Record Store Day 2014 is about a month away (April 19) and one of this year's exclusive releases is a four-LP set of R.E.M.'s two MTV Unplugged sessions:
The "Unplugged" performances are sonic snapshots that capture the legendary Athens, Georgia band at important points on its journey from alternative-music progenitors to international stars that have sold more than 85 million albums.
Drummer Bill Berry, guitarist Peter Buck, bassist Mike Mills, and singer Michael Stipe recorded their first "Unplugged" session in 1991, while riding a growing wave of success that began in 1987 with the commercial breakthrough of Document. Much of the performance spotlights songs from R.E.M.'s then-current album Out of Time, which sold over 18 million copies worldwide and was the band's first #1 album in the U.S. From the album, the band performed "Radio Song," "Low" and its biggest American hit, "Losing My Religion."
The remainder of the set list spans eight years of music and touches on five different albums, mixing "Perfect Circle" from R.E.M.'s 1983 debut Murmur and fan-favorites like "Fall On Me" and "Its The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" with a cover of The Troggs' "Love Is All Around." Five songs that never aired can be heard on this set for the first time, including two tracks from the multi-platinum Green - "Get Up" and "World Leader Pretend."
R.E.M. made an extremely rare second appearance on "Unplugged" in 2001, but this time without original drummer Bill Berry, who left the band in 1997. For the show, the band focused mainly on its 12th studio album Reveal - which came out that year - with performances of the singles "Imitation of Life" and "All The Way To Reno (You're Gonna Be A Star)." The song selection draws from eight different albums with "So. Central Rain" from 1984's Reckoning, "Cuyahoga" from 1986's Lifes Rich Pageant and "Find The River," the elegiac album closer from the 1992 classic Automatic For The People.The set includes recordings of songs that were taped but never aired on the two specials.