Posted by Nicole Thomas - Warner Music on 01/05/2014
R.E.M. delivered two knockout performances on MTVâ€™s acclaimed â€œUnpluggedâ€ series, the first in 1991 and the other in 2001, giving them the unique distinction of being the only band to appear on the series twice. Surprisingly, audio from both shows has never been available, making these some of the most demanded music in the R.E.M. vaults. That all changed this past weekend on Record Store Day 2014, when Rhino released both performances as a limited edition, four-LP vinyl set. The collection includes every performance from the original broadcasts, as well as 11 songs that never aired. Following the sell-out of the limited edition vinyl, Rhino will release the collection digitally and as a 2-CD set on May 16.
The â€œUnpluggedâ€ performances are sonic snapshots that capture the legendary Athens, Georgia band at important points on its journey from alternative-music progenitors to international stars that have sold more than 85 million albums.
Drummer Bill Berry, guitarist Peter Buck, bassist Mike Mills, and singer Michael Stipe recorded their first â€œUnpluggedâ€ session in 1991, while riding a growing wave of success that began in 1987 with the commercial breakthrough of DOCUMENT. Much of the performance spotlights songs from R.E.M.â€™s then-current album OUT OF TIME, which sold several million copies and was the bandâ€™s first #1 album in the U.S. From the album, the band performed â€˜Radio Songâ€™, â€˜Lowâ€™ and its biggest American hit, â€˜Losing My Religionâ€™.
The remainder of the set list spans eight years of music and touches on five different albums, mixing â€˜Perfect Circleâ€™ from R.E.M.â€™s 1983 debut MURMUR and fan-favorites like â€˜Fall On Meâ€™ and â€˜Itâ€™s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)â€™ with a cover of The Troggsâ€™ â€˜Love Is All Aroundâ€™. Five songs that never aired can be heard on this set for the first time, including two tracks from the multi-platinum GREEN â€“ â€˜Get Upâ€™ and â€˜World Leader Pretendâ€™.
R.E.M. made an extremely rare second appearance on â€œUnpluggedâ€ in 2001, but this time without original drummer Bill Berry, who left the band in 1997 due to health reasons. For the show, the band focused mainly on its 12th studio album REVEAL â€“ which came out that year â€“ with performances of the singles â€˜Imitation of Lifeâ€™ and â€˜All The Way To Reno (Youâ€™re Gonna Be A Star)â€™. The song selection draws from eight different albums with â€˜So. Central Rainâ€™ from 1984â€™s RECKONING, â€˜Cuyahogaâ€™ from 1986â€™s LIFES RICH PAGEANT and â€˜Find The Riverâ€™, the elegiac album closer from the 1992 classic AUTOMATIC FOR THE PEOPLE.
This collection uncovers six songs from the session that were never broadcast, including tracks from REVEAL and UP (1998), as well as a haunting and tranquil re-imagination of the bandâ€™s breakthrough single, â€˜The One I Loveâ€™ from 1985â€™s DOCUMENT.
UNPLUGGED: THE COMPLETE 1991 AND 2001 SESSIONS â€“ Track Listing
* Not included in original television broadcast