REM… Radio Free Europe

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R.E.M. Monster
Photo: Michel Linssen/Redferns

Today in 1981, R.E.M were in Smyrna, Georgia for their first-ever recording session. Among the songs they did was ‘Radio Free Europe’ that was later re-recorded for Hib-Tone records before being recorded yet again for IRS in 1983, Check out the original Hib-Tone version:

In the UK’s Melody Maker in 1983 a writer began his full-page review of the week’s releases with a statement damning the collective output of the recording industry. “…hardly any of them should have been released in the first place. Awful records are killing music.”

Running down the list you could see his point. A Julie Andrews and Johnny Cash duet on Love Me Tender stood out, & Asia, The Style Council, Billy Joel, and Spandau Ballet’s Gold all come in for a drubbing. He has few good words to say about anything but did manage. “In a week largely unsullied by decent records, this is… reasonable.”

It was R.E.M’s first single Radio Free Europe. It failed to make the UK charts and it would be another four years until The One I Love just failed to make the top 50 (No.51) in 1987. Although they had some small album success over the intervening years…

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