R.E.M. – Everybody Hurts

R.E.M. – Everybody Hurts

‘Everybody Hurts’ is a song by American rock band R.E.M. from their eighth studio album, Automatic for the People (1992), and released as a single in April 1993 by Warner Bros. Records. It peaked at number 29 on the US Billboard Hot 100, but fared much better on the US Cash Box Top 100, where it peaked at number 18. The song also reached the top 10 on the charts of Australia, Canada, France, Iceland, Ireland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. Its music video was directed by Jake Scott and filmed in San Antonio, Texas. In 2003, Q ranked ‘Everybody Hurt’ at number 31 on their list of the "1001 Best Songs Ever", and in 2005, Blender ranked the song at number 238 on their list of "Greatest Songs Since You Were Born".

Much of the song was written by drummer Bill Berry, although as R.E.M. share songwriting credits among its members, it is unknown how much he actually wrote. 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 former 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.”

In the liner notes of the album In Time: The Best of R.E.M. 1988–2003, Buck wrote 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." The song was used in the 1992 film Buffy the Vampire Slayer 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." In 2022, Stipe told Rick Rubin that ‘Everybody Hurts’ was inspired by Nazareth's cover of ‘Love Hurts’.

Label – Warner Bros.
Songwriters – Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills, Michael Stipe
Producers – Scott Litt, R.E.M.


[Verse 1]
When your day is long
And the night, the night is yours alone
When you're sure you've had enough
Of this life, well hang on
Don't let yourself go
'Cause everybody cries
Everybody hurts sometimes
[Verse 2]
Sometimes everything is wrong
Now it's time to sing along
When your day is night alone (hold on, hold on)
If you feel like letting go (hold on)
If you think you've had too much
Of this life, well hang on
'Cause everybody hurts
Take comfort in your friends
Everybody hurts
Don't throw your hand, oh no
Don't throw your hand
If you feel like you're alone
No, no, no, you're not alone
[Verse 3]
If you're on your own in this life
The days and nights are long
When you think you've had too much
Of this life to hang on
Well, everybody hurts sometimes
Everybody cries
Everybody hurts, sometimes
And everybody hurts sometimes
So hold on, hold on
Hold on, hold on, hold on
Hold on, hold on, hold on
Everybody hurts
No, no, no, no, no, you're not alone
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