How R.E.M. Ended Up Recording With Eddie Vedder and Patti Smith

05/02/2011
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(Gibson) Over the years, R.E.M. have invited a handful of guests to perform on their albums, from The B-52s' Kate Pierson to rapper KRS-One to Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones. On the group's latest effort, Collapse Into Now, the band have enlisted two A-listers to contribute Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder and punk legend Patti Smith.

Vedder's contribution to the song "It Happened Today" was completely unplanned, according to guitarist Peter Buck. Buck told Goldmine, "Eddie actually just came to the studio to listen to the record. I think Michael suggested, 'Hey, you want to sing on something?' And he did!"

Hooking up with Smith, however, was a bit more work. "We wanted Patti, when she was in Berlin, to come by the studio," Buck said. "But their bus came in at four, they did the show, and the bus left at one in the morning, so she didn't have time. But we kept talking about it; we just thought it'd be great to have Patti on the record. Patti's someone that, for Michael [Stipe] and I, particularly, kind of kickstarted the '70s, and the new music we were listening to then, and it's been a huge influence on us. We have worked with her in the past, but it's just a thrill to write a song with her and have her on a record. We just sit there not believing that it's occurring while it's occurring." more on this story

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