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This page presents an annotated list of the annual fan club singles covered in my review of the R.E.M. Christmas repertoire - including many without any holiday-related material. For more information about the series, visit The R.E.M. Collector's Guide, R.E.M. Rock, or R.E.M. HQ. [back to R.E.M. review]

R.E.M.1988 (green vinyl)
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A: Parade Of The Wooden Soldiers
song associated with Christmas, but never mentions the holiday; popularized in the United States by bandleaders Paul Whiteman (1923) and Larry Clinton (1939)
B: See No Evil
cover of song from guitar-driven, New York-based new wave band Television's landmark 1977 debut, Marquee Moon

R.E.M.1989 (vinyl)
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A: Good King Wenceslas
traditional holiday song about St. Stephen's Day (December 26)
B: Academy Fight Song
cover of song by legendarily loud Boston band Mission of Burma

R.E.M.

1990 (vinyl)
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A: Ghost Reindeer In The Sky
adaptation of "Ghost Riders In The Sky," which has charted numerous times, starting in 1949 by Vaughn Monroe, Peggy Lee, Bing Crosby, and Burl Ives (pop) and Gene Autry (country)
B: Summertime
George & Ira Gershwin composition from their opera Porgy & Bess

R.E.M.1991 (vinyl)
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note: some pressings on marble-colored vinyl
A: Baby Baby
well-known early punk song by British band the Vibrators from their album, Pure Mania (1977)
B: Christmas Griping
an original R.E.M. song (if you can call it that) featuring brief cameo by their buddy Syd Straw

R.E.M.1992 (vinyl)
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A: Where's Captain Kirk?
cover of 1979 song by relatively obscure British band Spizzenergi, also noted for "Soldier Soldier" and "No Room" (all on Very Best Of Spizzenergi)
B: Toyland
song that dates back to the early 20th century; commonly associated with Christmas, despite lack of literal lyrical connection; perhaps best-known version is by Doris Day (1964)

R.E.M.1993 (vinyl)
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A: Silver Bells
a modern song now considered a Christmas standard; earliest versions are duets by Bing Crosby & Carol Richards and Margaret Whiting & Jimmy Wakely (both 1950)
B: Christmas Time Is Here
instrumental version of song from TV show A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965); written by Vince Guaraldi and Lee Mendelssohn

R.E.M.1994 (vinyl)
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A: Sex Bomb
cover of song by San Francisco-based hardcore punk band Flipper from their album, Generic (1982)
B: Christmas In Tunisia
an original R.E.M. song, a Middle Eastern flavored instrumental

R.E.M.1995 (vinyl)
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note: the first fan club single with no holiday content
A: Wicked Game
cover of popular 1990 Chris Isaak ballad featured in David Lynch movie Wild At Heart
B: Java
instrumental song cowritten by legendary New Orleans writer and producer Allen Toussaint; a hit for Floyd Cramer in 1963 and Al Hirt in 1964

R.E.M.1996 (vinyl)
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A: Only In America
originally recorded by Jay & The Americans in 1963; written by legendary songwriters Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller, Barry Mann, and Cynthia Weil
B: I Will Survive
disco smash (and future gay anthem) for singer Gloria Gaynor in 1978

R.E.M.1997 (vinyl)
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note: same record with different cover art issued by Pearl Jam as their annual fan club single
A: Live For Today
previously unreleased original R.E.M. song
B: Happy When I'm Crying
original song written and performed by Pearl Jam

R.E.M.1998 (VHS video)
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note: recorded live at the Tibetan Freedom Concert in Washington D.C.
A. E-Bow The Letter
performed by R.E.M. with Radiohead leader Thom York; song originally from R.E.M. album, New Adventures in Hi Fi (1996)
B. Lucky
performed by Radiohead with Michael Stipe; song originally from the Radiohead album, OK Computer (1997)

R.E.M.1999 (CD)
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note: live at the Bridge School Benefit Concert
A: Country Feedback
performed by R.E.M. with Neil Young; song originally from R.E.M. album, Out Of Time (1991)
B: Ambulance Blues
performed by Neil Young with R.E.M.; song originally from Neil Young album, On The Beach (1974)

R.E.M.2000 (blue vinyl)
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A: Christmas Time (Is Here Again)
excerpted from the Beatles' 1967 fan club flexi-disc (read more)
B: Hastings And Main
C: Take Seven
above two tracks are original instrumentals, apparently studio outtakes

R.E.M.2001 (enhanced CD)
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A: Let Me In
live at Mountain View, California; song originally from R.E.M. album, Monster (1994)
B: Find The River
live in Athens, Georgia; song originally from R.E.M. album, Automatic For The People (1992)
C: Find The River (video)
live in studio, Athens, Georgia

R.E.M.2002 (enhanced CD)
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A: Jesus Christ
Mike Mills singing 1975 Alex Chilton-penned song from Big Star's Third Album; Mills reprised his performance in a 2006 single with Hem singer Sally Ellyson
B: No Matter What
also sung by Mills; cover of Badfinger's power pop classic from their 1970 album, No Dice
C: Michael Stipe reading Martin Luther King (video)
text of reading used in artwork

R.E.M.2003 (CD)
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note: live performances featuring Jeff Tweedy (Uncle Tupelo, Wilco), Ken Stringfellow (Posies), and Scott McCaughey (Young Fresh Fellows, Minus 5); recorded at Red Rocks, Denver

A: Country Feedback
song originally from R.E.M. album, Out Of Time (1991)
B: It's The End Of The World As We Know It
song originally from R.E.M. album, Document (1987)
R.E.M.2004 (CD)
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note: live performances featuring Ken Stringfellow and Scott McCaughey; recorded at St. James Church, London
A: I Wanted To Be Wrong
song originally from R.E.M. album, Around The Sun (2004)
B: She Just Wants To Be
song originally from R.E.M. album, Reveal (2001)
R.E.M.2005 (DVD video)
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note: live performances shot in Werchter, Belgium
A: Turn You Inside-Out
song originally from R.E.M. album, Green (1988)
B: The Great Beyond
song originally from the soundtrack Man On The Moon (1999)
R.E.M.2006 (CD)
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note: recorded live at the 40 Watt Club in Athens, Georgia
A: Tongue
song originally from R.E.M. album Monster (1994); performed by Tin Cup Prophette
B: So. Central Rain
song originally from R.E.M. album, Reckoning (1984)
C: These Days
song originally from R.E.M. album, Life's Rich Pageant (1986); performed by An Observatory, an impromtu super group featuring members of Olivia Tremor Control, Pylon, Of Montreal, and others including Peter Buck of R.E.M.
D: Begin The Begin
song originally from R.E.M. album, Life's Rich Pageant (1986)
R.E.M.2007 (CD)
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A: Merry Xmas Everybody
originally recorded by British hard rock band Slade (1973); #1 hit in the UK
B: Magnetic North
previously unreleased original R.E.M. song
R.E.M.2008 (DVD video)
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A: Living Well is the Best Revenge
live in Torino, Italy; song originally from R.E.M. album, Accelerate (2008)
B: Let Me In
live in Columbia, Maryland; song originally from R.E.M. album, Monster (1994)
C: Just a Touch
live in Madrid, Spain; song originally from R.E.M. album, Life's Rich Pageant (1986)
R.E.M.2009 (CD)
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A: Santa Baby
performed solo by Mike Mills solo; first recorded by Eartha Kitt (1953)
B: Crazy Like a Fox
performed by Mike Mills with former R.E.M. drummer Bill Berry and producer John Keane; originally recorded by Link Cromwell & The Zoo (1966) featuring a young Lenny Kaye, who later played guitar for Patti Smith and compiled the influential garage rock album Nuggets (1976)
R.E.M.2010 (CD)
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A: Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
Michael Stipe does not participate, but the rest of the band does including Mike Mills, who sings lead vocals, plus Bill Berry and Scott McCaughey; cover of the 1963 Phil Spector-produced Darlene Love classic, widely considered one of the greatest rock 'n' roll Christmas songs ever
B: IHT > U > EDIYTW
dub mix of "It Happened Today," "Überlin," and "Every Day Is Yours To Win," three songs from the band's upcoming album Collapse Into Now (2011)

R.E.M.2011 (CD)
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A: Perfect Circle
Shortly after announcing their breakup, R.E.M suspended their fan club and promised one more holiday single. The results were underwhelming, starting with this live version of a song from Murmur (1983) recorded at a London show in 2008
B: Life And How To Live It
Originally from Fables of the Reconstruction (1985), this track was the penultimate song at R.E.M.'s final concert in Mexico City on November 18, 2008

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