The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite

"The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite" is a song by the American alternative rock band R.E.M. It was influenced by the song "The Lion Sleeps Tonight", both in the title of the song and through the song's opening refrain. (SongFacts writes, "Rather than follow industry practice and simply pilfer the song, R.E.M. paid for the rights to use it. As part of the deal, R.E.M. were asked to do a cover of the original "Lion Sleeps Tonight".[2]) The band used "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" as the B-side to this song. The song was released on R.E.M.'s 1992 album, Automatic for the People, and was later released as a single in 1993, reaching number one in Iceland, number 13 in Ireland, number 17 in the United Kingdom and number 29 in New Zealand.

"The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite"
Single by R.E.M.
from the album Automatic for the People
B-side"The Lion Sleeps Tonight"
ReleasedFebruary 1, 1993 (1993-02-01)[1]
Recorded1992
GenreAlternative rock
Length4:06
LabelWarner Bros.
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
R.E.M. singles chronology
"Man on the Moon"
(1992)
"The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite"
(1993)
"Everybody Hurts"
(1993)

The song was included on R.E.M.'s Warner Bros. "best of" album In Time: The Best of R.E.M. 1988–2003 in 2003, one of four songs from Automatic for the People to make the compilation. In the liner notes, Peter Buck remarked: "We included this song on Automatic in order to break the prevailing mood of the album. Given that lyrically the record dealt with mortality, the passage of time, suicide and family, we felt that a light spot was needed. In retrospect, the consensus among the band is that this might be a little too lightweight."[3]

Despite the song’s success, it was one of few R.E.M. songs never performed live by the group.[4]