Wednesday, 21 September 2011

R.E.M.R.I.P.– A Chartblast Infographic

So, Bingo Handjob have called it a day. Time for a quick CHARTBLAST looking at how Georgia’s finest performed in the hit parade over the years, on both sides of the pond.


Interesting to note that in the UK, R.E.M. clocked up 19 top twenty singles, but only 5 in the USA. Indeed, the last time Stipe and Co even made the top forty in America was a whopping 17 years ago – since then they’ve had seven top ten hits in the UK. From this we can conclude that Britain is best at liking R.E.M.

“O! You soulless mechanic monsters and your relentless quest to turn art into numbers”, we hear you murmur, possibly while raising the back of a hand to your furrowed brow. We understand your concern, and so instead we present what we’re saying is R.E.M.’s finest five minutes. From the annoyingly limited CD single of Near Wild Heaven, it’s an absolutely breathtaking acoustic version of ‘Low’, and for our money, Stipey’s brooding vocal delivery has never sounded finer.


4 .:

shweeney said...

most of those UK top-10s were from the late-90s/early-00s when singles sales were in the doldrums.

"E-bow the letter" was on the charts for like 2 weeks in total - I'd imagine "Losing My Religion" sold more actual copies.

Matthew Rudd said...

I intend to play Find The River over and over again until the comeback tour is announced.

They were a real band, a musician's band and a a fan's band at the same time. Complex, professional, mature. There won't be another like them.

Mark X said...

@shweeney Going by the brilliant website ( "...Religion" did stay in the top 40 for 7 weeks, compared to E-Bow's mere 3 (, though many of those weeks were in the lower echelons of the chart. I strongly suspect that Losing My Religion probably would have performed much more strongly in the singles chart, only (going from anecdotal memories) every just just rushed out and bought Out Of Time instead, such was their faith that the rest of the album would be equally good. Also, with it being the age where you had to actually buy physical objects if you liked a song, demand for the song caught the distributors by surprise, and by the time more copies of the single could be pressed, everyone had bought the album instead.

As it stands, it seems REM's best selling single was (not surprisingly) Everybody Hurts. At least according to Wikipedia's discography page, it's the only of their singles to get a silver disc in the UK.

Chris Brown said...

Yeah, singles sales were actually relatively high around the end of the Nineties, though they collapsed from about 2002-07.

I won't copy the whole thing without permission but one of the experts at a chart message board I frequent recently estimated about 350k for 'Everybody Hurts', 170k for 'Losing My Religion' and 100k for 'E-Bow The Letter' and 'Daysleeper'. Total singles sales would be in the region of 2.3 million.

In other news, I slightly prefer the Mountain Stage version of 'Low' from the 12" picture disc of 'Nightswimming' Not on YouTube, oddly, but it is on Spotify.

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