Album News, Reissues, Tracklist — April 21, 2014 at 12:10 pm

R.E.M.’s 50-track ‘Complete Rarities: I.R.S. 1982-1987’ due out digitally next month


A new 50-song compilation of early R.E.M. material called Complete Rarities: I.R.S. 1982-1987 is due out digitally next month, but is completely comprised of tracks previously assembled on 1987’s out-of-print Dead Letter Office, EMI’s early ’90s reissues, a more recent I.R.S. years best-of and various singles the band released during the mid-’80s.

While not yet formally announced, the collection is listed at as being released by EMI as a digital download on May 19, and while there’s no mention of a physical release, the tracklist — as seen below — is divided up as “Disc 1” and “Disc 2.” A database of upcoming releases from the Universal Music Group also lists the album as a digital release.

The cover art, seen above, includes images taken from the I.R.S. compilation Eponymous and various singles released released during the ’80s.

The set includes all 15 tracks from Dead Letter Office, plus various covers, B-sides, mixes, alternate takes and live versions, some of which debuted on 2006’s And I Feel Fine… The Best of the I.R.S. Years 1982–1987. Also included are R.E.M.’s two contributions to the recently reissued soundtrack of the film “Athens, GA: Inside/Out.”


Tracklist: R.E.M., Complete Rarities: I.R.S. 1982-1987

Disc 1
1. “Radio Free Europe” [Original Hib-Tone Single]
2. “Sitting Still” [Original Hib-Tone Single]
3. “White Tornado”
4. “Gardening At Night” [Different Vocal Mix]
5. “Gardening At Night” [Acoustic]
6. “All the Right Friends”
7. “Moon River”
8. “Pretty Persuasion”
9. “There She Goes Again”
10. “Tighten Up”
11. “Ages of You” [Live]
12. “We Walk” [Live]
13. “1,000,000” [Live]
14. “Gardening At Night” [Electric Demo]
15. “Just a Touch”
16. “King of the Road”
17. “Pale Blue Eyes”
18. “Voice of Harold”
19. “Walter’s Theme”
20. “White Tornado”
21. “Windout”
22. “Wind Out”
23. “9-9” [Live]
24. “Gardening At Night” [Live]
25. “Catapult” [Live]

Disc 2
1. “Ages of You”
2. “Bandwagon”
3. “Burning Down”
4. “Burning Hell”
5. “Crazy”
6. “Driver 8” [Live]
7. “Bad Day”
8. “Femme Fatale”
9. “Hyena” [Demo]
10. “Mystery To Me” [Demo]
11. “Rotary Ten”
12. “Theme From Two Steps Onward” [Demo]
13. “Tired of Singing Trouble”
14. “Toys In the Attic”
15. “Romance”
16. “Last Date”
17. “Finest Worksong” [Lengthy Club Mix]
18. “Finest Worksong” [Mutual Drum Horn Mix]
19. “Finest Worksong” [Other Mix]
20. “Maps and Legends” [Live]
21. “Disturbance At the Heron House” [Live]
22. “The One I Love” [Live]
23. “Swan Swan H” [Acoustic]
24. “(All I Have To Do is) Dream”
25. “Time After Time Etc.” [Live]






  1. If I’m not mistaken, this is the first reissue of the 12″ mixes for ‘Finest Worksong’? I’d don’t think they’ve appeared on any compilation CD.

  2. where is the Chronic Town EP??? whats up with that

  3. Boring who cares.. REM really screwed their fans by not doing a final tour or even a final show. And now they expect us to keep buying the same stuff they have already released?

    REM are obviously just about the ‘money grab’ now.

    • You really think with the fortunes they’ve amassed that the few thousand copies of this compilation they’ll move will make even a blip on their bank statements?

      They sold 80 million records. This release won’t even mean new pocket change for them.

    • One of the reasons they didn’t do a “final tour” is because THAT would have looked like a ‘money grab.’ They would have made an absolute mint on one last tour, compared to the nickel-and-dime income they’ll get from keeping a handful of obscure old tracks in circulation. Think it through!

      • jazzmaster

        Lotus is right. The revenue generated by this will be next to nothing. REM have done a nice job with their re-issue campaign and some of the stuff here has never been re-issued domestically. And while I don’t believe they screwed their fans by not doing a farewell tour, it would have been nice. REM’s reputation was built on the back of their live show. It never suffered; even when their later recorded output did. Live tours are ‘money grabs’ for most bands if you want to classify them as such. For many, playing live and the related merch sales are the only ‘money grab’ left. I respect REM’s decision not to undertake a final tour for whatever reason; but I, for one, would not have considered it a money grab if it was just a one and done endeavor.

        • R.E.M.’s Live show? I saw R.E.M. open for Gang of 4 in Boston in 1982–what a disaster. R.E.M. sucked and we let them know it. GO4 blew them off the stage. Granted… that was before their first album came out, so… maybe they improved? Should have given them another chance?

          • And the very next year, REM released “Murmur” and GO4 released “Hard.” Game over.

          • Uh, yeah, they improved a bit after that show. Their best touring years for me was 85 through 89. Michael stopped mumbling and the band were as tight as they were ever going to be. It was the years before all the strings entered their sound too. I saw them 17 times at various CA venues and only one show was less than stellar.

          • You’re a hard man, Ashes. Yeah, but I’ll be they say I’m fair, right? Right??

    • What do you think was most likely what happened? The members of R.E.M. called up Universal Music Group and said, “we really need to release yet another compilation of our early material”… or… well, you seem like a smart guy, I’ll let you finish that yourself.

  4. I was hoping Dead Letter Office/Chronic Town would get the remastered CD treatment like their first six releases. I’ve really enjoyed those.

    • You and me both sir.

    • Joe Nathan

      Mike Mills said an interview not long ago that Dead Letter Office would not be getting the 25th anniversary deluxe edition treatment. Sort of understandable considering it’s a compilation album. As for Chronic Town, it was completely overlooked in the 25th anniversary series. Very strange for a record that helped to put them on the map. It may not have played as big a role in that regard as Murmur but it’s still an essential part of the puzzle.

  5. What, no “Wendell Gee?”

    • Joe Nathan

      I’m not sure why “Wendell Gee” would have been included when it’s not a rarity. It was on Fables of the Reconstruction.

  6. All I was hoping for is that the brilliant yet overlooked “Carnival of Sorts (Box Cars)” would finally be remastered and included…. Missed opportunity yet again. I think most fans would agree that the last expansive compilation woul have been improved had they included Carnival of Sorts anddropped something from “Monster” or later..

    • Joe Nathan

      I’m not sure why “Carnival of Sorts (Box Cars)” would have been included when it’s not a rarity. I agree that Chronic Town deserves a standalone, deluxe release but at present it’s still readily available on the CD edition of Dead Letter Office.

    • “Carnival of Sorts (Box Cars)” is one of my top ten favorite R.E.M. songs and I never understood why it gets overlooked so much.

      In any case I want a physical release of this rarities set!

  7. Dfactor (@Dfactor)

    Stick with the Tyrone’s bootlegs – they’re way more fun!

  8. Derek,
    Wendell Gee is just an album track from Fables and not considered a rarity.

  9. I hope Warner Bros will take a hint from this

  10. Scott Stalcup

    And now our long-distance dedication to J. Michael Stipe, Mike Mills, Bill Berry, and Peter Buck RE: this “rarities” release. It’s “Build Me Up (Buttercup)” by The Foundations. I’m Casey Kasem.

  11. How complete is this “Complete Rarities”?

    • As far as officially released (and non-fan club) rarities, it looks pretty comprehensive. But it omits the whole passel of covers and obscurities released on the fan club singles over the years, and the 15 or 16 staples that comprised their earliest sets that turn up on various live bootlegs.

      Some of those early-early songs (like “All the Right Friends”) eventually saw proper studio recording and official release, while others (“Wait,” “Mystery To Me”) appear in demo form on the Lifes Rich Pageant reissue or elsewhere. But most are still uncollected.

      Try to track down a bootleg called “20th Century Boys Vol. 2” and you’ll have most if not all of what they were playing in those days. Also, a bootleg of a show from 1982 or so called “File Under Kudzu” has a track introduced only as “a new song” that I’ve not found elsewhere.

      Happy hunting. That’s always been half the fun of being an REM fan!

    • Can only say “absolutely far from”. All tracks have been officially released on CD already. If you want all in one place, well, ok, good for you. But if you want new stuff, remastered Chronic Town and DLO or true rarities, just keep looking, cause you won’t find them here.

  12. Joe Nathan

    This collection is 5 days from being released yet there’s been no mention of it by REMHQ. It’s also not listed at Amazon or iTunes.

    • This has been deleted from – the only references now left online point to this story. I assume it’s cancelled?

  13. Looks like there are actually 2 sets of rarities now out. iTunes only it looks like.

  14. paulywalnuts

    No physical format?? I’m out.

  15. Disc 2 of the IRS rarities listed here, isn’t listed on the REMHQ Article?
    Only 25 songs.
    Anyone know why?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *