Every year since 1988, R.E.M. has sent dues-paying fan-club members a special holiday single featuring Christmas songs, covers, live tracks and/or original songs; for the first 10 years, the releases were always 7-inches, then they varied, alternating between CDs, DVDs, vinyl and even, in 1998, a split single with Radiohead on VHS tape.
In the wake of R.E.M.’s decision to disband, the group also announced in September that its fan club is no more. Which means the holiday packages that began arriving in fan-club members’ mailboxes late this week contain the 24th and final installment of R.E.M.’s annual series.
Unfortunately for fans, the 2011 holiday single does not feature any new studio recordings, let alone a reunion with drummer Bill Berry, who performed on cover songs on both the 2009 and 2010 fan-club singles. This year’s single features a pair of live songs recorded on the band’s final tour: “Perfect Circle,” from a London show on Aug. 30, 2008, and “Life and How To Live It,” the penultimate song at R.E.M.’s final concert, on Nov. 18, 2008.
Below you can stream the live tracks on the 2011 single.
PREVIOUSLY ON SLICING UP EYEBALLS
- Stream: R.E.M. ‘Radio Free Europe’ original Mitch Easter mix from ‘Cassette Set’ demo
- R.E.M. unveils ‘Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage: 1982-2011’ tracklist
- Stream: Slicing Up Eyeballs’ hour-long R.E.M. retrospective on Strangeways Radio (3/8/11)
- Video: Watch encore set from R.E.M.’s final concert — Mexico City, Nov. 18, 2008
- R.E.M., 1980-2011: Genre-defining college rock band breaks up after 31 years
- Listen: R.E.M. debuts Christmas song with Bill Berry, new album mix on fan club single
- Bill Berry plays ‘Crazy Like a Fox’ cover on R.E.M.’s new fan club Christmas single