With the news that Athens’ greatest band ever has given up the ghost, here’s my favorite song of theirs:
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When I was in school at UGA, circa 1999 or 2000, I remember going downtown on a Sunday night with friends to grab dinner (it was the only meal of the week you couldn’t get on the meal plan). Anyway, we had to park way the hell back, and as we were walking towards Broad from Washington, we looked down the street and saw a moderate-sized crowd standing in front of the courthouse for some rally. One of my buddies goes, “I think that’s REM on the steps.” I go, “no way, dude, that’s only a hundred people. Let’s go, I’m hungry.” Next day, cover of the Red and Black: REM PLAYS SURPRISE SHOW AT RALLY. They were playing at a demonstration to save a railroad trellis that was pictured on one of their album covers. Biggest bonehead dumba** thing I did in college, and that’s saying something. Could have seen them with about a hundred people outside on a beautiful Athens night for free. Sigh…
It’s the end of the world, as we know it!
Remember back in 1986 working at Gumby’s and trading pizza for beer with the local clubs, and getting the call that REM would be working out their latest album set before going on tour. Walked downtown and saw them playing in front of about 50 surprised people and trying out “End of the World as we know it”. Saw them a few weeks later at the Fox for their then-annual Thanksgiving show. Great memories.
I also saw them my first go-round in Athens in 1981 at the 40 Watt Club, and thought they sucked. 🙂 They got much better. Or my tastes changed. One or the other. 🙂
Thanks for the memories, boys!
“Wolves, Lower” – their finest (work)song, IMHO.
What a band – crazy that it’s all over.
Senator you scared me –was afraid Widespread Panic was calling it quits-I love REM but greatest out of Athens is a matter of personal taste–cheers
As someone who has seen 126 Panic shows in my life, I would be lying if I didn’t think that what REM did today has a lot more dignity than Panic’s current race to irrelevance.
“It’s better to burn out, than to fade away”
WSP meets hipster Brooklyn, culture clash ensues:
i think you are exaggerating that number. I give you 90 max.
They were all they could be
Pretty Persuasion is probably my favorite tune as well, Senator.
I’m still kind of in shock. Being younger, saw them for the first time on the Monster tour and thankfully saw them the last time they played at Lakewood. They’ve never been the same since Bill left, but they are still one hell of a band.
I’m glad that my last memory of them all on stage together was at the Homeless Shelter Benefit in Athens at the 40 Watt back in 2006. Got the call that they would be playing and headed over with my then roommate. Set was extremely short but the magic those four had on stage together was palpable
I can tell so many stories about REM it would make you sick, so I’ll tell one or two.
My roommate’s sister was REM’s secretary, so when she got married while we were students in the early 90s, they were the wedding band.
Saw them multiple times at the old 40 Watt working out new albums, playing under names like “The Chattahoochee Coochie Band”.
Got hammered at World Bar with Michael more times than I can count.
Personal opinion only, but Document was the best album they ever did and Driver 8 and South Central Rain are my favorite singles.
Driver 8 is one of my all time favorites.
The greatest band of my youth. Lifes Rich Pageant is my favorite, but their whole body of work is incredible. Great 30 year run, guys.
“Life’s Rich Pageant” and “Document” were their pinnacle in my opinion. I know everyone has their own favorites, though.
Hard to believe they were around as long as they were.
Sad, but grateful.
This is Bobo’s fault.
Best comment so far!
They ain’t got nothing on Pylon.
No they don’t. Great, great live band.
Sorry, has to be Bobo’s fault.. =(Ain’t everything).?.
Only band to ever write a good song about cap and trade pollution credits.
My favorite song is “Voice of Harold.” Pretty good for one take.
They leave an indelible mark on the USA music scene and brought “college” music to the forefront, opening avenues for tons of bands. I was lucky enough to become aquaintances with them, through my first roomate that had lived for a while with Pete at the Church. I couldn’t say a cross word against any of them as they were all very humble and good-natured to me.
I, too, was fortunate enough to see many small, intimate shows they gigged. They were powerful live and left me with great memories of sweat, music, beer and friends.
All good things must come to an end.
I guess I just never really got R.E.M. I was always more partial to Dreams So Real and Pylon. But obviously they have created a ton of memorable music that means so much to millions around the world. Quite a legacy. I never knew any of them but I did meet Bill Berry a couple of times and thought he was really cool and down to earth. 30 years! That’s a good run!
Well, DSR and Pylon didn’t suck. Neither did Love Tractor.
I mean that in an ironic way. Those bands were also outstanding but just didn’t last for whatever reason.
Yeah, I know, man. To me, Dreams So Real was the band that should have “made” it. They seemed to be on their way as I remember “Rough Night in Jericho” getting some fairly heavy MTV time. It just didn’t happen. I’ve got “Father’s Night” and “RNIJ” on vinyl and still break them out quite a bit. And the tune they did on the “Inside-Out” Doc is just simply awesome.
Were you also a fan of Flat Duo Jets (I know they weren’t Athens…NC, I believe?)
Meant to give you a shout-out on the Gumby’s reference from earlier…many pizzas and beers from that place, man! Lots of memories. Or should I say, hazy memories! Enjoyed your remembrances also.
*should be “Father’s House”
Flat Duo Jets absolutely killed it live! I actually found a CD of theirs somewhere (in Houston, of all places) a few years back.
It took me two turns in Athens to really “get it”. As an undergrad, I was concerned with hanging out at the B&L (“Be in Hell”) Warehouse (“Whorehouse”) and trying unsuccessfully to meet members of the opposite sex.
In grad school a couple of years later, I really enjoyed the local music scene. “Athens, GA – Inside Out” pretty much captured grad school for me.
Saw them in summer of 1983 open for The Police in Landover Md then 2 days later at JFK stadium in Philadelphia with them being the opener for Police, Joan Jett and Madness. 90,000 in the stadium that day and it was 98 degrees. I actually wasn’t a big fan back then. Bad judgement on my part. Did get to see them at Chastain around 2001 when I had gotten my senses back. Fantastic live band.
It’s been pretty simple so far, vacation in Athens is calling me…
Almost too many memories to make a lucid thought here…I was lucky enough to start UGA in the early 80’s, and I am more sentimental about this band than words can say. I saw them dozens of times back in the day, but I’ve only seen them once since the Green tour. Once I saw them in the Omni, it was like they had graduated and I had to say goodbye to seeing them live. Something about Michael changed live once they were a big arena band (and I think it was the right move for him – I’m not being critical) and had to fill a bigger stage. But they will always be a big part of my musical life, the centerpiece of my seven years living in Athens and playing in bands and living in the Uptown and the 40 Watt and the Georgia Bar every night.
I still have the poster from when they played the Strand Cabaret in Marietta back in…82? Written across the bottom are the words “Single Out Now,” and I remember later being let down when Chronic Town came out that Radio Free Europe and Sitting Still weren’t on it.
Congrats to them on an amazing career. Can’t wait for the reunion shows in about 10 years (with Bill back for that)!!
R.E.M. got me through college. They are the soundtrack of my life from about 1988 to around 2001. And still dominate my playlists.
I don’t have a favorite song or album. I can say that “Fables…” to “Green” represents their best work (others may disagree). I could not begin to rank “Document” and “Life’s Rich Pageant” relative to one another. I’m also very partial to “New Adventures…” probably because of where it comes on my life’s soundtrack.
I know it’s probably not cool, but I think “The One I Love” is one of their best songs just because it is so simple and deceptive.
And their last two albums… well, I have to say I’m happy they’re going out on “Accelerate” and “Collapse Into Now” rather than “Monster” or, God forbid, anything from “Up” to “Around the Sun.”
I tried to like them b/c it was “cool” but I never really did. I kinda liked “Can’t get there from here”.
Funny, I’ve lived in ATH since 1998 and I’ve always been under the impression (at least until recently) that liking R.E.M. was “uncool.”
I’m going back to ’85/’87. I just never liked their sound. I like Michael Stipe even less.
Athens has had a lot of great bands play here. Sea Level and Randal Bramblett at the Last Resort was a treat for sure. The bands that played Allens on Wednesday nights (25 cent draft beer night.) I had a 3 hr pathogenesis lab on Thursday am. My lab partner saved my rear end on more than one occasion.
RIP Allen’s as well. As a newbie, I was amazed by the chilled beer mugs.
It’s the simple things, fellas…..
I was attending UGA during the early 80’s, so I became a huge fan of REM. It’s hard to pick a favorite song of theirs, but I’m real partial to “Don’t go back to Rockville”. The best “non-country, country” song ever!
And to the the people bringing up Pylon….I still listen to their album “Gyrate” to this day. Just Awesome!
Ahhh … finally have the house to myself. Wife and girls are out for the weekend, I have a belly full of red meat and brown liquor and can properly say my goodbye.
Best times ever. Herschel on the field, ‘Nique on the court, and when they were leaving, Radio Free Europe (b-side Sitting Still?) on the jukebox at Papa Joe’s and a girlfriend with a ’76 Eldorado convertible. Damn good times!
“... Shoot, why does anybody who’s ever won something do it again? Because it’s cool. So, let’s go do it again. Let’s see if we’ve got what it takes.” -- Stetson Bennett, The Athletic, 3/22/22
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