Michael Stipe has revealed that a significant lyric change to “Losing My Religion” made it seem like the song was about himself.
The R.E.M. frontman made the revelation during a recent interview on the “Broken Record” podcast.
Speaking about making the track, Stipe said “Losing My Religion” was never meant to be about him.
“I changed one lyric,” he told Rick Rubin. “‘That’s me in the corner / That’s me in the kitchen,’ what I was pulling from was being the shy wallflower who hangs back at the party or at the dance and doesn’t go up to the person that you’re madly in love with and say, ‘I’ve kind of got a crush on you, how do you feel about me?'”
“So there’s this whole relationship that’s happening only in the person’s mind. And he doesn’t know whether he’s said too much or hasn’t said enough. So he’s like, in the corner of the dance floor, watching everyone dancing, watching the love of his life, on the dance floor dancing with everyone, ’cause that’s the most exciting person. Or he’s in the kitchen, behind the refrigerator.
“And I changed the ‘kitchen’ to ‘spotlight’ and instantly, of course, the song became about me, which it never was,” Stipe said.
He recalled how the success of “Losing My Religion” completely changed his life.
The 1991 classic peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart and spent 20 more weeks on the chart.
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