Leaving New York

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"Leaving New York"
R.E.M. - Leaving New York.jpg
Single by R.E.M.
from the album Around the Sun
B-side "(Don't Go Back To) Rockville (Live)"
Released September 27, 2004 (UK)
Format 2 CDs, downloadable MP3
Recorded 2004
Genre Alternative rock
Length 4:49
Label Warner Bros.
W654CD1 / W654CD2
Writer(s) Peter Buck, Mike Mills, and Michael Stipe
Producer(s) R.E.M. and Pat McCarthy
R.E.M. singles chronology
"Leaving New York"

"Leaving New York" is a song by the American alternative rock band R.E.M.. It was the first single from the band's 2004 album Around the Sun. Although it was not as heavily promoted as earlier singles, it reached as high as number 5 on the UK Singles Chart. However, the song failed to chart on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the only lead US single from an R.E.M. studio album not to chart on the US Hot 100 besides "Cant Get There from Here" from Fables of the Reconstruction in 1985.

In early live performances of the song (September 2004), the band would play Michael Stipe's "It's pulling me apart. Change." album backing vocal during the chorus and bridge of live performances. As early as February 2005, however, as evidenced on the R.E.M. Live disc, the band worked up an alternative whereby the backing vocals would be shared amongst Mike Mills, Scott McCaughey and Ken Stringfellow in order to make the song flow more smoothly.

Background to the song[edit]

As Stipe stated in interviews, the tune is a love song to the city. Stipe regards New York as his second hometown. Stipe stated that once, flying out of the city and seeing it from above, he was overwhelmed by its beauty and wrote the song right there on the plane.[1]

The music video was shot with real friends of the band members, throwing a party, and snapshots of Stipe in different places of the city, giving the video a spontaneous and private atmosphere.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks by Peter Buck, Mike Mills, and Michael Stipe unless otherwise stated.


  1. "Leaving New York" (single edit) - 4:43
  2. "(Don't Go Back To) Rockville" (Berry, Buck, Mills, Stipe) (Live, Oslo 25.10.03) - 4:35


  1. "Leaving New York" (single edit) - 4:43
  2. "You Are the Everything" (Berry, Buck, Mills, Stipe) (Live, Raleigh, NC - Soundcheck, 10.10.03) - 3:30
  3. "These Days" (Berry, Buck, Mills, Stipe) (Live, Toronto, ON, 30.09.03) - 3:27


Chart (2004) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[2] 57
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[3] 32
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[4] 7
Belgium (Ultratip Wallonia)[5] 15
Denmark (Tracklisten)[6] 10
Germany (Media Control AG)[7] 16
Ireland (IRMA)[8] 14
Italy (FIMI)[9] 2
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[10] 43
Norway (VG-lista)[11] 7
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[12] 11
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[13] 18
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[14] 5
US AAA (R&R)[15] 1


External links[edit]