Music History

This is the earliest known footage of REM (UPDATED)

REM’s first gig was in a deconsecrated church in Athens, Georgia, on April 5, 1980. That gig was cobbled together as a goof, a favour to a friend who was having a birthday party that night. But things went so well that they stuck together.

This is the earliest known footage of REM. Shot at The Pier in Raleigh NC on October 10, 1982, it features an 11-song set that included several songs that would become REM staples.

(Via Farout)

UPDATE: People now tell me that this while cool, this is not the earliest footage available. Jonathan write: ?Per the post on your website, that is not the earliest known footage of R.E.M. The earliest known video footage was recorded on 6th May 1980 at Tyrone’s in Athens (albeit without sound, just video). 6th June 1980 at Wuxtry Records in Decatur is the earliest R.E.M. video footage in existence, with sound. This footage also predates the footage you posted from the Pier. This is from Dan Wall’s (of Wuxtry Records) archives.”

Good to know.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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4 thoughts on “This is the earliest known footage of REM (UPDATED)

  • This is a great find and so evocative of R.E.M.s earliest recordings and gigs. I loved it, thanks for posting it!! And a great big retrospective thank you to the person who recorded it and kept the recording all these years!

  • Amazing artifact- how has something that clean stayed hidden for 39 years?!?!

  • It hasn’t. It has been fairly widely circulated for many years in trading circles and has also been on YouTube for years.


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