Who Wrote What - Automatic for the People

I find the origins of songs very interesting. As REM transitioned from a touring band to a studio band, it seems like more of their songs came from individual members and were then fleshed out by the band.

Drive - ?
Try Not to Breathe - Buck
Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite - ?
Everybody Hurts - Berry
New Orleans Instrumental - Band
Sweetness Follows - Buck
Monty Got a Raw Deal - ?
Ignoreland - ?
Star Me Kitten - ?
Man on the Moon - Berry
Nightswimming - Mills
Find the River - Mills

I recollect reading somewhere that Berry may have come up with the initial idea for Drive.
I assume Monty Got a Raw Deal and Ignoreland are Buck?
Star Me Kitten is very Mills-y with the vox effects, but from the demo, it seems like Buck’s guitar predates that?


I felt like Monty was Buck, but I haven’t even the SLIGHTEST clue with Ignoreland. I have a weird suspicion that it originally started with Mills but went a few different directions after. Again, nothing to base that supposition.

Drive was definitely Buck. I remember a Michael Stipe interview where he described it as one of Peter’s songs that goes “round and round”.

I’d guess that Sidewinder, Monty and Ignoreland are all Buck as well. Not basing that on anything though.

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Monty is Peter, he wrote the main riff in a motel room while a couple was “going at it” in the next room.


Drive - Buck
Try Not to Breathe - Buck
Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite - Buck
Everybody Hurts - Berry & Buck
New Orleans Instrumental - Berry & Buck
Sweetness Follows - Buck
Monty Got a Raw Deal - Buck
Ignoreland - Mills
Star Me Kitten - Mills
Man on the Moon - Berry & Buck
Nightswimming - Mills
Find the River - Mills

How do we know that Mills wrote Star Me Kitten? It seems like the demo is driven by the electric guitar part that doesn’t seem like something Mills would write (or did it start as just the organ?)

With regard to Everybody Hurts, I recollect it started as a Bill demo with a drum machine?

Bill wrote the verse, Peter wrote the chorus.

Probably safer to say - mostly Mills

I agree with mostly Mills; he expressed some dissatisfaction with the final product at one time I thought, which made me think he’d written a chunk of it and had a vision but he and Michael were outvoted.

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Ignoreland is Buck’s baby, written in the drop D tuning he learned/borrowed from Neil Young.