How R.E.M. "murmured" in the charts, or the story of their debut album "Murmur"

The success of the album was so great that pop king Michael Jackson even had to move in the charts with his "Thriller"!

R.E.M.'s debut album "Murmur" and its history: full review, interesting facts, track list

Despite the fact that the road to glory R.E.M. began in the heyday of the 1980s, the band did not present their debut album until 1983 year. However, this slight delay was even for the best. With 3 years of experience under their belt and a unique style already formed, the guys managed to make something unusual, charming and original. They abandoned the common clichés and "trends" of the time in favor of an independent sound. And they didn't fail!

Their unusual sound has won warm praise from critics and recognition from an army of millions of listeners. The record "Murmur." literally "purred" the charts and ingrained behind R.E.M. an instantly identifiable enigmatic sound with tinkling guitars and the lead singer's somber lyrics... By the way: the album's success was so great that the pop king To Michael Jackson. even had to move up in the charts with his "Thriller"! But first things first.

Background: how R.E.M. got together and the idea of recording "Murmur" came about

R.E.M. Band.
R.E.M. Band.

To begin with a little backstory. R.E.M. formed in 1980, when the soloist Michael Stipe and guitarist Peter BuckThe two college students discovered that they shared the same tastes. Soon their "gang" was joined by the bassist Mike Mills and drummer Bill Berrywho had been playing together since high school. The first thing they recorded was a single "Radio Free Europe. There was practically no success, and the first circulation was sold out in only 1000 copies. But... gradually the track won the hearts of music lovers, and eventually became a recognizable calling card of the young band.

On the wave of success, albeit small, the band began to make a name for themselves. RCA Records wanted to sign them, but the guys opted for an independent label IRSwhich led first to the release of the "Chronic Town" EP and then to the full-length debut album titled "Murmur.".

The recording process and the struggle for R.E.M.'s own views.

R.E.M. Band.
R.E.M. Band.

The success of "Murmur" is due only to themselves, because if the musicians had gone along with the producer Stephen HagueHague had a high status, and, in general, had a good understanding of what the modern public needed. But here is his approach. "chasing trends"The focus on technical perfection drove R.E.M. away: they didn't want any drum machines or clichés like roaring solos. Hague's emphasis on technical perfection repulsed R.E.M.: they didn't want any drum machines or clichés like roaring solos... They had their own vision of their first record, and they were determined to fight for it.

Michael Stipe as a young man
Michael Stipe as a young man

Fortunately for us, the record company allowed the band to record the album under the guidance of the man they already knew Mitch Easter.who, although not as high profile as Hague, sailed with the boys on the same creative wavelength. Thus, Easter as well as Don Dixon were present at the birth of one of the most important records of the 80s...

List of tracks from the R.E.M. album "Murmur"

R.E.M. Band.
R.E.M. Band.

The album includes 12 tracks. The opener was the young R.E.M., already well known to fans. "Radio Free Europewhich this time achieved more attention and popularity. It was after "Radio Free Europe" was released as a single from the debut that the band was invited to a TV show - it was their first TV experience. A curious fact: all the songs, with the exception of the closing "West of the Fields."The last track was written by the members of R.E.M. As for the last one, it was written by a certain Neil Bogan, a good friend of Michael Stipe's. And now, enjoy listening to it!

"Radio Free Europe



"Talk About The Passion."

"Moral Kiosk

"Perfect Circle."


"Sitting Still."

"9 - 9"

"Shaking Through."

"We Walk."

"West of the Fields."

Despite the rejection of fashionable "sounds of the day", R.E.M. saturated their debut record with a special magic, with its distinctive charm. It was something new, not clichéd, but at the same time not beyond the limits of traditional rock music experiments. No wonder the album intrigued the general public so quickly!

The success that eclipsed Michael Jackson's "Thriller

R.E.M.'s "Murmur" album cover.
R.E.M.'s "Murmur" album cover.

"Murmur" has attracted the lively attention of critics, who tirelessly lauded group for their dedication, commitment to their own views, uniqueness and innovation. The first sales exceeded 200,000 copieswhich sounds very impressive for a debut! Although the head of IRS expected more... But he could not complain, because the debut of R.E.M. even moved the "Thriller" by Michael Jackson in the charts!

Subsequently, many top publications included this work in their lists legendary albumsand many musicians referred to "Murmur" as one of the records that greatly influenced them. Interesting fact: on the back of the original cover there is a picture of scaffoldingThe Murmur, originally part of the Georgia Railroad's line to downtown Athens. After "Murmur" became a hit, and later a classic, this trestle, despite its unpresentable condition, became tourist attraction.

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