R.E.M.’s top two music videos would have to be “Everybody Hurts” and “Losing My Religion”. “Everybody Hurts” was included in the 1992 album, “Automatic For The People”, and released as a single in 1993. Everybody Hurts, the video, features members of R.E.M. caught in a traffic jam on a bridge on the Interstate 10 highway in San Antonio, Texas. The music video begins with wheels turning on the tarmac. Members of the band. Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Michael Stipe, and Mike Mills, are dressed in black suits, deep in thought as they drive up to the stalled traffic.
As the lyrics begin, we see other people caught in the traffic, their thoughts portrayed in text.
A young boy thinks, “I will fly”.
A woman with lipstick thinks, “Look at me.”
A man with a chain on his wrist thinks, “Silence is gray”.
A policeman with ringed fingers thinks, “Silence is golden”.
A man with a dog in the front seat thinks, “Silence is a stone in my mouth”.
The lipsticked woman thinks, “Nobody can see me”.
A woman with children in the car thinks, “…canned tomatoes, beans, corn, toilet paper…”
A young man thinks, “They’re going to miss me”.
A boy listening to his arguing parents thinks, “BEQUIETBEQUIETBEQUIET”.
A truck driver thinks, “17 years…”
A capped man thinks, “If I had a gun.”
A man thinks, “How’m I gonna do this?”
Above, an evangelist drops pamphlets, with the texts, “Lead me to the rock that is higher than I” (Psalm 61:2), and “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy” (Psalm 126.5).
A young man thinks, “I just wish he would stop singing”.
In the back seat, his younger brother thinks, “You die, you turn to dust”.
The R.E.M. car stops and Stipe, driver, gets out. Michael steps on to the roof of a yellow car, crosses his arms and steps back on to the pavement.
A young boy thinks, “I’ll talk when I want to.”
A driver thinks, “Why won’t you answer me?”
Another thinks, “Vamos a perder toda muestra dignidad.” (We are going to lose all our dignity)
His passenger thinks, “No tenemos mas tiempo”. (We do not have time)
Another driver thinks, “They sicken me”.
Berry lies on the back of the car, his arms outstretched.
The back seat passenger, with a Jesus figurine behind him, thinks, “Then can I grieve at grievances forgone.” – a direct quote from Shakespeare’s sonnet, “From Sorrow’s End”.
An old man thinks, “She’s gone”. His female front seat passenger thinks, “Goodbye”. We see the small urn of ashes in the back seat beside another woman.
A woman, with her daughter huddled next to her, thinks, “We’ll start again.”
Finally, Stipe breaks the mood of the clip with the words, “Hold On”. People get out of their vehicles and start walking on the road. The evangelist continues to drop pamphlets, while the R.E.M. band members walk along the pavement. The evangelist scratches his head.
The video finishes with a television newsreporter in a helicopter saying,
“About an hour and a half ago – we’ve had no explanation – police estimate some three to four hundred people – they just, they just got out and walked. God! We’ve gotten confirmation we cannot find anyone
I’ve never seen anything like this…”
Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube (HD)
Everybody Hurts, the song, was written mostly by Bill Berry, drummer in the band until 1997. Kurt Cobain, lead singer of Nirvana, is rumoured to have been listening to the song on the day of his death in 1994. Some suggest that he helped write it, and others, not aware of the times involved, even suggest the song was about Kurt’s death.
The music video, directed by Jake Scott and produced by June Gutterman from Black Dog Films, the music video section of RSA Films. The video won Scott entry into the MVPA Awards Hall of Fame in 2005. Film editing was done by Patrick Sheffield. Director of photography Harris Savides won an MTV award for best cinematography in 1994.
Everybody Hurts Lyrics
When the 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
and everybody hurts sometimes
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,
When you think you’ve had too much of this life, well hang on
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,
And everybody hurts sometimes
And everybody hurts sometimes.
So, hold on, hold on
Hold on, hold on, hold on,
hold on, hold on, hold on
You are not alone
Words and music by Berry/Buck/Mills/Stipe