Friday, 9 June 2017

The hidden world of R.E.M. #10

It's back to the early years this week and two really interesting versions of songs that would end up on R.E.M.'s debut album. On 2nd July 1982, the band played the Strand Cabaret in Marietta, a city just to the north west of Atlanta. 'Chronic Town' wasn't due for release for another seven weeks, yet R.E.M. were gigging furiously, mainly around the southern States but occasionally further afield.

By now they had an established set featuring the songs on 'Chronic Town' and many from the following year's 'Murmur'. There was still room for new songs and some experimentation though. Sitting Still was the b-side of the debut single from 1981 and would also feature, almost unchanged, on 'Murmur'. However, it seems the band were playing around with it during this interim period, slowing down the first half of the song before kicking into it at full speed.

This show also marked the very first live performance of Perfect Circle. It was clearly at a very embryonic stage. It's guitar-driven, Stipe doesn't appear to have had any proper lyrics at this point, and they use a drum machine! Not sure what Bill was doing, though he might have been playing bass as it sounds like a keyboard or violin might be being played and I'd assume that was Mike Mills doing the honours. The following year, Perfect Circle would close side one of 'Murmur' and it would be a very different animal. One of the sweetest songs of the band's career, in fact. You'd never guess that from hearing this though...

More from this show another time.


  1. Wow, that was really fun. I did hear myself saying, get it in gear, fellas, and then they did! Love the early stuff.

  2. Good post and interesting versions.

  3. Fascinating stuff once again Robster.

  4. That version of Perfect Circle shows just how hard they must have worked on it over the subsequent months. Fascinating stuff.