R.E.M will arguably forever be known as the band whose song “Shiny Happy People” was almost the opening song for Friends. And, of course, for the song “Everybody Hurts”, which has been rated as one of the 1001 best songs ever, with its music video directed by Ridley Scott’s son, Jake. “Shiny Happy People” became one of their biggest hits but vocalist, Michael Stipe, eventually started hating the song because of the peppy lyrics. He stated that “It’s a fruity pop song written for children.” He also said that if ever there was one song sent into outer space to represent R.E.M. for eternity, he would definitely not want it to be “Shiny Happy People.”
R.E.M.’s song “Monty Got a Raw Deal” was inspired by actor Montgomery Clift, even though most fans assumed it was about Monty Hall who was the host of the game show Let’s Make a Deal. Stipe wrote the song about Clift after R.E.M. was visited in studio by a photographer who had worked on one of Clift’s last films, The Misfits, and looked at photos from the movie set.