Sunday, May 11, 2014
R.E.M.: Radio Free Europe
Like a lot of people, I discovered R.E.M. through their early nineties albums Out of Time and Automatic for the People which, like David Letterman, I bought on vinyl. I bought a lot of their subsequent CDs after that, hoping they would be as good. Though there were some great individual tracks, they never were.
My theory is that some bands can be spoilt by success in that they have to come up with songs that sounds good in stadiums. The same thing happened to Queen - I prefer their early witty records to their later bombastic ones.
Researching R.E.M.'s back catalogue proved more rewarding and Radio Free Europe was the first track on their first LP Murmur. (I once worked with someone who was in a band named Murmur after that LP. He was distinctly miffed when people like me started to jump on the R.E.M. bandwagon.)
Note how large an LP looks to modern eyes and that Michael Stipe had hair in those days.