R.E.M. to release double edition of Murmur

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Alternative rock did not begin with a bang but with a Murmur. In 1983, a band from Athens, Georgia made its full-length album debut. The band was R.E.M.; the album was Murmur, Rolling Stone’s Album of the Year and one of the first alternative rock albums to gain mainstream notice. The two-CD 25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition of Murmur (I.R.S./UMe), released November 25, 2008, features that original landmark album remastered plus an additional disc with a previously unreleased concert recorded at Larry’s Hideaway in Toronto three months after Murmur’s April release.

The 16-song live performance boasts nine of Murmur’s 12 songs, including “Radio Free Europe”; three songs first heard on 1982’s Chronic Town EP; early renditions of two songs that would subsequently appear on the band’s second album, 1984’s Reckoning; “Just A Touch,” later heard on R.E.M.’s fourth album, 1986’s Lifes Rich Pageant; and a cover of Velvet Underground’s “There She Goes Again,” which the group recorded in the studio for the b-side of “Radio Free Europe.”

Assembled in conjunction with R.E.M., Murmur – Deluxe Edition, the package also includes exclusive essays providing insight into the recording of the album by producers Mitch Easter and Don Dixon, as well as former I.R.S. executives Jay Boberg, Sig Sigworth, Carlos Grasso, Michael Plen.

Writes Dixon: “R.E.M. was a product of the record store, the library, and the college classroom colliding with the ultimate counter-culture, nerd, dance, ambiguous sex party. They were a band in the most classic sense of the word. The perfect amalgam of The Velvet Underground and The Doors.” Boberg remembers his initial reaction to Murmur: “The first crystallization of the R.E.M. sound, a beautiful noise that will never be duplicated.”

Marked by singer Michael Stipe’s cryptic lyrics and equally cryptic vocal style, Peter Buck’s jangly guitar, Mike Mills’ moody bass and Bill Berry’s R&B drumming, Murmur built on the inroads afforded Chronic Town by a handful of music critics and independent record stores, and fans mainly from the southeast. Refusing to indulge in rock clichés such as the guitar solo or the then-popular synthesizer, R.E.M. blazed its own path. Rolling Stone called the album “intelligent, enigmatic, deeply moving,” and Murmur cracked the Top 40, as did “Radio Free Europe” on the Mainstream Rock chart. But even greater acclaim would arrive in retrospect, including being listed in Entertainment Weekly’s “The 100 Greatest CDs Of All Time” and Mojo’s “The 100 Records That Changed The World.”

R.E.M. would go on to score #1-charting quadruple platinum albums (Murmur was certified gold in 1991) and win worldwide adoration. In 2007, in its first year of eligibility, the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Murmur – Deluxe Edition recalls the first major step in the journey of R.E.M., one of the great bands of our time.

R.E.M.

Murmur deluxe edition

Disc One

The Album

1. Radio Free Europe

2. Pilgrimage

3. Laughing

4. Talk About The Passion

5. Moral Kiosk

6. Perfect Circle

7. Catapult

8. Sitting Still

9. 9-9

10. Shaking Through

11. We Walk

12. West Of The Fields

Disc Two

Live at Larry’s Hideaway

1. Laughing

2. Pilgrimage

3. There She Goes Again

4. 7 Chinese Brothers

5. Talk About The Passion

6. Sitting Still

7. Harborcoat

8. Catapult

9. Gardening At Night

10. 9-9

11. Just A Touch

12. West Of The Fields

13. Radio Free Europe

14. We Walk

15. 1,000,000

16. Carnival Of Sorts (Box Cars)

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