R.E.M. to release vast collection of “rare and unreleased” recordings from BBC sessions

The collection will span over 30 years

R.E.M are to release a new collection of “rare and unreleased live and studio recordings” from across archives at the BBC.

Spanning over 30 years, the box set collection will include 8 CDs, a DVD and will include a John Peel Session (1998), Drivetime and Mark and Lard appearances (2003) together with a live performance in Radio 1’s Live Lounge (2008).

The collection also includes their Nottingham’s Rock City performance from 1984 and the Milton Keynes Monster Tour from 1995, which was their first after a one-year break. Their headline set from Glastonbury 1999 also features, as does an invitation-only show at London’s St James’s Church from 2004.


You can listen to a live 1991 performance of ‘Losing My Religion’ from Into The Night here:

The DVD includes a 60-minuted retrospective of the band’s performances at the BBC via the Accelerating Backwards film, which has not been available commercially previously. A complete episode of their performance on Later…With Jools Holland form 1998 also features, as does the band’s appearance on Top of the Pops.

The collection includes anecdotes from BBC presenters and producers who recall their work with the band over the years.

Speaking about their Glastonbury performance, Jo Whiley said: “Their Glastonbury performance in 1999 was a dazzling moment: the band storming through an all-killer, no-filler setlist. As a headline performance, it was a triumph and, for me, it’s up there as one of the Glastonbury greats.”


Of a 2001 Top of the Pops performance, BBC Producer Mark Hagen said: “Michael once told me that he hears in colours and it was one of those nights when you felt that you could reach out and touch the music as it flowed through the air, a glorious rolling cloud of green. Just like a kudzu vine in a dream.”

Last month, fans thought R.E.M had reformed after the band’s name started to trend on social media. However, fans were disappointed when it transpired that the band share their name with a track on Ariana Grande’s new album ‘Sweetener‘ – and her fans had actually made the phrase trend after praising the song online.

Although the band called it a day in 2011, they continue to be firm friends – and got together to celebrate the 25th anniversary of seminal album ‘Automatic For The People’ in 2017.

The full details of the collection, released on October 19, can be found here.

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