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R.E.M.’s debut EP ‘Chronic Town’ released 40 years ago today


Today, August 24, marks the 40th anniversary of the release of R.E.M.‘s debut EP, Chronic Town.

Arriving about a year after R.E.M.’s first single, “Radio Free Europe,” the five-track collection preceded the band’s classic 1983 debut studio album, Murmur.

The EP includes early fan favorites “Wolves, Lower,” “Carnival of Sorts (Boxcars)” and “1,000,000,” as well as the gems “Gardening at Night” and “Stumble.” All songs were co-written by singer Michael Stipe, guitarist Peter Buck, bassist Mike Mills and drummer Bill Berry; they showcase the quartet’s jangly and hugely influential “College Rock” sound.

Chronic Town was co-produced by R.E.M. and singer/songwriter/producer Mitch Easter. It was recorded at Easter’s Drive-In Studio in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

The EP was originally issued on cassette and vinyl, and it made its CD debut as part of R.E.M.’s 1987 rarities compilation Dead Letter Office.

To celebrate the milestone anniversary, R.E.M. released Chronic Town as a standalone CD for the first time Friday, while the EP was reissued on cassette and as a vinyl picture disc. Easter has written new liner notes for the reissue.

In conjunction with the EP’s rerelease, Chronic Town-themed merch items have been made available at, includingT-shirts, a hoodie and a collectible skateboard deck.

In other news, Buck and Mills recently contributed to a new song called “The Voice of Baseball” by their side group The Baseball Project. The tune, which is available as a digital download at the group’s official Bandcamp page, is a tribute to longtime LA Dodgers sportscaster Vin Scully, who died August 2 at age 94.

Buck co-wrote the song with his Baseball Project bandmate Scott McCaughey, who was a longtime member of R.E.M.’s touring group.

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