“Radio Free Europe” Turns 40 Today: R.E.M. Reissuing Original Hib-Tone Mixes

“Radio Free Europe” Turns 40 Today: R.E.M. Reissuing Original Hib-Tone Mixes

Forty years ago today, R.E.M. released their debut single “Radio Free Europe.” That’s a pretty big deal — the first release by what would become the most important college rock/alternative/indie band of the ’80s — and the band is commemorating the anniversary with appropriate fanfare. They’ve announced a reissue of the original 7″ as released on Hib-Tone Records. The reissue was pressed at Kindercore Vinyl in the band’s hometown of Athens, Georgia, and features the original mixes and Michael Stipe photography from the Hib-Tone release. The B-side from that record, “Sitting Still,” is officially out digitally for the time today.

The 7″ is out on July 23. On the same day, R.E.M.’s 1981 demo Cassette Set is seeing official release for the first time. The reissued tape, limited to 1,500 copies, will replicate the original packaging, which featured photocopied cardstock for the inlays and handwritten cassette labels by Stipe. The band is also selling a custom limited edition portable cassette player, produced by RecordingTheMasters. Various merch bundles involving the record, the tape, and clothing options are available here.

As for “Sitting Still,” it’s a pretty damn good early R.E.M. song, infectious and urgently jangly, and you should listen to it below.

“Radio Free Europe (Original Hib-Tone Single)” reissue is out 7/23 on Craft Recordings. Pre-order it here.

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