R.E.M.’s 1987 single “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine),” a very nice #69 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 upon its re-release in 1991, has been experiencing a resurgence in popularity lately thanks to coronavirus. The song has been climbing the iTunes chart in recent days — currently it’s up to #26 — and now Michael Stipe is piggybacking off that momentum to share some common sense precautions regarding COVID-19.
In a new video message posted to his website, Stipe sings a few lines from the song before offering four rules for sensible behavior during a pandemic. If you’ve been reading any advice from public health professionals, you are probably already familiar with this advice, but just in case, here goes:
1. Stay at home whenever possible. “Happy St. Patrick’s Day, we’ll celebrate in four months,” Stipe says.
2. Wash your hands for 20 seconds every time you enter or exit your house. “Don’t sing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice, it’s too depressing,” Stipe suggests. “Find some other song.”
3. Act like you’re already sick. “You may already have the virus, and you don’t want to be within six feet of anyone else because you could pass it on to them, they pass it on to someone else, they pass it on to two other people,” Stipe says. “You don’t want to be that guy. I don’t want to be that guy.”
4. Be careful where you get your information. “I’m a former pop star,” Stipe jokes. “Don’t trust social media. Go to the CDC website. Go to trusted news services for your information.”
You can watch the full video message below.
Stipe shared his first two solo singles, “Your Capricious Soul” and “Drive To The Ocean,” last year. Once upon a time Document, the album that yielded “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It,” came in at #1 on our ranking of the R.E.M. discography.