So. Central Rain (I'm Sorry)

"So. Central Rain (I'm Sorry)" is a song by the American alternative rock band R.E.M. It was released in May 1984 as the first single from the group's second studio album Reckoning.

"So. Central Rain (I'm Sorry)"
Single by R.E.M.
from the album Reckoning
B-side"Walters [sic] Theme; "King of the Road"; "Voice of Harold"; "Pale Blue Eyes"
ReleasedMay 15, 1984
R.E.M. singles chronology
"Talk About the Passion"
"So. Central Rain (I'm Sorry)"
"(Don't Go Back To) Rockville"

R.E.M. performed a rough version of the song on the NBC television show Late Night with David Letterman on October 6, 1983—before the song had a title—in what was the band's first U.S. network television appearance.[3]

Thom Yorke, of Radiohead, has commented that So. Central Rain is his favourite R.E.M. song.[4]

Music video

The video, directed by Howard Libov, was filmed at the Reflection Studio in Charlotte, North Carolina during the recording of Reckoning there, and first aired in June 1984. It featured the members of the band playing their instruments behind white screens (gobos) in an otherwise empty room, with Michael Stipe singing in the foreground. Stipe refused to lip sync to the song.[5] Guitarist Peter Buck said, "We played a recording of the track, and the rest of us faked it, but Michael insisted on singing a new vocal to make it more real for him."[6]

The song is also featured in the Left of Reckoning video shot by James Herbert.

Track listings

All songs written by Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills, and Michael Stipe unless otherwise indicated.

7" Single

  1. "So. Central Rain (I'm Sorry)" – 3:16
  2. "Walter's Theme" / "King of the Road" (Roger Miller) – 4:44

12" single

  1. "So. Central Rain (I'm Sorry)" – 3:16
  2. "Voice of Harold" – 4:25
  3. "Pale Blue Eyes" (Lou Reed) – 2:54


  1. "so. Central Rain" – 3:11{sic}


  • "Walter's Theme", "King of the Road", "Voice of Harold" and "Pale Blue Eyes" can all be found on Dead Letter Office.
  • "Walter's Theme" is not listed on the cover.
  • The album title-listing contains an initial lower-case 's', following a pattern in the album's listings where random capital letters are made lower-case and random lower-case letters are capitalized. The front cover art lists it as 'So CENTRAL RAiN', with '7 chineSe bros.' on the back track listings differing from the cover art as well.
  • The album's inner sleeve lists the full title as "Southern Central Rain (I'm Sorry)".

Chart positions

"So. Central Rain (I'm Sorry)" became the second R.E.M. single to chart on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number 85.

Chart (1984) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[7] 85


  1. "Reckoning - R.E.M. | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved October 1, 2019.
  2. "Reckoning". February 15, 2016.
  3. Greene, Andy (February 20, 2014). "Flashback: R.E.M.'s National TV Debut in 1983". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 4, 2021.
  4. Thom Yorke: We Live In Strange Times (It's Not My Fault) on YouTube
  5. Schultz, Barbara (1 February 2009). "Classic Tracks: R.E.M.'s "So. Central Rain"". Mix Online. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  6. Black, Johnny. "The Greatest Songs Ever! So. Central Rain". Blender. June/July 2002. Retrieved on May 11, 2008.
  7. Whitburn, Joel (2013). Joel Whitburn’s Top Pop Singles, 14th Edition: 1955-2012. Record Research. p. 701.