R.E.M. has teamed with Capitol/I.R.S. for the July 12 release of an expanded 25th Anniversary 2CD and digital edition of the bandâ€™s 1986 album, Lifes Rich Pageant. The new edition features the digitally remastered original album, plus 19 previously unreleased demo recordings cut prior to the albumâ€™s studio sessions. The commemorative release also adds new liner notes by music journalist and author Parke Puterbaugh, with the 2CD package presented in a lift-top box with a poster and four postcards. On the same date, the remastered original album will be reissued by Mobile Fidelity on 180-gram vinyl in faithfully replicated LP packaging.
R.E.M.â€™s fourth studio album, Lifes Rich Pageant was recorded by vocalist Michael Stipe, guitarist Peter Buck, bassist Mike Mills, and drummer Bill Berry at John Mellencampâ€™s Belmont Mall Studios in Indiana. Produced by Don Gehman, renowned for producing a string of punchy, soulful heartland-rock albums by Mellencamp, Pageant includes the singles â€œFall On Meâ€ and â€œSuperman.â€ The album was R.E.M.â€™s first to achieve Gold certification status, and it reached #21 on Billboardâ€™s Top 200 Albums chart, the bandâ€™s then-highest chart position.
With Lifes Rich Pageant, R.E.M. kicked open the door to a more extroverted future. As Anthony DeCurtis noted in his lead review in Rolling Stone 25 years ago, â€œLifes Rich Pageant is the most outward-looking record R.E.M. has made, a worthy companion to the groupâ€™s bracing live shows and its earned status as a do-it-yourself and do-it-your-way model for young American bands… For R.E.M., the underground ends here.â€
â€œThe Athens Demos,â€ as R.E.M. has dubbed them, comprise the new editionâ€™s second disc of 19 previously unreleased recordings, including drafts of Pageantâ€™s 12 songs, plus additional demos of songs that were later recorded for other releases. Among them are early versions of â€œBad Day,â€ â€œRotary Ten,â€ â€œTwo Steps Onward,â€ â€œMystery To Me,â€ â€œAll The Right Friends,â€ and â€œMarch Song (King Of Birds),â€ an early instrumental version of “King Of Birds” from Document. One track, â€œWait,â€ has never before been officially released by R.E.M. in any form, but it has shown up on bootlegs over the years.
Disc One: digitally remastered original album
1. Begin The Begin 7. The Flowers of Guatemala
2. These Days 8. I Believe
3. Fall on Me 9. What If We Give It Away?
4. Cuyahoga 10. Just a Touch
5. Hyena (Album Version) 11. Swan Swan H
6. Underneath The Bunker 12. Superman
Disc Two: The Athens Demos â€“ all previously unreleased
(Recorded March 1986 at John Keaneâ€™s Studio, Athens GA)
1. Fall On Me 10. Cuyahoga
2. Hyena 11. I Believe
3. March Song (King Of Birds) 12. Out Of Tune
4. These Days 13. Rotary Ten
5. Bad Day 14. Two Steps Onward
6. Salsa (Underneath The Bunker)15. Just A Touch
7. Swan Swan H 16. Mystery To Me
8. Flowers Of Guatemala 17. Wait
9. Begin The Begin 18. All The Right Friends
19. Get On Their Way (What If We Give It Away)
All songs by Berry/Buck/Mills/Stipe except “Superman” (G. Zekley-M.Bottler)
2CD and Digital Release Features Remastered Original Album,
Plus 19 Previously Unreleased Demos
Remastered Album to be Released on 180g Vinyl by Mobile Fidelity