Wednesday, 19 April 2017
It’s taken me a while to get round to doing an REM (or R.E.M.) article, mainly because up until about a year ago, there were too many gaps in my collection. But after a back injury last year laid me low for about 6 weeks, all the money I would have spent at the shops during my work lunch breaks, was directed instead towards bagging some of the missing Warner Brothers period singles, whilst the release of an IRS Years singles box fell into my lap early this year. That more or less plugged those gaps.
They always say “you should write about what you know”, and with the basic collection just missing the odd item here and there (although my hit list includes a number of “treat yourself” optional extras), now is the time to finally mark the brilliance of a band who threw in the towel some 6 years ago. A band whose jingle jangle indie rock revitalised the American college-rock scene, influenced Nirvana, and whose international breakthrough occurred just as they were indulging in instrument swapping in the studio, and refusing to go on tour again. They didn’t fully reinvent the wheel - the raucous 2003 single “Bad Day” sounded quite contemporary at the time, but it’s origins dated back over 15 years previous - yet the fact is, there are some absolute gems in this back catalogue. From the well known (“Radio Free Europe”, “The One I Love”, “Nightswimming” and “Imitation Of Life”), through to the slightly less populist (“These Days”, “Country Feedback”, “Why Not Smile” and “Horse To Water”). Perhaps the band were always on a slow, downward slide after Bill Berry walked out, but the likes of latter period albums like “Accelerate” definitely had their moments - you don’t need me to tell you how REM on autopilot were still better than Kajagoogoo or Bastille even when they tried their hardest.
So, two months after the Brit Awards gave Adele a gong for simply being quite popular by peddling inoffensive MOR, let’s celebrate a band who in order to win their Brit Awards, actually had to make good records, which were often inventive and left-field, or had to make simply utterly monumental music to win the battle for Best International Band (three times). “Rolling In The Deep” versus “Crush With Eyeliner”? No contest. Anyway - let’s begin.
The IRS Years
REM released their debut single in 1981 in the USA on the Hib-Tone label, the aforementioned “Radio Free Europe”. Very much a one off release, the group then began work on an EP, with the intention of it being released on a label owned by their then manager. However, the group had caught the eye of IRS Records, who dutifully signed the band and issued this EP, the 5 track “Chronic Town”, in 1982. The deal did not include the UK at the time, and whilst the EP did surface in some overseas territories, there was no UK release for it.
“Radio Free Europe” was then issued (again) as the band’s next single, having been re-recorded at the request of the label. It got a more widespread release, and became the band’s first UK 45, housed in the same picture cover as the US edition (but different to the original Hib-Tone pressing). The original Hib-Tone B-side, “Sitting Still”, was included on “Murmur“, the band‘s debut album, in a slightly remixed form, whilst the flipside for the new single release on IRS was a slightly shambling cover of the Velvet Underground’s “There She Goes Again”. The Hib-Tone recordings have resurfaced in various places since, including the 2-disc edition of the “And I Feel Fine” compilation from 2006. In the UK, the follow up release was a 12” only issue of “Talk About The Passion”, which included a couple of tracks from the “Chronic Town” EP as it’s B-sides.
The band would release five albums on the label before 1988, all of which more or less followed the jingle-jangle sound of “Murmur”. The band’s third LP, “Fables Of The Reconstruction”, was also known in some quarters as “Reconstruction Of The Fables”, after various pressings of the album made reference to the latter title as well as the former.
IRS tried their hardest to try and get REM into the singles charts, but with little success. Various quirky tricks were tried, which included issuing singles with different B-sides on different formats (“So. Central Rain”), double pack 7” sets (“Wendell Gee”) and singles issued in different covers dependent on which format you picked (“Fall On Me”). But not one of them made the top 40, although the band’s album sales were marginally better.
By the time the band had released “Document” in 1987, they were starting to get a lot of attention in America, and there was a buzz surrounding the band elsewhere as well. After a UK only single, “Finest Worksong” made number 50 in 1988, IRS decided to re-release an earlier 45, “The One I Love”. The same basic sleeve design was retained, but it was given a new catalogue number, and the original “rare” B-sides were replaced by former REM, erm, ‘hits’. It still didn’t really set the charts alight - charting lower than “Finest Worksong“ did.
By this point, the band were of the opinion that, as a relatively small label, IRS couldn’t quite get them to the next level. And so, an agreement was made for the band to leave the label for pastures new, and Warner Brothers came knocking. The band and label collaborated on a best-of release called “Eponymous”, which was mostly a selection of singles, with a few rarities scattered into the mix, including an alternate version of “Gardening At Night” from the “Chronic Town” EP and a soundtrack contribution, “Romance”. It was, in some respects, a companion release to the earlier “Dead Letter Office”, a B-sides collection that had been released in early 87, just before the release of “Document”.
When REM turned into superstars in 1991, IRS couldn’t resist telling the public that they had been there first. A slightly pointless release, “The Best Of REM”, was issued, which just seemed to cobble together a load of album mixes (even where said track had also been issued as a single in “single mix” form), although reviews were quite favourable. To coincide with the album, IRS reissued both “The One I Love” and “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It” as singles to try and capitalize on the band’s new found success, and this time around, managed to get both singles into the top 40. As with the second release of “The One I Love”, the basic artwork was the same as the 80s originals. Both singles were issued as double-CD Single sets, featuring “rare material”, thus echoing the 2-CD releases that Warners were putting out at the same time for 45’s from the “Out Of Time” album (more later). But the IRS releases were restricted to simply selecting older B-sides, and whilst some of this stuff would have been new to some fans at the time, it has all been recycled since. One of the CD editions of “End Of The World” was withdrawn after the Hib-Tone version of “Radio Free Europe” was included, and seemed to cause some licensing problems.
In 1993, the five studio albums from this period were reissued by EMI (who by now were distributing IRS product) in expanded form. These releases, which were notable visually due to the front cover design referring to them under the “IRS Years Vintage” banner, did a very useful job in hoovering up B-sides that “Dead Letter Office” had missed. Purchasing all five of these, and “DLO”, will give you every UK B-side (bar two) that IRS put out. The missing tracks were the live versions of “9-9” and “Gardening At Night”, which had appeared on the UK 12” release of “(Don’t Go Back To) Rockville”. There were, actually, live performances of both these songs on the expanded “Murmur”, but were lifted from a completely different show, which may have been an accident as the sleeve suggested both tracks were previously released - these versions, in the UK at least, were not. The final track on the reissue of “Murmur“, a live version of “Catapult”, had only previously appeared on the US 7” version of the “Rockville” single, which itself was also housed in a totally different sleeve to the UK edition.
“Dead Letter Office” was also given an expanded reissue, to include not only the five tracks from the “Chronic Town” EP, but also some previously unreleased bonus tracks. One of these, “All The Right Friends”, was recorded by the band during both the IRS and Warners years, but both times failed to make it onto a studio album - it‘s appearance on “DLO“ was it‘s debut appearance. The “Warners” version of the track got released on the soundtrack album to “Vanilla Sky” in 2003, and later on “In Time”, a Warners years best of (again, more later). It is worth pointing out that these IRS reissues were never technically released in the UK, but were pressed in different European countries and then exported to the UK. EMI would usually list a UK catalogue number for an album that was designed for the UK market on the back of their CD’s, but none of mine have a UK catalogue number at all. However, they did seem to be exported in big numbers, and were usually available for sale at non-import prices.
In 1994, IRS issued the charming, but slightly “cash in”-esque “Singles Collected”. This 20-tracker neatly showcased the band’s UK single releases, and their accompanying flipsides (sort of). The edited mixes of “Radio Free Europe”, “Can’t Get There From Here” and “Rockville” made their CD debut. Artistic license was used when it came to the B-sides. Whilst the B-side of the UK 7” was usually included, the decision was taken not to use the flip of “Rockville” (“Wolves Lower” had originally been issued on “Chronic Town”, and appeared on the “Rockville“ 7“ in order to make it‘s UK debut) and so the aforementioned live version of “Catapult” was included instead. This would be the last IRS release, as the label had folded by 1997.
2006’s “And I Feel Fine” was notable really for featuring previously unreleased material from the era on disc 2, disc 1 was just another trundle through the singles and pick of the album tracks. IRS was briefly resurrected in the 2010’s, and in 2014, they released the quite wonderful “7IN 83-88”, a US only 12 x 7” boxset including repressings of all ten UK REM singles (although housed in US sleeves where such a single appeared Stateside in such an altered state), and the US only “Driver 8”. In the UK, IRS had issued “Wendell Gee” instead as a 45 (so the B-side “Crazy” appears on each), and the version in the box is a press of the original double pack, so you also get the bonus “Ages Of You” disc as well. Each release is very faithful to the original, with the original IRS catalogue number on the labels (with only two UK only releases here, the majority of cat numbers are US ones) whilst the US singles, having been released originally as jukebox style 45’s with the centre missing, appear here in the same jukebox-ready form. The UK only releases appear as solid centre pressings, as per the originals. Whilst the REM singles from this period aren’t quite as valuable as you might have thought a load of flop singles from a superstar band would have been, buying them all individually is going to take you past the £100 mark, whereas this boxset cost me as little as £40. With most of the “12” only” flipsides already available on “DLO” and the “Vintage Years” reissues, then really, this is a great way of getting the IRS singles into the collection.
The Warners Years
REM didn’t quite turn into megastars after their move to a bigger label. 1988’s “Green” certainly raised the band’s profile but “Stand” failed to enter the UK Top 40 both times it was released as a single. “Orange Crush” did make the top 30, the first REM 45 to do so. In the US, Warners took a different approach, issuing three (different) tracks as singles. In 1989, repressings on 7” of these three (“Stand”, “Get Up” and “Pop Song 89”) along with the UK only release that was “Orange Crush”, were issued in the “SingleActionGreen” boxset. The UK reissue of “Stand”, issued a few months before the boxset, used a new sleeve, a new catalogue number and new B-sides, but the boxset used the original cover, as per the US edition. “Green” was the first in a long line of releases on Warners that were to be issued in limited edition packaging in the USA, albeit with standard track listings.
It was 1991’s “Out Of Time” that catapulted the band into the big time. In a way, it was perverse that this was the release that broke them into the mainstream. Heavy use of the mandolin, drummer Bill Berry playing instruments other than the drums on several songs, a point blank refusal to tour - but with radio stations getting behind the band, and MTV sticking “Losing My Religion” on their play list, the group’s profile was being raised just as their music was heading in a slightly different direction.
In what almost felt like a “this is what you could have had” moment, each of the singles from the LP were issued as limited edition CD Singles, with live recordings as the extra tracks. These editions were easily noticeable by the black and white chequered borders that were used on the front covers. All four of these releases were later included in a European and Japanese boxset called, simply, “REM Singles Collection”.
At the start of the promo campaign for the album, the chart regulations in the UK allowed for the release of four standard formats (7”, MC, CD and 12”) along with a fifth “limited edition” release. The four standard releases followed the usual approach - new B-side on the 7” and Tape, with an extra flipside on the 12” and CD. The limited edition CD’s used the standard Warners “CDX” catalogue suffix to denote a special edition. Midway through the campaign, changes to the number of eligible formats was dropped to four, meaning that “Near Wild Heaven” and “Radio Song” appeared as limited edition CD’s, but not “standard” ones. The CD singles still used the “CDX” catalogue, but we now had some vinyl only flipsides appearing in the form of a remix of “Shiny Happy People” and an acoustic version of “Half A World Away”. Like the IRS albums, both “Green” and “Out Of Time” have been issued in deluxe form to mark their 25th anniversaries - but, along with the IRS deluxes, tend to concentrate on live material and demos, with the B-sides from the period ignored completely.
For the release of “Automatic For The People”, the band’s second jingle jangle classic on the trot, Warners decided to try and do a ‘Michael Jackson’ - by issuing no less than SIX singles from the LP. The first two, “Drive” and “Man On The Moon” were issued as double CD sets, with the second CD’s dubbed “Collectors Edition” releases, which saw the artwork of the regular single reduced in size, with a ‘wooden effect’ border used for each release. “The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite” was also issued as two CD singles, both in similarly designed sleeves, both of which were dubbed “Collectors Editions”, with a number 1 or 2 on the front dependent on which CD it was. “Everybody Hurts” was also issued as a pair of Collectors Edition CD’s, with a specific mention that each disc was part of a 2-disc set. By now, it did seem as though the outtakes were drying up, as the B-side of the “Orange Crush” 12”, a cover of Syd Barrett’s “Dark Globe”, turned up on CD2.
For the sublime “Nightswimming”, a different approach was taken. Live recordings from a 1991 gig were used as B-sides, with a live version of “Losing My Religion” appearing on the 7” and Cassette editions. This particular flipside would turn out to be a non-CD item in the UK, as the accompanying CD Single release opted for three totally different tracks from the same gig. The 12” picture disc release, the band’s first in the UK, replicated the CD track listing.
The final release, “Find The River”, saw the barrel being well and truly scraped. There were no double CD approaches this time, indeed, there was not even a fourth format release, and the only release of interest was the CD Single, which offered up the band’s performance of “Everybody Hurts” from the 1993 MTV Video Music Awards, along with an utterly pointless instrumental version of “Orange Crush”. The single failed to dent the UK Top 40, which was as good a sign as any that Warners had milked the album just a bit too much.
REM returned to the gigging circuit to support 1994’s gloriously feedback-heavy “Monster”, a daring but exhilarating left turn, as if the band figured they needed to pick up where Nirvana had left off. By not touring the two previous records, REM had therefore missed what could have been the ‘Arena Years’, and in the summer of 95, were playing the hole in the ground that was Milton Keynes Bowl (twice), with a who’s who of Britpop acts appearing as support acts (Blur, Sleeper and Radiohead).
Again, Warners opted for a interesting and intense promo campaign when it came to the 45’s. Five singles were released, with the 7” and Cassette editions of each featuring an instrumental version of the A-side as the flip (they were listed, on the first few releases, as the “K Versions” - K standing for Karaoke, of course).
For the third and fourth releases, to try and drum up interest, the 7” releases were pressed on coloured vinyl with free gifts (the incendiary “Crush with Eyeliner” was housed inside an REM Calendar sleeve, the beautiful “Strange Currencies” included a free badge), whilst the final release, “Tongue”, was pressed on black vinyl but housed in a numbered sleeve.
The first four singles were also issued on CD, with exclusive live tracks from a Greenpeace benefit show the band had played in their hometown, Athens, in November 1992 as bonuses, instead of the “K” versions. The exception to the rule was “Tongue”, which included live recordings instead from the band’s appearance on the “Saturday Night Live” US TV show.
“Tongue” is also worth a special mention, as regards it’s Cassette release. The tape was pressed as an extra length tape, most of which was blank, and fans were encouraged to put the live recordings from the “Monster” singles onto the blank section of the tape - the inlay could even be refolded to show a ’bootleg’ style cover with the legend “REM 92” on the cover. Ace. An essential item, but just hope, if you get one, that nobody has accidentally taped over the two pre-recorded tracks instead...
Striking whilst the iron was still hot, the band recorded a big chunk of their next album, 1996‘s “New Adventures In Hi Fi” at soundchecks and gigs on the tour, whilst many of the B-sides that would appear on singles taken from the LP were also sourced using the same approach. After the multi formatting madness of the previous few years, things were scaled back a bit this time around, with the Cassette Single releases just offering up a track off the accompanying (4 track) CD release, whilst the “Limited Edition” versions released were simply the same as the standard CD releases but in thick jewel cases.
In some respects, “New Adventures” marked the turning point of the band from unit shifting, critical darlings, into a less loved and less popular band of indie-rockers. It’s release coincided with the signing of a new headlining grabbing $80m deal to re-sign to Warners - only for drummer Bill Berry to leave the band the following year. The new three piece version of the band (augmented on stage and in the studio by a selection of session musicians) struggled to ever release another album that excited the music press, although 2001’s “Reveal” did have it’s stand out moments, and 2008’s “Accelerate” - designed to blow away the cobwebs of the rather genteel 2005 release “Around The Sun” - was seen very much as a return to form. There were not really many mis-steps during this period, but REM did become kind of dependable, as opposed to releasing anything that was too avant garde or out of the ordinary.
1998’s “Up” saw the band issue each of the singles in the UK as standard CD releases, but also as limited edition 3” CD’s in Japanese-style “snap pack” sleeves. In keeping with the shorter running time these offered, each of these releases appeared with just the one (exclusive) B-side, although the format could actually contain much more music than this.
The first two releases from the LP, “Daysleeper” and “Lotus”, featured flipsides on the 3” releases that were taped “live in the studio”, before the next two releases featured material taped at TV shows and on Radio during a promotional jaunt around the UK. The band played “TFI Friday” where Mike and Peter happily signed autographs outside the studio, but Michael politely declined to sign anything, as he was going through a sort of “anti fame” period at the time. Still, I never met Bill Berry either, so only getting half the band’s scribbles on my copy of “Up” isn’t the end of the world.
“At My Most Beautiful” included as B-sides, on both CD releases, material from the band’s appearance on “Later”. The 5“ CD had a radio remix of the A-side as the lead track, whilst the 3” used a live version taped for John Peel’s BBC Radio 1 show. Peel, at times, would seem to show little interest in alternative acts who perhaps were not alternative enough (he never “got“ Patti Smith, for example), but after starting to get a liking for Blur after they “went grunge“ in 1997, REM were the latest band to suddenly gain interest from the man years after they could (or should) had done a session for him. More live tracks from “Later” were used as B-sides on the final single from the LP, “Suspicion” (which flopped spectacularly), whilst the A-side version on the 3” was taped at the Ealing Studios in West London two days after this TV gig.
The summer of 1999 saw REM tour the UK, ‘downsizing’ from the stadiums of the “Monster” tour to the smaller likes of Earls Court, along with a headlining slot at the Glastonbury Festival. Recordings from the gig made it onto the B-side of the group’s next single, “The Great Beyond”, which was one of several REM (and REM related) songs that appeared on the soundtrack album of the “Man On The Moon” movie.
For “Reveal”, Warners began to stop issuing each of the singles as part of a pattern. There were DVD Single releases for the first two 45’s from the LP, but not the last. It was followed in 2003 by “In Time”, designed to commemorate the band’s fifteen year long (at that point) Warners career. It was issued as both a standard and a limited edition release - the limited release featured more tracks on the second disc than chart regulations allowed, and thus had it’s sales counted as a separate release, resulting in the album entering the top 40 at both number 1 (for the standard edition) and 36 (for the double disc version). The double disc version, which was housed in a nicely packaged slipcase design, featured a slightly ramshackle selection of odds and sods on CD2 - for every B-side that made the set, dozens more didn’t. There were also a few previously unreleased live tracks to entice the completists, whilst both the 1-CD and 2-CD editions included the aforementioned “Warners” version of “All The Right Friends”. Another track that dated from the IRS years, as mentioned earlier, “Bad Day”, was also included and issued as a single to help promote the album. It was re-recorded especially for the album, but the original unreleased version from the mid 80s would turn up on the second disc of the “And I Feel Fine” compilation three years later.
As REM began to fall into the “heritage acts” category, slowly being eased off the radio play lists, Warners continued to be less adventurous with the singles. Another new song from “In Time”, “Animal” was issued as a CD Single - and nothing else. 2004’s much maligned “Around The Sun” did however spawn no less than 4 singles, each issued as double CD sets, albeit with alternate versions of already available REM tracks as flipsides. Three of the four singles were issued as 7” singles, either as picture discs or coloured vinyl. In a polar opposite of the way these singles used to be packaged, the picture disc for “Leaving New York” came in a full picture sleeve, and the red vinyl release of “Wanderlust” was housed in a stickered, but otherwise clear, PVC sleeve. It had been more usual, in earlier years for most acts, to package these things the other way round.
By the time we got to the single releases for the fiery “Accelerate”, the impending death of the physical single saw a series of slightly half hearted releases. “Supernatural Superserious” appeared as a 2 track CD release, and a three track release - one of the bonus tracks was the same as the one on the 2 tracker, which was a bit pointless, whilst both these tracks also appeared in DVD-Audio form on the free DVD included with first issues of the “Accelerate“ CD. “Hollow Man” was to be issued on two CD’s with, again, CD2 featuring an extra track, but was cancelled for reasons unknown - so despite the un-cancelled CD Single being issued with a catalogue number bearing the legend “CD1“, CD2 never surfaced. “Man Sized Wreath” only turned up as a 7” single. Again, a 3 track release adding an extra track was made - as a digital download only.
There were no physical releases from “Collapse Into Now”, an album which seemed to continue with what at the time seemed like a renaissance for the band. “Uberlin” was the first track to be plugged as a promo in the UK, whilst other tracks were selected for other countries, and a 2011 Record Store Day release called “REM Three” included three 7” singles inside, each featuring a physical reproduction of the three lead singles - alongside “Uberlin“, there was a 7“ led by “Mine Smell Like Honey“ (the first ‘single‘ in the USA) and another with “Oh My Heart“ on the a-side, which was the lead single in Germany, actually achieving a physical CD single release at the time there as well. But as we all know, Record Store Day releases don't count.
“Collapse Into Now” was not the rebirth we might have hoped for. By the end of 2011, the band had decided to call it a day, deciding to bow out before they started to hate each other or make terrible records. Less charitable types claimed the end had come 15 years too late, but just look at what we have now without REM - the increasingly awful Ed Sheeran, who last night "headlined" what was the worst edition of "Later" ever broadcast, by performing two of the worst singles I have ever heard in my life, the funk-pop horror of The 1975, who at The Brits this year reminded me of the dreadful Living In A Box, and the atrocity that is Rag And Bone Man - a so-called "authentic" soul singer, whose songs seem to have been written by a computer labelled 'To be used to create big selling, bearded-Gary Barlow style R&B abominations, which actually scream "Total MOR Dreck" but will be marketed as "Happening Leftfield Songwriter" so the likes of the Metro and Radio 2 will fall for the hype'. Charles Bradley he ain't. This lot makes REM’s drunken abomination of a cover version of “King Of The Road” sound like something off “The White Album” (apologies if you like any of those, but as long as you also have a copy of "Daydream Nation", you are forgiven). They departed with a full career spanning best of, “Part Lies Part Heart Part Truth Part Garbage” - and unfortunately left us with a big gap in the jingle jangle section of indie rock. Thank god Teenage Fanclub are still going. RIP REM.
In an attempt to cover most bases, I have split the discography into chunks. The IRS releases are shown as both a list of the original studio albums, details of the “Vintage Years” reissue, and finally the double-disc “Deluxe Edition” reissues that have appeared as part of the ongoing “25th Anniversary” reissues of all of the band’s LP’s. There is only really one definitive version of each of the band’s IRS-era comps, so the recommended CD pressings of each are listed thereafter.
For the IRS 45’s, I have listed everything, as the majority would be of interest if you have “DLO” and the expanded albums, because few of these flipsides are now un-rare. Apart from getting “Rockville” on 12”, buying anything else on any format will do the job. Whilst researching this article, I also listed, for my own benefit, the rather pointless 7” and Cassette single releases from the Warners years between 1991 and 1995, so have left them in here. The releases from 96 onwards are what I would consider the only releases of interest to the eager (but not hardcore) fan. Not mentioned here are the legally dubious "A Retrospective" boxsets, in which unsold US jukebox 45's were gathered up into a series of barcode-free boxes issued by an anonymous label, but somehow made it into HMV in the late 90s. I will probably cover these in a future blog, as the one I own is quite fascinating.
For the Warners years LP‘s, I have listed the original UK CD releases, and where they exist (so far), any 25th anniversary editions. I have also listed the 2005 “double disc” reissues, which featured the relevant LP in surround sound on a DVD, along with a few other extras, and the odd “limited edition” release where I either have it, or would be happy to accept it as a free gift from anybody reading this.
UK IRS ALBUMS
Murmur (LP, IRS SP 70604)
Murmur (CD, EMI/IRS 0777 7 13158 2, with 4 bonus tracks including “There She Goes Again“)
Murmur (2xCD, Capitol/IRS 509996 46079 24, with bonus live disc from Toronto 1983)
Reckoning (LP, IRS IRSA 7045)
Reckoning (CD, EMI/IRS 0777 7 13159 2, with 5 bonus tracks including “Tighten Up”, originally issued on a flexi disc)
Reckoning (2xCD, Capitol/IRS 509996 46082 28, with bonus live disc from Chicago 1984)
Fables Of The Reconstruction (LP, IRS MIRF 1003)
Fables Of The Reconstruction (CD, EMI/IRS 0777 7 13160 2, with 5 bonus tracks including “Driver 8 (Live)” from the “Wendell Gee” 12”)
Fables Of The Reconstruction (2xCD, Capitol/IRS 509996 46071 22, with bonus disc of demos)
Lifes Rich Pageant (LP, IRS MIRG 1014)
Lifes Rich Pageant (CD, EMI/IRS 0777 7 13201 2, with 6 bonus tracks including previously unissued material)
Lifes Rich Pageant (2xCD, Capitol/IRS 509990 82447 27, with bonus disc of demos)
Document (LP, IRS MIRG 1025)
Document (CD, EMI/IRS 0777 7 13200 2, with 6 bonus tracks including “Finest Worksong” mixes)
Document (2xCD, Capitol/IRS 509999 72006 28, with bonus live disc from Utrecht 1987)
UK "IRS" COMPILATION CD’s
Dead Letter Office (CD, EMI/IRS, 0777 7 13199 2, 1993 reissue with 7 bonus tracks)
Eponymous (CD, IRS DMIRG 1038)
The Best Of REM (CD, IRS DMIRH 1)
Singles Collected (CD, EMI/IRS 7243 8 29642 2)
And I Feel Fine (2xCD, Capitol 09463 69942 2, Limited Edition version with 21 track bonus disc)
SELECTED WARNERS LP’s/CD’S
Green (CD, Warner Bros 925 795-2, original 1988 release)
Green (CD+DVD, Warner Bros 8122 73948 2, 2005 reissue with videos and documentary)
Green (2xCD, Warner Bros 8122 79657 9, 2013 reissue, with free “Live In Greensboro 1989” disc, and various inserts)
Out Of Time (LP+7”, Warner Bros WX 404 / PRO 610, possibly Euro Only release, 1991)
Out Of Time (CD, Warner Bros 7599 26496 2, original 1991 release)
Out Of Time (US CD, Warner Bros 9 26527, limited edition release in fold out scrapbook-style sleeve, with postcards and insert)
Out Of Time (CD+DVD, Warner Bros 8122 73951 2, 2005 reissue with documentary)
Out Of Time (2xCD, Concord Bicycle Music CRE 00231, with second disc of demos and poster, different front cover design, 2016 reissue)
Out Of Time (3xCD+Blu Ray, Concord Bicycle Music CRE 00232, hardback book design with second disc of demos, and third disc of live material, plus Blu Ray content including videos, 2016 reissue)
Automatic For The People (CD, Warner Bros 9362 45055 2, original 1991 release)
Automatic For The People (US CD, Warner Bros 9 45122, limited edition release in wooden box with 16 postcards)
Automatic For The People (CD+DVD, Warner Bros 8122 78175 2, 2005 reissue with documentary)
Monster (CD, Warner Bros 9362 45740 2, original 1994 release)
Monster (Limited Edition CD, Warner Bros 9362 45763 2, 52 page hardback book edition also released with alternate catalogue number in US)
Monster (CD+DVD, Warner Bros 8122 73939 2, 2005 reissue with documentary)
New Adventures In Hi-Fi (CD, Warner Bros 9362 46436 2, original 1996 release)
New Adventures In Hi-Fi (US CD, Warner Bros 9 46321 2, in hardback book sleeve)
New Adventures In Hi-Fi (CD+DVD, Warner Bros 8122 73950 2, 2005 reissue with documentary)
Up (CD, Warner Bros 9362 47112 2, original 1998 release)
Up (US CD, Warner Bros 9 47151 2, boxset with book, poster and photos)
Up (CD+DVD, Warner Bros 8122 73952 2, 2005 reissue with “Ealing Studios” performance)
Reveal (CD, Warner Bros 9362 47946 2, original 2001 release)
Reveal (US CD, Warner Bros 9 48078 2, with 40-page booklet)
Reveal (CD+DVD, Warner Bros 8122 76539 2, 2005 reissue with documentary and “I’ll Take The Rain” promo)
In Time: The Best Of REM 1988-2003 (CD, Warner Bros 9362 48381 2)
In Time: The Best Of REM 1988-2003 (2xCD, Warner Bros 9362 48602 2, “Deluxe“ edition in slipcase with booklet, with rarities and B-sides on CD2)
Around The Sun (CD, Warner Bros 9362 48911 2, original 2004 release)
Around The Sun (US CD, Warner Bros 9 48906 2, boxset with 14 poster inserts)
Around The Sun (CD+DVD, Warner Bros 9362 49315 2, 2005 reissue with promos, live videos and documentary)
Accelerate (CD, Warner Bros 9362 49874 1)
Accelerate (CD+DVD, Warner Bros 9362 49877 2, limited edition version in DVD sleeve style packaging, with documentary and DVD-Audio bonus tracks “Airliner” and “Red Head Walking”)
Live At The Olympia In Dublin 39 Songs (2xCD, Warner Bros 9362 49733 0)
Live At The Olympia In Dublin 39 Songs (2xCD+DVD, Warner Bros 9362 49748 1, DVD includes documentary)
Collapse Into Now (CD, Warner Bros 9362 49627 1)
Part Lies Part Heart Part Truth Part Garbage (2xCD, Warner Bros 9362 49534 5)
Unplugged 1991-2001 (2xCD, Rhino 8122 79595 7)
Note: I have excluded DVD releases which included free “live” CD’s, such as “REM Live” from 2007, as these would better be suited to a specific look at video releases, that I would like to do, once I have filled in those other gaps in my collection. And yes, that means the “Unplugged” release shown above, despite being a co-production with MTV, is indeed audio only. Baffling.
COMPLETE UK SINGLES 1983-1995
Radio Free Europe/There She Goes Again (7”, IRS PFP 1017)
Talk About The Passion/Shaking Through/Carnival Of Sorts (Box Cars)/1,000,000 (12”, IRS PFSX 1026)
So. Central Rain/King Of The Road (7”, IRS IRS 105)
So. Central Rain/Voice Of Harold/Pale Blue Eyes (12”, IRS IRSX 105)
(Don’t Go Back To) Rockville/Wolves (7”, IRS IRS 107)
(Don’t Go Back To) Rockville/Wolves/9-9 (Live)/Gardening At Night (Live) (12”, IRS IRS 107, purple p/s)
Can’t Get There From Here/Bandwagon (7”, IRS IRM 102)
Can’t Get There From Here/Bandwagon/Burning Hell (12”, IRS IRMT 102)
Wendell Gee/Crazy (7”, IRS IRM 105)
Wendell Gee/Crazy/Ages Of You/Burning Down (2x7”, IRS IRMD 105, green p/s)
Wendell Gee/Crazy/Driver 8 (Live Seattle 27.6.1984) (12”, IRS IRT 105)
Fall On Me/Rotary Ten (7”, IRS IRM 121)
Fall On Me/Rotary Ten/Toys In The Attic (12”, IRS IRMT 121, unique p/s)
Superman/White Tornado (7”, IRS IRM 128)
Superman/White Tornado/Femme Fatale (12”, IRS IRMT 128)
It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)/This One Goes Out (Live) (7”, IRS IRM 145)
It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)/This One Goes Out (Live)/Maps And Legends (Live) (12”, IRS IRMT 145, different p/s)
The One I Love/Last Date (7”, IRS IRM 146)
The One I Love/Last Date/Disturbance At The Heron House (Live) (12”, IRS IRMT 146, different p/s)
The One I Love/Last Date/Disturbance At The Heron House (Live) (CD, IRS DIRM 146)
Finest Worksong/Time After Time Etc. (Live Vara Radio, Utrecht 14.9.1987) (7”, IRS IRM 161)
Finest Worksong (Lengthy Club Mix)/(Other Mix)/Time After Time Etc. (Live Vara Radio, Utrecht 14.9.1987) (12”, IRS IRMT 161, different p/s)
Finest Worksong/Time After Time Etc. (Live Vara Radio, Utrecht 14.9.1987)/It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine) (Numbered CD, IRS DIRM 161, unique “oversized” p/s)
The One I Love/Fall On Me (7”, IRS IRM 173)
The One I Love/Fall On Me/So. Central Rain (12”, IRS IRMT 173)
The One I Love/Fall On Me/So. Central Rain (CD, IRS DIRM 173)
Stand/Memphis Train Blues (7”, Warner Bros W 7577, some copies labelled as “Special Edition“ [W 7577 X] in recycled sleeve)
Stand/Memphis Train Blues (Cassette, Warner Bros W 7577 C)
Stand/Memphis Train Blues/Eleventh Untitled Song (12“, Warner Bros W 7577 T)
Stand/Memphis Train Blues/Eleventh Untitled Song (3“ CD1, Warner Bros W 7577 CD)
Stand/Memphis Train Blues/Eleventh Untitled Song (3“ CD2 in leaf p/s, Warner Bros W 7577 CD)
Orange Crush/Ghost Riders (7”, Warner Bros W 2960, some copies labelled as “Special Edition“ [W 2960 X] in recycled sleeve)
Orange Crush/Ghost Riders (Boxset 7”, Warner Bros W 2960, diff p/s with poster)
Orange Crush/Ghost Riders/Dark Globe (12”, Warner Bros W 2960 T)
Orange Crush/Ghost Riders/Dark Globe (3” CD, Warner Bros W 2960 T, white border p/s)
Stand/Pop Song 89 (Acoustic Version) (7”, Warner Bros W 2833)
Stand/Pop Song 89 (Acoustic Version) (Stencil sleeved 7”, Warner Bros W 2833 W)
Stand/Pop Song 89 (Acoustic Version)/Skin Tight (Live) (12”, Warner Bros W 2833 T)
Stand/Pop Song 89 (Acoustic Version)/Skin Tight (Live) (3” CD1, Warner Bros W 2833 CD)
Stand/Pop Song 89 (Acoustic Version)/Skin Tight (Live) (3” CD2 in unique fold out sleeve, Warner Bros W 2833 CD)
Losing My Religion/Rotary Eleven (7”, Warner Bros W 0015)
Losing My Religion/Rotary Eleven (Cassette, Warner Bros W 0015 C)
Losing My Religion/Rotary Eleven/After Hours (Live) (12”, Warner Bros W 0015 T)
Losing My Religion/Rotary Eleven/After Hours (Live) (CD1, Warner Bros W 0015 CD)
Losing My Religion/Stand (Live)/Turn You Inside Out (Live)/World Leader Pretend (Live) (CD2, Warner Bros W 0015 CDX, in black and white bordered p/s)
Shiny Happy People/Forty Second Song (7”, Warner Bros W 0027)
Shiny Happy People/Forty Second Song (Cassette, Warner Bros W 0027 C)
Shiny Happy People/Forty Second Song/Losing My Religion (Live Acoustic Version) (12”, Warner Bros W 0027 T)
Shiny Happy People/Forty Second Song/Losing My Religion (Live Acoustic Version) (CD1, Warner Bros W 0027 CD)
Shiny Happy People/I Remember California (Live)/Get Up (Live)/Pop Song 89 (Live) (CD2, Warner Bros W 0027 CDX, in black and white bordered p/s)
Near Wild Heaven/Pop Song 89 (Live London The Borderline 15.3.1991) (7”, Warner Bros W 0055)
Near Wild Heaven/Pop Song 89 (Live London The Borderline 15.3.1991) (Cassette, Warner Bros W 0055 C)
Near Wild Heaven/Pop Song 89 (Live London The Borderline 15.3.1991)/Half A World Away (Live Acoustic Version) (12”, Warner Bros W 0055 T)
Near Wild Heaven/Tom’s Diner (Live London The Borderline 15.3.1991)/Low (Live London The Borderline 15.3.1991)/Endgame (Live London The Borderline 15.3.1991) (CD, Warner Bros W 0055 CDX, in black and white bordered p/s)
The One I Love/Crazy (7”, IRS IRM 178)
The One I Love/Crazy (Cassette, IRS IRMC 178)
The One I Love/This One Goes Out (Live)/Maps And Legends (Live) (CD1, IRS DIRMT 178, black p/s)
The One I Love/Driver 8 (Live)/Disturbance At The Heron House (Live) (CD2, IRS DIRMX 178, white p/s)
Radio Song/Love Is All Around (7”, Warner Bros W 0072)
Radio Song/Love Is All Around (Cassette, Warner Bros W 0072 C)
Radio Song/Love Is All Around/Shiny Happy People (Music Mix) (12”, Warner Bros W 0072 T)
Radio Song/You Are The Everything (Live from “Tourfilm“)/Orange Crush (Live)/Belong (Live) (CD, Warner Bros W 0072 CDX, in black and white bordered p/s)
It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)/Radio Free Europe (7”, IRS IRM 180)
It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)/Radio Free Europe (Cassette, IRS IRMC 180)
It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)/Radio Free Europe (Hib Tone 7” Mix)/Last Date/White Tornado (CD1, IRS DIRMX 180, green p/s)
It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)/Radio Free Europe/Time After Time Etc. (Live Vara Radio, Utrecht 14.9.1987) (CD2, IRS DIRMT 180, blue p/s)
Drive/World Leader Pretend (7”, Warner Bros W 0136)
Drive/World Leader Pretend (Cassette, Warner Bros W 0136 C)
Drive/World Leader Pretend/First We Take Manhattan (12”, Warner Bros W 0136 T)
Drive/World Leader Pretend/First We Take Manhattan (CD1, Warner Bros W 0136 CD)
Drive/It’s A Free World Baby/Winged Mammal Theme/First We Take Manhattan (CD2, Warner Bros W 0136 CDX, bordered p/s)
Man On The Moon (Edit)/Turn You Inside Out (7”, Warner Bros W 0143)
Man On The Moon (Edit)/Turn You Inside Out (Cassette, Warner Bros W 0143 C)
Man On The Moon (Edit)/Turn You Inside Out/Arms Of Love (CD1, Warner Bros W 0143 CD)
Man On The Moon/Fruity Organ/New Orleans Instrumental #2 (CD2, Warner Bros W 0143 CDX, bordered p/s)
The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite/Get Up (7”, Warner Bros W 0152)
The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite/Get Up (Cassette, Warner Bros W 0152 C)
The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite/The Lion Sleeps Tonight/Fretless (CD1, Warner Bros W 0152 CD1)
The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite/Organ Song/Star Me Kitten (Demo) (CD2, Warner Bros W 0152 CD2, slightly different p/s)
Everybody Hurts (Edit)/Pop Song 89 (7”, Warner Bros W 0169)
Everybody Hurts (Edit)/Pop Song 89 (Cassette, Warner Bros W 0169 C)
Everybody Hurts (Edit)/New Orleans Instrumental No.1 (Long Version)/Mandolin Strum (CD1, Warner Bros W 0169 CD1)
Everybody Hurts (Edit)/Chance (Dub)/Dark Globe (CD2, Warner Bros W 0169 CD2)
Nightswimming/Losing My Religion (Live Charleston Capital Plaza Theatre 28.4.1991) (7”, Warner Bros W 0184)
Nightswimming/Losing My Religion (Live Charleston Capital Plaza Theatre 28.4.1991) (Cassette, Warner Bros W 0184 C)
Nightswimming/World Leader Pretend (Live Charleston Capital Plaza Theatre 28.4.1991)/Belong (Live Charleston Capital Plaza Theatre 28.4.1991)/Low (Live Charleston Capital Plaza Theatre 28.4.1991) (12“ Picture Disc, Warner Bros W 0184 TP, in die cut sleeve)
Nightswimming/World Leader Pretend (Live Charleston Capital Plaza Theatre 28.4.1991)/Belong (Live Charleston Capital Plaza Theatre 28.4.1991)/Low (Live Charleston Capital Plaza Theatre 28.4.1991) (CD, Warner Bros W 0184 CD)
Find The River/Everybody Hurts (Live 1993 MTV Awards) (7”, Warner Bros W 0211)
Find The River/Everybody Hurts (Live 1993 MTV Awards) (Cassette, Warner Bros W 0211 C)
Find The River/Everybody Hurts (Live 1993 MTV Awards)/Orange Crush (Instrumental) (CD, Warner Bros W 0211 CD)
What’s The Frequency, Kenneth? (Radio Version)/(K Version) (7”, Warner Bros W 0265)
What’s The Frequency, Kenneth? (Radio Version)/(K Version) (Cassette, Warner Bros W 0265 C)
What’s The Frequency, Kenneth? (Radio Version)/Monty Got A Raw Deal (Live Athens GA 19.11.1992)/Everybody Hurts (Live Athens GA 19.11.1992)/Man On The Moon (Live Athens GA 19.11.1992) (CD, Warner Bros W 0265 CD)
Bang And Blame (Album Version)/(K Version) (7”, Warner Bros W 0275)
Bang And Blame (Album Version)/(K Version) (Cassette, Warner Bros W 0275 C)
Bang And Blame/Losing My Religion (Live Athens GA 19.11.1992)/Country Feedback (Live Athens GA 19.11.1992)/Begin The Begin (Live Athens GA 19.11.1992) (CD, Warner Bros W 0275 CD)
Crush With Eyeliner (LP Mix)/(Instrumental) (Orange Vinyl 7”, Warner Bros W 0281 X, in fold out calendar style sleeve, vinyl inside white inner bag)
Crush With Eyeliner (LP Mix)/(Instrumental) (Cassette, Warner Bros W 0281 C)
Crush With Eyeliner/Fall On Me (Live Athens GA 19.11.1992)/Me In Honey (Live Athens GA 19.11.1992)/Finest Worksong (Live Athens GA 19.11.1992) (CD, Warner Bros W 0281 CD)
Strange Currencies (Album Version)/(Instrumental) (Green Vinyl 7”, Warner Bros W 0290 X, with badge)
Strange Currencies (Album Version)/(Instrumental) (Cassette, Warner Bros W 0290 C)
Strange Currencies/Drive (Live Athens GA 19.11.1992)/Funtime (Live Athens GA 19.11.1992)/Radio Free Europe (Live Athens GA 19.11.1992) (CD, Warner Bros W 0290 CD)
Tongue (LP Mix)/(Instrumental) (Numbered 7”, Warner Bros W 0308 X)
Tongue (LP Mix)/(Instrumental) (Cassette, Warner Bros W 0308 C)
Tongue/What’s The Frequency, Kenneth? (SNL 12.11.1994)/Bang And Blame (SNL 12.11.1994)/I Don’t Sleep, I Dream (SNL 12.11.1994) (CD, Warner Bros W 0308 CD)
IMPORTANT UK SINGLES 1996-2011
E-Bow The Letter/Tricycle (Live, St Louis Soundcheck 22.9.1995)/Departure (Live, Rome Soundcheck 22.2.1995)/Wall Of Death (CD, Warner Bros W 0369 CD, limited edition copies in thicker jewel casing [W 0369 CDX])
Bittersweet Me (Memphis Soundcheck)/Undertow (Live in Atlanta)/Wichita Lineman (Live in Houston)/New Test Leper (Acoustic, Seattle Studio) (CD, Warner Bros W 0377 CD, limited edition copies in thicker jewel casing [W 0377 CDX])
Electrolite/The Wake Up Bomb (Live in Atlanta)/Binky The Doormat (Live in Atlanta)/King Of Comedy (808 State Remix) (CD, Warner Bros W 0383 CD, limited edition copies in thicker jewel casing [W 0383 CDX])
Daysleeper (Edit)/Emphysema/Why Not Smile (Oxford American Version) (CD, Warner Bros W 0455 CD)
Daysleeper (Edit)/Sad Professor (Live In The Studio) (3” CD in Japanese style longbox, Warner Bros W 0455 CDX)
Lotus/Surfing The Ganges/Lotus (Weird Mix) (CD, Warner Bros W 466 CD)
Lotus/Suspicion (Live In The Studio) (3” CD in Japanese style longbox, Warner Bros W 466 CDX)
At My Most Beautiful (Radio Remix)/Passenger (Later With Jools Holland 27.10.1998)/Country Feedback (Later With Jools Holland 27.10.1998) (CD, Warner Bros W 477 CD)
At My Most Beautiful (Radio 1 Live Version 25.10.1998)/So. Central Rain (Later With Jools Holland 27.10.1998) (3” CD in Japanese style longbox, Warner Bros W 477 CDX)
Suspicion/Electrolite (Later With Jools Holland 27.10.1998)/Man On The Moon (Later With Jools Holland 27.10.1998) (CD, Warner Bros W 488 CD)
Suspicion (Live at Ealing Studios 29.10.1998)/Perfect Circle (Later With Jools Holland 27.10.1998) (3” CD in Japanese style longbox, Warner Bros W 488 CDX)
The Great Beyond (Radio Edit)/Man On The Moon (Live Glastonbury Festival 25.6.1999) (Cassette, Warner Bros W 516 C)
The Great Beyond (Radio Edit)/Everybody Hurts (Live Glastonbury Festival 25.6.1999)/The One I Love (Live Glastonbury Festival 25.6.1999) (CD, Warner Bros W 516 CD)
Imitation Of Life/The Lifting (Original Version)/Beat A Drum (Dalkey Demo) (CD, Warner Bros W 559 CD)
Imitation Of Life (Video)/2JN/The Lifting (Original Version) (DVD, Warner Bros W 559 DVD, unique p/s)
All The Way To Reno (You’re Gonna Be A Star)/Yellow River/Imitation Of Life (Live, London Trafalgar Square 29.4.2001)/(Live, London Trafalgar Square 29.4.2001 - Video) (CD, Warner Bros W 568 CDX)
All The Way To Reno (You’re Gonna Be A Star) (Video)/Yellow River/165 Hillcrest (DVD, Warner Bros W 568 DVD, unique p/s)
I’ll Take The Rain/32 Chord Song/I’ve Been High (Live Channel V “By Demand" 31.5.2001 - Video) (CD1, Warner Bros W 573 CDX)
I’ll Take The Rain/I’ve Been High (Live Channel V “By Demand" 31.5.2001)/She Just Wants To Be (Live New York Museum Of Television And Radio 18.5.2001) (CD2, Warner Bros W 573 CD, unique p/s)
Bad Day/Favourite Writer (7”, Warner Bros W 624)
Bad Day/Favourite Writer/Bad Day (Video) (CD1, Warner Bros W 624 CD1)
Bad Day/Out In The Country/Adagio (CD2, Warner Bros W 624 CD2, unique p/s)
Animal (New Mix)/Pretty Persuasion (Live New York Clinton Studios 7.10.2003)/Losing My Religion (Live Wiesbaden 2003 - Video) (CD, Warner Bros W 633 CD)
Leaving New York/(Don’t Go Back To) Rockville (Live Oslo NRK PI Radio 25.10.2003) (CD1, Warner Bros W 654 CD1, unique p/s)
Leaving New York/You Are The Everything (Live Take)/These Days (Live Toronto 30.9.2003) (CD2, Warner Bros W 654 CD2)
Leaving New York/(Don’t Go Back To) Rockville (Live Oslo NRK PI Radio 25.10.2003) (7“ Picture Disc, Warner Bros W 654)
Aftermath/High Speed Train (Live) (CD1, Warner Bros W 658 CD1)
Aftermath/So Fast, So Numb (Live Take)/All The Right Friends (Live Take) (CD2, Warner Bros W 658 CD2, different p/s)
Electron Blue/What’s The Frequency, Kenneth? (Live Atlanta 23.10.2004) (Blue Vinyl 7”, Warner Bros W 665)
Electron Blue/What’s The Frequency, Kenneth? (Live Atlanta 23.10.2004) (CD1, Warner Bros W 665 CD1)
Electron Blue/Sweetness Follows (Live Cincinnati 27.10.2004)/Leaving New York (Live Helsinki 29.1.2005 - Video) (CD2, Warner Bros W 665 CD2)
Wanderlust/The Outsiders (feat. Q-Tip) (Red Vinyl 7”, Warner Bros W 676)
Wanderlust/Low (Alternate Version) (CD1, Warner Bros W 676 CD1)
Wanderlust/The Outsiders (feat. Q-Tip)/Bad Day (Live Zaragoza 28.5.2005 - Video) (CD2, Warner Bros W 676 CD2, unique p/s)
Supernatural Superserious/Airliner (CD1, Warner Bros W 798 CD)
Supernatural Superserious/Airliner/Red Head Walking (CD2, Warner Bros W 798 CDX)
Hollow Man/Horse To Water (Vancouver) (CD, Warner Bros W 804 CD1)
Man Sized Wreath/Living Well Jesus Dog (Clear Vinyl 7”, Warner Bros W 807)