R.E.M. will reissue its debut single “Radio Free Europe” for the first time in 40 years this summer, pressing up new 7-inch vinyl copies of the original Hib-Tone version of the song released in 1981 — and different than the re-recorded version that appeared on 1983’s Murmur.
The reissued 7-inch, “Radio Free Europe (Original Hib-Tone Single),” is due out July 23 via Craft Recordings. It’ll be featured in its original format: a 45 rpm single in a jacket featuring sleeve photography by frontman Michael Stipe. And it’ll be pressed at Kindercore Vinyl in Athens, Ga.
The original single was released in July 1981, and featured a mix by Hib-Tone Records owner Jonny Hibbert, even though the band preferred Mitch Easter’s original mix. Over the years, R.E.M.’s members claimed to prefer the Hib-Tone version over the slower recording that appeared on Murmur.
However, the version they included on 1988 compilation Eponymous and 2006’s And I Feel Fine… The Best of The I.R.S. Years 1982-1987 — both labeled “Original Hib-Tone single” — was the Easter mix, not the version that actually was released by Hib-Tone in 1981 — and will now be reissued.
The new “Radio Free Europe” 7-inch is available for pre-order.
(The band also is reissuing a very limited-edition cassette copy of its original “Cassette Set” demo tape as part of $50 and $75 “Radio Free Europe” bundles, but those have sold out already.)
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