I’ve long been embarrassed at how slow I was to catch-on to R.E.M. and always had pangs of jealousy towards those who cottoned on from the start and got to see them before they became staples of the arena/stadium tours.
I was way too engrossed in UK jingly-jangly indie pop and the fact that in the early 80s my home city seemed to be the centre of the musical universe to pay any attention to what was coming out of the USA .
Besides….one look at the cover of this 1984 single and noticing that one of them had long hair was more than enough to put me off taking the band seriously at the time no matter what some folk were saying in the music papers.
But I should have trusted my ears and not my eyes. For quite simply, this single, which is rather astonishingly more than 30 years old, is quite wonderful:-
mp3 : R.E.M. – (Don’t Go Back To) Rockville
A sad tale of long-distance love told over a quite exquisite tune that can’t quite make its mind up if it is indie, pop, honky-tonk or country.
Such is my belated love for this track that on the only occasion business has ever taken me to the Washington DC (it was back in 2002 and I was delighted to learn that the conference venue, which was where I was also staying for three nights, was the Watergate Hotel), I used a spare afternoon to hop on a commuter train out to Rockville, where I had a walk around for about an hour and took some photos. It was, and I guess still is, a lovely little town.
Here’s yer b-sides of the 12″ single that I picked up second-hand a couple of years ago:-
mp3 : R.E.M. – Wolves
mp3 : R.E.M. – 9-9*
mp3 : R.E.M. – Gardening At Night*
*Recorded Live at ‘The Eldorado’, in Paris on Good Friday 20 April 1984 in mono
That equated to around £6 or $9 (US) for the ticket.