“Don’t Go Back To Rockville” R.E.M. #AtoZ Challenge

“Don’t Go Back To Rockville” R.E.M. #AtoZ Challenge

I have to fess up.

I am a big fan of R.E.M. Huge.  I have been since high school. When I finally saw them in concert in my 20s, I was so overcome with emotion it was like I was 13 and at a New Kids on the Block concert. I almost cried.

But that’s not the secret.  In fact, I think I’ve mentioned the band in almost every post since I started the A to Z Challenge, and we’re only on day four.

No, my secret is that I have always credited my two older brothers for introducing me to the band. That’s not entirely accurate. It was really the actor Chris Elliott.

Remember Chris Elliott? He had a short-lived TV show back in the early 90s called “Get a Life.” It was about a 30-something paper boy who lived with his parents, and the opening credits feature Elliott riding his bike through his neighborhood delivering papers. The credits were set to the song “Stand” by R.E.M.

“Stand” had been on the radio, and I liked it, but I loved the show.  I thought the credits were so funny, I became obsessed with the song.

My older brother, Curt, had the R.E.M. album it was originally featured on,  so I permanently “borrowed” it from him. I would return it to his room every couple of weeks, but would always end up “borrowing” it back.

It was a great album.  And while I may not have understood a lot of it, I liked it. A lot. It felt like my first real, grown-up album (well, not mine exactly). It made me want to build a better music collection. One that featured something other than Madonna and Whitney Houston.

 When the album Out of Time came out a year later,  I bought it and  Eponymous with my own babysitting money. I was a thief no more (also not true … I stole Curt’s cassingle of Tesla’s “Love Song” and his Stone Temple Pilots album a couple of years after that).

 

When my oldest brother Tony found out I was listening to R.E.M. he started making me tapes of their older albums. Normally, this wouldn’t be such a big deal … it’s what siblings do … you pass music down to one another.

But Tony was one of my idols growing up. He’s 11 years older than me, and in some ways always felt a bit more like a cool, young uncle. And like your cool, young uncle, Tony has great taste in music. He likes it all – David Bowie, The Beatles, Cheap Trick, The Cars, Def Leppard. If Tony made you a tape of something, it was like receiving a gift from Johnny Fever.

This song, “Don’t Go Back to Rockville” is one of my favorite R.E.M. songs. I might not have known that if Tony hadn’t made me those tapes. And Tony might not have made me those tapes if I hadn’t stolen one from Curt in the first place. So, I credit them with introducing me to my favorite band.

But, really, for the record, I wouldn’t have known about any of it if it wasn’t for Chris Elliott. It’s just cooler to thank my brothers.

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23 thoughts on ““Don’t Go Back To Rockville” R.E.M. #AtoZ Challenge

  1. Borrowing music is a time honored tradition. My brother was younger although still probably had better taste in music than me. But, for me it was my two cousins who were the musical taste influences and had the “borrow” worthy collections. They even played in rock band in high school.

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    1. I went through a Harry Connick Jr. phase, which introduced me to big band, but I’m definitely no expert there. It’s great when we have people in our lives who expose us to different things – whether is books, movies or music. It’s a big world out there. We need guides 🙂

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    1. There’s just something special about them – brothers and mixtapes 🙂 Our kids won’t know what that’s like, will they? They won’t have shoeboxes full of tapes that they cart around with them from place to place. How sad.

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  2. That’s a good song! Thanks for sharing. I’m only familiar with the R.E.M. hits that were on the radio 20 times an hour. 🙂 But the song Michael Stipe did with the Indigo Girls (Kid Fears) is one of my favorites. His voice was perfect for that song!

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    1. I’m the fifth of seven so I know where you’re coming from. I may have been the only kindergartener in my class who loved Air Supply and The Cars 😊

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  3. I remember that REM concert! Some killjoy told you to sit down and we told him where to go. I still talk about it to this day 😉

    Also, I “borrowed” a few albums from your husband a time or two!

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  4. Awesome story of how your fandom began! I remember going to Macy’s first thing in 2000 to get tickets for REM. there was nobody there and I thought I had the wrong day. We got second row tickets for Saratoga. That concert was fantastic and I still have a guitar pick that was flung in our general direction. I don’t know if I could pick a favorite song…not easily anyway.

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