It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

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This article is about the R.E.M. song. For the Grey's Anatomy episodes, see It's the End of the World and (As We Know It).
"It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)"
Block text in all capitals spell out "R.E.M" (the band's name) in large black letters against a light background; under the band's name is a horizontal line spanning the width of the cover; under the line are four lines of purple text in a font half the height of the font used for the band's name.  The four lines:  IT'S THE END/OF THE WORLD/AS WE KNOW IT/(AND I FEEL FINE).
Cover of the USA 7" release.
Single by R.E.M.
from the album Document
B-side "Last Date"
Released November 16, 1987
Format Vinyl record (7" and 12"), tape cassette, CD
Recorded 1987 at Sound Emporium, Nashville, Tennessee
Genre Alternative rock
Length 4:07 (album version)
3:29 (single version)
Label I.R.S.
Writer(s) Bill Berry
Peter Buck
Mike Mills
Michael Stipe[1]
Producer(s) Scott Litt and R.E.M.
R.E.M. singles chronology
"The One I Love"
(1987)
"It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)"
(1987)
"Finest Worksong"
(1988)

"Radio Song"
(1991)

"It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)"
(1991)

"Drive"
(1992)

"It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" is a song by the rock band R.E.M., which appeared on their 1987 album Document, the 1988 compilation Eponymous, and the 2006 compilation And I Feel Fine... The Best of the I.R.S Years 1982–1987. It was released as a single in November 1987, reaching No. 69 US Billboard Hot 100 and later reaching No. 39 in the UK singles chart on its re-release in December 1991.

The song originated from a previously unreleased song called "PSA" ("Public Service Announcement"); the two songs are very similar in melody and tempo. "PSA" was itself later released as a single in 2003, under the title "Bad Day." In an interview with Guitar World magazine published in November 1996, R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck agreed that "End of the World" was in the tradition of Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues."[2]

Music video[edit]

The music video was directed by James Herbert, who worked with the band on several other videos in the late 1980s. It depicts a young skateboarder, Noah Ray,[3] rifling through an abandoned, collapsing farmhouse and displaying the relics that he finds to the camera.

Track listing[edit]

Initial release[edit]

  • "7: IRS IRM 145 (UK):
  1. "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" – 4:04
  2. "This One Goes Out" (live acoustic version of "The One I Love") – 4:19
  • "7: IRS IRS-53220 (US); cassette: IRS IRSC-53220:
  1. "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" – 4:04
  2. "Last Date" (Floyd Cramer cover) – 2:13
  • "12: IRS IRMT 145:
  1. "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" – 4:04
  2. "This One Goes Out" (live acoustic version of "The One I Love") – 4:19
  3. "Maps and Legends" (live acoustic)
  • "12 Promo: IRS 7363 (US):
  1. "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" – 4:04
  2. "Disturbance at the Heron House (Live from cassette 5.24.87 McCabes Guitar Shop)" – 3:41

Re-issue[edit]

  • CD: IRS DIRMT 180:
  1. "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" – 4:04
  2. "Radio Free Europe" – 4:03
  3. "The One I Love" (Live Acoustic) – 4:19
  • CD: IRS DIRMX 180:
  1. "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" – 4:04
  2. "Radio Free Europe" (Hib-Tone version) – 3:46
  3. "White Tornado" – 1:59
  4. "Last Date" – 2:13
  • "7: IRS IRM 180; cassette: IRS DIRMC 180:
  1. "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" – 4:04
  2. "Radio Free Europe" – 4:03

Lyrics[edit]

The track is known for its quick flying, seemingly stream of consciousness rant with a number of diverse references, including a quartet of individuals with the initials "L.B." (Leonard Bernstein, Leonid Brezhnev, Lenny Bruce and Lester Bangs).[4] In a 1990s interview with Musician magazine, R.E.M.'s lead singer Michael Stipe claimed that the "L.B." references came from a dream he had in which he found himself at a party surrounded by famous people who all shared these initials.

Sales chart performance[edit]

Commercial performance[edit]

Before the supposed Mayan apocalypse December 21, 2012, sales for the song jumped from 3,000 to 19,000 copies for the week.[5]

Charts[edit]

Chart (1987/1991) Peak
position
Irish Singles Chart 222
UK Singles Chart 391
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 69
U.S. Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks 16
  • 1 – The single originally reached No. 87 in the UK. It reached No. 39 in 1991 after the song was re-released.
  • 2 – Only charted in 1991 after the song's re-release.

Cover versions[edit]

References[edit]