Shiny Happy People

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"Shiny Happy People"
R.E.M. - Shiny Happy People.jpg
Single by R.E.M.
from the album Out of Time
B-side"Forty Second Song"
ReleasedMay 6, 1991 (UK)
July 1991 (U.S.)
FormatUK: CD, 7", 12", cassette
US: 7", cassette
RecordedSeptember–October 1990
Genre
Length3:45
LabelWarner Bros.
7-19242 (US, 7")
4-19242 (US, cassette)
W0027 (UK, 7")
W0027C (UK, cassette)
W0027CD (UK, CD)
W0027CDX (UK, Collectors' Edition CD)
W0027T (UK, 12")
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
R.E.M. singles chronology
"Losing My Religion"
(1991)
"Shiny Happy People"
(1991)
"Near Wild Heaven"
(1991)
Music video
"Shiny Happy People" on YouTube

"Shiny Happy People" is a song by the band R.E.M. It appeared on their 1991 album Out of Time, and was released as a single in the same year. The song features guest vocals by Kate Pierson of the B-52's, who also appears in the song's music video. The song peaked at No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, the fourth and last R.E.M. single to reach the top 10 on the chart. It also peaked at No. 6 on the UK Singles Chart, becoming the first R.E.M. song to reach the top 10 in the UK and the only one to reach the top 10 in both countries. The song is the band's most successful hit in Ireland, where it reached No. 2, and in Germany, where it peaked at No. 10.

The band performed the song with Pierson on Saturday Night Live on April 13, 1991.[1] It was first released as a single in May 1991 in the UK, but did not go on sale in the U.S. until four months later.

The song was used as the theme song to the unaired pilot for the sitcom Friends, known at that time as Friends Like Us. It was eventually replaced by The Rembrandts' "I'll Be There for You," but it was later briefly used in the first season's 10th episode, "The One with the Monkey."

Despite the song's success, band members were ambivalent about being known for a pop song that lacked gravitas. "It's a fruity pop song written for children. It just is what it is," Michael Stipe told the BBC's Andrew Marr in 2016. "If there was one song that was sent into outer space to represent R.E.M. for the rest of time, I would not want it to be 'Shiny Happy People'".[2]

Reception[edit]

In its 2006 "Song of the Summer" countdown, CBC Radio's Freestyle named "Shiny Happy People" 1991's "Song of the Summer".[3][4] By contrast, in 2006, the song received the No. 1 position on AOL Music's list of the "111 Wussiest Songs of All Time".[5] Blender magazine also ranked the song No. 35 on its list of the "50 Worst Songs Ever",[6] and Q magazine included it in a list of "Ten Terrible Records by Great Artists" in 2005.[7]

When Michael Stipe made an appearance on Space Ghost Coast to Coast in 1995, after Space Ghost asks him to sing the “Shiny Shiny People” song, he simply states "I hate that song, Space Ghost." Due to the band's dislike of the song, it was one of their few Warner-released singles not included on their 2003 greatest hits album In Time, and they have since refused to play it live throughout their career.[8] It was, however, included on their 2011 greatest hits album Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage 1982–2011.

Track listing[edit]

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

US/UK 7"/cassette singles

  1. "Shiny Happy People" – 3:45
  2. "Forty Second Song" – 1:20

US Promo CD/12"

  1. "Shiny Happy People" (Music Mix) – 4:45
  2. "Shiny Happy People" (Pop Mix) – 4:04
  3. "Shiny Happy People" (Hip Mix) – 3:33
  4. "Shiny Happy People" (Master Chief Mix) – 3:60

UK CD/12"

  1. "Shiny Happy People" – 3:45
  2. "Forty Second Song" – 1:20
  3. "Losing My Religion" (live acoustic version, recorded on Rockline, April 1, 1991.) – 4:36

UK "Collectors' Edition" CD

  1. "Shiny Happy People" – 3:45
  2. "I Remember California" (live, from Tourfilm) – 5:42
  3. "Get Up" (live, from Tourfilm) – 3:15
  4. "Pop Song '89" (live, from Tourfilm) – 3:30

Personnel[edit]

R.E.M.

Additional musicians

Charts[edit]

Other versions[edit]

Despite R.E.M's dislike of the song, they created a parody called "Furry Happy Monsters" in 1999, and performed it on Sesame Street with a Muppet version of Kate Pierson singing backing vocals, voiced by Stephanie D'Abruzzo of Avenue Q. The monsters from the Monsters in Day Care segments (and the Two-Headed Monster) were also featured in this video.

Alvin and the Chipmunks recorded a cover of the song as a playable track for their 2007 video game. The song has also been covered by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, but without the lyrics.[34]

A cover version of the song is featured on the 2004 video game Donkey Konga 2.

The Fatima Mansions recorded an obscene version of the song, with R.E.M.'s members credited as the authors. It appeared on the EPs Bertie's Brochures and Tima Mansió Dumps the Dead and used only a sample of the main title line, otherwise the music and the verse lyrics were totally changed.

The song appears in the Space Pirates episode "Music To Paint To".

"Shiny Happy People" is one of several anachronistic songs that appear in the 2013 video game BioShock Infinite, which is set in 1912. This version of the song is performed as an Al Jolson-esque big band piece by Tony Babino (vocals), Scott Bradlee (arrangement and piano), Adam Kubota, Allan Mednard, and Tom Abbott.[35][36][37]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Saturday Night Live - Season 16, Episode 17: Catherine O'Hara/R.E.M. - TV.com
  2. ^ Andrew Marr (Nov 20, 2016). REM Talk Donald Trump on Andrew Marr show, Michael Stipe Mike Mills. YouTube. The Andrew Marr Show. Retrieved December 26, 2016.
  3. ^ "Pursuit Of Happiness - Love & Happiness Tips". Retrieved 14 March 2012.
  4. ^ "How To Reach The Happiness".
  5. ^ "The 111 Wussiest Songs of All Time (No. 1)". AOL Music. Archived from the original on August 26, 2006. Retrieved 20 August 2006.
  6. ^ Run for Your Life! It's the 50 Worst Songs Ever! from Blender.com. Retrieved on 3 May 2008. Archived April 30, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ The Independent, December 11, 2006
  8. ^ O'Neal, Sean (January 29, 2015). ""Shiny Happy People" and a young man's blossoming into cynicism". Retrieved April 25, 2017.
  9. ^ "Australian-charts.com – R.E.M. – Shiny Happy People". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  10. ^ "Austriancharts.at – R.E.M. – Shiny Happy People" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  11. ^ "Ultratop.be – R.E.M. – Shiny Happy People" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  12. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 1648." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  13. ^ Nyman, Jake (2005). Suomi soi 4: Suuri suomalainen listakirja (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Tammi. ISBN 951-31-2503-3.
  14. ^ "Lescharts.com – R.E.M. – Shiny Happy People" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  15. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – R.E.M. – Shiny Happy People". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  16. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Shiny Happy People". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  17. ^ a b "I singoli più venduti del 1991" (in Italian). Hit Parade Italia. Retrieved December 19, 2018.
  18. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 27, 1991" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40 Retrieved December 19, 2018.
  19. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – R.E.M. – Shiny Happy People" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  20. ^ "Charts.nz – R.E.M. – Shiny Happy People". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  21. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – R.E.M. – Shiny Happy People". VG-lista. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  22. ^ "Notowanie nr490" (in Polish). LP3. July 12, 1991. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
  23. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – R.E.M. – Shiny Happy People". Singles Top 100. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  24. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  25. ^ "REM Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  26. ^ "REM Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  27. ^ "REM Chart History (Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  28. ^ "REM Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  29. ^ U.S. Cash Box Chart Entries - 1990 - 1996
  30. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1991" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Retrieved December 19, 2018.
  31. ^ "RPM 100 Hit Tracks of 1991". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved December 19, 2018.
  32. ^ "Top 100 Singles - Jahrescharts 1991" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved December 19, 2018.
  33. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1991". Retrieved August 11, 2017.
  34. ^ The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - Shiny Happy People on YouTube, May 5, 2008
  35. ^ Scott Bradlee on IMDb
  36. ^ Bradlee, Scott (September 13, 2013). "My Music in Bioshock Infinite". Post Modern Jukebox. Archived from the original on August 21, 2014. Retrieved August 10, 2014.
  37. ^ Pinchefsky, Carol (April 5, 2013). "Irrational Games Makes Serious Misstep with 'BioShock: Infinite' Soundtrack Offering". Forbes. Retrieved December 7, 2014.

External links[edit]