Peter Buck On Creating The Song That Changed R.E.M.’s Destiny

An album or a song might sometimes change the course of a band’s career. In R.E.M’s case, this song was written by the band’s lead guitarist Peter Buck. In a recent interview with Guitar Player, Buck revealed the process of making R.E.M.’s huge hit and how it became the band’s breakthrough.

“In America, it was like radio stations weren’t interested in whatever we did,” recalled Peter Buck, implying the band wasn’t favored by the American radio stations at first. “It was never the right thing. But we sold many records, and that single definitely changed how the world perceived us. And all of a sudden, our audiences doubled.”

“I remember sitting there and playing almost the whole song all the way through,” said Buck, revealing how he came up with the song. “And then I showed it to the rest of the guys, and boom! Musically, it was there within one or two passes. Then Michael [Stipe] sang it within a day after coming up with the lyrics. It was one of those instantaneous things.”

R.E.M. entered the music scene with their 1981 single ‘Radio Free Europe.’ Following its release, the band continued making musical efforts, and their debut album ‘Murmur’ hit the shelves. Although R.E.M.’s reputation was building, they didn’t achieve a considerable breakthrough until the release of the song ‘The One I Love.’

Following ‘The One I Love’s release, R.E.M. rapidly climbed the ladder of success and came up with two successful albums ‘Out of Time’ and ‘Automatic For The People,’ and a worldwide known hit, ‘Losing My Religion.’ As it turns out, Peter Buck helped create a music effort that changed everything for R.E.M.