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

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"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
Studio Sound Emporium, Nashville, Tennessee
Genre Alternative rock, post-punk[1]
Length 4:07 (Album version)
3:29 (Single version)
Label I.R.S.
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s) Scott Litt, 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)
"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) Radio Song1991

It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)
(1991) String Module Error: Match not found1991

Drive
(1992) Drive1992

"It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" is a song by American 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 in the US Billboard Hot 100 and later reaching No. 39 on 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 are very similar in melody and tempo. "PSA" was itself later reworked and 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".[3]

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.

The song was included on the 2001 Clear Channel memorandum of songs thought to be "lyrically questionable" after the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Chart performance[edit]

The song was played repeatedly for a 24-hour period (with brief promos interspersed) to introduce the new format for WENZ 107.9 FM "The End", a radio station in Cleveland, Ohio in 1992. When the station underwent a new format change in 1996, they again played the song in 24-hour loop. There was a documentary film made about the station entitled The End of the World As We Knew It, released in 2009 which featured many of the former staffers and jocks.[5][6][7]

Before the supposed Mayan apocalypse on December 21, 2012, sales for the song jumped from 3,000 to 19,000 copies for the week.[8] Alternative radio station CFEX-FM in Calgary, Canada stunted by playing the song all day on December 21, 2012, interspersed with "Get to Know a Mayan" and "Apocalypse Survival Tips" segments.[9]

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,[10] in a cluttered room of an abandoned, half-collapsed farmhouse. As he rummages through the junk, which includes several band pictures and flyers, he shows off various toys and items to the camera and plays with a dog that wanders into the house. As the video ends, he removes his shirt and starts performing skateboard tricks while still inside the room.

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

Personnel[edit]

R.E.M.

Charts[edit]

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

Cover versions[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Los Angeles Times: 20 Essential R.E.M. Songs Retrieved 5 October 2015
  2. ^ "R.E.M.HQ: Albums". Remhq.com. Archived from the original on 5 February 2012. Retrieved 7 November 2014. 
  3. ^ "YuppiePunk  » Podcast #8: List Songs". Yuppiepunk.org. Archived from the original on February 1, 2014. Retrieved 1 February 2014. 
  4. ^ Ventre, Michael (2005-10-29). "Turn up the volume and cast your vote: Songs to inspire you for Election Day 2004". MSNBC. Archived from the original on 2004-11-04. Retrieved 2006-09-01. 
  5. ^ Wendt, Michael (2008-06-14), The End of the World as We Knew It, retrieved 2016-03-12 
  6. ^ Olszewski, Mike (2003-01-01). Radio Daze: Stories from the Front in Cleveland's FM Air Wars. Kent State University Press. ISBN 978-0-87338-773-6. 
  7. ^ "Doomsday facts". tribunedigital-chicagotribune. Retrieved 2016-03-12. 
  8. ^ "Non-Apocalypse Spurs Sales (Up 612%), Airplay Gains For R.E.M.'s 'End Of The World'". Billboard. Retrieved 7 November 2014. 
  9. ^ "Calgary Radio Station X92.9 Plays 'It's The End Of The World' By R.E.M. All Day To Mark Mayan Calendar". Huffington Post. AOL. Retrieved 14 July 2016. 
  10. ^ Thompson, Jim. "Video takes local kid's life for a turn". Online Athens: REM in the hall. Athens Banner-Herald. Archived from the original on 16 January 2010. Retrieved 16 January 2010. 
  11. ^ "Item Display – RPM – Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved 7 November 2014. 
  12. ^ Ableson, Jon. "Chris Carrabba To Release "Covered In The Flood" Solo Album". Alter The Press!. Retrieved 17 June 2013. 
  13. ^ "BuffettNews.com • View topic – Buffett Covers R.E.M.". Buffettnews.com. Retrieved 7 November 2014.