R.E.M. have picked their 40 favourite R.E.M. songs, and Everybody Hurts and Losing My Religion haven't made the cut

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The four members of R.E.M. have come together to draw up a playlist of their 40 favourite R.E.M. songs, and many of the quartet's best-loved anthems are noticeable by their absence.

Losing My Religion, the world-wide smash hit single which introducing the band's 18-million-selling 1991 album Out Of Time may have well over one billion plays on Spotify, but it's nowhere to be found on the group's R.E.M. Top Forty playlist. The absence of Shiny Happy People, that album's second single, is much less of a surprise - "If there was one song that was sent into outer space to represent R.E.M. for the rest of time, I would not want it to be Shiny Happy People", vocalist Michael Stipe told the BBC in 2016 - but casual fans of the band will also look in vain for anthemic favourites such as Everybody Hurts, Stand or Nightswimming.

Those with a deep appreciation of the Athens, Georgia quartet however may be pleased to see deep cuts such as Wolves, Lower from debut EP Chronic Town (a selection from bassist Mike Mills), The Flowers of Guatemala from 1986's Life's Rich Pageant (the choice of Michael Stipe), and Voice Of Harold, the B-side of 1984 single So. Central Rain (I'm Sorry), selected by drummer Bill Berry on the playlist.

The band apparently decided to put together the list after a resurgence of interest in their back catalogue sparked by the inclusion of several songs on the soundtrack to the second series of brilliant FX series The Bear.

R.E.M. bowed out in September 2011, issuing a statement which read: "As R.E.M., and as lifelong friends and co-conspirators, we have decided to call it a day as a band. We walk away with a great sense of gratitude, of finality, and of astonishment at all we have accomplished. To anyone who ever felt touched by our music, our deepest thanks for listening."

Ten years on, Michael Stipe stated, "We will never reunite. We decided when we split up that that would just be really tacky and probably money-grabbing, which might be the impetus for a lot of bands to get back together. We don’t really need that, and I’m really happy that we just have the legacy of the 32 years of work that we have."

Listen to the band's hand-picked R.E.M. Top Forty playlist below:

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.