R.E.M. played their first show 40 years ago this week on 5 April 1980 at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Athens, Georgia.
The show was mainly covers but there were a few originals, none of which made the studio albums but a few that popped up on rarities records.
R.E.M.’s covers were diverse from Cher to Sex Pistols, The Searches to the Stones.
Here is what R.E.M. sounded like on stage for the very first time.
I Can’t Control Myself (The Troggs cover)
God Save the Queen (Sex Pistols cover)
Narrator (original song)
Baby I (original song)
Action (original song)
Needles and Pins (The Searchers cover)
The Hippy Hippy Shake (Chan Romero cover)
There She Goes Again (The Velvet Underground cover)
All the Right Friends (on Dead Letter Office, 1987)
Shakin’ All Over (Johnny Kidd and The Pirates cover)
Secret Agent Man (Johnny Rivers cover)
A Girl Like You (The Young Rascals cover)
Permanent Vacation (on iTunes Originals – R.E.M., 2004)
I Can Only Give You Everything (Them cover)
Dangerous Times (Cher cover)
A Different Girl (original song)
Mystery to Me (on And I Feel Fine … The Best of the I.R.S. Years, 2006)
(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone (Paul Revere and The Raiders cover)
Lisa Says (The Velvet Underground cover)
Nervous Breakdown (Eddie Cochran cover)
Scheherazade (Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov cover)
Honky Tonk Women (The Rolling Stones cover)
One Nation Under a Groove (Funkadelic cover)
Road Runner (The Modern Lovers cover)
California Sun (The Rivieras cover)
Gloria (Them cover)