When Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones Offered R.E.M. a Key Assist


Members of R.E.M. had been skeptical concerning the business potential of their eighth album, Automatic for the People. It was a testomony to their immense reputation and sharp songcraft that the plush, brooding LP replicated the success of its 1991 successor Out of Time, climbing to No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and promoting over 4 million copies in the USA.

Launched on Oct. 5, 1992, Computerized for the Folks additional cemented R.E.M.’s standing as alt-rock visionaries and superstars, yielding half a dozen singles together with the sparse tone-setter “Drive” and the heartrending ballad “Everybody Hurts.” In their quest to craft a young, timeless opus, they enlisted the assistance of somebody who knew a factor or two about making opuses: John Paul Jones.

R.E.M. producer Scott Litt reached out to the Led Zeppelin alum about arranging strings for “All people Hurts” and three different Computerized tunes: “Drive,” “The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite” and “Nightswimming.” After listening to the demos, Jones fortunately obliged.

“Doing the string preparations for that album was an amazing expertise, really,” he informed Uncut in 2014. “They despatched me the demos of their songs, and we went right into a studio in Atlanta, with members of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. They had been nice songs, one thing you may actually get your tooth into as an arranger – and I have been good buddies with them ever since.”

Watch R.E.M.’s Video for ‘Drive’

The collaboration was mutually pleasant. “John Paul Jones was nice to work with,” guitarist Peter Buck stated in Reveal: The Story of R.E.M. “He is aware of his method backwards and forwards on nearly each instrument. He is an amazing arranger and a brilliant candy man.”

Drummer Invoice Berry argued that “John Paul Jones actually added an additional ingredient to this report that the final one did not have, despite the fact that it had strings. These had been principally our string components that we kinda hummed alongside to the symphony they usually kinda struggled with it,” he stated in a promotional video for Computerized for the Folks. “However John Paul Jones got here in with, , charts and particular concepts – and he actually directed that portion of the report.”

The transfer paid off, because the Jones-produced “Drive” topped Billboard‘s Various Airplay (then
Trendy Rock Tracks) chart. “All people Hurts” tapped out at No. 21 on Various Airplay and No. 29 on the Scorching 100, however nonetheless grew to become one of many band’s best-known and most enduring songs.

Jones and R.E.M. would cross paths greater than as soon as over the subsequent a number of a long time. Buck and R.E.M. bassist Mike Mills joined Jones onstage in Norway in 2015 to cowl Led Zeppelin’s “When the Levee Breaks.” Jones and Buck teamed up once more simply two months later on the Todos Santos Festival, performing alongside members of Wilco and Sleater-Kinney.

Legends Who By no means Had a No. 1 Single

It is all of the extra stunning when you think about the success so lots of them had by another measure. 

You Suppose You Know Led Zeppelin?

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