R.E.M.’s ‘It’s the End of the World As We Know It’ Climbs iTunes Chart 33 Years After Release

“And I feel fine.”

Michael Stipe of REM
Getty Images

That’s great, it starts with an earthquake, birds and snakes…and the spread of the Coronavirus

“It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine),” R.E.M’s jangly ode to the apocalypse, is climbing Apple’s iTunes Top 100 chart in the wake of the viral outbreak. The classic tune is currently perched at No. 54 as of Monday, garnering more downloads than Lizzo’s “Good as Hell”, Lady Gaga’s “Shallow” and Chris Stapleton’s “Tennessee Whiskey.”

The 1987 song, which shouts out luminaries such as comedian Lenny Bruce, composer Leonard Bernstein and rock critic Lester Bangs, has already surpassed its Billboard Hot 100 peak of No. 69 in 1987.

During these strange and stressful times, perhaps we can all find a moment of zen in singer Michael Stipe’s final calming lyrics from the song: “It’s the end of the world as we know it / And I feel fine.” 

Update: Stipe shared a video of him singing an acapella version of the tune and giving a Coronavirus PSA here:

“I do feel fine. I feel okay,” he says. “The important part of that lyric, that song title, is ‘As We Know It.’ We’re about to go through – we are going through something that none of us have ever encountered before and that is, of course, the coronavirus. And it’s real and it’s serious and it’s here.”