Today in Music History: R.E.M. held their first recording sessions

Early R.E.M.: Stipe, Mills, Berry, Buck
R.E.M. in the early days. Left to right: Michael Stipe, Mike Mills, Bill Berry, Peter Buck. (Laura Levine)

History Highlight:

Today in 1981, R.E.M. held their first recording sessions at Bombay Studios in Smyrna, GA. Among their first recordings was the band's first single "Radio Free Europe," as well as the EP "Chronic Town" and the band's album debut "Murmur." According to an interview in Online Athen's "R.E.M. in the Hall" series, producer/engineer Joe Perry said the band arrived to their first recording session focused and ready to rock. "They wanted to record eight songs, complete with overdubs, vocals, mixing and cassette (copies), which was really ambitious. I was probably charging them $12 or $15 an hour, and they were all business. They were very serious."

Also, Today In:

1969 - TCB by The Supremes with Temptations went to No. 1 on the U.S. album chart.

1971 - Frank Zappa was forced to cancel a concert at London's Royal Albert Hall after venue officials deemed Zappa's classical opus "200 Motels" to be obscene and refuse to allow its performance.

1973 - Max Yasgur died of a heart attack at age 53. He was the owner of the dairy farm in Bethel, New York at which the Woodstock Music and Art Fair was held between August 15 and August 18, 1969.

1975 - Bob Dylan went No. 1 on the U.S. album chart with his 15th studio album Blood On The Tracks, his second U.S. No. 1 album.

1975 - Queen released "Killer Queen" which went on to become their first hit single in the U.S., later peaking at No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart. Written by lead singer and pianist Freddie Mercury, it was featured on their third album Sheer Heart Attack and later appeared on the band's first compilation album, Greatest Hits. Besides using his grand piano like he normally did, Mercury overdubbed the song with an upright piano to give the track a vaudeville sound.

1994 - Oasis was forced to cancel their first foreign tour after they were deported from Holland. The band was involved in a drunken brawl on a cross-channel ferry resulting in members of the band being arrested and locked in the brig on the ferry.

2004 - At the Grammy Awards, Outkast was the first hip-hop act to win Album of the Year for Speakerboxxx/The Love Below. It was the group's fifth album and was issued as a double album, with a playtime of more than two hours, comprised of solo albums from Big Boi and Andre 3000.

2005 - Keith Knudsen, drummer for The Doobie Brothers, died of chronic pneumonia in Kentfield, CA. He was 56 years old.

2013 - LA Superior Court Judge Charles Palmer threw out a claim by Axl Rose of fraud and misrepresentation against Guitar Hero III. Rose claimed that his deal with the company to license the song "Welcome to the Jungle" for use in the game included a promise from Activision that no images of Slash would be used in the game.

2015 - Sam Smith won four Grammy Awards, including Record and Song of the Year for "Stay With Me" and Best New Artist. Album of the Year went to Beck for Morning Phase.


Vince Neil, singer for Motley Crue, is 58.

Guy Man (Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo), French electronic musician with Daft Punk, is 45.

Jet guitarist Cameron Muncey is 39.

Former Paramore bassist Jeremy Davis is 34.

Highlights for Today in Music History are gathered from This Day in Music, Paul Shaffer's Day in Rock, Song Facts and Wikipedia.

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