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30 Years Ago: R.E.M.’s ‘Document’ Drags College Rock Into the Mainstream

Document R.E.M.
I.R.S.

A Top 10 hit and a platinum album marked the end of their world as an underground sensation, but R.E.M. felt fine.

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Filed Under: , Category: Anniversaries, Longform

R.E.M. Departs on a Fiery Note With ‘Oddfellows Local 151′: The Story Behind Every ‘Document’ Song

I.R.S.
I.R.S.

R.E.M.'s bleakest album rumbles to a close with one more roundhouse political punch.

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Filed Under: , Category: Longform, News

R.E.M. Ponder Earthquakes and Artistry on ‘King of Birds’: The Story Behind Every ‘Document’ Song

Spencer Platt, Getty Images
Spencer Platt, Getty Images

Michael Stipe's earthquake phobia came to the forefront on this 'Document' track, set to a martial beat.

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Filed Under: , Category: Anniversaries, Longform

R.E.M.’s ‘Document’: The Story Behind Every Song

EveryDocument

We've compiled links to all of our stories about the 11 songs on R.E.M.'s 1987 landmark album, 'Document.'

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Filed Under: , Category: News

R.E.M. Defy Easy Interpretation With ‘Lightnin’ Hopkins': The Story Behind Every ‘Document’ Song

JSP Records
JSP Records

R.E.M. named the 'Document' track "Lightnin' Hopkins" after the Texas bluesman, in spite of the song's lyrics having nothing to do with the late musician.

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Filed Under: , Category: Anniversaries

Shakers and Saxophones Get Thrown Into R.E.M.’s ‘Fireplace’: The Story Behind Every ‘Document’ Song

Denis Doyle, Getty Images
Denis Doyle, Getty Images

In writing the cryptic 'Fireplace,' R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe was inspired by a 200-year-old speech by Mother Ann Lee, leader of the Shakers.

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Filed Under: , Category: Anniversaries, Longform

R.E.M. Score a Big Hit with the Brutal ‘The One I Love’: The Story Behind Every ‘Document’ Song

IRS
IRS

If 'Document' was the turning point for R.E.M., then “The One I Love” served as the hinge. The song was released as the album's lead single in August 1987,

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Filed Under: , Category: Anniversaries, Longform

Dreams, Politics and TV Converge for R.E.M. on ‘It’s the End of the World as We Know It’: The Story Behind Every ‘Document’ Song

REM It's the End of the World As We Know It

R.E.M. brought together a variety of experiences to create the second 'Document' single and one of the most famous songs in the band's catalog.

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Filed Under: , Category: Anniversaries, Longform

R.E.M.’s Cover of Wire’s ‘Strange’ Speaks to the Moment: The Story Behind Every ‘Document’ Song

IRS
IRS

One of only two times R.E.M. has included a cover on one of their studio albums, "Strange" found the band updating the sludgy Wire song.

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Filed Under: , , Category: Anniversaries

‘Disturbance at the Heron House’ Finds R.E.M. Tackling George Orwell and Ronald Reagan: The Story Behind Every ‘Document’ Song

George Keoning, Getty Images
George Keoning, Getty Images

Michael Stipe was inspired by 'Animal Farm' to create an animalized revolution put down by the Reagan administration.

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Filed Under: , Category: Anniversaries, Longform

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