The album was originally going to be produced by Stephen Hague (chosen by I.R.S.) but the band didn't get on too well with after he added keyboards to a track without their permission. They went to I.R.S. and asked if they could get Mitch Easter back as producer (he had worked on both their debut single and their I.R.S. debut EP Chronic Town).
Mitch Easter and his producing partner Don Dixon pretty much allowed the band to craft their own sound with as little interference from them as possible (unlike Hague who had made the band do endless takes of the song Catapult in the early session in December 1982).
On release the album drew a lot of praise from the critics (see they can say some nice things from time to time!).
Rolling Stone reviewer Steve Pond felt the album fulfilled the promise the band showed on Chronic Town. He wrote, "Murmur is the record on which [R.E.M.] trade that potential for results: an intelligent, enigmatic, deeply involving album, it reveals a depth and cohesiveness to R.E.M. that the EP could only suggest." He concluded, "R.E.M. is clearly the important Athens band." Rolling Stone named it as their Best Album of the Year for 1983, beating out U2's War, Michael Jackson's Thriller and Synchronicity by The Police.
Rolling Stone had the album at #197 on its 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (2003) and #18 on its 100 Best Debut Albums of All Time (2013).
I've included below the debut single, Radio Free Europe and a link for the Chronic Town EP.
I've said before elsewhere on this blog that I was not really a fan of the early stuff of R.E.M. and only began really listening to them when Green was released and it was only then that I took a trip back and visited those early releases and have come to like some of them over the years. I can't say why I didn't like them at the time, I maybe was not really ready for them across the first four albums. I had heard a number of tracks with only a few that I was actually impressed by at the time. But it's all sorted now, the first four albums do have a place among my collection and am happy to give them a blast from time to time.
Murmur - R.E.M.
Produced by Don Dixon and Mitch Easter
Released 12th April 1983
US Chart #36
UK Chart #100 (this was in 1994)
Radio Free Europe/Sitting Still
July 8th 1981
Chronic Town EP
24th August 1982
Radio Free Europe (I.R.S. Version)
July 8th 1983
US Chart #78
Did Not Chart
Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!