In the liner notes of 'In Time: The Best of R.E.M.' (2003) Peter Buck says that one can divide R.E.M.'s career with this song. Before the release of Losing My Religion, R.E.M. had mostly a cult following, after the release they became one of the biggest rock bands of the 90's.
'Losing My Religion' is a term from the American South that means being at wits' end.
It was the first song with a mandolin to reach #1 since Rod Stewart's 'Maggie May' in 1971. .