REM to release BBC Sessions Box Set featuring vast collection of “rare and unreleased” recordings
Spanning over 30 years, the box set collection will include 8 CDs, and a DVD with a 60-min retrospective of the band’s performances at the BBC via the film 'Accelerating Backwards'
R.E.M. have confirmed plans for a massive new box set featuring rare and unreleased material from the archives of their BBC sessions.
The alt rock pioneers enjoyed a lengthy relationship with the broadcasters, who backed them when they were still underground heroes and followed their path to world fame. In a sense, R.E.M. grew up with the BBC, and this historic relationship is celebrated across a prolific collection that beautifully illustrates the career trajectory of one of modern music’s greatest bands.
The new box set is titled 'R.E.M. At The BBC' and features numerous highlights, gathered across 8CDs (or 2CDs in the slim-line version) that spans across 30 years. Highlights from the box set include a John Peel Session (1998), Drivetime and Mark and Lard appearances (2003) together with a live performance in Radio 1’s Live Lounge (2008). Other highlights include REM's Nottingham’s Rock City performance from 1984 and the Milton Keynes Monster Tour from 1995. Their headline set from Glastonbury 1999 also features, as does an invitation-only show at London’s St James’s Church from 2004.
Check out the live 1991 performance of ‘Losing My Religion’, recorded for Nicky Campbell Session Into The Night on BBC Radio 1 below:
The box set also comes with a DVD, featuring a 60-minute retrospective of the band’s performances at the BBC via the film 'Accelerating Backwards', which has not been available commercially previously. A complete episode of their performance on 'Later…With Jools Holland' from 1998 also features, as does the band’s appearance on Top of the Pops and more.
The package liner notes add yet more behind-the-scenes insight to this definitive retrospective collection. Assorted BBC personalities reminiscence about what it was like to work with R.E.M both on stage and off. Respected BBC DJ/Presenter Jo Whiley recalls, “Their Glastonbury performance in 1999 was a dazzling moment: the band storming through an all-killer, no-filler setlist. As a headline performance, it was a triumph and, for me, it’s up there as one of the Glastonbury greats.”
BBC Producer Mark Hagen adds, "Michael once told me that he hears in colors and it was one of those nights when you felt that you could reach out and touch the music as it flowed through the air, a glorious rolling cloud of green. Just like a kudzu vine in a dream," while acclaimed rock journalist Tom Doyle also provides an overview of the entire thirty-year period.
In addition to the comprehensive box set, The Best of R.E.M. at the BBC is also available via 2-CD and 2-LP formats. The box set will also be available to stream or download, with the digital album offering mirroring discs 1 to 8 from the box set. You can pre-order it here. For a full tracklisting of the box set and more information, visit the REM HQ.