R.E.M. today shared a previously unreleased song the band recorded 15 years ago at the famed Compass Point Studios in the Bahamas in an effort to help raise money for Mercy Corps‘ Hurricane Dorian relief and recovery efforts in those storm-ravaged islands.
The track can be streamed below for free or purchased for $2 — or more — through Bandcamp, with proceeds going directly to Mercy Corps, according to the band.
R.E.M. first recorded “Fascinating” for 2001’s Reveal, and, in fact, it was included on the first advance copies that went out to critics that year. It’s reportedly Michael Stipe’s favorite song from that album’s sessions, according to David Buckley’s R.E.M. biography “Fiction.” “It’s really beautiful,” bassist Mike Mills told Buckley. “It has a flute, oboe arrangement, but it made the record too long… and something had to go.”
Though the song wasn’t commercially released, the band did offer it as a free download through fan community Murmurs.com for a period of time.
R.E.M. rerecorded “Fascinating” at Compass Point during the sessions for Around the Sun, “but the lush ballad ultimately didn’t jibe with that spare, atmospheric album,” according to the band.
That’s the version the band is releasing to benefit hurricane recovery in the islands where it spent two months working on Around the Sun in 2004.
“I have been fortunate to spend many weeks working and playing in the Bahamas, making friends and lots of music there,” Mills says in a statement posted on the band’s website. “It breaks my heart to see the damage wrought by Hurricane Dorian. Please help us and Mercy Corps do what we can to alleviate the suffering caused by this catastrophe.”
“The Bahamas faces a long road to recovery after this devastating hurricane,” adds Neal Keny-Guyer, CEO of Mercy Corps. “We’re grateful to have R.E.M. in our global community of humanitarians, sharing their song with the world to help the people of the Bahamas recover and build back even stronger.”
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