song recording, lyrics, cover versions

"Losing My Religion" - The band's biggest hit "R.E.M." The composition was released as a single from the album "Out of Time." In winter 1991 year. Because of the unusual arrangement with mandolin motifs, the producers did not believe in the success of the track, and in vain: "Losing My Religion" was often played on the radio, and the gorgeous music video contributed to its popularity. As a result, the song became the biggest hit for the band on the territory of the USA, and in 1992 it even won two Grammy awards! But under what circumstances was this masterpiece born and what does its name really mean? We suggest finding out together.

History of Creation, Recording

R.E.M. Band.
R.E.M. Band.

Many listeners remembered this composition because of its extravagant sound, in which the guitar and mandolin merge harmoniously. And that is what almost doomed the song to failure. The story "Losing My Religion" began with guitarist and co-founder of the "R.E.M." Peter Buck decided to discover a new instrument. Legend has it that he spent a long time improvising with the mandolin and recording his results on a tape recorder. The next morning the musician listened to the recordings and realized that he had in his hands a ready sketch of a melody for a future hit.

They recorded the track in New York. And while it only took one take for the vocals, the bassist To Mike Mills. It wasn't easy for him to come up with something original for a long time, and finally he was inspired by the game John McVie from "Fleetwood Mac.. The track also featured an organ, but it was later replaced by classical symphony orchestra notes.

R.E.M. Band.
R.E.M. Band.

Sound "Losing My Religion" was quite unusual, and the label didn't like it. Fortunately, the band managed to insist and the song was released as a single. Although from the side of "Warner." The song was initially only played on small radio stations, before it was allowed to float on the major radio waves.

The meaning of the title and the lyrics

Michael Stipe as a young man
Michael Stipe as a young man

When "Losing My Religion" saw the light of day, many people thought that the composition was addressed to the deceased Beatle To John Lennon. And some even found references to AIDS in it. But actually it's a song about unrequited love. That's what the author of the lyrics said in the interview Michael Stipe:

"Where I grew up, the phrase 'Losing My Religion' means 'losing patience. That's what they say when they want to put an end to something or are on the verge of it. And the hero of the song sings about that, about his hopeless love..."

Music video

A classy music video was directed by Tarsem Singh. He later admitted that the work was inspired by one of the stories Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It is clear that Singh also drew inspiration from the Italian painter Caravaggio. In addition, the video sequence is full of references to religious images.

The music video was incredibly successful on the MTV: he was nominated for nine awards and as a result won several awards, including "Video of the Year.". As of 2021, the number of views on YouTube is more than 900 million!

Cover versions

Over the years, the popularity of the composition has only grown. As a result, many performers, and just talented enthusiasts presented their interpretations on "Losing My Religion". Especially the song is a success among alternative and metal bands. We suggest you personally enjoy the most interesting cover versions.

Interesting Facts

  • "Losing My Religion" was a huge success. It was on the list of "500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll," and the album itself topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic and sold over 18 million copies all over the world.
  • The recording of the track involved guest musicians, including an entire symphonic Atlanta Orchestra.

  • Despite the fact that the author himself explained the meaning of the song in an interview, fans to this day are trying to find in the "Losing My Religion" secret meaning. Thus, some believe that Michael Stipe sings about herself in this heartfelt hit.
  • Today, the song is a calling card "R.E.M.". It's hard to believe that back in 1991 the producers almost rejected this masterpiece.

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