R.E.M. Unearth Their Original ‘Sitting Still’ Recording In Honor Of Their 40th Anniversary

As part of their ongoing 40th anniversary celebrations, R.E.M. have unveiled the Hib-Tone version of “Sitting Still,” which fans may recall is the B-side to the band’s 1983 debut single “Radio Free Europe.”

For those who need a refresher, Hib-Tone is the Atlanta-based label that originally released “Radio Free Europe” (the reissue of which dropped last May) and “Sitting Still” in 1981. Later, in 1983, both songs would be released on the college-rock favorites’ debut album, Murmur, via I.R.S. Records. Now, you can hear the original 1981 version of “Sitting Still,” which is available digitally for the first time.

In a couple of weeks, R.E.M. will reissue their first single as a 7-inch single via Craft Recordings. Likewise, R.E.M.’s 1981 demo tape — Cassette Set — will be available in limited quantities for the first time exclusively via the official R.E.M. store as a bundle with the 7-inch.

“We were all just kind of finger-painting,” Mitch Easter, who produced “Radio Free Europe,” told Rolling Stone in May. “They weren’t super-deliberate about anything. I loved that about the sessions. Even when we did the LPs, nobody was really taking any orders from anybody. There might have been people advising R.E.M. on the business end of things, to do this, that, or the other. But they pretty much ignored all of them.”

Listen to the Hib-Tone recording of “Sitting Still” above. Look for the reissued “Radio Free Europe” 7-inch on 7/23, and pre-order it here.