The duo recently recorded the campaigns in their native Athens, Georgia, as the US battles increases in the Delta COVID-19 variant.
In one of his recorded announcements, Stipe says: “there is something we can do to keep our friends and loved ones healthy. The coronavirus vaccine is safe, it’s easy to get and it protects against serious illness and death.”
“And now that I’ve done what I can to protect myself and those around me, well, I feel fine,” added Stipe, quoting the lyrics of R.E.M’s 1987 song.
In another announcement, Stipe calls on Athens – a centre of arts and culture in the US – to “lead the way once again” by receiving a vaccination.
Mills adds: “now it’s time to give back to the town we love. I got my shots and I urge you to do the same.”
Both Stipe and Mills’ public service announcements can be streamed from the University of Georgia’s official website.
Back in July, R.E.M. celebrated their 40th anniversary by reissuing the original version of their classic debut track ‘Sitting Still’ – the first time since 1981 that the single has been re-released.
The song was re-recorded for R.E.M.’s 1983 debut album ‘Murmur’, but the band have said they prefer the faster original single version, which was released on small US indie label Hib-Tone Records and co-produced by Mitch Easter – who was also behind the desk for ‘Murmur’ and ‘Reckoning’.
“R.E.M. were already as band-y as it gets,” Easter told NME, reflecting on the recording of the tracks. “They were a unit you couldn’t penetrate. If one of them didn’t want to do something, it wouldn’t get done.”