R.E.M. Radio Free Europe (Original Hib-Tone Single)
Format: 7'' Single
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and multi GRAMMY® Award-winning band R.E.M. is one of the most revered bands to emerge from the American underground. Singer Michael Stipe, guitarist Peter Buck, bassist Mike Mills and drummer Bill Berry helped originate college rock during the post-punk scene of the 80s. The Athens, GA-based group toured relentlessly for the first decade of their career, refining their idiosyncratic blend of brash tunefulness, poetic lyrics, chiming guitars and evocative vocals.
By the early 90s, R.E.M. had become one of the most popular and critically-acclaimed bands in the world. With an extraordinary three-decade-long run of creative vitality, R.E.M. have established a powerful legacy as one of the most enduring and essential rock bands in popular music history.
R.E.M.’s first and breakthrough single “Radio Free Europe” was initially released by a small Atlanta-based record label, Hib-Tone Records. Produced by Mitch Easter, the original recording of the single had different mixes by Easter and by label-owner Johnny Hibbert. Although the band preferred Easter’s mix, Hibbert chose his version for the 1981 limited pressing 45RPM single, which is now a coveted collector’s item, packaged in a black and white sleeve featuring original photography by Michael Stipe.
“Radio Free Europe” was later re-recorded for the band’s first album release on major record label I.R.S. Records and went on to land the band their chart debut, peaking at number 78 in the Billboard Pop Chart. That album, Murmur, went on to reach number 36 in the album charts, and set the band steadfastly on the path to college radio domination and critical acclaim. The band’s 1988 compilation album, Eponymous, included what was called the Original Hib-Tone single, but what was in fact Easter’s original mix, not Hibbert’s.
This limited edition 7” pressing represents the first-ever re-release of the original Hib-Tone recording of “Radio Free Europe,” and comes housed in a replica sleeve.