Hans 2021 Song Draft: Round Six-Pick 11-Fall On Me-R.E.M. (1986)

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Fall On Me REM Discogs Image One
Image Credit: Discogs

Hanspostcard has a song draft challenge. This is my Round Six pick.

Moving into 1986… My first introduction to R.E.M. wasn’t the radio or MTV. It was an odd video channel on Cablevision in the early 80s in my NC hometown (my mom only had basic cable…no MTV). I’ve talked at great length with Max (Powerpop Blogger) about this obscure video channel. I remember two VJs, one named “Dr. John” (not the musician) that wore blue scrubs and one named “Carrot Top” (not the comedian), that, of course, was a red-headed dude. I have no idea where this channel broadcast from but, it was a seriously stripped down operation. It was just rotating VJs, sitting at a desk, talking into a camera…and playing music videos. The first video I recall seeing was Radio Free Europe, the Murmur version, not the Hib-Tone single (I later found out). I was immediately hooked but, totally missed who the band was. (Interestingly, the Hib-Tone version was recorded at Drive-In Studios in Winston-Salem, NC and the Murmur version was recorded at Reflection Studios in Charlotte, NC.) Fast forward to the end of my senior year of high school and I see some of So. Central Rain (I’m Sorry) on MTV. I had no idea that this was the same band. It wasn’t until my sophomore year of college, when Driver 8 came out (another one I like), that a buddy of mine told me who R.E.M. was…a college band out of the University of Georgia (Bulldogs). Every piece of music of theirs that I was lucky enough to catch, I loved. Finally, in 1987, The One I Love broke thru to #9 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and they seemed to be everywhere. Their highest charting hit was Losing My Religion, getting to #4 in 1991. Out of their entire catalog, which is gi-hugic, Fall On Me wound up being my favorite, with my introductory piece, Radio Free Europe, coming in second. I wish I had seen them live.

Bit of odd trivia…five strange degrees of separation. R.E.M. had a manager by the name of Jefferson Holt. He was with them until 1996 when they got rid of him for sexual harassment. Jefferson Holt is from Chapel Hill and his mother is named Bertha “B” Holt. She was an NC State Rep. from 1975 to 1994, representing my home county (and another one). She was quite the pioneer, advocating for the ERA and married rape victims (which is ironic as hell considering her son’s behavior). My paternal grandmother was in Democratic politics in the 60s, 70s & 80s, running for local office, herself (and on first-names basis with several governors). She campaigned heavily for her favorites and “Bee” Holt was one of them. I met Bee Holt several times as a kid and remember all of her “Bee” 🐝 paraphernalia all over my grandmother’s house.

I guess this makes me closer to R.E.M. than Kevin Bacon! 😉 😊 ~Vic

RIAA Gold Album Image Two
Their first Gold album.
Image Credit: RIAA

Released 0n August 11, 1986, it was the third track from the album Lifes Rich Pageant. It debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at #96 the weekend of October 4, peaking at #94 on October 11 before finally disappearing from the chart on October 25. It did better on the Album Rock Tracks, making it to #5 for one week on September 6.

“Of the genuinely new songs, Peter Buck’s basic music track for Fall On Me dated back to July of 1985, when Stipe had written a lyric about acid rain [but], the song had been virtually re-written, melody and lyrics, by the time it came to be recorded. Stipe, who declared in 1991 that “…this may be my favourite song in the R.E.M. catalogue…”, has described the final version as “…pretty much a song about oppression.” Trainspotters might like to know that the counter-melody used in the second verse is actually the song’s original tune.

Johnny Black (2004)
Reveal: The Story of R.E.M.
Page 123

R.E.M. Fiction: An Alternative Biography (David Buckley/2012/Google Books)
R.E.M. HQ (Official Site)
The Complete R.E.M. (R.E.M. Timeline)


His Favorite Song

24 thoughts on “Hans 2021 Song Draft: Round Six-Pick 11-Fall On Me-R.E.M. (1986)

    charliecountryboy said:
    September 24, 2021 at 3:46 AM

    Ahh, not your talking 😁 Love REM I think if I was on a desert island and could choose on catalog of music it would have to be theirs. So rich in diversity 😁

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      September 24, 2021 at 2:34 PM

      Not my talking?

      They have a grand history of terrific music.

        charliecountryboy said:
        September 25, 2021 at 3:14 PM

        Sorry, typo 😂 “Now you’re talking” 😁

          The Hinoeuma responded:
          September 25, 2021 at 3:17 PM

          😆 Damn thumbs!

    badfinger20 (Max) said:
    September 24, 2021 at 12:17 PM

    Vic there HAS to be a way to find out what that was…now it’s driving me crazy.

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      September 24, 2021 at 3:05 PM

      It still haunts me as I can’t even prove that the video channel existed. Since I didn’t have MTV, my videos came from that channel, TBS’s NightTracks and NBC’s Friday Night Videos.

      I’m sure there are old Cablevision former employees that would remember that station but…finding them…🙄😖

        badfinger20 (Max) said:
        September 24, 2021 at 3:40 PM

        I wish you could remember what channel…or do you know? It was Cablevision right?

          The Hinoeuma responded:
          September 24, 2021 at 5:09 PM

          I don’t remember the name at all. Cablevision was all there was in my area back then. Burlington was still pretty small, even in the 80s. DirecTV didn’t exist until 1994. Dish Network has roots going back to 1980 as Echo Star but, they were out of rural Colorado and Dish didn’t really exist until 1996.

          Cablevision eventually became TimeWarner Cable in whatever areas it covered. We never had Charter, Comcast or Cox.

            badfinger20 (Max) said:
            September 24, 2021 at 7:42 PM

            I’m going to look again…you know someone on a forum somewhere has said something about it.

              The Hinoeuma responded:
              September 24, 2021 at 11:56 PM

              I was hoping something like that would show up but…no.

                badfinger20 (Max) said:
                September 24, 2021 at 11:59 PM

                Anyone that watched it with you?

                  The Hinoeuma responded:
                  September 25, 2021 at 2:59 PM

                  Nope. I was always alone, as I recall. I lived in an apartment with my mom.

                  It was usually after school.

                    badfinger20 (Max) said:
                    September 25, 2021 at 3:01 PM

                    Someone has to remember….it wasn’t a pirate show was it?

                      The Hinoeuma responded:
                      September 25, 2021 at 3:15 PM

                      Pirate, meaning, someone hijacked the channel in a one-off?

                      badfinger20 (Max) said:
                      September 25, 2021 at 7:16 PM

                      Yea…like a basement thing…back then people were doing it

                      The Hinoeuma responded:
                      September 25, 2021 at 3:32 PM

                      I honestly can’t answer that. I saw the channel more than once, long enough to catch names & personalities. Another obscure song I caught on that station, that I have literally never seen anywhere else, was Don’t Talk To Me About Love by Scottish New Wave band Altered Images.

                      I watched it enough that I grew to love the dark-haired Dr. John character. He was funny as hell, sitting at the desk with blue scrubs on and a face mask hanging around his neck. He was cute, too. The Carrot Top guy was more straight forward with less whimsy. I think I even remember a woman VJ, too but, that is really vague. All of them were, like, in their middle 20s? Early 30s? IDK. They weren’t teens. Scott Carrot Top Thompson was born in 1967 so, this Carrot Top was older and he certainly didn’t have Scott’s “crazy eyes.”

                      And, interestingly enough…when Scott Thompson came on the scene, I remember saying, out loud, that he stole the other guy’s moniker.

                      I suppose they could have been college guys (Elon, UNC, Duke, State, Wake Forest…) but, how would they get access to Cablevision…or even the damn videos, particularly obscure ones.

                      badfinger20 (Max) said:
                      September 25, 2021 at 3:36 PM

                      Since you saw it more than once….then no I doubt it was…it just makes no sense that there is not a trace anywhere…that we have found anyway.

                      The Hinoeuma responded:
                      September 25, 2021 at 3:53 PM

                      If I still had a presence on FakeBook and not just a placeholder, I could take a survey of my grad class to see if they remembered it but, since the scamdemic, there has been very little talking amongst us. All gatherings were shuttered and many began arguing online. We may never have another reunion, it is so bad.

    Charles Huss said:
    September 25, 2021 at 6:54 AM

    I like R.E.M. but, surprisingly, I don’t remember hearing the song Fall on me.

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      September 25, 2021 at 3:14 PM

      It was a flash in the pan on Billboard 100. Top 40 stations might not have carried it. It would have shown up on various rock stations but, in 1986, they were probably regional. R.E.M. wouldn’t be widely known until a year later.

    christiansmusicmusings said:
    October 30, 2022 at 4:02 PM

    Nice tune. While I know a good deal of R.E.M. songs, I haven’t explored their albums in greater detail. I guess my knowledge mainly comes down to their better known songs/hits.

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      October 30, 2022 at 4:59 PM

      They were a busy band with an eclectic collection. They were pioneers before alt-rock was a thing. Some of their earlier stuff didn’t really chart high. They were into the video craze of the 80s. I heard them a lot in my area as our radio stations liked college rock. Hootie & the Blowfish started the same way…regionally.

      One band I loved was Far Too Jones. They were out of Raleigh but, couldn’t get noticed out of the region. Cry of Love had the same problem.

        christiansmusicmusings said:
        October 30, 2022 at 9:16 PM

        Far Too Jones and Cry of Love? These names don’t ring a bell at all. I just randomnly pulled up “Close to You” by Far Too Jones and “Peace Pipe” by Cry of Love. They both sound like I should dig them. I earmarked for Sunday Six. If I end up using them, I will credit you! 🙂

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