All the Right Friends

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"All the Right Friends"
soundtrack by R.E.M. from the album Music from Vanilla Sky
Published Night Garden Music
Released 2001
Recorded 2001
Genre College rock
Language English
Length 2:46
Label Warner Bros.
Writer Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills, and Michael Stipe
Producer Pat McCarthy and R.E.M.

"All the Right Friends" is one of the earliest songs written by R.E.M., in fact written by Peter Buck and Michael Stipe before they had met their future bandmates, according to the liner notes to the band's In Time compilation album. Like all R.E.M. songs, its composition is credited to all members.

The song was recorded for Murmur in 1983, but was left off the album. In January 1993, the Dutch pressing of Dead Letter Office, a B-side album compilation, included that recording, along with an acoustic version of "Gardening at Night". The song was also recorded during the Reckoning sessions, but not used (though bootlegged), and later recorded during the Lifes Rich Pageant demo sessions, and this version was included on the bonus disc of the 25th Anniversary edition of the album.

In 2001, director Cameron Crowe released the movie Vanilla Sky, starring Tom Cruise. R.E.M. were approached with the idea of them contributing a rock song to the soundtrack. According to Peter Buck, they were approached "about eight days before they needed it", and they had loads of material left from Reveal, but they wanted a rock song, and their manager Bertis Downs had liked "All the Right Friends", so they recorded it. Slightly different from the other version (with most of the original lyrics missing), the song was, in Peter Buck's vision, recorded as if they were recording it for the Chronic Town EP, as Buck noted on the sleeve notes to the band's 2003 In Time compilation album.

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Peter Buck recording a guitar overdub for the song.

The song was recorded on October 23, 2001, in Seattle's Bad Animals Studio's "Studio X" while R.E.M. were in town for a performance at the Groundwork Benefit the previous day and, that evening, at the Crocodile Café. On an R.E.M. special of The South Bank Show, which aired in May 2002 on the UK's ITV, Buck is seen recording a guitar overdub for the song, then, upon completion, the camera follows him into the control room to evaluate the recording.

In addition to the Vanilla Sky soundtrack album, the re-recording is included on R.E.M.'s Warner Bros. Records 2003 compilation, In Time: The Best of R.E.M. 1988-2003. The original 1983 version of the song recorded for Murmur can be found on EMI's 2006 compilation, And I Feel Fine... The Best of the I.R.S. Years 1982-1987.