Rahul Sharma

Lifes Rich Pageant

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedIn
Recorded  April–May 1986
Artist  R.E.M.
Producer  Don Gehman
Length  38:23
Release date  28 July 1986
Label  I.R.S. Records
Lifes Rich Pageant httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediaeneedRE
Released  July 28, 1986 (1986-07-28)
Studio  Belmont Mall Studios, Belmont, Indiana, United States
Lifes Rich Pageant (1986)  Dead Letter Office (1987)
Genres  Alternative rock, Jangle pop, Folk rock
Similar  REM albums, Alternative rock albums

R e m lifes rich pageant full album

Lifes Rich Pageant is the fourth studio album by the American alternative rock band R.E.M., released in 1986. R.E.M. chose Don Gehman to produce the album, which was recorded at John Mellencamp's Belmont Mall Studios in Belmont, Indiana. This was the only album the band recorded with Gehman, who moved them from the more obscure and dense sound of their earlier albums to an accessible, pop rock-influenced quality. The album was well-received critically.


Begin the begin r e m


The source for the title of the album is based on an English idiom. Its use is very old, but R.E.M.'s use is, according to guitarist Peter Buck, from the 1964 film A Shot in the Dark, minus the apostrophe:

Inspector Clouseau opens car door and falls into a fountain. Maria: "You should get out of these clothes immediately. You'll catch your death of pneumonia, you will." Clouseau: "Yes, I probably will. But it's all part of life's rich pageant, you know?"

The missing apostrophe in the title is deliberate. Nearly all contractions used by R.E.M. lack apostrophes, though "life's" in this case is a possessive. Peter Buck once stated, "We all hate apostrophes. Michael insisted and I agreed that there's never been a good rock album that's had an apostrophe in the title."

The cover of the album is a photograph of drummer Bill Berry on the upper part of the cover and a pair of bison, signifying an environmental theme, on the lower part. It also alludes to Buffalo Bill.

With R.E.M.'s fan base beginning to grow beyond its college rock boundaries, Lifes Rich Pageant proved to be at the time the band's most commercially successful album in the US, peaking at number 21 on the Billboard charts and heralding their first gold record. In the UK, the album managed a number 43 peak.

Slant Magazine listed the album at #52 on its list of "Best Albums of 1980s" saying "Lifes Rich Pageant stands as a nearly seamless transition between the band's formative period and their commercial dominance."

In 2000, it ranked at number 162 in the list of Virgin's All-Time Album Top 1000 List.

The ecologically conscious "Fall on Me" (a personal favorite of frontman Michael Stipe) and a cover of the Clique's "Superman", sung by bassist Mike Mills, were the only singles released from the album (the single version of the latter removed the sample from one of the Godzilla movies that began the album version).

Another ecologically minded song, "Cuyahoga", refers to the once heavily polluted Cuyahoga River that flows into Lake Erie at Cleveland, Ohio. The song includes the lyric we burned the river down, which refers to the several occasions (most famously in 1969) when the river actually caught fire.

At the end of "Just a Touch" Michael Stipe can be heard screaming the line "I'm so young, I'm so goddamn young", quoting longtime influence Patti Smith's live cover version of The Who's "My Generation" released on the b-side of her 1976 single "Gloria", which she also uses at the end of her cover version of "Privilege (Set Me Free)" from her 1978 album, Easter.

Track listing

All songs written by Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Michael Stipe, except where noted.

Side one – "Dinner side"

  1. "Begin the Begin" – 3:28
  2. "These Days" – 3:24
  3. "Fall on Me" – 2:50
  4. "Cuyahoga" – 4:19
  5. "Hyena" – 2:50
  6. "Underneath the Bunker" – 1:25

Side two – "Supper side"

  1. "The Flowers of Guatemala" – 3:55
  2. "I Believe" – 3:49
  3. "What If We Give It Away?" – 3:33
  4. "Just a Touch" – 3:00
  5. "Swan Swan H" – 2:42
  6. "Superman" (Mitchell Bottler and Gary Zekley) – 2:52

1993 I.R.S. Vintage Years reissue bonus tracks

  1. "Tired of Singing Trouble" – 0:59
  2. Previously unreleased
  3. "Rotary Ten" – 1:58
  4. B-side of "Fall on Me" American 7" single
  5. "Toys in the Attic" (Steve Tyler, Joe Perry) – 2:26
  6. B-side of "Fall on Me" British 12" single
  7. "Just a Touch" (Live in studio) – 2:38
  8. Previously unreleased version, recorded live to 2-track during Reckoning sessions, 1984
  9. "Dream (All I Have to Do)" (Felice and Boudleaux Bryant) – 2:38
  10. Originally released on the soundtrack to the film Athens, GA: Inside Out, 1987
  11. "Swan Swan H" (Acoustic version) – 2:41
  12. Originally released on the soundtrack to the film Athens, GA: Inside Out, 1987


  • "Rotary Ten" and "Toys in the Attic" can be found on Dead Letter Office.
  • Although sometimes referred to as such, the first release of this edition does not have the original tracks remastered. They follow the first print of the album and only add the extra tracks.
  • 2011 25th Anniversary Edition reissue bonus tracks (The Athens Demos)

    1. "Fall on Me" – 2:50
    2. "Hyena" – 2:50
    3. "March Song" ("King of Birds" demo) – 3:46
    4. "These Days" – 3:36
    5. "Bad Day" – 3:26
    6. "Salsa" ("Underneath the Bunker" demo) – 1:32
    7. "Swan Swan H" – 2:39
    8. "The Flowers of Guatemala" – 3:29
    9. "Begin the Begin" – 3:44
    10. "Cuyahoga" – 4:33
    11. "I Believe" – 3:37
    12. "Out of Tune" – 0:34
    13. "Jazz" ("Rotary Ten" demo) – 1:13
    14. "Two Steps Onward" – 4:24
    15. "Just a Touch" – 2:31
    16. "Mystery to Me" – 2:07
    17. "Wait" – 2:10
    18. "All the Right Friends" – 3:40
    19. "Get On Their Way" ("What If We Give It Away?" demo) – 3:17


  • "Superman" was listed on some early copies as "Superwoman."
  • The track listing on the back of the album is incorrect. It has never been corrected. The order is given as 1-5-10-8-2-7-4-9-3-11, which leaves out "Superman" and "Underneath the Bunker." The track listing is correct on the actual vinyl, cassette, and some CD versions.
  • Early pressings of the CD have the track number for "Cuyahoga" as "0R" instead of "04" printed on the CD itself. This error resurfaces on the cover of Green.
  • On the vinyl and cassette releases, R.E.M. labeled side one (tracks 1–6) as the "Dinner side" and side two (tracks 7–12) as the "Supper side."
  • The European 'I.R.S. Years Vintage 1986' release preserves the erroneous track list, but properly lists the bonus tracks.
  • Personnel


  • Bill Berry – drums, backing vocals
  • Peter Buck – guitar, banjo
  • Mike Mills – bass guitar, backing vocals, piano, pump organ, lead vocals on "Superman"
  • Michael Stipe – lead vocals, backing vocals on "Superman"
  • Production

  • M. Bird – illustrations
  • Jim Dineen – engineering
  • Gregg Edward – mixing at Can-Am Recorders, Los Angeles, California, United States
  • Rick Fetig – engineering
  • Don Gehman – production, mixing
  • Ross Hogarth – engineering
  • Stan Katayama – engineering
  • Bob Ludwig – mastering, at Masterdisc, New York City, New York, United States
  • Sandra Lee Phipps – photography
  • Juanita Rogers – back cover painting
  • R. O. Scarelli – packaging
  • B. Slay – illustrations
  • Chart performance



    Release history


  • † I.R.S. Vintage Years edition, with bonus tracks
  • †† 25th anniversary edition, with bonus disc
  • Songs

    1Begin the Begin3:29
    2These Days3:25
    3Fall on Me2:52


    Lifes Rich Pageant Wikipedia

    Similar Topics
    Hurricane Smith (1992 film)
    Mark Anderson (writer)
    Mattia Pozzo