Bear Music #123

Posted by Flat Eric on
Category: Music42 Comments

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There is nothing we love more here at Jammy Toast than listening to some of our favourite tunes. From time to time we will post a music video from an artist or genre that we think will be enjoyable to you; our friends. We often feature music that you may not have come across before, or music that maybe you just missed the first time around. Try and listen with an open mind, you never know, you may find something you can add to your iPod. If you have any music videos you would like us to feature then drop us a line – we are always happy to listen to requests but we cannot promise to feature everyone’s favourite

“Nightswimming” is a song by REM, released in 1993 as the fifth single from the group’s eighth album Automatic for the People. The song is a ballad featuring singer Michael Stipe accompanied only by Mike Mills on piano and a string arrangement by former Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones. There is also a prominent oboe by Deborah Workman in the latter part of the song. Stipe sings about a group of friends who go skinny dipping at night, which draws from similar experiences in the band’s early days.

A little piece of trivia for those interested, Mike Mills claims he recorded the piano part at Criteria Studios in Miami, on the same piano used by Derek and the Dominos on the recording of “Layla”.

The inspiration for the song has been debated by the band members with speculation that the band have deliberately lied to throw people off the scent. Stipe, in a 2001 Esquire article, suggested one origin of the song. “A few years ago, I wanted to write a song about night watchmen, so I hired one to guard the REM offices in Athens. I bought him a uniform and a flashlight and everything. He turned out to be kind of crazy and called me up in the middle of the night to tell me dirty stories about the Kennedys. I wrote the song about him, but he was so paranoid he said he was going to sue me, so I changed the lyric from ‘Night Watchman’ to ‘Nightswimming’.”

Conversely in the past, Mike Mills said, “It’s based on true events”, explaining that in the early 1980s REM and its circle of friends would go skinny dipping after the Athens clubs closed at night. “We’d go to parties, we’d go to the clubs and we’d go to the Ball Pump, and there would be any number of these same 50 people, so it was a very tight circle of friends.” Peter Buck also holds a similar interpretation, however, Stipe has denied that that is the topic of the song. Stipe says the song is about a “kind of an innocence that’s either kind of desperately clung onto or obviously lost.” Stipe said there are autobiographical elements to the song, but insists most of it is “made up.”

The song was performed by Coldplay with Michael Stipe on their Austin City Limits performance. During the show, Chris Martin called “Nightswimming”, “the best song ever written.”

Who are we to argue?

REM – Nightswimming

REM – Nightswimming

Don’t forget, if you have any music videos you would like us to feature in the future, drop us a line. We are always happy to listen to requests from others, we cannot promise to feature any but we will try our best to find the videos if we think others will enjoy.

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About the Author

Flat Eric

Flat Eric is a star of Levi’s commercials for Sta-Prest One Crease Denim Clothing. His name comes from an idea for a commercial that included having a car run over his head and flattening it. The idea was not used but the name stuck. Flat Eric rides with his friend Angel around California, evading the police as a wanted criminal.


42 Comments on “Bear Music #123”

  1. This reminds me of a holiday I had when the Automatic album came out. We picked up a hire car from the airport and this came on the radio. Loved the whole album.

  2. The photograph on the dashboard, taken years ago
    Turned around backwards so the windshield shows
    Every street light reveals the picture in reverse
    Still it’s so much clearer…

  3. Reminds me of the time I went skinny dipping on holiday in Portugal in our villa’s swimming pool while Chimpy was down at the beach. Needless to say, I had only been in the water two minutes when in walked Chimpy for a blimp!

  4. A happy Mother’s Day to all those celebrating it today and a happy brief moment of panic thinking it’s Mother’s Day when it was actually in March to everyone else…

  5. If you never actuality went Night Swimming then you will never truly understand the real meaning of these lyrics. For me, it was going skinny dipping in Greece in 1992 with the love of my life. Both then and now these lyrics are gold but also bittersweet. Loved those reckless, devil may care days but that was then and this is now… that’s why the photo was taken years ago!

  6. I have the answer to my lists problem. I’m going to do retrospective lists… his is where I write down all the things I should have done the month before and didn’t and then tick them off as it’s too late to do them now. I can see I’m going to get a lot done today!

  7. Yeah don’t think I don’t see you going around the neighbourhood putting disgusting notes through peoples doors.

    “I’m the postman…”

    No excuse. This one says I owe 200 euro. Disgusting.

  8. Piglet had got up early that morning to pick himself a bunch of violets. When he had picked them, it suddenly came over him that nobody had ever picked Eeyore a bunch of violets, so he hurried out, saying to himself, “Eeyore, Violets.”

  9. I HAD TO GO FOR MY (ROUTINE) BLOOD TESTS! THE VET TOLD ME MY NEW FLUFFY FUR WAS GROWING BACK BEAUTIFULLY AND THEN SHE SHAVED MY FRIKKEN NECK AGAIN!! IT’S OK THOUGH COS I GROWLED AND HISSED AT HER!!

  10. I THINK THE VETS ARE RUNNING A BUSINESS WHERE THEY SELL MY BEAUTIFUL FUR ON EBAY SO THAT PEOPLE CAN CLONE ME!!! OR MAKE BLANKEYS OUT OF ME! AND I GET NOTHING!!

  11. Soooo is it weird if you have a sex dream about Jeff Dunham and he makes his penis talk?

    I think it would be kind of entertaining and a bit hot…

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