Talk about the passion: Mine for R.E.M. started in Tuscaloosa

Timing is everything. R.E.M.’s first album and I hit Tuscaloosa in 1983.

When I got there, I knew nothing about college or alternative rock. But I was ready for something beyond the Top 40 and found it on the University of Alabama campus radio station, WVUA.

VUA played “Radio Free Europe” from “Murmur” in as steady a rotation as a campus station is likely to do. I took notice. I remember the song seemed to just jump out of my car speakers one day as I crept over the train tracks on Hackberry Lane, past the Flowers bakery, making my way to campus. I thought, “Man, I really love this song.”

“Murmur” is usually called R.E.M.’s first album, and being new to college radio station I was unaware of the earlier “Chronic Town” EP, which I didn’t hear until a lot later — and by a lot I mean just the other day.

So I wasn’t on the R.E.M. ground floor, but thanks to WVUA I was a pretty early adopter. I bought “Murmur” around that time, probably at the grungy Vinyl Solution record store on the Strip. I was hooked and had no idea my love for R.E.M. was going to last well past college.

See the first post in this series here.

Next: 40 years later, still second guessing

 

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About Paul Isom

I'm an Alabama native who moved up north to Chapel Hill. My mission is to bring the Southern to my neighborhood, Southern Village. Otherwise, I'm all about journalism: writing, editing, teaching and advising.

2 responses to “Talk about the passion: Mine for R.E.M. started in Tuscaloosa

  1. Pingback: That’s him in the corner: Michael Stipe sighting launches R.E.M. pilgrimage | Chapel Hillbilly

  2. Pingback: You might think of this as my letter never sent to Michael Stipe, R.E.M. | Chapel Hillbilly

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