The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History…Song #361: Everybody Hurts by R.E.M. (RS)

This list of songs is inspired by lists published by radio station KEXP-FM from Seattle in 2010, as well as the latest poll taken in 2021 by Rolling Stone Magazine. For the most part I will faithfully countdown from their lists, starting at Song #500 and going until I reach Song #1. When you see the song title listed as something like: Song #XXX (KEXP)….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. Song XXX (RS) means the song is coming from the Rolling Stone list. If I post the song title as being: Song #xxx (KTOM), it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In any case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, just so everyone is aware, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Here is the story behind today’s song. Enjoy.

RS: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.

Song #361: Everybody Hurts by R.E.M.

Some songs are judged by the number of records sold. Some songs are judged based on what position on a Top #40 chart the song managed to attain. Then you have a song like “Everybody Hurts” by R.E.M.. This is one song best judged by the number of lives this song has saved.

Of all the things that we do over the course of our lives, none matters more than the ability we possess to uplift those around us and make their lives better. “Everybody Hurts” is a song that came from R.E.M.’s 1992 album Automatic For the People. *(You can read a post about how that album got its name here). It is a song about suicide. More to the point, it is a song that speaks to suicide prevention. Since its release, “Everybody Hurts” has been used in various media campaigns regarding mental health and suicide prevention. You don’t have to look very hard to find YouTube comments, social media commentary or letters posted on R.E.M. fan websites that speak to the lives of people who felt lost (to the point of wanting to end their lives) but who found Hope because of the lyrics to this song.

The members of R.E.M. reject the claim that they deserve any special recognition for creating, “Everybody Hurts”. They all say that it was a time in their own lives when things were changing and it was becoming more difficult, personally and professionally, to hang onto the joy and the good times that characterized the first half of their career. Fame and parenthood and middle age and all the pressures and changes that come with that are things that most people feel and therefore, the band thought that the idea for such a song was one that potentially had universal appeal. While I can relate to the core message of having to bear the crosses of responsibility that come with adulthood, I am fortunate to have never felt so overwhelmed and filled with despair that I thought suicide was ever an option for alleviating my pain. But, some people do feel that way. For them, the words from a song that reassures them that they are not alone and that things will get better if they just hold on a little longer is a message that has saved lives.

The band received lots of praise for the video they released that accompanied the song. The idea of everyone being stuck in a massive traffic jam is meant to symbolize everyone being stuck with the ups and downs of surviving everyday life. There is an orchestral feel to “Everybody Hurts” that gives it a grander, more noble air. Whatever the reason is that you may be drawn to this song, I hope that seeing this video brings you a sense of peace and of calm that you may need to better navigate your way through this day.

You are not alone. I am here. So is R.E.M. Here is “Everybody Hurts”. Have a wonderful day.

The link to the music video for “Everybody Hurts” by R.E.M. can be found here. ***The lyrics version can be found here.

The link to the official website for R.E.M., can be found here.

***IF YOU ARE FEELING DISTRESSED AND COULD USE SOMEONE TO TALK TO ABOUT LIFE…..the voices at the other end of this link may help. You are not alone. Click on the link here for help.

Thanks to Rolling Stone Magazine for supporting important music that brings light to the darkest corners of our lives. A link to their official website can be found here.

***As always, all original content contained within this post remains the sole property of the author. No portion of this post shall be reblogged, copied or shared in any manner without the express written consent of the author. ©2021

Author: Tom MacInnes

Among the many characters I play: husband, father, son, retired elementary school teacher, writer, Cape Bretoner, lover of hot tea and, above all else, a gentleman. I strive to make a positive difference in the lives of others. In Life, I have chosen to be kind.

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