Everybody Hurts

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"Everybody Hurts"
R.E.M. - Everybody Hurts.jpg
Single by R.E.M.
from the album Automatic for the People
B-side"Mandolin Strum"
ReleasedApril 15, 1993 (1993-04-15)
  • 5:20 (album version)
  • 4:57 (edit)
  • 4:46 (alternate edit)
LabelWarner Bros.
R.E.M. singles chronology
"The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite"
"Everybody Hurts"
Music video
"Everybody Hurts" on YouTube

"Everybody Hurts" is a song by American rock band R.E.M., originally released on the band's 1992 album Automatic for the People and also released as a single in 1993. It peaked at number 29 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and reached the top ten on the charts of Australia, Canada, France, Iceland, the Netherlands, the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom. In 2003, Q magazine ranked "Everybody Hurts" at number 31 in their list of the "1001 Best Songs Ever".[2] And in 2005, Blender ranked the song at number 238 in their list of "Greatest Songs Since You Were Born".[3]


Much of the song was written by drummer Bill Berry, although as R.E.M. shares songwriting credits among its members, it is unknown how much he actually wrote.[4] Berry's drums are largely absent from the song—a Univox drum machine took his place—but he was responsible for the sampling of the drum pattern on the track. The string arrangement was written by Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones.

Guitarist Peter Buck commented on the making of the track, saying

"Everybody Hurts" is similar to "Man on the Moon". Bill brought it in, and it was a one-minute long country-and-western song. It didn't have a chorus or a bridge. It had the verse... it kind of went around and around, and he was strumming it. We went through about four different ideas and how to approach it and eventually came to that Stax, Otis Redding, "Pain in My Heart" kind of vibe. I'm not sure if Michael would have copped that reference, but to a lot of our fans it was a Staxxy-type thing. It took us forever to figure out the arrangement and who was going to play what, and then Bill ended up not playing on the original track. It was me and Mike and a drum machine. And then we all overdubbed.[5]

In the liner notes of the album In Time: The Best of R.E.M. 1988–2003, Buck writes that "the reason the lyrics are so atypically straightforward is because it was aimed at teenagers", and "I've never watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but the idea that high school is a portal to hell seems pretty realistic to me." Incidentally, the song was used in the 1992 film of the same name that preceded the show.

In 2005, Buck told the BBC: "If you're consciously writing for someone who hasn't been to college, or is pretty young, it might be nice to be very direct. In that regard, it's tended to work for people of a lot of ages."[6]

Michael Stipe had originally intended for Patti Smith to be a second vocal on the track, but it did not work out.[7]

Critical reception[edit]

The song received favorable reviews from most music critics. AllMusic editor Stephen Thomas Erlewine wrote that the song "have a comforting melancholy".[8] David Bauder from The Associated Press said in his review of Automatic for the People that songs like "Everybody Hurts" "keep the pace slow and the mood melancholy."[9] Bevan Hannah from The Canberra Times noted "the smoothly caressing guitar" on the song.[10] Another editor, Larry McShane described it as "haunting".[11] Justin Wilson from The Cavalier Daily said that it is "the best song on the album, one of R.E.M.'s best songs ever". He also noted the song as "emotionally moving"[12] and "deeply affecting".[13] Greg Kot from Chicago Tribune stated that it is "a ballad that would border on the maudlin if Stipe didn't sing it with such conviction".[14] The Gazette said that the Automatic for the People album ponders frustrations of life in the "Bee Geeish" "Everybody Hurts"".[15] Music & Media described the track as a "ultra melancholic ballad" and noted that the song "with string arrangements by ex Led Zeppelin bass player John Paul Jones is the Bridge Over Troubled Water for the '90s with Michael Stipe as Simon & Garfunkel rolled into one."[16] People said that in "Everybody Hurts", vocalist Michael Stipe "succeeds at talking a friend out of suicide".[17] Scripps Howard News Service wrote in their review of Automatic for the People that Stipe "has never sung better" and songs like "the unabashedly emotional" "Everybody Hurts" "gives him plenty of range to display those pipes."[18] David Cavanagh from Select wrote that "it's virtually beyond words. It will have non-REM maniacs in hysterics with its delicate Spector structure and childlike message ("everybody hurts, everybody cries...when you think you've had too much of this life, hang on..."). It will make everyone else cry. It really is that straightforward."[19]

Music video[edit]

R.E.M. in the music video of "Everybody Hurts".

In the video for the song, directed by Jake Scott and filmed along the double deck portions of I-10 near the I-35 Interchange in downtown San Antonio, Texas in February 1993, the band is stuck in a traffic jam. It shows the people in other cars and subtitles of their thoughts appear on screen. A man standing on an overpass drops pages from a book he is reading onto the cars below, while the subtitles read "Lead me to the rock that is higher than I" and "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy", quotes from the biblical Book of Psalms 61 and 126 respectively. At the end, all the people leave their cars and walk instead; then they vanish, followed by scenes of a newscast reporting on the unfamiliar event. Although Michael Stipe is featured prominently in the video, he remains silent until the final "Hold On, Hold On" part of the song. The video was heavily inspired by the traffic jam in the opening dream sequence of Fellini's .

Usage in media[edit]

In 1995, British emotional support listening service The Samaritans, in response to the high suicide rate but low crisis service take-up amongst young men, launched a UK press advertising campaign consisting solely of the lyrics to "Everybody Hurts" and the charity's hotline number.[20]

The song was placed on R.E.M.'s Warner Bros. "best of" album In Time: The Best of R.E.M. 1988–2003 in 2003. It was one of four songs from Automatic for the People to make the compilation, more than from any other album. The song is included on R.E.M. Live.

U.S. President Donald Trump used the song in a Twitter video showing several Democratic politicians with sad-looking reactions towards his 2019 State of the Union Address. The former members of the band responded to this on their Twitter page saying, "World Leader PRETEND!!! Congress, Media--ghost this faker!!! Love, R.E.M." Eventually, Twitter removed the video following a copyright complaint from Concord Music, the band's record label. Trump later re-uploaded the video, using Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the U.S.A." instead. Both versions of the video were created by a self-proclaimed Trump supporter named @CarpeDonktum.[21][22]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Michael Stipe unless otherwise indicated.

US 7" and CD single

  1. "Everybody Hurts" (Edit) – 4:46
  2. "Mandolin Strum" – 3:26

"Collectors' Edition" CD 1 (UK)

  1. "Everybody Hurts" (edit) – 4:57
  2. "New Orleans Instrumental No. 1" (Long Version) – 3:29
  3. "Mandolin Strum" – 3:26

"Collectors' Edition" CD 2 (UK)

  1. "Everybody Hurts" (edit) – 4:57
  2. "Chance (Dub)" – 2:36
  3. "Dark Globe" (Syd Barrett) – 1:51

German CD single

  1. "Everybody Hurts" (edit) – 4:57
  2. "Mandolin Strum" – 3:26
  3. "Chance (Dub)" – 2:36
  4. "Dark Globe" (Barrett) – 1:51

US 12" and CD maxi-single 1

  1. "Everybody Hurts" (edit) – 4:57
  2. "Mandolin Strum" – 3:26
  3. "Belong" (live)[23] – 4:32
  4. "Orange Crush" (live)[24] – 4:00

US 12" and CD maxi-single 2

  1. "Everybody Hurts" (edit) – 4:57
  2. "Star Me Kitten" (demo) – 3:05
  3. "Losing My Religion" (live)[23] – 4:55
  4. "Organ Song" – 3:25

UK cassette single

  1. "Everybody Hurts" – 5:20
  2. "Pop Song '89" – 3:03

UK and DE 7" single

  1. "Everybody Hurts" (edit) – 4:46
  2. "Pop Song '89" – 3:03



Sales certifications for "Everybody Hurts"
Region Certification Certified units/sales
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[48] Gold 45,000double-dagger
France (SNEP)[49] Gold 250,000*
Italy (FIMI)[50]
sales since 2009
Platinum 50,000double-dagger
United Kingdom (BPI)[51] Gold 400,000double-dagger

*sales figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

Helping Haiti charity single[edit]

"Everybody Hurts"
Everybody Hurts (Haiti).png
Single by Helping Haiti
ReleasedFebruary 7, 2010
RecordedJanuary 2010
  • Bill Berry
  • Peter Buck
  • Mike Mills
  • Michael Stipe
Leona Lewis singles chronology
"I Got You"
"Everybody Hurts"
Rod Stewart singles chronology
"My Cherie Amour"
"Everybody Hurts"
"I've Got You Under My Skin"
Mariah Carey singles chronology
"Angels Cry / Up Out My Face"
"Everybody Hurts"
"Oh Santa!"
Cheryl singles chronology
"3 Words"
"Everybody Hurts"
Mika singles chronology
"Kick Ass (We Are Young)"
"Everybody Hurts"
"Blame It on the Girls"
Michael Buble singles chronology
"Baby (You've Got What It Takes)"
"Everybody Hurts"
"Crazy Love"
Joe McElderry singles chronology
"The Climb"
"Everybody Hurts"
Miley Cyrus singles chronology
"Party in the U.S.A."
"Everybody Hurts"
"When I Look at You"
James Blunt singles chronology
"Primavera in anticipo (It Is My Song)"
"Everybody Hurts"
"Stay the Night"
Take That singles chronology
"Hold Up a Light"
"Everybody Hurts"
"The Flood"
Jon Bon Jovi singles chronology
"Bang a Drum"
"Everybody Hurts"
"Not Running Anymore"
James Morrison singles chronology
"Get to You"
"Everybody Hurts"
"I Won't Let You Go"
Alexandra Burke singles chronology
"Broken Heels"
"Everybody Hurts"
"All Night Long"
Susan Boyle singles chronology
"I Dreamed a Dream"
"Everybody Hurts"
"Perfect Day"
JLS singles chronology
"Everybody in Love"
"Everybody Hurts"
"One Shot"
Westlife singles chronology
"What About Now"
"Everybody Hurts"
Kylie Minogue singles chronology
"Everybody Hurts"
"All the Lovers"
Robbie Williams singles chronology
"You Know Me"
"Everybody Hurts"
"Morning Sun"
Music video
"Everybody Hurts" on YouTube

In an attempt to raise money for victims of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown asked Simon Cowell to arrange a charity single.[52] Cowell chose "Everybody Hurts", Brown agreed to waive VAT on the single and R.E.M. agreed to waive all royalties.[53] The release was under the name Helping Haiti.

Proceeds from the single were split between The Sun's Helping Haiti fund and the Disasters Emergency Committee.[52][54] The single was released both physically and digitally on February 7, 2010.[citation needed]

It has been reported as having sold approximately 205,000 copies in its first two days in the United Kingdom,[55] and 453,000 in its first week, making it the fastest-selling charity record of the 21st century in Britain.[56]

This cover is also noteworthy for featuring Robbie Williams's first collaboration with Take That since Williams parted ways with the group in 1995, although neither act was present for each other's recording session.

This also marks Jon Bon Jovi's first number-one appearance on the UK Singles Chart.[57]


The song is performed by the following artists (in order of appearance):

Chart performance for Helping Haiti version[edit]

Following its release in the UK and Ireland on February 7, 2010, Helping Haiti's song entered the Irish Singles Chart on 12 February at number one. On 14 February it entered the UK Singles Chart at number one and spent two weeks at the top spot before dropping to number nine. On February 23, 2010, the single debuted on the Australian Singles Chart at number 28.

Music video for Helping Haiti version[edit]

A five-minute promotional short documentary was broadcast on ITV at 20.30 on February 7. The documentary includes footage of the performers recording their vocals (except for Carey, Cyrus, Bon Jovi and Minogue) and images and footage from the aftermath of the earthquake.[58] It opens with a statement of what had happened on January 12 and moves on with footage showing the devastation in the country and the suffering of the Haitians.[59] The official music video was directed by Joseph Kahn and premiered on March 6, 2010. Jon Bon Jovi and Michael Bublé are the only artists not to appear in this video.

Track listing for Helping Haiti version[edit]

  1. "Everybody Hurts" – 5:24
  2. "Everybody Hurts" (alternative mix) – 5:35

Charts for Helping Haiti version[edit]

Weekly charts for Helping Haiti version[edit]

Weekly sales chart peaks for "Everybody Hurts"
Chart (2010) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[60] 28
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[61] 23
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[62] 1
Belgium (Ultratip Wallonia)[63] 1
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[64] 59
Germany (Official German Charts)[65] 16
Ireland (IRMA)[31] 1
Italy Digital Download (FIMI)[66] 14
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40 Tipparade)[67] 5
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[68] 17
Scotland (OCC)[69] 1
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[70] 39
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[71] 21
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[72] 16
UK Singles (OCC)[73] 1
US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles (Billboard)[74] 21

Year-end charts for Helping Haiti version[edit]

Annual sales chart position for "Everybody Hurts"
Chart (2010) Position
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[75] 11

Certifications for Helping Haiti version[edit]

Sales certifications for "Everybody Hurts"
Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[76] Platinum 600,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone


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External links[edit]