Friday, 21 April 2017

The hidden world of R.E.M. #3

While promoting their second album 'Reckoning' in 1984, R.E.M. gave a live performance for the fledgling MTV. It was broadcast on a show called Rock Influences. The majority of the set consisted of songs from the first two albums, plus two from 'Chronic Town' and a couple of b-sides. But there was also room for three brand new songs.

Two of these newies were to appear the following year on the band's third album 'Fables Of The Reconstruction'. Both Old Man Kensey and Driver 8 sound almost finished in this performance (although Stipe seems to forget the words at the end of the second verse of Driver 8). It shows how prolific the band was. No sooner had one album come out than they already had songs for the next one ready.

The other new song didn't feature on 'Fables...'. Instead it was held over for 1986's 'Lifes Rich Pageant'. Hyena sounds about 75% of the way there in this performance, but would undergo a bit of tweaking before its eventual release.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, the pic at the top is not from this MTV show. It was taken at the Marquee Club in London during the 'Reckoning' tour the same year.


  1. What a thrilling period - electric performances. Wonderful stuff.

  2. (On behalf of JC who's had problems posting a comment):


    Driver 8 is one of my all time favourites. This energetic performance...dare I say this....sounds in many places as if The Smiths are performing the tune!! I can't give it any higher praise...

  3. Here you can watch some covers played at that concert:
    In the past the whole concert was available.......

  4. Terrific post, Robster. Brings back a flood of memories. There were a few pivotal television appearances during this time period... especially for those of us living out in the sticks. The first one I remember is when they played Radio Free Europe on Late Night With David Letterman in the fall of '83. I was too young to stay up and watch the show, but I used to tape them and watch during lunch the next day (I lived about 30 seconds from my high school). This was the first time I ever saw or heard of them. I was hooked. Another important appearance on MTV was when the video for So. Central Rain was played on the Sunday evening show I.R.S. Records Presents The Cutting Edge. Got me to buy Reckoning, I can tell you. Such a great show. R.E.M. also played a cool stripped-down version of Driver 8 on another episode not too much later.