August 17, 2007

Goofin' on Elvis

Like with many classic, mainstream pop/rock bands (The Beatles, The Who, The Eagles, The Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, The Police, U2, etc., etc., etc.), there was a time when R.E.M. just got better and better with each album release. I remember not being able to believe how good Automatic for the People (1992) sounded when I first heard it. Almost every song seemed to be good, and I was knocked out by the production (lush, slick, deep and echoey, intermittently atmospheric and melancholy) and Peter Buck's multi-layered instrumentation.

Peter Buck's Rickenbacker

Buck was definitely another one of my guitar heroes when I was a teenager. His influence has probably lasted the longest (other than The Beatles', who are musically, "chromosomaly" part of me) and still remains in my playing. Michael Stipe's voice was really great on the album too.

Who would've thought R.E.M. could top both Green (1988) and Out of Time (1991), commercially or critically? Stipe's best songs are on it (IMHO). Perhaps one of the best known from Automatic for the People is "Man on the Moon." The Wikipedia:

The song makes numerous references to the comedian Andy Kaufman, including his Elvis impersonation and work with wrestlers Fred Blassie and Jerry Lawler. The song was released as a single in 1993.

The song gave its name to a 1999 film Man on the Moon, and was used in the film's soundtrack.

The song was placed on R.E.M.'s Warner Bros. Records "best of" album In Time - The Best of R.E.M. 1988-2003 in 2003. It was one of four songs from Automatic for the People to make the compilation, more than from any other album.

No comments: