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R.E.M. — Photograph (w/ Natalie Merchant)
Album: Born to Choose
Avg rating:
7

Your rating:
Total ratings: 562








Released: 1993
Length: 3:26
Plays (last 30 days): 0
(Berry/Buck/Mills/Stipe/Natalie Merchant)

I found this photograph,
Underneath the broken picture glass
Tender face of black and white,
Beautiful, a haunting sight
Looked into an angel's smile,
Captivated all the while
From the hair and clothes she wore,
I'd place her in between the wars

Was she willing when she sat
And posed the pretty photograph?
Save her flowering and fair,
The days to come, the days to share
A big smile for the camera,
How did she know?
The moment could be lost forever
Forever more

I found this photograph,
Stashed between the old joist walls,
In a place where time is lost,
Lost behind, where all things fall
Broken books and calendars,
Letters script in careful hand,
Music too, a standard tune by
Some forgotten big brass band

From the threshold what's to see
Of our brave new century?
The television's just a dream,
The radio, the silver screen
A big smile for the camera,
How did she know?
The moment could be lost forever
Forever more

Was her childhood filled with rhymes,
Stolen hooks, impassioned crimes?
Was she innocent or blind
To the cruelty of her time?
Was she fearful in her day,
Was she hopeful, did she pray?
Were there skeletons inside,
Family secrets, sworn to hide?
Did she feel the beat that stirs,
The fall from grace of wayward girls?
Was she tempted to pretend,
The love and laughter, 'til the end?
Comments (85)add comment
Love this tune, nice duo version.
Hearing Ms. Merchant's voice always makes me want to pull my hair out and smash things......but her voice adds a surprisingly excellent element of harmony to this song!! {#Music} 

I'd forgotten that this song exists. It’s so brilliant I'm off to my iTunes library to add it to this month’s playlist. Thanks Bill.



love this marvelous song...
 
Discovered this song in 2006, right here at R.P. Been on my playlist ever since and I still love hearing it here. Thanks Bill. This one has matured like fine wine over the past 7 years.
Never heard this before!!! Thank you all concerned {#Dance}
Great Song, Michael Stipe and Natalie Merchant voices together are amazing! {#Hug}

Time flies when we're having fun...  love it...
 
 paulmack wrote:

The first time I heard this song was in the late 90's when the rabid fervor I'd developed in the process of re-discovering REM in the early 90's had died. From 1992 or so up until 1994 I'd literally gone a little crazy obsessing over the arc of REM's career from "Reckoning" up through "Green". I began to feel as though "Out of Time" and "Automatic for the People" were the warning signs of a shift witnessed from Monster onward that made sense to the band but left me pining for the older stuff. Then suddenly I hear "Photograph" and it was like going back in time. I was utterly floored - it was as if my favorite band had been resurrected, if only for a few minutes. And Natalie's voice fit SO well for me. Loved it then, love it now - I feel an inexplicable pull into the more poignant moments of my own, the South's, and the country's past every time I hear it. For those 3 minutes I am lost to that amazing short story. And all because I for whatever reason elected to purchase this obscure compilation.



 

{#Clap}  I was about to write the exact same thing.  Tks for saving me the effort.  Great post!
This song is, to me, brilliant in it's ability to tell a wrenching story in such a short time. Plus I die a little every time I hear the chorus....


This is a beautiful song...

 


marvelous...  love it...
 


Everybody in my hotel room loves this song...

 
Bill-your on fire!
My favorite song by both R.E.M. and Natalie Mechant, and I am a fan of both. Gorgeous.


Everybody in my hotel room be dancing...  love it...

 


I'll dance to this...

 


wonderful to hear this...  love it...

 


Yes, and it is always fantastic to hear Natalie sing in this song...  love it...

 
Great song.
Never mind the artist combo — this sounds great!
 Papernapkin wrote:
Rem WITH Natalie Merchant! Wow, I couldn't think of a worse combo!
(Well maybe Jethro Tull and The Moody Blues or Wilco and the Grateful Dead now that I think about it.)
 
Funny - Wilco and the Dead sounds like it could be a really good idea to me. Not so sure about the Moodies and Tull but I'd at least listen. I'm curious - what combinations would you actually recommend, then?

One of my favorite songs, ever - was so stricken from the first time I heard it. A '10' for me, for sure. I love the song for its lyrics most. Some songs evoke so much in just a few lines, an incredible economy of words.... But my appreciation of the lyrics is enhanced - to some unknowable extent, depends on - the wonderful addition of Natalie Merchant's backing vocal harmonies.

Natalie Merchant, Billy Bragg, Michael Stipe, Peter Jenner  By northforksound
https://www.flickr.com/photos/26412141@N05/
howard thompson/northforksound.com

9.30 Club, Washington DC
photo: ht

Copyright All rights reserved
.
——————————————————————————————————————
Natalie Merchant, Billy Bragg & Michael Stipe - Hello in there, Live Glasgow (1990)

Natalie Merchant and Michael Stipe singing together "Hello in there", a classic of John Prine, at March 1990 in Glasgow.





Great song...  love it...




This really is fantastic...


 Tim_in_N_FL wrote:

Yep.  They are evidently very good friends.  When I was living in Athens, GA in the mid-to-late 80s, I used to see them together frequently.  Often, Stipe would be hanging out at Ruthless Records (now out-of-business) where he would work the counter and help clients.  Natalie was there on occasion with him.  Since I am an avid fan of their work, it was a bit of awesome that they were just trying to be regular folks.   Athens was awesome back then....not sure what it is like these days but I would move back there tomorrow if I could...

p.s.
The original release date for this tune was 10/26/1993 on Rycodisc.
 

Way back in the day, 10,000 Maniacs opened for REM (can't remember which tour it was right now). Anyway, a good friend of mine saw them at Clemson, SC and afterwards ran into both of them at an intown bar. Talked to them for a while too. One of the incredible concert evenings of his life...still talks about it today.
 paulmack wrote:

The first time I heard this song was in the late 90's when the rabid fervor I'd developed in the process of re-discovering REM in the early 90's had died. From 1992 or so up until 1994 I'd literally gone a little crazy obsessing over the arc of REM's career from "Reckoning" up through "Green". I began to feel as though "Out of Time" and "Automatic for the People" were the warning signs of a shift witnessed from Monster onward that made sense to the band but left me pining for the older stuff. Then suddenly I hear "Photograph" and it was like going back in time. I was utterly floored - it was as if my favorite band had been resurrected, if only for a few minutes. And Natalie's voice fit SO well for me. Loved it then, love it now - I feel an inexplicable pull into the more poignant moments of my own, the South's, and the country's past every time I hear it. For those 3 minutes I am lost to that amazing short story. And all because I for whatever reason elected to purchase this obscure compilation.



 

Very well said...


excellent...


The first time I heard this song was in the late 90's when the rabid fervor I'd developed in the process of re-discovering REM in the early 90's had died. From 1992 or so up until 1994 I'd literally gone a little crazy obsessing over the arc of REM's career from "Reckoning" up through "Green". I began to feel as though "Out of Time" and "Automatic for the People" were the warning signs of a shift witnessed from Monster onward that made sense to the band but left me pining for the older stuff. Then suddenly I hear "Photograph" and it was like going back in time. I was utterly floored - it was as if my favorite band had been resurrected, if only for a few minutes. And Natalie's voice fit SO well for me. Loved it then, love it now - I feel an inexplicable pull into the more poignant moments of my own, the South's, and the country's past every time I hear it. For those 3 minutes I am lost to that amazing short story. And all because I for whatever reason elected to purchase this obscure compilation.



 Tim_in_N_FL wrote:

Yep.  They are evidently very good friends.  When I was living in Athens, GA in the mid-to-late 80s, I used to see them together frequently.  Often, Stipe would be hanging out at Ruthless Records (now out-of-business) where he would work the counter and help clients.  Natalie was there on occasion with him.  Since I am an avid fan of their work, it was a bit of awesome that they were just trying to be regular folks.   Athens was awesome back then....not sure what it is like these days but I would move back there tomorrow if I could...

p.s.
The original release date for this tune was 10/26/1993 on Rycodisc.
 

As for Athens now, still a great town.  have been here for 13 years and still love it.  don't see stipe around much anymore, but now and again.  he sometimes brings great folks with him, like thom yorke.
Love the combo of their voices.  I think its pretty....
Muito bom!



great song...


Papernapkin wrote:
Rem WITH Natalie Merchant! Wow, I couldn't think of a worse combo!
(Well maybe Jethro Tull and The Moody Blues or Wilco and the Grateful Dead now that I think about it.)

{#Roflol} Well, I quite like it.  Actually I wouldn't mind hearing the combos you suggest!  To each their own..



love it...


 islander wrote:


wonderful visual image - Michael Stipe using a keyboard to beat back an attacking Brett Michaels.
 Slaughter, GnR, Great White, Slayer, Bon Jovi, Dokken, Twisted Sister, Sammy Hagar, and Stryper—-all together, and all zombies.   Even better.


This song is good for the ears...


I don't especialy like or dislike either REM or Natalie Merchant, they both have their moments. This seems to work fine.
 On_The_Beach wrote:
Michael Stipe and Natalie Merchant on the same song?
Shoot me now.
 
Yep.  They are evidently very good friends.  When I was living in Athens, GA in the mid-to-late 80s, I used to see them together frequently.  Often, Stipe would be hanging out at Ruthless Records (now out-of-business) where he would work the counter and help clients.  Natalie was there on occasion with him.  Since I am an avid fan of their work, it was a bit of awesome that they were just trying to be regular folks.   Athens was awesome back then....not sure what it is like these days but I would move back there tomorrow if I could...

p.s.
The original release date for this tune was 10/26/1993 on Rycodisc.


Rem WITH Natalie Merchant! Wow, I couldn't think of a worse combo!
(Well maybe Jethro Tull and The Moody Blues or Wilco and the Grateful Dead now that I think about it.)
suddenchad wrote:
Really, really wish I understood the hate for these guys. REM and the Maniacs were probably my two favorite bands of the 80s--really kind of rescued that dreadful decade for me. REM to my mind saved rock music from the dreadful onslaught of the synthesizer and the hair bands.
It is ridiculous, especially considering most of the alt rock bands the haters like so much instead wouldn't exist if it wasn't for REM --their sound and songwriting style which paved the way for so many, and their way of managing to be in the music business on their own terms and not conforming to what they were told to do. They refused to make the kind of records they were told to make, and then built a following by touring where they wanted to at smaller venues, repeatedly building a following. Then they were able to parlay that into airplay on the radio from their concert fan following requesting their songs. They built a whole way of getting alt rock into the limelight and making a living that so many bands learned from.
suddenchad wrote:
Really, really wish I understood the hate for these guys. REM and the Maniacs were probably my two favorite bands of the 80s--really kind of rescued that dreadful decade for me. REM to my mind saved rock music from the dreadful onslaught of the synthesizer and the hair bands.
wonderful visual image - Michael Stipe using a keyboard to beat back an attacking Brett Michaels.
I forgot about this song, it's been a while. It should be played on vinyl....
I could listen to this song forever. Such a beautiful sound.
Really, really wish I understood the hate for these guys. REM and the Maniacs were probably my two favorite bands of the 80s--really kind of rescued that dreadful decade for me. REM to my mind saved rock music from the dreadful onslaught of the synthesizer and the hair bands.
Michael Stipe and Natalie Merchant on the same song? Shoot me now.
Downgrade
This song really makes me miss REM before Up and Reveal.
I'm getting RSI in my right wrist from reaching for the "change channel" button as soon as I hear Michael Stipe's voice.
squidish wrote:
And we'll be born to be right wing, no choice! Scary!
We are on this way....all over the western world... :stop:
hippiechick wrote:
If we don't watch out, we won't have the right to be born to choose!
And we'll be born to be right wing, no choice!
I don't know if anyone said this but I hear echoes of The Jefferson Airplane here.
I see the evil Gorktron Galaxy has used their talent removing ray gun on the recording studio this was done in. I have no idea what that means but it was the nicest comment I could think of. 2 horrible musicians.
KSC wrote:
You know, physicsgenius isn't even good at being a troll.
I know I should not encourage flame wars like this, but that comment was pretty damn funny. :lol:
Is Natalie Merchant the ultimate backup singer? I can't think of a single effort she sang harmony on that I didn't like.
:lol: TKTuttle wrote:
R.E.M. and Natalie Merchant?! Two of my least favorite bands/singers ever...
physicsgenius wrote:
They are really going for a vocal nadir bifecta here, aren't they?
You know, physicsgenius isn't even good at being a troll.
NorthernLad wrote:
michael sang back up on a 10 000 maniac song, i think it was called 'a campfire song'...long time ago...
you are correct
Few duets work as seamlessly as this one does. Bravo.
What the hell is this?!?! This is awesome! How have I never heard this??
Love the lyric here.
michael sang back up on a 10 000 maniac song, i think it was called 'a campfire song'...long time ago...
TKTuttle wrote:
R.E.M. and Natalie Merchant?! Two of my least favorite bands/singers ever. Together on 6/6/06?! :evil: The Apocalypse is here! :fire:
No, you just have terrible taste in music. :wall:
They are really going for a vocal nadir bifecta here, aren't they?
pkimbrel wrote:
Perhaps I was born too late... but am I the only one who actually doesn't like REM?
No. I think they are lame and pathetic, and they suck too. I don't get why so many people, especially around here, like them so much.
R.E.M. and Natalie Merchant?! Two of my least favorite bands/singers ever. Together on 6/6/06?! :evil: The Apocalypse is here! :fire:
... Go Swans! ... :high-five: ... 'n Crooners! ...
ChardRemains wrote:
Two of my favorites from the mid-80s. Always thought they would sound good together, and when they did, I was proved right. Also saw the Maniacs open for REM, and dug the show. Have kind of grown past this stuff now, but it's nice to hear it again.
I also saw the 10,000 Maniacs warm up for REM. It was really cool show. They (Natalie and Micheal) slowly removed most of their clothing during their shows. It worked well for her (sexist comment of the day!). Two great voices together. Boy he can croon and she just swans. :wave:
Two great voices together. Wow.
If we don't watch out, we won't have the right to be born to choose!
treehugger wrote:
Yes. Considering you are from Normal, IL or at least live there, you should either like Frat Rock, Classic Rock or Modern (Pop) Country. Corncobs and pickups, and baseball caps; these are a few of your favorite things.
I certainly hope you're being sarcastic...
pkimbrel wrote:
Perhaps I was born too late... but am I the only one who actually doesn't like REM?
Not by a long shot.
Perhaps I was born too late... but am I the only one who actually doesn't like REM?
Love it. It's that simple.
I have not heard this song in about 10 years! I love it. It brings back a lot of memories. Thanks RP!!
Two of my favorites from the mid-80s. Always thought they would sound good together, and when they did, I was proved right. Also saw the Maniacs open for REM, and dug the show. Have kind of grown past this stuff now, but it's nice to hear it again.
ezzy wrote:
Funny, I was just thinking, "Hm. This sounds like REM singing with Natalie Merchant." I had no idea they had ever collaborated.
Happy Birthday, Natalie... Hard to believe she was turning twenty-three when I saw her spinning and spinning and spinning with the Maniacs, opening up for old-style hard-rockin' word-mumblin' REM on the Fables of the Reconstruction / Reconstruction of the Fables tour. Hard to not like her after that.
Oh, I remember this one. The Stipe/Merchant collborations will always be one of the things that "stamped" the early 90's for me. Thanks!
ezzy wrote:
Funny, I was just thinking, "Hm. This sounds like REM singing with Natalie Merchant." I had no idea they had ever collaborated.
Michael Stipe joined 10,000 Maniacs for a live version of To Sir with Love at the 1993 MTV Inaugural Ball and for A Campfire Song on In My Tribe. I uploaded both of them (along with this song) and To Sir was added but A Campfire Song was rejected, despite the 14/2 vote.
Funny, I was just thinking, "Hm. This sounds like REM singing with Natalie Merchant." I had no idea they had ever collaborated.
fantastic - love it :-)
Yay! My first upload added to the playlist!
I've always loved this song. Mumbles and Merchant - I love the contrast of their voices.
I've always like the REM/Merchant collaborations. Glad to hear it again.