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First, a housekeeping note: The eagle-eyed among you might have noticed that I skipped “Perfect Circle” as I turn my attention to side two of Murmur. That’s because there’s a live version that I’ll be writing about in a few weeks that I love even more than the studio version, with its dual piano parts, echoed drum beat and backwards guitars. So don’t worry, we’ll get there.
In the meantime, let’s talk about one of more infamous roads not taken: the Stephen Hague-produced version of Murmur. Apparently the story goes that I.R.S. was a bit dodgy about having Mitch Easter — who’d already produced Chronic Town — produce the full-length. So R.E.M. agreed to go into the studio and do a song with Hague.