The concept of the “fan club” has faded in the age of the Internet. It’s called Twitter, people! However, if you’re an R.E.M. fan, you might want to join theirs. Every year they send out a new holiday single exclusively to club members. Last year saw them singing Lenny Kaye’s “Crazy Like a Fox” and “Santa Baby.” This year keeps the holiday-romance theme going with Darlene Love‘s classic “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).”

“Christmas” sees Peter Buck, Mike Mills, and the Minus 5’s Scott McCaughey create their best Wall of Sound. They don’t disappoint. Like last year, R.E.M. alum Billy Berry returns on drums. Plus, half the R.E.M. office pitches in on backing vocals (and someone’s playing those sleigh bells). Listen below. Thanks to the good folks at the Murmurs forum for help with the creidts.

It also includes “IHT>U>EDIYTW (Dubmix),” an instrumental mix of three tracks from their upcoming album (which, for the sake of thoroughness, we have below too). Presumably, these are “It Happened Today,” “Uberlin,” and “Every Day Is Yours to Win.” (via R.E.M.HQ)

R.E.M. – Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) (Darlene Love cover)

Mike Mills Guitar, Bass, Percussion, Tenor Sax, Vocals and Piano
Peter Buck, 12 String Guitar, 6 String Bass
Bill Berry, Drums, Percussion and Backing Vocals
Scott McCaughey, Glockenspiel, Bass Harmonica and Mellotron
Chorus: Rachel, Paige, Jessica, Aidan, Cybele, Kevin, David and Mercer

R.E.M. – IHT>U>EDIYTW [dubmix] (Variations from the forthcoming album ‘Collapse
Into Now’)

Peter Buck, Mike Mills & Michael Stipe

Check out more R.E.M. at their website.

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18 Responses to “Listen: R.E.M.’s Fan Club-Only Christmas Single”

Comments (6) Pingbacks (12)
  1. Jim Breeds says:

    That reminds me. My copy of their fan club mailing should be here soon. Let’s hope the mail man doesn’t fold it in half (inc the CD!) to get it through the letterbox this year like he did two years ago! Fragments of shattered CD don’t play with the same fidelity of the intact variety.

  2. Mr. Grimm says:

    Mike singing lead? Cool. But where’s Michael?

  3. blureu says:

    I wonder if Christmas Baby was a leftover from last years session?

  4. yeca.silva says:

    love r.e.m. love michael stipe love alternative rock r.e.m. is the best

  5. Neil Friedman says:

    Great song, great cover., like U2′s. It’s that Wall of Sound. Anyone who’d f–k up this tune should NOT be recording.

  6. Michael Kedor says:

    Great Song, it’s right up there with Darlene’s original.

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