R.E.M. – Losing My Religion

Here is a guitar adaptation of a song from the band R.E.M. released in 1991 : Losing My Religion.

I don’t know much about R.E.M. and to be honest, I only know Losing My Religion and Everybody Hurts. I find it curious that I really love these 2 tracks but I never really looked for more information about this band.

Why this song.

I discovered Losing My Religion in 1991 when it was released. I was working at the time in a car wash that a friend of mine, Eric, owned. It was a summer job that I enjoyed. I washed cars while smoking cigarettes. And I had the radio on all the time in the little shack where I made change for the customers. So I didn’t choose the music and it belonged to another world than mine. My teenage world was that of punk rock and hot concerts.

When Losing My Religion was on the radio, it was pretty cool. I actually thought that this song was one of those things that wasn’t too bad compared to the radio standard at the time. As the years go by, I think it’s a really good song!

And then recently, while traveling to Dublin to visit my oldest daughter, I heard this song in a pub. Because one of the coolest things about Dublin is that there is live music in almost every pub. A real joy. And so, with a guiness, I discovered this independent singer: Robin James Hurt who was covering Losing My Religion. I wanted to play this title in my turn.
And for the anecdote, since, I like to follow Robin on instagram.

Howth, Ireland. Monday 27 February 2023.


Here is a composition which seems to be really a band composition. We can imagine the guitarist bringing back his mandolin gimmick as an intro. Then the bassist and drummer looking for the grooves while the singer chocks his text little by little on the creation.

In A minor, the verses turn on the degrees I, V and IV. The refrains open with an F major that balances with A minor. And then the bridge, in C, the relative of A minor.

For the key of my voice, I detuned my guitar a tone down.
So I end up in G minor. The original key of A minor is a little high for me.
I wanted to keep the positions of A minor for the tonic and E minor for the 5th degree. Also the F for the chorus which allows me to play the mandolin riff while playing the chord.
So I had 2 options: put a capo high on the neck, or detune my guitar to lower the key a bit.
I preferred the second option purely for guitaristic reasons.

As I often do with my guitar adaptations, I love to put bits of melody and plans in the accompaniment. With the pick, I find it very exciting.

Score and tablature.

If you wish, my transcript and adaptation are available in pdf format just below this text.
This is a non-commercial sharing.