Saturday, March 9, 1991

R.E.M. charted with “Losing My Religion”

Last updated 2/27/2021.

Losing My Religion

R.E.M.

Writer(s): Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills, Michael Stipe (see lyrics here)


Released: February 19, 1991


First Charted: March 9, 1991


Peak: 4 US, 6 CB, 4 RR, 28 AC, 13 AR, 18 MR, 19 UK, 6 CN, 11 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 0.5 US, -- UK, 0.5 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 1.0 radio, 791.41 video, -- streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

The song that gave R.E.M. its biggest U.S. hit and expanded their audience from a college rock fanbase to the mainstream was a “morose ballad dominated by a mandolin.” TB The Times, a UK publication, called it “the first existential pop song ever to make the American Top 10.” HL

Peter Buck, the band’s guitarist, had just purchased a mandolin and recorded his results while practicing. He called it “a bunch of stuff that was really just me learning how to play mandolin, and then there’s what became ‘Losing My Religion’, and then a whole bunch more of me learning to play the mandolin.” WK

Regarding the song’s subject matter, it isn’t religion. RS500 “Losing my religion” is a phrase used in the South that refers to losing one’s temper of being at the end of one’s rope. Singer/songwriter Michael Stipe told the New York Times that the song was about romantic expression and explained to British magazine Q that it was about “someone who pines for someone else. It’s unrequited love, what have you.” WK Stipe has also compared the song to The Police’s “Every Breath You Take,” saying “it’s just a classic obsession pop song.” WK

Warner Bros., R.E.M.’s record label, was not sold on releasing such an “unconventional track” as the first single WK in support of the group’s 1991 album, Out of Time. However, the company got the song established via a “critically-acclaimed music video,” WK and airplay on modern rock and album rock radio stations before promoting it to mainstream radio. One Top 40 radio station director said, “the record crosses the boundaries of being just an alternative record.” WK


Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for R.E.M.
  • DMDB page for parent album Out of Time
  • HL Michael Heatley and Spencer Leigh (1998). Behind the Song: The Stories of 100 Great Pop & Rock Classics. London, England: Blandford Books. Page 118.
  • RS500 RollingStone.com (4/7/2011). “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time
  • TB Thunder Bay Press (2006). Singles: Six Decades of Hot Hits & Classic Cuts. Outline Press Ltd.: San Diego, CA. Page 249.
  • WK Wikipedia

Saturday, March 2, 1991

Mariah Carey’s debut album reached #1

First posted 2/25/2008; updated 12/2/2020.

Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey


Released: June 12, 1990


Charted: June 30, 1990


Peak: 111 US, 3 RB, 6 UK, 11 CN, 6 AU


Sales (in millions): 9.0 US, 0.3 UK, 17.0 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: pop


Tracks:

Song Title (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Vision of Love (6/2/90, 1 US, 9 UK, 1 AC, 1 RB, gold single)
  2. There’s Got to Be a Way (6/1/91, 54 UK)
  3. I Don’t Wanna Cry (4/6/91, 1 US, 1 AC, 2 RB)
  4. Someday (1/19/91, 1 US, 38 UK, 5 AC, 3 RB, gold single)
  5. Vanishing
  6. All in Your Mind
  7. Alone in Love
  8. You Need Me
  9. Sent from Up Above
  10. Prisoner
  11. Love Takes Time (9/15/90, 1 US, 37 UK, 1 AC, 1 RB, gold single)


Total Running Time: 46:44

Rating:

3.948 out of 5.00 (average of 27 ratings)


Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

In 1988, eighteen-year-old Mariah Carey launched her efforts at a music career. She started as a backup singer for Brenda K. Starr, who noticed her “gifted voice” WK and took her to a record industry gala to try to convince a label executive to listen to her demo. Tommy Mottola signed her to Columbia, who were looking for “a young and very talented female vocalist to rival Whitney Houston…or a pop star to match Madonna.” WK

Columbia got its wish. Powered by four Billboard Hot 100 #1 songs, Mariah Carey’s “extremely impressive debut” AMG was one of the most successful first-album outtings in music history. She became the first artist since the Jackson 5 to have the first four singles top the U.S. charts.

The album “is replete with smooth-sounding ballads and uplifting dance/R&B cuts. Carey convincingly seizes many opportunities to display her incredible vocal range…With this collection of songs acting as a springboard for future successes, Carey establishes a strong standard of comparison for other breakthrough artists of this genre.” AMG

Vision of Love, the lead single, was “regarded as one of the strongest debut singles by a female artist.” WK It was “featured during her television debut on The Arsenio Hall Show, an appearance noted by many as her formal introduction to stardom.” AMG

The song was followed by the ballad Love Takes Time, a late edition to the album. She was told it was a “career-maker” WK and needed to be added to the first album even though the album was already completed and being mastered. It did make it on the original cassette and compact disc, but the title got left off the first copies printed. Ben Marguiles, who helped her write the song, said the song “was strong enough to stop the pressing;” WK he speculated that they “had to throw away a few hundred copies.” WK

The third single, “the energetic Someday,” AMG was one of the four songs featured on the demo tape Carey gave to Mottola. Ric Wake, one of the producers assigned to the album, said, “I loved that song right from the beginning.” WK It was helped to #1 by a performance at the 1991 American Music Awards. A week before the song hit #1, Carey hit the top spot on the Billboard album chart.

The fourth single, and fourth #1 from the album, was I Don’t Wanna Cry. When working with her on the song, producer Narada Michael Walden described Carey as “very shy” WK but also noted how professional she was for someone her age WK and that she had an astonishing voice. WK

Resources and Related Links: