Begin the Begin

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"Begin the Begin"
Song by R.E.M.
from the album Lifes Rich Pageant
ReleasedJuly 28, 1986 (1986-07-28)
Producer(s)Don Gehman

"Begin the Begin" is the first song on R.E.M.'s fourth album, Lifes Rich Pageant. Lead singer Michael Stipe has called it "a song of personal, political activism."[2] Though never released as a single, it appeared frequently in the band's live performances as a song early in the set. It was even used as an opening song in the live performances at their inductions into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame[3] and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.[4] The song was also included as the first track on their 2006 compilation And I Feel Fine... The Best of the I.R.S. Years 1982-1987.

As the opening track on Lifes Rich Pageant, the song heralded a new clarity in Stipe's vocals.[5] Written on acoustic guitars in Stipe's home, the original version of the song was a minute longer, with five different choruses, lacking melody and a bridge.[6] Replete with references to Americana and revolution, the title is a pun on Cole Porter's "Begin the Beguine".[6]


  1. ^ Schumer, Ben (February 26, 2009). "It Starts with an Earthquake: R.E.M.'s Monster". PopMatters.
  2. ^ Hogan, Peter, The Complete Guide to the Music of REM, page 109. Omnibus Press, 1995. ISBN 0-7119-4901-8
  3. ^ "R.E.M. inducted into Music Hall of Fame". September 17, 2006. Retrieved February 10, 2008.
  4. ^ Cohen, Jonathan (March 13, 2007). "R.E.M., Van Halen Lead Rock Hall's '07 Class". Retrieved February 10, 2008.
  5. ^ Hogan, page 32.
  6. ^ a b Hogan, page 33.

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