"E-Bow the Letter" is the first single from American rock band R.E.M.'s 10th studio album, New Adventures in Hi-Fi (1996). It was released on August 19, 1996, several weeks before the album's release. During the same month, R.E.M. signed a then record-breaking five-album contract with Warner Bros. Records. The song features American singer-songwriter and "Godmother of Punk" Patti Smith performing backing vocals. Smith was cited as a major influence by band members Michael Stipe and Peter Buck, and she also provided backing vocals for "Blue", the closing track on the band's final studio album, Collapse into Now, in 2011.
Although the song peaked at number four on the UK Singles Chart, the highest any R.E.M. song charted in the United Kingdom until "The Great Beyond" in 2000, the song fared less well in the United States, reaching only number 49 on the Billboard Hot 100. It became R.E.M.'s lowest-charting lead single since "Fall on Me" released from Lifes Rich Pageant in 1986, when the band was on a smaller record label, I.R.S. Records. Jem Cohen directed the song's music video, which features R.E.M. in Los Angeles and Smith in Prague.