Songs From Previous Albums - IRS Years

Was thinking about songs on albums that were demoed or played live prior to the completion of a previous album. In other words, the song existed in some form and could have made it on a previous album, but not counting something that was only worked between releases (e.g. Belong on the Green tour).

R.E.M. Timeline is a goldmine.

Chronic Town
(first EP)

Everything but Talk About the Passion was played or demoed before the release of Chronic Town.

Harborcoat (played live prior to release of Murmur)
7 Chinese Bros (played live prior to release of Murmur)
Pretty Persuasion (demoed during Murmur sessions)
Rockville (demoed prior to Chronic Town)

Fables of the Reconstruction
(all new)

Lifes Rich Pageant
Hyena (played live prior to release of Fables)
I Believe (demoed during Fables sessions)
What If We Give It Away (played live prior to Chronic Town)
Just A Touch (played live prior to Chronic Town)

Finest Worksong (portions recorded for Golden Palominos prior to LRP release)


“Old Man Kensey,” “Wendell Gee,” “Good Advices,” “Driver 8,” “Kohoutek,” “Auctioneer,” and “Bandwagon” were all previewed in 1984 during the Little America tour.

1 Like

I think all of those debuted after the release of Reckoning?

1 Like

Great list, but I think a slightly better metric would be songs that were played live prior to the recording of the previous album, so that they could have theoretically appeared on an earlier album. That would knock 'Harborcoat" off the Reckoning list, as well as half the songs that eventually appeared on Murmur.

As it seems that the methodology prioritizes listings by the most “officlal” occurrence of a song (i.e., later demos take precedence over earlier live performances):

"Just A Touch’ could be noted as demoed during Reckoning sessions.
“Hyena” could be noted as recorded during Fables sessions.

And one add for Document:

''King Of Birds" (instrumental demo recorded during LRP sessions)

1 Like

Forgot about March/King of Birds!

I was listing the songs based upon the album they ended up on (and the earliest known performance or recording).


I’ve seen some knock Lifes Rich Pageant for including too many older songs. At the time the album was new I’m wondering how many were aware of the history of songs like “Just A Touch” and “What If We Give It Away?” which are the two oldest originals on the album. “Hyena” and “I Believe” were also performed live prior to the recording of Lifes Rich Pageant but you would think anyone with any knowledge of R.E.M. would be aware of how they often played songs live before they were recorded for the albums. I’ve also seen “Underneath the Bunker” and “Superman” referred to as “filler” as more evidence that R.E.M. was evidently having trouble coming up with new material for the album. I don’t care if they were older songs going back to the early days or if they were performed on more recent tours. I’m also not concerned with “Superman” being a cover or with whatever it is about “Underneath the Bunker” that seems to bother some fans. All I’m concerned with is the end result. To my ears, Lifes Rich Pageant is one of their finest achievements no matter the age of the songs or if “Superman” was a cover.


Both “Just A Touch” and “Hyena” were played fairly regularly in the years between being written and recorded so it shouldn’t have surprised anyone when they appeared on Pageant. With respect to “Just A Touch”, it looks like it had a lean year for performances in 1982, but was in regular rotation thereafter. "What If We Give It Away?’ is more of a head scratcher as that hadn’t been revisited since 1981.

The band was clearly diving into the back catalogue for potential songs with 'Wait" (another abandoned oldie) and “All The Right Friends” and “Mystery To Me” (both of which had been revisited from time to time, albeit infrequently). I guess they liked how “Give It Away” came out as there are a few other songs that might have been more obvious choices for the album, such as “Theme From Two Steps Onward” or even “That Beat” (which was last performed in 1984).

1 Like

I was by no means new to R.E.M. in 1986 but not having seen them in concert or owning any bootlegs at the time Lifes Rich Pageant was released all of the songs were new to me.

“Pretty Persuasion” could also be identified as played live prior to Chronic Town (it’s a contemporary of “Get On Their Way”).

1 Like