Rare R.E.M. Demo Tape Circa 1981 Surfaces

R.E.M. in 1983, the Murmur era: Michael Stipe, Mike Mills, Peter Buck, Bill Berry

Just weeks after R.E.M.'s breakup following a three-decade run, a rare cassette from the band's earliest days has hit the Internet. Thanks to a blog, "The Power of Independent Trucking," and a generous reader, R.E.M. diehards and alt-rock audiophiles can hear a six-track cassette demo, originally recorded in April 1981 with producer Mitch Easter.

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Laid down at Drive-In Studios in Winston-Salem, NC, the early cuts were intended as a promotional tool for Michael Stipe and company on their first visit to New York City.

The cassette contains two different takes of three different songs: "Sitting Still," "White Tornado," and "Radio Free Europe," which would eventually become R.E.M.'s debut single three months later on Hib-Tone Records.

According to guitarist Peter Buck, only 400 copies were made back in 1981.

R.E.M. announced its amicable split Sept. 21, following 15 studio records, numerous hit songs, and a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in 2007.

A career retrospective, "Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage 1982-2011," is due for a Nov. 15 release via Warner Brothers.

Download the tape here and stream "Radio Free Europe" here.