Fond Memories of R.E.M.

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Late 80’s and early 90’s R.E.M. songs always remind me of good times and in particular my old friend Jeff Rainey.

For a brief time I lived in Portsmouth, NH and commuted to Stoughton, MA with my friend Jeff. He was a huge R.E.M. fan and really turned me onto the band. His favorite album was Green. It quickly became one of mine as well. The drive between Stoughton and Portsmouth was an hour plus. Great memories of listening to this album going up and down I-95, and through the Exeter Toll.

There was a show in the early 1990’s called “Get A Life” with Chris Elliot. Its theme song was “Stand” from R.E.M.’s Green. I always liked Chris Elliot and could relate to the show’s open cause I delivered news papers when I was a kid too. Although I don’t remember seeing girls quite as good looking on my paper route as the one Chris Elliot saw on his. Well, except for Kelley Spellman. =)

One of Jeff’s favorite songs was “Orange Crush”. I remember him cranking it up way loud in his mom’s Toyota Cressida. Hearing this song always makes me think of Jeff and Portsmouth, NH.

I remember trying to decipher what Michael Stipe was saying in the middle of this song, thinking that there may be some hidden message in it. Later, thanks to the advent of the internet, I learned that there was absolutely no rhyme or reason to what he was saying on the bullhorn and that he often just made that part up when the song was performed live.

Jeff was taken from this world way too early. I’ll spare you the long story, but this is what happened. My dad and his wife were actually in Portland, ME that day and saw the police tape and the streets all closed off. It may be just another R.E.M. album, but to me it always reminds me of my friend, Jeff Rainey.

Miss you, my friend.

And a personal favorite R.E.M. song is “The Great Beyond”. I really like it because of how different it sounded than anything else out at the time.

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