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Dead Letter Office

R.E.M.Audio CD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)

Price: $9.98 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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R.E.M. Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage: 1982-2011


R.E.M. marked the point when post-punk turned into alternative rock. When their first single, "Radio Free Europe," was released in 1981, it sparked a back-to-the-garage movement in the American underground. While there were a number of hardcore and punk bands in the U.S. during the early '80s, R.E.M. brought guitar pop back into the underground lexicon. Combining ringing guitar ... Read more in Amazon's R.E.M. Store

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Dead Letter Office + Murmur + Reckoning
Price for all three: $26.25

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: A&M
  • ASIN: B000001I0I
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,985 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Crazy
2. There She Goes Again
3. Burning Down
4. Voice Of Harold
5. Burning Hell
6. White Tornado
7. Toys In the Attic
8. Windout
9. Ages Of You
10. Pale Blue Eyes
11. Rotary Ten
12. Bandwagon
13. Femme Fatale
14. Walters Theme
15. King Of The Road
16. Wolves, Lower
17. Gardening At Night
18. Carnival Of Sorts (Box Cars)
19. 1,000,000
20. Stumble

Editorial Reviews

While purists will insist on an undiluted copy of the band's 1982 Chronic Town EP, R.E.M. completists (and those who just like a lot of tracks for their money) will be grateful for the inclusion of 15 additional B-sides and curios on this 1987 compilation. Not surprisingly, the non-Chronic material is a mixed blessing: while R.E.M. were much beloved for being notorious cover-whores during those early Athens live shows, their reverent takes on Velvet Underground classics stand the test of time far better than their odes to Roger Miller and Aerosmith. But all that will be forgotten by the time Chronic Town's "Wolves, Lower" kicks in, signaling the official arrival of a band that forever changed the face of Southern rock. --Bill Forman

Product Description

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best of the Rest July 12, 2002
Format:Audio CD
"Dead Letter Office" is a housecleaning effort from R.E.M.'s days on IRS records (1981-1987). As such it provides an interesting alternative view of the band. Several of the tracks reveal a goofy sense of humor that doesn't show itself on their "proper" albums. Two examples are "Voice of Harold," which features the backing track from "7 Chinese Brothers" as singer Michael Stipe reads a studio promotional flyer, and a cover of the Roger Miller country staple "King of the Road." The band acknowledges its considerable debt to the Velvet Underground by covering no less than three songs ("There She Goes Again," "Pale Blue Eyes" and "Femme Fatle") that are among the best performances here. Aerosmith's "Toys in the Attic" even gets a workout. The CD includes the contents of the band's 1981 EP "Chronic Town" as a (very considerable) bonus.
Overall, rarities albums don't get much better than "Dead Letter Office."
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great REM, a great listen and a great buy October 20, 1998
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
This is, quite simply, my favorite REM CD for repeat listening. The only track I feel is even remotely substandard is the mangled rendition of "King of the Road", and even that track is pretty good listening compared to the filler most bands use to fill out an album. The inclusion of the Chronic Town EP as the last five tracks on the disc are an added listening bonus, as this album provides one of the longest-playing REM CD's I own, and I'm just as happy to start over again at the beginning immediately after listening to it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the bottom line November 26, 1999
Format:Audio CD
This record is not for everyone. However, if you are like me and got into the band circa Green,you missed a lot of stuff! Like many, I went back and got all of the older albums I'd missed, yet my collection was still lacking. The Chronic Town EP had been out of print for years and tracking down the singles? HA! Anyone who was fortunate enough to glom onto one of these certainly wasn't letting it go. Not at a resonable price at least. Then I stumbled across this little gem. A virtual treasure trove of lost B-sides; drunken fun in the studio; covers that, many times, outshine the originals and they threw in Chronic Town to boot! No, not every song is solid gold, but this album isn't about "the hits", nor does it try to be. It's simply a compilation that showcases the many facets of a brilliant band growing, expanding, and trying new things, sometimes finding itself on the top of the mountain, sometimes tossed against the jagged rocks below, but always walking unafraid. But then again, maybe it's just a compilation of stuff you could never track down put together on on one CD, a smourgasborg of tasty treats offered up for your enjoyment from the fine folks at R.E.M. Either way, I'm diggin' it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Compendium of Oddities Collared. September 14, 2000
Format:Audio CD
This is worth buying for the Chronic Town EP alone. This is worth buying for Gardening at night alone. If you are a serious REM fan you should buy this. If not start at Automatic and work your way down, this is not for you. It has fun covers by The Velvet Underground, Pylon(the best), Aerosmith! and also Roger Miller. Then a bunch of stuff that you could only like if you love them soo. Drunken Jingles for restaurants and U2 flag waving attacks-Bandwagon. Voices of Harold 4. 7 Chinese Brothers nil.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the best kind of trip down memory lane August 1, 2009
Format:Audio CD
When most of my friends were sulking to Led Zeppelin, grooving to Kool and the Gang, or screaming along with the Dead Kennedys, I was listening to REM, Aztec Camera, INXS, and their ilk. Dead Letter Office is quintessential REM from the early years when it was a challenge to understand Michael Stipe's mumbles and the the music had a fresh, raw sound. Recently, I have been playing DLO in my car and reminiscing. The mix of covers and original material works well, and this album includes some of my favorite tunes. I love how REM does Toys in the Attic- it's a worthy tribute though it still maintains the REM feel. Femme Fatale is absolutely gorgeous- and no offense to Lou Reed, but I think Michael sings it better.

I saw REM in concert back when they were playing colleges, and this collection captures the energy, humor, and soul of the band perfectly.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chronic Town alone would've been worth the money January 14, 2002
Format:Audio CD
Since I've only been a recent fan of REM's, it would be nearly impossibly to find an original tape of "Chronic Town". So, I love the fact that they included it on this album.
The rest of the album is not excellent. The covers are mostly good, but not all of them sound together. Of course, these are studio outtakes, so that is excusable
I would recommend this to ANYONE just because of "Chronic Town"'s Greatness
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A classic of the CD age December 3, 2002
Format:Audio CD
Many years ago, before CDs dropped [in price], I bought "Dead Letter Office" on cassette. I wore out the tape quickly skipping the sillier songs and listening to my favorites -- a "Toys in the Attic" cover propelled by Mike Mills' bass, the quirky "Bandwagon," a version of "Pale Blue Eyes" that's easier on the ears than the original, etc.
Then it came out on CD. Of course, the CD has an inherent advantage -- I could just skip "King of the Road" at will. (That's worth one or two listens and the occasional amusement of watching your friends exclaim "That's R.E.M.??!!", but that's it.)
But they weren't content with that. They added one of the best collections of five songs available anywhere -- the "Chronic Town" EP from their very early days. Any of those songs will show why R.E.M. became a critical darling so quickly.
It's an odd combination, to be sure. But it's better than paying [more money] for five songs, as good as they are. Think of it as five good singles on one disk -- you shouldn't have any trouble finding five worthwhile B-sides out of the rest.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars REM!
Such a great collection of covers and previously unreleased gems. The CD also has their first EP on it; good luck finding it otherwise....
Published 2 months ago by Kurk Schoner
5.0 out of 5 stars Quality Scraps
This CD remains one of my favorite and most cherished collections of B-sides, out-takes, and other assorted tracks. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Donald E. Gilliland
5.0 out of 5 stars great cd!!
a must for any REM fan! not only include out takes and rare cuts, but also the entire Chronic Town Ep!
Published 14 months ago by chuck gore
5.0 out of 5 stars Woot! finally got a legal copy of Chronic Town!
I love the songs on this disc. Along with the 'dead letters', which show interesting sides of REM's early journey, you get the EP nobody can get - Chronic Town -- with the songs... Read more
Published 19 months ago by E. Eden
5.0 out of 5 stars It is the "Cronic Town" ep that makes this CD
The main thing aobut this CD is that it has "Cronic Town" E.P. on it. The other music (the first many songs) are OK, but the last 5 are AMAZING! the rest is just an added bonus. Read more
Published on April 25, 2012 by jonathan brailsford
3.0 out of 5 stars The covers are inconsequential, but there's some good eccentric...
DEAD LETTER OFFICE is a collection of B-sides R.E.M. recorded during its years on the IRS label (1982-1987), plus the band's first big release "Chronic Town" which was now... Read more
Published on July 4, 2009 by Christopher Culver
4.0 out of 5 stars just what I needed to hear lately
Voice of Harold: it's real, they mean it.

I remember lines like that, it much more comes creeping over me when I listen to my old stuff. Read more
Published on March 23, 2009 by Bruce P. Barten
3.0 out of 5 stars Hitting the Flea Market with R.E.M.
The main reason to get this CD was to pick up the long out-of-print "Chronic Town" EP. It was the first time R.E.M. Read more
Published on November 18, 2008 by Tim Brough
4.0 out of 5 stars Humble beginnings and the choice leftovers
I had nearly forgotten about this record when I started re-perusing R.E.M.'s catalog the other day, but this was one of my favorites by the band from Athens. Read more
Published on February 23, 2007 by tick tock
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must for longtime R.E.M. fans
I admit that I was an REM fan from the release of Murmer. And yes, I am quite partial to the early stuff. I believe there are two REMs. the one before Green and the one after. Read more
Published on December 20, 2006 by SUPERMAN
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