"Nightswimming" is a song by the American alternative rock band R.E.M. It was released in 1993 as the fifth single off the group's eighth album Automatic for the People (1992). "Nightswimming" is a ballad featuring singer Michael Stipe accompanied only by bassist Mike Mills on piano, a string arrangement by former Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones, and a prominent oboe by Deborah Workman in the latter part of the piece. Stipe sings about a group of friends who go skinny dipping at night, which draws from similar experiences in the band's early days.
"Nightswimming" was originally recorded in demo form during the sessions for R.E.M.'s 1991 album Out of Time. At the time it was called "Night Swim".
Bassist Mike Mills recalled he was playing a piano riff at John Keane's studio in the band's hometown of Athens, Georgia. While Mills almost discarded the melody, it attracted the interest of singer Michael Stipe. Mills said, "I never thought it would amount to much because it was just a circular thing that kept going round and round and round. But it inspired Michael." While the song was not included on Out of Time, the demo recorded during those sessions was used for Automatic for the...