A Missing Record

Hi! I love R.E.M. outtakes and b-sides and finding music that didn’t make it to the final record. But I got to thinking what if there was an entire “lost record”? Like 12 songs that they secretly recorded for an album but it was never released?

If there was a “lost record”, which era would you like it to be from? I would love to hear another “new” album from the IRS years but I also love the AFTP-Up era, too so another album from that time period would be AMAZING, too!

-Hannah

(I know this is kind of a silly question, lol)

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It doesn’t quite fit the parameters you kinda set, but you probably know they had about a full record worth of songs that they left behind before recording Chronic Town. It was songs they only performed live, a couple of which deserved the demo treatment. Stuff like “That Beat”, “Hey, Hey, Nadine” and the likes.

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Were those the same sessions from when they recorded ‘Narrator’ and ‘Baby I’?

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Not sure if same sessions (I mean, for there to be sessions, they should have demoed them all, I guess), but yes, same time! “Mediocrity”, “Girl like you”, “Mystery to me”, “Body count”, “Scheherazade”, “Action” and a few others. Those were all legit R.E.M. songs before Chronic Town. A couple of them deserved a reappreciation later on, like “All the right friends” and “Just a touch”.

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Agree with @Gargumma. A pre-Chronic Town album would have sounded nothing like the R.E.M. we came to know and love, but it would’ve been great. A Different Girl was my favourite of those, but there were lots of decent ones.

It wouldn’t have been as ground-breaking and iconic as Murmur, but it would’ve been fun.

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Probably the I.R.S. era but I’m torn, by the time of the Warner Brothers years they were no longer beholden to sound like the R.E.M. of old which freed them up creatively. If there was a lost I.R.S. album it would likely sound much like what we’ve already heard.

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Kind of… apparently there was talk of Fables being a double album, there were finished songs that either were not used at all like When I Was Young (which appears on the tracklisting on the inner sleeve art of the final album) or wound up as b-sides. Theme From Two Steps Onwards is another one, there are various versions of that but as with ‘WIWY’ I don’t think the finished studio versions have ever appeared officially, only demos. I would add Bandwagon to the list of songs that might have made it. I’m not convinced that any of the older songs like Ages of You or Burning Down would have made the cut. Burning Hell is a novelty track so I don’t think that would have worked. Potentially Hyena could have made it and Swan Swan H would have certainly fit the theme, but I can’t remember if it was even written when Fables was conceived (Feb 85), I suspect not - I think both it and Fall on Me were composed in the late summer/fall of 1985.

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Oh, I remember reading about that. Wasn’t the working title “The Sound and the Fury”?

I’ve not heard of “Mediocrity”, I’ll have to look for it!

i compiled all those early songs here:

title comes from a reviewer who described r.e.m. at this time as a hellaciously rotten punk band

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Would love to see something from Out Of Time to Up era. Especially from Hi-Fi era.

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I don’t think its a silly question! I got to see R.E.M.at Nassau Colesium in NYC in 1982, and then at Radio City Music Hall in 1985. I’d love to have those shows on record, especially the Nassau Colesium. They performed Stumble that night and I will never forget it. That is my favorite R.E.M. song

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I’d love to discover a lost R.E.M album from the IRS years! At one point around the time of Fables or shortly thereafter, Peter mentioned that the band was interested in recording a bunch of the songs they had sitting around that were unlikely to be used on an album as a fan club only LP. Unfortunately, while the band was interested in this concept, the label was not (not sure why they should have cared or even had a say in the matter).

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Just imagine: one day, we all wake up to the news that R.E.M. actually recorded all those early songs (and maybe more) in a long demo session for this possible album @fightingelf mentions. The tape was misplaced and has just been rediscovered. When asked if they would release them as an “odds and ends” sort of lost album, Peter Buck goes “Sure, why not”.

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I can’t speak to this particular situation but I do know that at one time Whiskeytown wanted to make a record without their label (Outpost) knowing about it. The resulting album was Forever Valentine for which Ryan Adams even created cover art. They were successful in recording it without the label finding out but it has never officially been released. However, it has circulated as a bootleg for years.

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