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Perfect Circle: The Story of REM

Perfect Circle: The Story of REM [Kindle Edition]

Tony Fletcher
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Tony Fletcher’s biography of the enigmatic quartet from Athens, Georgia, benefits not only from Tony’s long association with the band but also by the co-operation of the band itself.

However, R.E.M. – being R.E.M. – were disinclined to reveal this at the time the book was first published in 1989 and Tony was thus obliged to keep this under his hat.

All such restrictions have since been lifted for newer editions, of which there have been several, and this latest incarnation of the book – now retitled Perfect Circle – brings the story to its natural conclusion with R.E.M.’s decision to disband in September, 2011.

Discussing fame, fortune and sexuality with the same keen eye he casts on the group's astonishing musical catalogue, Perfect Circle is neither blind fan worship nor jaundiced critical cynicism, but a balanced and thorough telling of one of the most compelling rock stories of our time.

Drawing on dozens of interviews with friends, associates and the band members themselves, this is not just the story of one group's rise through cult status, but the story of American rock.

About the Author

Tony Fletcher is the author of biographies on The Smiths, Echo & The Bunnymen, Keith Moon and more. A native of Britain who lives with his family in the Catskill Mountains of New York State, he first saw R.E.M. in concert in London in 1983; he last saw them in concert in New York in 2008 on their final tour. At R.E.M.'s request, he wrote the sleeve notes for the 1991 compilation The Best of R.E.M., and the 2008 Deluxe Edition of Reckoning. In 2007 he gave the keynote talk at 'R.E.M. In Perspective,' a symposium held in their Athens, Georgia hometown.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1801 KB
  • Print Length: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Omnibus Press (22 Mar 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #361,350 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Tony Fletcher is the author of seven non-fiction books and one novel. His biography of drummer Keith Moon, 'Dear Boy", has been named in many a Best Music Book list, and his biography of R.E.M., updated in 2013 as "Perfect Circle", has been published in over half a dozen countries. His latest biography, "A Light That Never Goes Out: The Enduring Saga of The Smiths", was published in the UK by William Heinemann in September 2012, and by Crown Archetype in the USA in December 2012. A memoir of his South London schooldays, "Boy About Town", will be published in the UK by William Heinemann in July 2013.

Fletcher gained his entry into music journalism by founding a fanzine at his London school in 1977; by the time Jamming! ceased publication in 1986, it was selling 30,000 copies a month. Along the way he interviewed the likes of Pete Townshend, Paul McCartney, Paul Weller and U2, as well as dozens of up-and-coming, predominantly independent post-punk acts.

A contributor over the years to a multitude of magazines, newspapers, radio and television shows, primarily in the UK and USA, Fletcher now lives with his wife and two sons on a mountaintop near the village of Woodstock in New York State. There he runs, skis, maintains his web site, serves on his local school board, and plays Hammond B-3 and Rickenbacker in the Catskill 45s, a group that only performs songs from 45 calendar years ago.

Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
3.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Circle 28 April 2013
By Mr. Shy
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
After the band had gone their separate ways, this book merited an article on the band's official website, and on purchasing, the author in the introduction also suggests that his book should be viewed as an unofficial, but endorsed by the band all the same, autobiography. So it should be the perfect overview of the career of Athens' finest, and now as it's new title suggests, also be a story with a beginning, middle, and end.

Actually, it reads well enough to keep the attention, despite the overall story arc being likely well known to anyone interested enough in the band to read the book.

So why three stars? Somehow, the work is let down by the editing or fact checking - it is clear the author is a fan of the band, and has made some effort to pull all this together, so would be expected to be something of an authority on the topic. It's therefore disappointing that there are several obvious small errors dotted throughout the book that would have been easy to check, which casts doubt on the quality of everything else.

A few examples: there is no song on Accelerate (Standard Version) called Supernatural Superstitious. Everybody Hurts (Album Version) was not the second REM song over 5 minutes long after Camera, Oddfellows Local 151 on Document (R.E.M. No. 5) was also over 5 minutes long. Revolution did not see it's only release on
... Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars Final update of a great book! 31 Mar 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Ever since R.E.M. disbanded I'd been waiting for this book to come out. I rather expected it would be called "Final Remarks" or something with the Remarks name, but I have to admit "Perfect Circle" is a good title.

This is the third version I own of this book - the first was from the glossy-picture-book era, the second was 'Remade' - and now Perfect Circle. The new chapters at the end are just like the ones before it - a good overview and collection of stories from the final years of R.E.M. - nothing earth shattering but still a good reporting a little bit of behind-the-scenes material. (the comments from Jacknife Lee were new to me at least)

It will replace my falling-apart copy of REMARKS Remade.

I'm in the USA and bought this from amazon-uk because it won't be released here until this summer. This is the first time I've ordered from the UK division of amazon - and the process was good - got here quickly for overseas and in perfect condition.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Imperfect Circle 14 April 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
The first issue I have with this book is the formatting of the Kindle version. Words are joined on virtually every page and the footnotes don't function. (I was refunded once I finally made the point clear.)

Secondly, this book is the last incarnation of several previous published versions. The writer ('this writer') declares that he hasn't updated the older sections. Why not? This isn't architectural heritage! Instead of maintaining any kind value, it just makes the work confusing.

The detail surrounding contract negotiations wasn't to my taste but the research was impressive. So too was the musical analysis of REM's 80s output.

All in all this was a disappointing affair, primarily because the opportunity was there to be definitive, but was resulted read like it was a lazily cobbled together attempt to cash in.

And sort out the Kindle version- one proof read would have identified all of its problems.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent R.E.M Story 9 July 2013
By Kari - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book met and exceeded my expectations. The story of R.E.M expertly told and nicely written. Covers major milestones and discusses all sessions and resulting records. Focus is firmly on the band and its highs and lows and final graceful withdrawal. If you are a "music" fan wanting to know about these aspects of the band, this book is for you. If you are an "obsessed" fan and want to read about the private lives of the band's members, this book will not give you much.
5.0 out of 5 stars awesome 2 Nov 2013
By Daniel Jagosz - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Tells the complete history of the group.It goes in depth on their career.It tells their problems of trying to stay on top.
3.0 out of 5 stars for the hardcore fans 22 Sep 2013
By A. Kruglov - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
I have been a massive R.E.M. fan for as long as I can remember. As such, I enjoyed the read.

But the writing was predictable, highly linear, and error-prone (the writer describes the band backing Duane Allman in Atlanta during this decade for example). Also, I didn't learn all that much I didn't already know other than some gossipy personal stories and some interesting insights into the recording process.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent REM bio, comes full circle 20 Aug 2013
By MJC-MD - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a very comprehensive bio of REM, who has been my favorite band for a long time. Fletcher is very detailed in his coverage of the band, but is critical when it's warranted. He also provides a lot of detail surrounding the business-side of music(record contracts, interactions with IRS and Warner Bros., etc.) which I found really interesting, though others might not. In general, Fletcher doesn't just gush as some biographers might.

This may be the only book that covers the bands ENTIRE career, from inception to retirement. I was glad that he decided to update it once more to cover the band's last few years. He also shares some great insights into the last album. The only thing he really leaves out is a detailed discussion of the band members side projects (such as Bill Berry's solo '45 in 1989). But I guess there's only so much room.

Bottom line: An absolute must-read for R.E.M. fans. I've read a few of the band's bios, and if you read only one, make it this one.
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book, terrible formatting 20 Jun 2013
By Gregory R. Ellison - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a great read if you are a fan of R.E.M. The stories are endless and insightful behind individual songs, albums, tours, managers, record labels, and of course, band members. The only problem I experienced was with the formatting of the book. It seemed every page or every other page had 2 words without a space in between that looked like one word. Annoying at first but then I got used to it, but I expect more from Kindle if I'm paying full price for the digital version of a book.
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