R.E.M. Grew Up on Singles, Says Mike Mills


Story by Anne Erickson

R.E.M. bass player Mike Mills says the band appreciates the power of a good single

Just in time for Christmas, R.E.M. have unleashed “7IN— 83-88,” a reissue set of the 11 seven-inch vinyl singles that were released through I.R.S. Records from 1983 through 1988.

Just because the band released lots of singles, that doesn’t mean R.E.M. cared about making “hits.” According to bass player and backup singer Mike Mills, the guys just enjoyed the creativity of releasing one song at a time.

“Singles for us were just great things in and of themselves, with or without being hits,” Mills told Rolling Stone. “Singles are what we grew up on, singles are what made us love music in the beginning, so being able to make singles felt like we had achieved a connection with the thing that made us love music in the first place.”

Mills is a longtime fan of vinyl singles. He’s racked up quite a collection over the years.

“Oh man, I’ve got Elvis’ ‘All Shook Up’ backed with ‘Don’t Be Cruel’ that I got really cheap because the woman who ran the store wasn’t there and I think her son undervalued it for me,” Mills said. “I also have a single of Bill Haley doing ‘Yodel Your Blues Away’ that no one’s ever heard of.”



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