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In Memory of R.E.M.

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on September 21, 2011

And a personal chapter has come to a close. Today R.E.M. officially announced their retirement.

R.E.M was the soundtrack to my happy college years as well as my rather difficult twentysomething period. They were the first group I every waited in line for to get tickets. Magazines, video compilations, T-shirts, rare LPs–I had never thought to search out such band-related tokens until I first heard Lifes Rich Pageant (admittedly making me a little bit of a latecomer) back sophomore year in 1986…and then the absolutely sublime Murmur. And then of course everything else, including purchasing a bootleg cassette of their cover recordings while visiting London to get dumped (and accidentally stumbling upon Prince Charles and Princess attending the royal premiere of Superman IV: Quest for Peace).

Although it had been more than a few years since I last looked forward to a new release, R.E.M. will always be “my band,” that rare group you immediately find your own voice, mark milestones with and recognize as an extension of yourself. There was a time every fall meant a new R.E.M. album, and every fall was better for it.

And so in their memory, here is a Sally Forth strip from a few years back in which I tried to mention the entire track listing from Chronic Town (alas, I simply could not work in one of my very favorite R.E.M. songs, “Gardening at Night”).

And here is an early Medium Large strip inspired by their importance in my old Duke days.

Michael, Mike, Bill and Peter–Thank you.

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5 Responses

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  1. susan (@msboosh) said, on September 21, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO……

    I remember reading a late 1990’s interview with the band (or perhaps it was just Peter) where they stated their intentions to retire in 2000. Love the earlier stuff, the later not so much. But still, let us pause of a moment of silence to mark the end of an era.

    I’m so glad I got to see them live!

  2. Angie K. said, on September 21, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    There was nothing like those still-warm autumn days at Duke in the mid-1980s, with your room windows open and the leaves starting to turn outside — and an R.E.M. record on the stereo. With the band’s retirement, I guess a little of that magic is gone from the world. Is this what it feels like to get old? Wow. Still, the commenter a few days ago was right — their show at Page was unforgettable, and I even got to attend the afterparty and ask Michael about the connection between “Seven Chinese Brothers” and the children’s book “Five Chinese Brothers.” He calmly explained that the song was more relevant to the Cultural Revolution in Mao’s China and the Gang of Four. In one fell swoop I failed to impress the coolest man on the planet AND put a stake through the heart of my budding career as a comparative lit scholar. And now, the end to another era. At least you’ll always have “Life’s Rich Pageant.”

  3. Tom Jeffery (@coolbev) said, on September 22, 2011 at 4:52 am

    Oh well, upstairs into the lamp and upstairs…

  4. Paul1963 said, on September 23, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    I’m not as bummed as I would have expected to be, considering R.E.M. was my favorite band that could still perform and record together (as opposed to the Beatles, who can’t reunite this side of the veil, and the Who, which only exists when Roger and Pete can agree to tour together). I saw them perform live five times from 1995 to 2008 and they blew the roof off the place every time, which was particularly amazing when they were touring behind WTF pieces like “Up” and “Around the Sun.”
    And I WOULD be bummed if “Around the Sun” had been their farewell album (I recall a magazine article around the time “Around the Sun” was released in which Michael Stipe indicated they’d nearly called it quits during the “AtS” sessions). Fortunately, they gave us the spectacular “Accelerate” and the also-pretty-excellent “Collapse Into Now” before hanging it up.
    Frankly, I would have liked one last tour. But, hey, they’re all still alive and apparently healthy, and they don’t hate each other. It sounds like “Goodbye,” but it could well be “Goodbye for now.” And even if they never reunite, we still have a ton of great music to listen to.

  5. Tarheel said, on October 14, 2011 at 6:35 am

    REM at Cameron Indoor= awesome


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