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Entertainment & Playlists

14 Best R.E.M. Songs of All Time (Greatest Hits)

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Written By Will Fenton
Entertainment & Playlists

14 Best R.E.M. Songs of All Time (Greatest Hits)

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You’re in for a treat as we take a look at the 14 best R.E.M. songs of all time, also known as their greatest hits.

This iconic alternative rock band from Athens, Georgia, has been a mainstay in the music industry for over three decades, with hits spanning multiple genres and generations.

From the catchy choruses of “The One I Love” and “Man on the Moon” to the introspective lyrics of “Find the River” and “Walk Unafraid”, R.E.M. has left an indelible mark on music history.

Whether you’re a long-time fan or just discovering their music, this list is sure to bring back memories and introduce you to some new favorites.

So sit back, relax, and let’s dive into the world of R.E.M.’s greatest hits.

Enjoy our list of the best R.E.M. songs!

1. “The One I Love”

“The One I Love” catchy chorus and upbeat guitar riffs make it a fan favorite among R.E.M.‘s greatest hits.

From the moment the song begins, you can’t help but tap your foot along to the rhythm.

And when Michael Stipe’s voice comes in with the opening lyrics, “This one goes out to the one I love”, you know you’re in for a treat.

What makes “The One I Love” so special is the way it blends dark, introspective lyrics with an infectious melody.

On the surface, the song seems like a love song, but as you dig deeper, you realize it’s actually a biting commentary on the power dynamics in relationships.

It’s this combination of catchy hooks and thought-provoking lyrics that has made “The One I Love” a timeless classic in the world of rock music.

2. “Driver 8”

Get ready to groove to the classic tune “Driver 8” by R.E.M.!

This song is a gem from their third studio album, Fables of the Reconstruction.

The upbeat tempo and catchy guitar riffs make it impossible not to tap your feet along to the rhythm.

The lyrics are a tribute to the American railroad system and the people who work on it, telling the story of a train conductor and his daily routine.

“Driver 8” is not only a fan favorite but also a critical success, receiving high praise from music critics and being included in many best-of lists.

The song’s popularity has endured the test of time, and it’s still a staple in R.E.M’s live performances.

If you’re looking for a song that will get you up and moving, add “Driver 8” to your playlist and let the music transport you on a journey across America’s railways.

3. “Radio Free Europe”

The opening track of their debut album, “Radio Free Europe” sets the tone for R.E.M.’s unique sound with its jangly guitars and Michael Stipe’s enigmatic vocals.

Released in 1983, the song quickly became a college radio hit, propelling the band to early success.

What makes “Radio Free Europe” such a standout track is its infectious energy and catchy melody.

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The interplay between the guitar riffs and Stipe’s vocals creates a sense of urgency that grabs the listener’s attention from the very first note.

It’s no wonder the song has remained a fan favorite and a staple of R.E.M.’s live performances for over three decades.

4. “Fall On Me”

You can feel the weight of the world lift off your shoulders as the gentle harmonies of “Fall On Me” wash over you, transporting you to a place of peace and serenity.

This 1986 hit showcases R.E.M.’s ability to craft a song that is both uplifting and introspective, with lyrics that speak to the power of connection and the importance of caring for one another.

The ethereal quality of the music, combined with Michael Stipe’s emotive vocals, creates a sonic landscape that is both haunting and beautiful.

“Fall On Me” is a shining example of R.E.M.’s unique brand of alternative rock, which blends elements of folk, punk, and pop to create a sound that is wholly their own.

The song’s message of hope and togetherness is just as relevant today as it was when it was first released, making it a timeless classic that will continue to resonate with listeners for generations to come.

As you listen to the soaring chorus and delicate instrumentation, you can’t help but be moved by the sheer beauty of this unforgettable track.

5. “Man on the Moon”

When you hear “Man on the Moon”, it’s impossible not to feel a surge of nostalgia and awe for the legendary figure it pays tribute to.

The song is a beautiful tribute to the late Andy Kaufman, a comedian known for his unconventional and often controversial performances.

The lyrics transport you to a different time and place, where anything was possible and the world was full of wonder.

The melody is equally enchanting, with its gentle guitar strumming and Michael Stipe’s haunting vocals.

It’s no wonder that “Man on the Moon” has become one of R.E.M.’s most beloved songs and a staple of classic rock radio.

It’s a testament to the band’s ability to create music that is both timeless and deeply resonant with listeners.

6. “Everybody Hurts”

Feeling down?

“Everybody Hurts” by R.E.M. is a song that will make you feel like you’re not alone in your struggles.

With its simple yet powerful lyrics, the song speaks to the universal human experience of pain and sadness.

It reminds us that it’s okay to feel vulnerable and that we all go through difficult times.

The song’s slow and soothing melody, combined with Michael Stipe’s emotive vocals, creates a sense of empathy and connection with the listener.

It’s a song that can bring tears to your eyes and make you feel understood, even when no one else seems to.

So if you’re feeling overwhelmed or lost, give “Everybody Hurts” a listen and let it remind you that things will get better and that you’re not alone.

7. “Nightswimming”

“Nightswimming” is a nostalgic and romantic ballad that showcases R.E.M.’s ability to create a dreamy atmosphere through their music.

This song is a perfect example of how the band can evoke emotions with their lyrics and melodies.

The opening piano notes set the tone for the whole song, creating a sense of longing and melancholy that perfectly matches the lyrics.

The song tells a story of youth and innocence, of friends skinny-dipping at night and the freedom that comes with it.

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The lyrics are beautifully written, full of imagery and metaphors that paint a vivid picture of the scene.

The song’s romantic and wistful tone makes it a fan favorite and a classic in R.E.M.’s discography.

It’s a perfect example of how the band can create a mood and transport the listener to a specific moment in time.

“Nightswimming” is a beautiful song that showcases the band’s talent and creativity.

Listening to “Nightswimming” is like taking a trip down memory lane, a reminder of the beauty of youth and the power of music to evoke emotions.

8. “Losing My Religion”

“Losing My Religion” is a timeless hit that showcases R.E.M.’s unique sound and Michael Stipe’s distinct vocals.

Released in 1991, this song became one of the band’s biggest hits and won two Grammy Awards.

The mandolin riff, Stipe’s emotive delivery of the lyrics, and the catchy chorus make this song a classic that still resonates with audiences today.

The lyrics of “Losing My Religion” are open to interpretation, but they’re often seen as a reflection of unrequited love or the feeling of losing faith.

The phrase “losing my religion” is actually a Southern American expression that means losing one’s temper or feeling frustrated.

Stipe’s cryptic lyrics and the band’s unique instrumentation create a haunting and memorable song that has stood the test of time.

9. “Begin the Begin”

With its energetic guitar riffs and powerful vocals, “Begin the Begin” is a standout track from R.E.M.’s album Lifes Rich Pageant.

From the moment the song starts, you can feel the energy pulsing through your speakers.

The opening guitar riff is infectious, and it sets the tone for the rest of the song.

As the song progresses, Michael Stipe’s vocals become more intense, and the lyrics become more powerful.

It’s a call to action, encouraging the listener to take control of their life and not be afraid to move forward.

Overall, “Begin the Begin” is a classic R.E.M. song that showcases the band’s talent and energy.

10. “Pretty Persuasion”

You can’t help but feel the catchy rhythm and infectious melody of “Pretty Persuasion”, a track that will have you tapping your foot and singing along in no time.

The song’s jangling guitars and Michael Stipe’s distinctive vocals make it one of R.E.M.’s most memorable hits, and it’s easy to see why.

From the opening notes, “Pretty Persuasion” draws you in and keeps you hooked until the very end.

The lyrics are just as captivating as the music, with Stipe’s cryptic words leaving plenty of room for interpretation.

Some fans believe the song is about the power of persuasion and its impact on our lives, while others see it as a commentary on the media and its manipulation of the masses.

Whatever the true meaning may be, there’s no denying that “Pretty Persuasion” is a standout track that showcases R.E.M. at their best.

11. “E-Bow the Letter”

One of R.E.M.’s most hauntingly beautiful tracks is “E-Bow the Letter”, featuring the ethereal vocals of Patti Smith and Michael Stipe’s emotive delivery.

Released in 1996 as part of their album New Adventures in Hi-Fi, the song’s title refers to a guitar effect device called the E-Bow that creates a sustained, eerie sound.

The collaboration between Patti Smith and R.E.M. on “E-Bow the Letter” is a standout moment in the band’s discography.

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Smith’s haunting vocals complement Stipe’s signature style, and the result is a song that is both haunting and beautiful.

The track’s unique sound and poetic lyrics make it one of R.E.M.’s best, and a standout on an album that is full of gems.

12. “Walk Unafraid”

You may have just finished reading about the hauntingly beautiful track “E-Bow the Letter”, but now it’s time to switch things up with the empowering anthem “Walk Unafraid”.

This song, which was released in 1998 as a part of the band’s album Up, is a reminder to stand tall and face your fears head-on.

With its upbeat tempo and catchy lyrics, “Walk Unafraid” quickly became a fan favorite.

The song’s message is clear: no matter what obstacles may come your way, you have the strength to overcome them. And the best part?

You don’t have to face them alone.

“Walk Unafraid” encourages us to lean on our loved ones and support systems when we need them most.

As you listen to “Walk Unafraid”, let the music wash over you and feel the power of its message.

Allow yourself to be inspired to face your fears and take on the world with confidence.

Remember, you’re not alone, and you have the strength within you to walk unafraid.

13. “Life and How to Live It”

As the opening guitar riff of “Life and How to Live It” reverberates through the speakers, the listener is transported to a live concert venue, surrounded by fellow fans swaying and singing along to the infectious beat.

This classic track from R.E.M.’s 1985 album Fables of the Reconstruction is a perfect example of the band’s musical prowess.

The driving rhythm and catchy melody are complemented by Michael Stipe’s distinctive vocals, which convey a sense of urgency and a call to action.

The lyrics of “Life and How to Live It” are both poetic and thought-provoking, touching on themes of self-discovery and personal growth.

This message resonates with listeners decades after the song’s release and cements its place as one of R.E.M.’s greatest hits.

14. “Find the River”

Experience the dreamy and introspective sound of “Find the River”, a captivating track from R.E.M.’s final album, Automatic for the People.

As you listen to the tune, you’ll be transported to a serene and tranquil place where time seems to stand still.

The song’s soothing melody and Michael Stipe‘s ethereal vocals create a hauntingly beautiful atmosphere that will leave you mesmerized.

“Find the River” is a perfect example of R.E.M.’s ability to craft poignant and thought-provoking lyrics that resonate with listeners.

The song’s verses paint a vivid picture of the passage of time and the fleeting nature of life.

As you reflect on the lyrics, you’ll feel a sense of bittersweet nostalgia that will tug at your heartstrings.

It’s no wonder that “Find the River” has become one of R.E.M.’s most beloved songs and a fan favorite.

Best R.E.M. Songs – Final Thoughts


You’ve just discovered the 14 best R.E.M. songs of all time, and what a ride it’s been.

From the iconic “The One I Love” to the soulful “Find the River”, each song on this list showcases the band’s unique sound and lyrical brilliance.

It’s hard to narrow down such an impressive discography, but these 14 songs have truly stood the test of time.

Whether you’re a die-hard R.E.M. fan or a newcomer to their music, these tracks are sure to impress.

So sit back, press play, and let the magic of R.E.M. take you away.

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Will Fenton

Introduced to good music at a young age through my father. The first record I remember being played was "Buffalo Soldier" by Bob Marley, I must've been six years old. By the time I was seven, I was taking drum lessons once a week. The challenge but the euphoric feeling of learning a new song was addicting, and I suppose as they say the rest was history. Favorite album of all time? Tattoo You by The Rolling Stones Best gig you've ever been to? Neil Young at Desert Trip in 2016 Media mentions: Evening Standard Daily Mail

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