Where's the birth certificate

Free and Strong America

Friday, September 23, 2011

Thanks for the memories

I recall in an interview about 1992 or so that Michael Stipe said that he could see the whole thing going another album or two and then everyone amicably parting ways. 20 years later, it has come to pass.

"They have been performing together for more than three decades but today R.E.M announced they have slit up.

The group, made up of Mike Mills, Peter Buck and Michael Stipe, posted a statement on their website earlier today.

It read: ‘To our Fans and Friends: As R.E.M., and as lifelong friends and co-conspirators, we have decided to call it a day as a band. We walk away with a great sense of gratitude, of finality, and of astonishment at all we have accomplished."

I cannot exaggerate how much I liked this band and how their music affected me over the last 3 decades.

My first encounter with REM was when the album Fables of the Reconstruction was released in 1985. I recall hearing their hit songs Can't get there from here and Radio Free Europe as a teenager as part of my first exposure to a still relatively young, cable channel called MTV.

When I was graduating high scholl, their next album, Life's Rich Pageant was released. Who from that era could ever forget the songs Fall on Me, and Superman that were released at that time? About 18 years later, I became a big fan of another song on that particular album, the touching rendition concerning Native Americans titled Cuyahoga.

While I was in college, R.E.M. released two albums. The first was Document on which one of their biggest hits was released, The One I Love. No frat party at that time was a REAL party without the obligatory playing of It's the End of the World as We Know It complete with goofy underclassman engaging in one upmanship as to who could best belt out the rapid-fire, sometimes hard to understand lyrics. About a year later Green was released with the party anthem Pop Song 89 and the song Orange crush which was about Agent Orange.

Upon my leaving college and entering the so-called Real World, the opus Out of Time was released with it's eclectic mix of super-hits like the memorable Losing My Religion, the hauntingly beautiful Texarkana (which features bassist Mike Mills on lead vocals instead of Stipe) and the cross-over hit Radio Song featuring rapper KRS-One. I won't link up Shiny Happy People featuring the B-52's Kate Pierson, (a song written so that two people singing it and facing one another would just HAVE to smile while singing it just because of the way the mouth forms the words when belting out the lyrics) because FM Top 40 Format radio stations did such a great job of running that song into the ground.

I recall their 1995 hit Bittersweet Me which always reminds me of that particular time of my life.

Heck, just last weekend I just HAD to go online to search for the lyrics for their later hit, The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight because I couldn't figure out for the life of me what they are saying in the chorus. (NOTE: It's "call me when you wake her up", not "calling Jamaica" as one survey revealed that 4 in 10 listeners thought were the correct lyrics).

I wish all the band members good health and blessings in their future endeavors. Feel free to leave any of your R.E.M. memories (a band name that Michael Stipe apparently chose at random from a dictionary) in the comment box below.


GentleSkeptic said...

: )

A very sweet tribute, JD. I was an early fan, not so much later. Still, fond memories. "Don't go Back to Rockville" and all of Life's Rich Pageant, of which I still have my vinyl copy.

JD Curtis said...

Great song GS. I'd like to add Gardening at Night as well.

Hang on to that LP as it might be worth something someday!

JD Curtis said...

Hey GS, did you know that one could never accurately say that Michael Stipe is a 'complete homosexual'?

That's because the actual figue is much closer to 80%. Link

GentleSkeptic said...

You know, it's funny: I always forget that Stipe is (mostly) gay. His state dposition seves as a reminder that sexuality can be a fluid and shifting thing, although studies and my personal experience suggest that women's sexual preference is generally more fluid than men's. Stipe is a bit of an outlier in that regard. Which is fine, of course.

Gatefold vinyl 'til I die!

-FJ said...

sexuality can be a fluid and shifting thing...

lol! Although much LESS so, for homosexuals. I suspect that monogamous homosexuality is something females are much more capable of than male homosexuals.... neuronal wiring to amygdala being what it is.

GentleSkeptic said...

Rhawn Joseph? Heh. Dismissed.

Speedy G said...

Rhawn Joseph? Heh. Dismissed.

Spoken like a true son of the "Enlightenment"...

Plato, "Phaedrus" SOCRATES: There was a tradition in the temple of Dodona that oaks first gave prophetic utterances. The men of old, unlike in their simplicity to young philosophy, deemed that if they heard the truth even from 'oak or rock,' it was enough for them; whereas you seem to consider not whether a thing is or is not true, but who the speaker is and from what country the tale comes.

Speedy G said...

...but then, I'd expect no less from a devotee of Epimetheus.