R.E.M. Tickets for Sale

In 1988 R.E.M. signed to the major label Warner Brothers and released Green. This was the band's first time with heavy promotion, and they toured stadiums extensively in 1989. Some fans from the IRS days complained that R.E.M. had become too commercial and that the quality of the music had decreased, but the band had now been brought to international attention. In 1990, most of R.E.M. recorded with Warren Zevon as the Hindu Love Gods.

Their next records, Out of Time (1991) and Automatic for the People (1992), were both international hits, despite the fact that R.E.M. did not tour for either album. These two critically acclaimed albums featured hit singles including "Losing My Religion" (the title comes from a figurative Southern expression of being at the end of one's rope, or about to give up on something, often over matters of romance.), "Shiny Happy People", "Everybody Hurts" and "The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite". Although "Out of Time" is sometimes thought of as a sugary pop record, and contains some of the band's biggest radio hits, it also includes such emotional, contemplative tracks such as "Belong", "Half A World Away" and "Country Feedback" (which Michael Stipe acknowledges as his favorite R.E.M. song ever) On Automatic, the band developed a reserved, meditative sound that took them back to their roots, and the record's 15 million copies were sold in spite of such melancholy themes as death, suicide and sexual jealousy.

The band's 1994 release, the grunge-influenced Monster, including "What's the Frequency, Kenneth?", proved to be a crossover hit and their best selling album to date, though many critics disliked the band's foray into glam rock. The album was followed by a massive tour during which drummer Bill Berry suffered a brain hemorrhage on stage, which would eventually lead to his leaving the band. While on this tour the band recorded the album New Adventures in Hi-Fi (1996), a long, roughly produced and decidedly bleak record which featured, in the seven-minute "Leave", perhaps the band's most intense song. Other notable tracks on that record include "E-Bow the Letter" (a collaboration with the legendary Patti Smith) and the intense western-themed rock of "Low Desert" (another Stipe favorite).

After Berry's departure, the band returned with Up (1998), another long and reflective record but mellower and more diverse, with the lead single "Daysleeper". The band were no longer selling as well in America, as in the peak days of 1991-95, but they had not stopped producing compelling records. 2001's Reveal, confirms the return to an even mellower songwriting approach, with songs such as "Imitation of Life", "All The Way To Reno (You're Gonna Be A Star)" and "She Just Wants To Be" garnering some radio play. Recent R.E.M. soundtrack appearances have found them revisiting some of their earliest material, hitherto available only on live bootlegs; their single, "Bad Day" (2003), was the prototype for "It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)," with some of the same lyrics.

In 2004, the band returned with "Around the Sun," which Stipe promised would be a "primitive and howling" political statement, the band's first since "Document."

Chronic Town (EP) (1982)
Murmur (1983)
Reckoning (1984)
Fables of the Reconstruction (1985)
Lifes Rich Pageant (1986)
Dead Letter Office (outtakes and b-sides) (1987)
Document (1987)
Eponymous (compilation) (1988)
Green (1989)
Out of Time (1991)
Automatic for the People (1992)
Monster (1994)
New Adventures in Hi-Fi (1996)
Up (1998)
Reveal (2001)
R.E.M.IX (Web Only Remixes)
In Time - The Best of R.E.M. 1988-2003 (compilation) (2003)
Around the Sun (2004)

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R.E.M. mark the point when post-punk turned into alternative rock. When their first single, "Radio Free Europe," was released in 1981 it sparked a back-to-the-garage movement in the American underground. While there were a number of hardcore and punk bands in the US during the early '80s, R.E.M. brought guitar-pop back into the underground lexicon. Combining ringing guitar hooks with mumbled, cryptic lyrics and a D.I.Y. aesthetic borrowed from post-punk, the band simultaneously sounded traditional and modern. Though there were no overt innovations in their music. R.E.M. had an identity and sense of purpose that transformed the American underground. Throughout the '80s, they worked relentlessly, releasing records every year and touring constantly, playing both theaters and backwoods dives. Along the way, they inspired countless bands, from the legions of jangle-pop groups in the mid-'80s to scores of alternative-pop groups in the '90s, who admired their slow climb to stardom. It did take R.E.M. several years to break into the top of the charts, but they had a cult following from the release of their debut EP, Chronic Town, in 1982. Chronic Town established the haunting folk and garage rock that became the band's signature sound, and over the next five years, they continued to expand their music with a series of critically-acclaimed albums. By the late '80s, the group's fanbase had grown large enough to guarantee strong sales, but the Top 10 success in 1987 of Document and "The One I Love" was unexpected, especially since R.E.M. had only altered its sound slightly. Following Document, R.E.M. slowly became one of the world's most popular bands. After an exhaustive international tour supporting 1988's Green, the band retired from touring for six years and retreated into the studio to produce their most popular records, Out of Time (1991) and Automatic for the People (1992). By the time they returned to performing with the Monster tour in 1995, the band had been acknowledged by critics and musicians as one of the forefathers of the thriving alternative rock movement, and they were rewarded with the most lucrative tour of their career. Toward the late '90s, R.E.M. was an institution, as its influence was felt in new generations of bands.

R.E.M. is a rock band formed in Athens, Georgia in 1980 by Michael Stipe (vocals), Bill Berry (drums), Peter Buck (guitar) and Mike Mills (bass). Throughout the 1980s, while signed to the independent label IRS, they achieved a growing cult status due mainly to Stipe's obscure (and sometimes inaudible and unintelligible) lyrics and the band's sound, most noticeably influenced by The Byrds. By the early 90's, R.E.M. was one of the world's most popular, respected and influential bands.

Their debut EP, Chronic Town, illustrated R.E.M's signature musical style: jangling guitars, chords played in arpeggio, murmured vocals, and lyrics that completely avoid the standard topics of popular music - love and relationships. Their debut album, Murmur (1983), is held to be one of the best records of the 1980s. The album is stylistically unified. The jangling guitars, so prominent on Chronic Town, are used more sparingly. The melody is found in the bass notes, and the lyrics are practically indecipherable. The songs on the album blend together, creating a mood that evokes the grayness of a late autumn day. Yet the album ends on hopeful notes. Arpeggio and jangling guitars return in "Sitting Still", and "Shaking Through", where Michael Stipe asserts that indeed, 'Honor marches on'.

R.E.M's second album, Reckoning (1984), explored a number of different musical styles. Song topics include cold weather, a fairy tale in which a child drowns, a flood, superficiality, and separation. Yet the jangling guitars and beautiful melodies hide the dark lyrics. The final song, "Little America", is written about rural America, and the song is a prelude to the Southern themes on the subsequent album.

Fables of the Reconstruction (1985) explores the mythology of the Southern United States. A celebration of an eccentric individual is the subject of no less than four songs on the album ("Maps and Legends", "Life and How to Live It", "Old Man Kensey", "Wendell Gee"). "Driver 8" is a song about the scenery surrounding railroad tracks. Trains are a frequent topic of Southern music; they epitomize the freedom and promise of an escape from one's home environment. The source of the title of "Can't Get There from Here" is a curious phrase heard when asking directions in a rural area. "Kohoutek" is about a comet, and is perhaps the first song by R.E.M. about a romantic relationship. By the time this album was released, R.E.M were already well-known and critically acclaimed, and the video for "Can't Get There from Here" was played frequently on MTV. R.E.M. practically defined college rock by this time.

The next album, Lifes Rich Pageant (sic) (1986), takes its name from a Pink Panther movie ("You'll catch your death of cold!" "Yes, I probably will. But that's all part of life's rich pageant, you know."). The songs are upbeat, the tempo is fast; this is a fairly hard-rocking album. One of Michael Stipe's favorite R.E.M. songs is found here ("Fall on Me"). The lyrics were becoming both more intelligible and more direct, with political themes appearing more explicitly ("Begin the Begin", "Flowers of Guatemala", "Hyena"). "Cuyahoga" is about the river in Ohio that caught fire due to pollution. Ironically, the 'hit' from the album ("Superman") was a cover song. In many ways, this album marked the end of the first period in the band's history.

Document (1987) was their last album for the indie record label IRS, and provided their first major hit with "The One I Love", which reached No. 9 on the American pop charts. The popularity of this song of grim satisfaction over the death of an unhappy relationship was due mainly, however, to its misinterpretation as a love song. "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" recalls the rapid-fire lyrical style of Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues" and can be described as pre-apocalyptic.

Dead Letter Office (1987) was a collection of B-sides and outtakes. Highlights include three Velvet Underground covers, an Aerosmith cover, an noncommissioned commercial for a barbecue restaurant in Athens, and a boozy version of "King of the Road". The CD also has the EP Chronic Town at the end. The album is described in the liner notes as "A little bit of uh-huh and a whole lot of oh-yeah".

The band's early years are summarized in the compilation Eponymous, released in 1988. The compilation contains several alternative versions and mixes of songs.
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