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R.E.M. may release fan club singles as box set

1 of 1 Buck: centre
Buck: centre

R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck has said that the band may release their semi-mythical fan club singles as a charity box set.

The band gave away a two-track, fan-only release every year from 1988 until their split in 2011. The songs were a combination of punk covers, original songs and Christmas carols.

There were also duets with the likes of Neil Young and Radiohead and copies of the singles can currently change hands for hundreds of Euro.

In total there were 24 copies comprised of 50 songs and Buck has told the BBC that the band may. "Put them in a big box set for charity one day."

A complete set of the singles is currently for sale for £750 on music memorabilia website eil.com. Only 6,000 copies of each single were ever pressed, with many coming on coloured vinyl and containing promotional gifts like baseball caps sent to members of the band’s fan club, which cost $10 (£6.50) a year.

"I just liked the idea," said Buck. "I was never in the Beatles fan club but... I really liked the fact you would get a weird thing in the mail every year. So every year, REM put out a record. It was all material that had never been released anywhere else."

Tracks featured on the singles included Ghost Reindeers In The Sky, a Christmas spoof of Ghost Riders In The Sky; and See No Evil, a cover of the Television classic.

The 1999 fan club single included a nine-minute acoustic version of fan favourite Country Feedback, featuring a solo by Neil Young, while later singles saw departed drummer Bill Berry return to the studio.

REM split up amicably in 2011 and Buck said he considered giving up music altogether. However, he has since released a solo album and recently reprised his role in Tired Pony, a supergroup lead by Snow Patrol singer Gary Lightbody.

"I was telling all of my friends 'I'm never going to do anything. I'm done. I'm never going to play music,'" Buck said in the interview with the BBC. "Then I immediately wrote 10 songs and started getting ready to perform them and sing, which I'd never done before."

Last year, he became the first REM member to produce a solo album, a self-titled record was restricted to 6,000 vinyl copies which were sold exclusively through independent stores and online retailers.

"I probably met everyone that bought the thing," he said, "but I like that. That's the level I'm working on. It's very non-professional." He also said that he had finished a second solo album "last Friday".

"It'll be out maybe before Christmas, maybe in the spring. It'll be vinyl only - no interviews, no photos, no video. I'll do shows, but just sporadically. I'm lucky enough that I don't have to work for a living."

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