The Second Disc

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“Lifes Rich Pageant” Gets Richer for 25th Anniversary

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It’s always good to see a band focusing on their catalogue while they’re still putting out fresh, new music. This year, R.E.M. is one of the acts to have a foot in both camps, releasing their 15th studio album, Collapse Into Now, in March, and will release another 25th anniversary edition of an album this summer, with Lifes Rich Pageant (1986) getting the deluxe treatment from EMI/Capitol.

R.E.M.’s fourth LP, which was produced by Don Gehman (producer of John Mellencamp’s ’80s hit records), was an eco-socially conscious affair (“Fall on Me,” “Cuyahoga”) with one of the band’s most enduring early favorites, a cover of The Clique’s “Superman.” Peaking at No. 21 on the Billboard charts, it was the Athens, GA-based band’s highest-charting effort yet. It was also their first gold record, moving over 500,000 copies upon release.

While Lifes Rich Pageant was expanded outside of America along with the band’s other I.R.S. output, the recent string of 25th anniversary editions feature entirely unreleased bonus material, and this set is no different. A bonus disc includes 19 demos recorded in Athens in early 1986, featuring unreleased early versions of not only the songs from the original LP but songs that would be recorded between one year later (“March Song” would later become “King of Birds” on Document) and 17 years forward (“All the Right Friends” and “Bad Day”). One tune, “Wait,” has never been released in any official capacity.

Featuring lift-top packaging with an enclosed poster and postcards (the go-to approach for EMI’s deluxe editions of late) and new liner notes by writer Parke Puterbaugh, the deluxe Pageant will be available on July 12. Hit the jump for the full track list and a pre-order link.

R.E.M., Lifes Rich Pageant: 25th Anniversary Edition (I.R.S./Capitol, 2011)

Disc 1: Remastered original LP (released as IRS Records 5783, 1986)

  1. Begin the Begin
  2. These Days
  3. Fall on Me
  4. Cuyahoga
  5. Hyena
  6. Underneath the Bunker
  7. The Flowers of Guatemala
  8. I Believe
  9. What If We Give It Away?
  10. Just a Touch
  11. Swan Swan H
  12. Superman
Disc 2: The Athens Demos (previously unreleased)
  1. Fall on Me
  2. Hyena
  3. March Song (King of Birds)
  4. These Days
  5. Bad Day
  6. Salsa (Underneath the Bunker)
  7. Swan Swan H
  8. Flowers of Guatemala
  9. Begin the Begin
  10. Cuyahoga
  11. I Believe
  12. Out of Tune
  13. Rotary Ten
  14. Two Steps Onward
  15. Just a Touch
  16. Mystery to Me
  17. Wait
  18. All the Right Friends
  19. Get on Their Way (What If We Give It Away)

Written by Mike Duquette

May 3, 2011 at 20:17

Posted in News, R.E.M., Reissues

5 Responses

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  1. Possibly my favorite R.E.M. record, but my disdain for EMI may prevent me from getting this. Too bad Universal didn’t have the rights to the entire IRS catalog.

    Charlie Sheen

    May 3, 2011 at 23:19

    • As useless as the EMI lid-box packaging is, I’ll gladly take that over Universal’s “this-used-to-be-a-slipcase-now-it’s-a-sticker” monstrosity.

      Mike Duquette

      May 3, 2011 at 23:29

      • Mike,

        Agreed. That sticker replacement for the slipcase is baffling.

        I actually don’t mind the little box packaging that they’re using these days for this and other reissues.

        From the record company perspective, they have to do what they can to sell albums and packaging it as a mini “box set” probably helps them to do that.


        May 4, 2011 at 09:39

  2. Universal got rid of the “Deluxe Edition” slip cases? If so, super lame!

    Charlie Sheen

    May 4, 2011 at 18:12

    • Capitol left the vinyl version for Mobile Fidelity due to come out the same day. Can’t wait.

      Dean Davenport

      May 4, 2011 at 19:04

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