R.E.M. at the BBC 9-disc box set

BBC studio and live sessions • 8CD+DVD box • 2LP vinyl highlights

Universal Music will issue REM at the BBC in October, a massive 8CD+DVD R.E.M. box set that comprises a treasure trove of rare and unreleased live and studio recordings culled from the BBC and band archives.

The box set features in-studio performances such as a John Peel Session (1998), Drivetime and Mark and Lard appearances (2003) and a Radio 1 Live Lounge performance (2008). Amongst the live broadcasts are a show from Nottingham’s Rock City (1984), the 1995 Milton Keynes Monster Tour, the 1999 Glastonbury headline set and an invitation-only 2004 show at London’s St James’s Church. In total there are eight CDs of this kind of audio.

The box set features eight CDs and a DVD

The DVD that completes the set kicks off with a sixty-minute Accelerating Backwards documentary (previously broadcast in the UK but never available commercially) and also offers a complete 1998 Later….With Jools Holland episode dedicated to the band, plus TV appearances on Top of the Pops and more.

The Best of R.E.M. at the BBC offers highlights from the big box set on 2LP vinyl and 2CD. All three formats are issued on 19 October 2018.

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R.E.M. at the BBC - 8CD+DVD box set


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R.E.M. at the BBC - 2LP vinyl highlights


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R.E.M. at the BBC - 2CD highlights


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R.E.M. at the BBC / 8CD+DVD box set

Disc 1 (64:17) – Sessions

Into The Night, BBC Radio 1, 13 March 1991

  1. World Leader Pretend 4:36
  2. Fretless 5:16
  3. Half A World Away 3:33
  4. Radio Song 4:05
  5. Losing My Religion 4:42
  6. Love Is All Around 3:09

John Peel Studio Session, 25 October 1998

  1. Walk Unafraid 4:04
  2. Daysleeper 3:18
  3. Lotus 4:13
  4. At My Most Beautiful 3:16

Mark and Lard, BBC Radio 1, 15 October 2003

  1. Bad Day 4:03
  2. Orange Crush 3:55

Drivetime, BBC Radio 2, 15 October 2003

  1. Man On The Moon 4:59
  2. Imitation Of Life 3:41

Radio 1 Live Lounge, 26 March 2008

  1. Supernatural Superserious 3:23
  2. Munich 3:18

Disc 2 (62:32) – Sessions

BBC Radio 1 Session, 25 October 1998

  1. Introduction :26
  2. Losing My Religion 4:44
  3. New Test Leper 5:53
  4. Lotus 4:48
  5. Parakeet 4:23
  6. Electrolite 4:23
  7. Perfect Circle 4:39
  8. The Apologist 4:40
  9. Daysleeper 4:44
  10. Country Feedback 7:23
  11. At My Most Beautiful 4:14
  12. Walk Unafraid 4:52
  13. Man On The Moon 6:11 

Disc 3 (58:49) – Live Broadcasts

Rock City, Nottingham, 21 November 1984

  1. Second Guessing 2:57
  2. Hyena 2:57
  3. Talk About The Passion 3:04
  4. West Of The Fields 3:07
  5. (Don’t Go Back To) Rockville 4:29
  6. Auctioneer (Another Engine) 3:01
  7. Central Rain (I’m Sorry) 4:51
  8. Old Man Kensey 4:24
  9. Gardening At Night 3:26
  10. 9-9/Hey Diddle Diddle/Feeling Gravitys Pull 5:39
  11. Windout 1:49
  12. Driver 8 3:25
  13. Pretty Persuasion 3:33
  14. Radio Free Europe 3:49
  15. Wendell Gee 3:21
  16. Carnival Of Sorts (Boxcars) 4:47 

Disc 4 (51:59) – Live Broadcasts

Milton Keynes, 30 July 1995

  1. What’s The Frequency, Kenneth? 3:58
  2. Crush With Eyeliner 4:42
  3. Drive 3:51
  4. Turn You Inside Out 4:17
  5. Try Not To Breathe 3:50
  6. I Took Your Name 4:15
  7. Undertow 5:16
  8. Bang And Blame 4:58
  9. I Don’t Sleep I Dream 4:14
  10. Strange Currencies 4:31
  11. Revolution 3:20
  12. Tongue 4:38 

Disc 5 (56:43) – Live Broadcasts

Milton Keynes, 30 July 1995

  1. Man On The Moon 5:46
  2. Country Feedback 6:49
  3. Half A World Away 4:04
  4. Losing My Religion 4:54
  5. Pop Song 89 3:27
  6. Finest Worksong 3:48
  7. Get Up 2:54
  8. Star 69 4:00
  9. Let Me In 3:59
  10. Everybody Hurts 7:24
  11. Fall On Me 3:11
  12. Departure 3:52
  13. Its the End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine) 5:15 

Disc 6 (43:05) – Live Broadcasts

Pyramid Stage Glastonbury Festival, 25 June 1999

  1. Lotus 4:36
  2. What’s The Frequency, Kenneth? 4:09
  3. So Fast, So Numb 4:47
  4. The Apologist 4:36
  5. Fall On Me 3:26
  6. Daysleeper 3:29
  7. The Wake-Up Bomb 5:01
  8. The One I Love 3:27
  9. Sweetness Follows 5:50
  10. At My Most Beautiful 3:37

Disc 7 (53:28) – Live Broadcasts

Pyramid Stage Glastonbury Festival, 25 June 1999

  1. Losing My Religion 5:24
  2. Everybody Hurts 6:47
  3. Walk Unafraid 4:17
  4. Star 69 3:04
  5. Finest Worksong 4:22
  6. Man On The Moon 5:43
  7. Why Not Smile 2:10
  8. Crush With Eyeliner 4:40
  9. Tongue 5:19
  10. Cuyahoga 4:37
  11. Its the End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine) 6:58 

Disc 8 (55:24) – Live Broadcasts

St. James’ Church, London Radio 2, 15 September 2004

  1. Intro :47
  2. So Fast, So Numb 5:13
  3. Boy In The Well 5:20
  4. I Wanted To Be Wrong 5:19
  5. E-Bow The Letter (with Thom Yorke) 5:09
  6. Around The Sun 5:02
  7. Aftermath 3:58
  8. Losing My Religion 4:47
  9. Walk Unafraid 5:10
  10. Leaving New York 4:48
  11. Imitation Of Life 4:35
  12. Man On The Moon 5:34

Disc 9 (DVD) – Television Broadcasts

Accelerating Backwards

Moon River

Pretty Persuasion

Pop Song 89

Orange Crush

Losing My Religion

Half A World Away

Crush With Eyeliner

Man On The Moon


Imitation Of Life

So. Central Rain (I’m Sorry)

All The Way To Reno (You’re Gonna Be A Star)

Leaving New York

Later… with Jools Holland Presents R.E.M.


Losing My Religion


New Test Leper



At My Most Beautiful

The Apologist

Country Feedback


So. Central Rain (I’m Sorry)

Walk Unafraid

Man On The Moon

The Passenger

Bonus Videos

I’ve Been High


Bad Day

The Best of R.E.M. at the BBC / 2LP vinyl

Disc 1 – Sessions

A1. World Leader Pretend 4:36
A2. Radio Song 4:05
A3. Losing My Religion 4:42

Recorded for Nicky Campbell Session Into The Night on BBC Radio 1
First broadcast on 13 March 1991

A4. Lotus 4:13
A5. At My Most Beautiful 3:16

Recorded for John Peel Session on BBC Radio 1
First broadcast 25 October 1998

B1. Bad Day 4:03
B2. Orange Crush 3:55

Recorded for Mark and Lard on BBC Radio 1
First broadcast on 15 October 2003

B3. Man On The Moon 4:59
B4. Imitation Of Life 3:41

Recorded for Drivetime on BBC Radio 2
First broadcast 15 October 2003

B5. Supernatural Superserious 3:23

Recorded for Radio 1 Live Lounge on BBC Radio 1
First broadcast 26 March 2008 

Disc 2 – Broadcasts

C1. Driver 8 3:25
C2. Radio Free Europe 3:49

First broadcast on 21 November 1984 from Rock City, Nottingham

C3. What’s The Frequency, Kenneth? 3:54
C4. Drive 3:51
C5. Half A World Away 4:04
C6. Pop Song 89 3:27

First broadcast on 30 July 1995 from Milton Keynes

D1. Everybody Hurts  6:47
D2. Its the End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)  6:58

First broadcast on 25 June 1999 from Pyramid Stage Glastonbury Festival

D3. Losing My Religion 4:47
D4. Man On The Moon 5:34

First broadcast on 15 September 2004 from St. James’s Church, London

The Best of R.E.M. at the BBC / 2CD edition

Disc 1 – Sessions

  1. World Leader Pretend 4:36
  2. Half A World Away 3:33
  3. Radio Song 4:05
  4. Losing My Religion 4:42

Recorded for Nicky Campbell Session Into The Night on BBC Radio 1

First broadcast on 13 March 1991

  1. Lotus 4:13
  2. At My Most Beautiful 3:16

Recorded for John Peel Session on BBC Radio 1

First broadcast on 25 October 1998

  1. Electrolite 4:23
  2. Perfect Circle 4:39
  3. Daysleeper 4:44

Recorded for John Peel Session on BBC Radio 1

First broadcast 25 October 1998

  1. Country Feedback

Recorded for Later… with Jools Holland on BBC1

First broadcast on 27 October 1998

  1. Bad Day 4:03
  2. Orange Crush 3:55

Recorded for Mark and Lard on BBC Radio 1

First broadcast on 15 October 2003

  1. Nightswimming

Recorded for Later… with Jools Holland on BBC1

First broadcast on 14 October 2003

  1. Man On The Moon 4:59
  2. Imitation Of Life 3:41

Recorded for Drivetime on BBC Radio 2

First broadcast 15 October 2003

  1. Supernatural Superserious 3:23

Recorded for Radio 1 Live Lounge on BBC Radio 1

First broadcast 26 March 2008


Disc 2 – Broadcasts

  • (Don’t Go Back To) Rockville 4:29
  • Central Rain (I’m Sorry) 4:51
  • Gardening At Night 3:26
  • Driver 8 3:25
  • Radio Free Europe 3:49

First broadcast on 21 November 1984 from Rock City, Nottingham

  1. What’s The Frequency, Kenneth? 3:54
  2. Crush With Eyeliner 4:42
  3. Drive 3:51
  4. Half A World Away 4:04
  5. Pop Song 89 3:27
  6. Finest Worksong 3:48

First broadcast on 30 July 1995 from Milton Keynes

  1. Fall On Me 3:26
  2. The One I Love 3:27
  3. Everybody Hurts 6:47
  4. Its the End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine) 6:58

First broadcast on 25 June 1999 from Pyramid Stage Glastonbury Festival

  1. E-Bow The Letter (with Thom Yorke) 5:09
  2. Losing My Religion 4:47
  3. Man On The Moon 5:34

First broadcast on 15 September 2004 from St. James’s Church, London

115 responses to R.E.M. at the BBC 9-disc box set

  1. Trigger says:

    Picked this up for a bargain £28.99 at hmv today.

  2. Mark HW says:

    I also had a “conversation” online with Amazon customer service yesterday. Said that they are not responsible for the distributors. They are just the retailer. Cannot believe a company like amazon cannot get hold of such a well publicised box set!! Thought they may have offered some compensation for my extended wait but nothing!!

    • kook says:

      Hmm, I think we all know Amazon aren’t “just a retailer” – but even so, that doesn’t excuse them telling customers they will deliver something on a certain date, then only informing us on that date that said item is out of stock. It’s poor organisation at best.

      I’ve had similar “not us, guv” excuses from them before and really had enough of it now. I won’t be using them again.

    • BSR says:

      Received my BBC Set yesterday. Disc 9 does not play parts of the Jools Hollwnd show. The disc freezes. Anybody else have this issue?

    • AndyB says:

      In the U.S., if you don’t receive an item on a GUARANTEED delivery date, Amazon will give you an extra month of Prime for free. Unfortunately, YOU have to complain and tell AMAZON that is their policy. I’ve done it three times. If the delivery date is not GUARANTEED or the language is not “your package WILL BE DELIVERED on” such and such a date, the policy does not apply.

  3. Ian says:

    Received an email from Amazon UK today. “We’re still trying to obtain the item…” Sigh.

  4. CraigH says:

    Not sure what’s going on with amazon UK but I preordered the cd boxset before it was even on SDE, it’s not despatched yet and it doesn’t seem to be available direct from them anymore. I popped into hmv as a backup and they had none in there either (they had the 2cd and record versions).

    • kook says:

      Same here: apparently, my copy is “arriving tomorrow” so hopefully yours is on its way too.

      Strange how this seems to have sold out so quickly on Amazon – I really wouldn’t have thought there’d be a huge demand for it?

      • kook says:

        So much for that – Amazon have just informed me they’re “still trying to obtain” this. Quite how they planned to deliver something they don’t actually have in stock is beyond me.

        Just to add insult to injury, they’ve suggested “Please consider the following similar items, which may be available sooner:
        Best Of R.E.M. At The BBC [VINYL]
        Best Of R.E.M. At The BBC [Audio CD]”

        That’s the end of my Prime membership then.

        • CraigH says:

          Mine has finally been despatched by amazon UK, but from looking at the tracking its coming from their Italian warehouse, it’s due tomorrow allegedly. For info the order was placed on 3rd Sept.

  5. Brian says:

    Arrived today and getting my first listen (well after I load it all to the computer)… nice little set.. Thanks for all your hard work, informing us of these releases! Nice to get it on day of release as well.

  6. Elizabeth Ursula Hirst says:

    Marvellous – I was at the Milton Keynes gig, and that was the only time I got to see them live. This is therefore a no-brainer for me.

  7. Mark Reed says:

    Any comments about the Jools Holland show not being on CD should note that almost all of that show was plundered for b-sides on numerous CD singles in the “Up” era : so they have been released.

    I do wonder why the 2008 Royal Albert Hall show wasn’t included on CD as it was a BBC show.

  8. patjoller says:

    There’s also a new limited edition of Document on orange vinyl available in the Discover music site

  9. CraigH says:

    Apologies if this has already been mentioned, but the highlights set on 2CD / 2LP contains audio from the Jools Holland performances that are only appear on the DVD in the larger set.

    Not great IMO, the larger set should have all audio on CD that’s on the best-of selections.

    Still buying it though.

  10. Andy says:

    Where is OGWT? It’s the first moment that I saw or heard REM on the BBC.

    Milton Keynes was playing on the radio when my wife was going through the agony of childbirth with our daughter. So it’ll be nice to hear it again without the screaming & name calling ;-)

    • Shabba says:

      OGWT is the first two tracks on the DVD. Sadly they couldnt find room for Old Man Kensey from OGWT which is a massive shame. It’s on YT naturally. With both AFTP and REMTV there were some bonus treats after release so maybe they will do one this time around.

  11. MFG says:

    Loved R.E.M. while Bill Berry was still in the band, but not so much after he left. Would like to have the entire Milton Keynes, 30 July 1995 show as a separate 2-CD release. If I recall correctly, the only official Monster tour release was the Road Movie DVD.

  12. Ian says:

    A wonderfull release & will become part of my collection, could someone clarify if its being broadcast on the BBC does it become public domain? Hence all the hours of concerts / radio sessions of videos on youtube. And once universal have issued this collection will they be removed?

    • Shabba says:

      The BBC owns the copyright in the recordings forever. There might come a time when the copyright will lapse, but I think that could be at 100 years away.

  13. RJS says:

    I saw R.E.M. in Germany in 1999 (the day after their Glastonbury appearance (with Suede and Wilco in support)) when tickets were still reasonably priced and you didn’t need to take out a second mortgage to buy one. The venue was downgraded because of poor ticket sales but I thought they were OK but Stipe should’ve learned some lessons from Mick Jagger about communicating with his audience. Their popularity peaked with Automatic for the People and thereafter, both creatively and commercially, their fortunes dwindled. I listened to Automatic for the People last night and I still can’t understand the plaudits it was affored upon release and continues to receive, although ‘Drive’ is one of their best songs. This looks like a very good comprehensive set for fans but I’ll be giving it a miss. I like a couple of their early albums, particularly Murmur, but apart from Monster and some of New Adventures in Hi-Fi, I thought they were bang average after Out of Time.

  14. Charlie Waffles says:

    Sweet! I will take R.E.M. anyday.

  15. Blakey says:

    I recall REM performing ‘You Are The Everything’ on a late night BBC TV show around 88 or 89. Bill Berry was on bass and Mike Mills on accordian. A clip of this appearance was also shown on BBC2’s epic ‘Eighties’ show (New Year’s Eve, 1989). So, where is it?

    • Shabba says:

      With such wealth of material there are the inevitably compromises. That clip you are after is on you tube, look up R.E.M. Wembley Arena, should be the first vid. This set does include Pop Song 89 from that same set at Wembley. Personally I like the boxset, but there is too much from 98 for me and I think they could have added another DVD. Inevitably I would have done it slightly differently. Anyhow once you admitted to yourself that it’s going to be 9 discs, why not make it 10, or 12! On 12 discs you could probably fit everything.

  16. John Spasm says:

    I noticed that one of these discs doesn’t have “Losing My Religion” on it. Must be a misprint.

  17. Martijn says:

    Really pleased their version of Editor’s “Munich” is on this. I really liked that one.

  18. richard says:

    Three days running I have splashed out on a Superdeluxe advertised release.

    Many thanks for the heads up.

    The ears are in for a treat.

  19. Kevin says:

    Woohoo! Ordered! Thanks, Paul!

    Also, the band are no stranger to so-called “ugly” or “naff” graphics . Please see:
    Out Of Time
    Part Lies Part Heart Part Truth Part Garbage

  20. The Geordie Expat says:

    Nice box set at a nice price, although the graphics look a bit naff.
    Saw them in ’84 in Newcastle at Tiffany’s (!) So the Rock City show from that tour will be good to hear. Pity there’s nothing from the ’86-88 period; they were probably the best band in the world at that point – caught them in Dallas in ’86 – awesome show.
    Paul, thanks for the heads up – I’m running out of shelving and it’s mostly your fault!
    It’s such a pity that it’s taken so long for these great recordings to become available.

    • Jed says:

      Just listening to the whole thing on Tidal – blown away! Rock City show is the highlight for me. I saw them in 1988 or 89 at Manchester Apollo. The only time I saw them and in my memory the best gig I ever saw. I wondered if that was rose coloured glasses but this collection proves it wasn’t. Much of this sounds better than the studio releases.

  21. John Murray says:

    A must buy for me as I was at the Rock City gig in ‘84! But as I was young and stupid I remember little of it! ;-)
    So it will be nice to time travel back and enjoy that gig again!

  22. Geoff G says:

    Yes! just pre-ordered. The US price isn’t bad at all for what we are getting. I’m very happy seeing this in my email today – looks great!

  23. PC says:

    Does anybody know why the secret shows they did in March 1991 as Bingo Hand Job are not included? I’m pretty sure it was broadcast on BBC.

  24. poptones says:

    Excellent news. I was living in Leeds at the time (during the Monster tour) and went to the new Huddersfield Alfred McAlpine stadium to see R.E.M. play in july 1995. Oasis was supposed to one of the supporting cast bands but they pulled out at the last minute and were replaced by the Beautiful South. Magnapop and Belly were also playing that day. Good memories, it was a fantastic show, Michael Stipe was on fire that night. A few days later, they were playing Milton Keynes and it was broadcasted live on BBC 1, I remember taping that show, I needed two C90 tapes because the show lasted more than 2 hours ! And I still have the tapes ! I also kept the merch I bought at the show (tour program and t-shirt).

    It’s a cool box set and reasonably priced so I will order it.

    • Phil says:

      Great gig at Huddersfield that, I think it was my first stadium gig. I remember Beautiful South opened with a cover of Some Might Say as they were replacing Oasis.

      What annoyed me was that Oasis pulled out last minute, then put tickets for their own tour on sale that day. I couldn’t get through on the phone (remember buying tickets that way), so left my mum in charge, who didn’t manage to get any. I wrote a letter to Creation (their label) and to the venue at Blackpool asking to be let in. That tour also got postponed so I managed to get a ticket anyway in the end. That night, about 12.30 am, Noel Gallagher phoned me at home and invited me to the gig at Stoke the next night to be on the guest list. And what did I say in reply? “Where’s Stoke?”. I went and got in front row, great couple of nights.

  25. Simonf says:

    Can we have a massive big-up for the boy Kershaw who fiercely championed REM for many years on his Radio One show long before anyone (i.e. the mainstream media) wanted to know about them, and they showed their gratitude by sending him records by other bands from their hometown of Athens, GA . Andy was to say the least more than a little peeved when their debut Radio One session (bdcst 13/3/91) went to Nicky Campbell who never championed anyone except for himself, especially as it was an accoustic live on air affair. That’s BBC management for you.
    The Peel session (bdcst 17/11/98) was another full-on live gig from the BBC Radio Theatre in Broadcasting House and the programme also featured a live DJ set from Juan Atkins, one of great pioneers of Detroit techno.

    • Chris Squires says:

      Just for Clarity for the overseas viewers….

      I think Simon means Andy Kershaw the UK DJ rather than Nik Kershaw the immensely talented UK singer songwriter….

  26. Gisabun says:

    I think this story is true [read it somewhere]. When the BBC recorded a group/artist for some broadcast, if they feel that the group/artist is going nowhere, they would just reuse the tapes. So the recording would be lost unless someone recorded it off the radio.
    Think about a band like [say] Queen. Compared to the albums after, the first two albums weren’t major hits [IMuHO]. Can you imagine the BBC reusing the tapes?

  27. Johnny says:

    Wow…9 discs around 60 pounds. It is worthwhile. Compare to Tug Of War or Flowers in The Dirt boxes. I don§t understand some things.

  28. Chris Lancaster says:

    There’s a track from the set — Losing My Religion live from Into The Night — streaming now on Spotify and Apple Music, if anyone is interested!

  29. Steve says:

    If the Rock City show is the one I have on bootleg then the gig may have been mooted for a live album if it hadn’t been for Michael Stipe nursing a cold affecting his vocals. Mike Mills, I think, calls out to the audience if anyone has a tape for any of the earlier shows to come and find him afterwards possibly to see if there was any way it could be used for that reason. Or this was an entirely different bootleg and an entirely different reason but I cannot face trawling through them all to find out! Pre-ordered…

  30. Brian Barker says:

    I’m in for the vinyl set. I do wish they didn’t repeat the couple of songs I see doubled up but that’s a minor nit pick, hopefully there’s something different about the performances that show why they picked those as opposed to a couple of different tracks.

    Ultimately, I can dig the condensed selection, sure I would have made a few different selections, but everyone has his or her own favorites. Maybe a “Best of the BBC Sessions vol.2” will appear in the future.

  31. The Golden Age Of Reissues says:

    I was in for this at £63 when I preordered a few days ago so £58 is even better, great value.

    I’ve been a fan since ‘Chronic Town’, seen them many times even when there were about 300 of us at The Royal Court in Liverpool.

    For me R.E.M. have recorded only one album I have never got into and that’s ‘Monster’, maybe the live set will have me reappraise that album. I’ve never understood the disdain for the bands later albums, some beautiful stuff there. I suppose there’s no accounting for taste which I have by the bucketload.

    Somebody has mentioned the rarities, I’d love to see a physical release of these but this will probably get me to get all those CD singles out and put my own ‘b’ side set together.

    From here, well last weekend really with the release of ‘Big Pink 50’ it’s going to be a very, very, expensive last 4 months of 2018. There’s also many more SE sets in the coming 4-5 years of albums celebrating their 50th Anniversar.

    • Mad Earwig says:

      I am with you on ‘Monster’ probably still the only REM album I don’t play often. After the majesty of ‘Automatic’ came this faster and louder collection which lacked the quality.

      I recall reading it was an album they wanted to tour with and I get that but it always feels a bit unpolished and rushed to me.
      There are some good tracks like ‘Bang and Blame’ but ‘Kenneth’ is probably my least favourite REM track ( ‘Superman’ being another contender and that’s on my favourite REM album)

      • kook says:

        That’s a fair point, although as a conscious reaction to their previous two albums, ‘Monster’ was quite a determined attempt NOT to sound polished. I vaguely recall Peter Buck saying at the time “one more acoustic album would have killed us” or words to that effect, and he was probably right.

        I know it alienated a lot of the fans who jumped on board around 1991/2 but maybe that was the point. REM never seemed entirely comfortable being mega-popular so, even though they managed to achieve that status on their own terms, I suspect ‘Monster’ was a deliberate move designed to test or even wilfully sabotage it (à la ‘Tin Machine’, ‘Achtung Baby’ or the left turn Blur later took on their fifth album).

        Whatever your view, it certainly cleared the decks and went some way to stopping REM from being pigeonholed as a bunch of genteel balladeers, if not entirely. Personally, I thought it was a welcome change of direction in 1994 and still love it now. ‘Automatic’ is undoubtedly a far more sophisticated album, like a fine wine – but sometimes, you really just want a few cans of lager.

        And one of the reasons I’m really looking forward to this boxset is that I can finally get a decent recording of the Milton Keynes show. Like others, I recorded this off Radio 1 back in ’95 (oh God, sooo long ago…) but unfortunately, I had to use a crummy portable cassette player which never did the performance justice.

        Kids today, don’t know they’re born etc. etc.

  32. Henry Watson says:

    Is this complete? I’ve a vague recollection they did a session for Nicky Campbell (?) around the release of Out of Time?

    • Ian Murphy says:

      I think the first six tracks on disc 1 are from the 1991 Nicky Campbell session

      • henry watson says:

        Thanks – looks like you’re right. Think the track list has been updated a bit for clarity (or I wasn’t paying attention the first time!)

    • Tim-Meh says:

      Yeah they did. If I remember correctly they played ‘Losing…’ and ‘Fretless’. I had it on tape for years until I didn’t.

  33. Paul M says:

    This one’s going on my Christmas list.
    What I would really like to see is the two “complete” rarities packages issued on CD – currently they are only available digitally. Guessing that ain’t going to happen though.

  34. Mike Bushell says:

    I think this is an amazing set and I’ve just ordered it.

    Three points:

    1. Boxed sets seem to be the preserve of Amazon and on-line retailers. You struggle to find much in HMV these days. Pity.

    2. Just how much stuff have the BBC got that we’ve not heard or isn’t in the public domain?

    3. There’s a Monster show in this set. Next year is the 25th anniversary of that album. What will they put in a SEE?

    • Iain McCarthy says:

      Re: Mike Bushell

      I was thinking the same thing about the ‘Monster’ Deluxe Edition. I was hoping that would be announced around now and i was expecting the Milton Keynes show to be an extra with ‘Monster’. Will we get a ‘Monster’ Deluxe Edition or will they stop with ‘Automatic…’?

      • Dogfacedboy says:

        The Omni Atlanta show from 1995 is out there in bootleg land which could be used for a SDE of Monster.

        I have also heard whispers about the Bingo Hand Job – Borderline 1991 shows being worked on

    • Darren says:

      I disagree, HMV have always had box sets at good prices. I don’t look on line as much now.

    • Andrew M says:

      My local HMV (a small one) has a MASSIVE box set section.

  35. Steven Roberts says:

    I’m really curious to know what the deal is between Universal and the Beeb that has led to this release – the BBC have in the past been notoriously difficult to deal with (ie expensive) when it comes to licensing out their archive material. It’s the main reason why you hardly ever see BBC session material on re-releases, for example…..

    Are the BBC softening their stance a bit or is it simply that Universal expect to shift a mountain of these box sets and ponied up the asking price?

    • Caroline says:

      The BBC are under a lot more pressure to monetize their archive than they used to be due to licence fee freezes, government pressure, public pressure etc. I guess they’ve had to soften up.

      • Chris Squires says:

        I think you are right. Someone has woken up to the fact that they have a mountain of music and you can either charge 3x for it and sit there earning nothing, but have wonderful Saturday night programmes on BBC4. All of which will be on torrent sites within an hour of broadcast.
        Charge a more reasonable price and get some (not insubstantial) money in through the turnstiles. And you still get to make your decent Saturday night BBC4 programmes.

    • Colin Harper says:

      This this nothing to do with any softening up or pressure to use the archive – it’s simply the case that Universal struck a deal with the BBC a few years ago, rumoured to be a million quid, to have carte blanche access for things like this. So Universal and the BBC have a ‘special relatyionship’, and do Edsel and the BBC (Edsel being owned by the latter), hence the ease by which BBC aud9io and video things appear on Edsel releases. Everyone else has to pay at least £1000 plus VAT – and that figure is the case even if it’s one or two tracks being added to something.

      • Chris Squires says:

        Thanks for the heads up Colin, always good to have some real knowledge instead of hunches and intuition.

        • Colin Harper says:

          The ridiculous fee is why lots of terrific historic jazz performances from BBC radio in the 50s-60s – kept by musicians or fans, almost never by the BBC – appear on (just about commercially viable) CD in cunningly disguised form. And long may they continue to do so – art and history sticking two fingers up to bureaucrats and money grubbers.

      • Steven Roberts says:

        If Universal and the BBC do have a ‘special’ relationship, it’s incredibly frustrating that Universal haven’t leveraged it a bit more – there must be dozens if not hundreds of artists that could benefit from a comprehensive BBC sessions release.

        Yes, I’m looking at you, Genesis……….

  36. Ronnie says:

    wow, this looks amazing, really looking forward to this

  37. Caroline says:

    It’s hefty but I think I’m in. That Jools Holland programme is one of my favourite pieces of music television ever but I’m not sure how often I would return to the CDs…

    Oh and I think Disc 2 might be the radio session the group did on Radio 1 around the release of Up. I remember listening to it and they definitely did Perfect Circle but I didn’t roll tape.

  38. Daryl says:

    I think this looks wonderful! And very reasonably priced too.

  39. Andrew M says:

    That’s the imagine set pushed off the bottom of the list as this goes straight in at the top!

  40. Christian says:

    Thumbs up for the ‘excerpts’ on vinyl. A concept that could proove successful with other extra large projects as well, like Soft Cell.

  41. Steve Miller says:

    As per Chris upthread, I was at the Milton Keynes show (which, judging by the tracklisting, is Discs 4 & 5) and I’ve long since lost the cassette that I made off the radio. I’d buy a CD of that show in a minute, so I’m really glad to see this release.

  42. Steve says:

    Is there any info for specifically where the recordings on each disc are from?

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      I will update when more info comes through…

      • Gerbrand says:

        From what I can gather sofar :

        D1, T1-5 : The Late Show 1991, acoustic
        D1, T15-16 : 26-3-2008, Yalding House, London, Accelerate Promo Tour
        D2 : ?
        D3 : 21-11-1984, Rock City Nottingham
        D4/5 : 30-7-1995, Milton Keynes National Bowl
        D6/7 : 25-6-1999, Glastonbury Festival
        D8 : 15-8-2004, St James’s Church, London

        • Gerbrand says:

          D1, T14-16 (correction) : 26-3-2008, Radio 1 Live Lounge, BBC Radio 1 Studios, Yalding House, London, Accelerate Promo Tour

          D2 : 25-10-1998 : Full set recorded at the BBC Radio Theatre. John Peel broadcasted songs on D1

          • Gerbrand says:

            After further investigation another correction (sorry ;-) :
            D1, T1-5 : ‘Into The Night’, BBC Radio 1, Studio 5, BBC Maida Vale Studios, London

      • Steve says:

        Thanks Paul

  43. GHB says:

    Excellent news – I purchased the 4 disc edition of Out Of Time when it was a bargain price, and the 2 CD edition of Automatic For The People (as it was half price, the 4 dic edition was too expensive, too large physically, and in trying [not very successfully] to rein in my super deluxe edition habit acknowledged I really never listed to most of the demos on the former set [particularly the instrumentals]). However, I have really been enjoying the live discs with both sets, so am really looking forward to this release. The autumn is going to be a aural treat …..

  44. Patrick says:

    Did someone say ‘frustratingly abridged version for vinyl fans who have been loyal REM fans for 30 years?’

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Are you really going to pay £150+ for an 18LP vinyl edition?

      • Chris Squires says:

        Devil and the deep blue sea. I like the highlights idea. It’s interesting that they have pegged it at 2LP and not gone for a 4LP boxed set like Misplaced Childhood. The price point, particularly with a deal alert some way down the line, will appeal to many. But I would have preferred something more substantial and 4 LPs hits that spot for me.

        I guess what it does show is that to be the person who makes these decisions, you just can’t win.

        Personally I’d have loved a 4 LP boxset of Keychains and Snowstorms highlights but wouldn’t want to have to be the poor sod who had to choose what tracks to leave out.

        Tracks chosen…. press release done….hides under rock to await the “Why did you leave out track x….I’m not buying”

      • Patrick says:

        To be brutally honest REM are milking an archive they don’t really have. So much uninteresting material here. An amazing live band for a period of the career but the late works even the band eacknowledge are sub par. Just reissue the Tourfilm DVD. Incredible!

  45. Around the Sun is the album that, latterly, I’ve returned to most – I Wanted to Be Wrong and Leaving New York (both on this excellent-looking set) are cast-iron classics.

    • kook says:

      I agree there are some great songs on there, especially the two you mention but also ‘The Outsiders’ and ‘Electron Blue’. Sadly, I think the insipid production spoils most of them, and there are some real clangers as well – I wouldn’t care if I never heard ‘High Speed Train’ or ‘Make It All OK’ again, and ‘Wanderlust’ is just… horrible.

  46. Richard says:

    Am thinking of not buying it purely because of the artwork which is horrific and not suiting of the band, can’t be looking at that on my shelf!

    • Klaus says:


      To my eyes it doesn’t look that different to e.g. the latest Brian Eno-set so i don’t share that criticism. Obviously no reason to not buy it as you can always put something nicer in front of it, like “Show Us Your Hits” by the Bloodhound Gang or “Chocolate Or Cheese” by Ween.
      Or are you pissed because they changed the colours of the Union Jack?

      • Richard says:

        I didn’t even notice the Union Jack, the garish colours saw to that ;) The eno box was more subtle and seemed more in context with the material, this is just plain ugly!

    • patjoller says:

      design looks like the 3x 7″ set they released for RSD before calling it a day.

  47. Klaus says:

    After Soft Cell, Lennon/Imagine and the Thus Mortal Coil another more than interesting re-issue. It’s gonna be another expensive Autumn (though the weather forecast says that it might still feel like Summer ;-)) )
    That’ll be a great companion piece obviously to the R.E.M.T.V.-set that i got for about GBP 25 thanks to an SDE-alert some time ago. Let’s see if this will come down as well in the foreseeable future.

    @mark turrell:

    Don’t think that they’ll release this in slices. I guess there are not enough buyers for that. Most will want the whole package especially those not familiar with the recordings because not living in the UK.

  48. Patjoller says:

    stepping in for the “happy fan side”. This is incredible. So much stuff I’m gonna enjoy (pre or post berry). Even the price is great.

  49. Jan says:

    Well worth it for under 60 quid.
    Maybe next year we get the Christmas singles box.

  50. Chris Lancaster says:

    What a great set — and a good price. Particularly pleased to see the Monster show getting a release, as I was at the show that was broadcast. My tape of it (kindly recorded by my brother) wore out years ago, and the bootleg double CD I picked up at some point has deteriorated, probably due to being pressed very cheaply. My October was already looking like being an expensive month thanks to Mr Bowie, etc, but happy to be made even poorer by this set. Ordered without even thinking about it.

  51. Alan Blevin says:

    Unlike the poster above I think nearly everything on this set is fantastic.After the fiasco of the Automatic box pricing this is much more reasonable.Now I just need JPC to get on board at a comparable price.

  52. Dave H says:

    Glad to see the BBC are delving into their archives again and unlike Paul Weller at the BBC, there’s no digital only super deluxe edition.

    Very surprised to see that even though the BBC caught them live as early as 1984, their earliest radio sessions weren’t until the 90’s.

    Hope there’s a few more ‘at the BBC’ to follow, some of the deluxe editions from the past can be hard to find or quite expensive in the collectors market.

    • Ex-Oligarch says:

      The period after R.E.M. became international hitmakers seems to be well covered in the set.

      But apart from the Nottingham date, the BBC seems to have missed entirely the band’s work of the 1980s, when they almost singlehandedly brought the influence of American folk rock back into an indie scene dominated by post-punk. (I wonder whether that 1984 show as a BBC Nottingham local production rather than one of the national channels?)

      It’s not as if the BBC ignored the sound that R.E.M. ushered in during the early 1980s. Consider, for example, the very R.E.M.-ish Irish band The Stars of Heaven, which had at least four Peel sessions and a Janice Long session during the mid- and late-1980s.

      The R.E.M. set seems to be priced reasonably and should please fans of the band’s more mainstream period. Indie fans will probably stick with their bootlegs of the show (it’s been booted on vinyl and CD, and of course circulated widely as digital files).

  53. Bob says:

    Is the DVD region-free? PAL or NTSC?

  54. Ste7enPK says:

    I was at the Later With Jools recording about 6ft from Stipe’s stage position. I can be seen and heard a couple of times. I remember the show concluded with a cover of Iggy’s The Passenger (which appeared as a b-side shortly thereafter). Shame they’re not including that. Rights I guess. Regardless, it was a truly memorable night.

  55. noyoucmon says:

    Interesting, but the ratio of post-Berry material here ensures I won’t buy it. I’m tired of R.E.M. releases that insist the likes of Around the Sun can stand up equally to pre-Monster material.

  56. mark turrell says:

    The only thing on there worth getting is disc 3 the full Rock City performance, and the OGWT footage from the same year. I still have my tape recorded straight from the radio, and I’ve had an edited Westwood One cd for 20 odd years that’s about 45 mins worth of music. Everything else is well past their sell by date. Hopefully they’ll seperate it a la floyd.

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