Iconic alternative rock band R.E.M.
has shared previously unreleased song “Fascinating” to benefit global
organization Mercy Corps’ Hurricane Dorian relief and
recovery efforts in the Bahamas. Band members Peter Buck, Mike Mills and
Michael Stipe recorded “Fascinating” in 2004 at Nassau’s Compass Point Studios.
It is now available for download for the first time via:

Fans can stream the song for
free on Bandcamp
and download it for a minimum donation of $2 or an amount of their choosing.
Proceeds will go directly to Mercy Corps’ emergency response and recovery
efforts in the Bahamas.

“Fascinating” first appeared
on the original master of 2001’s Reveal before being cut last minute,
and, in fact, was singer Michael Stipe’s favorite song from the Reveal
sessions (according to guitarist Peter Buck’s recollection, as chronicled in
David Buckley’s R.E.M. biography, Fiction). “It’s really beautiful,”
bassist/keyboardist Mike Mills told Buckley. “It has a flute, oboe arrangement,
but it made the record too long… and something had to go.” R.E.M. rerecorded
the track in Nassau for 2004’s Around the Sun (co-produced by Pat
McCarthy and R.E.M, and engineered by Jamie Candiloro), but the lush ballad
ultimately didn’t jibe with that spare, atmospheric album. Now this poignant
outtake finally finds its fitting moment, as a means to aid the country where
R.E.M. enjoyed over two months of creative retreat.

“I have been fortunate to
spend many weeks working and playing in the Bahamas, making friends and lots of
music there,” reflects Mills. “It breaks my heart to see the damage wrought by
Hurricane Dorian. Please help us and Mercy Corps do what we can to alleviate
the suffering caused by this catastrophe.”

Hurricane Dorian hammered the
Bahamas’ northwest islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco for 48 hours in early
September 2019, causing widespread destruction and leaving 76,000 people
homeless and in need of lifesaving assistance. Mercy Corps mobilized
immediately and are committed to reaching 3,000 families with emergency kits including
mosquito nets, tarps, jerrycans, water-purifying tablets and rope. Given the
extensive electrical blackouts, the humanitarian aid organization is also
distributing solar lanterns equipped with USB chargers so that survivors can
charge essential devices and stay safe after dark.

“The Bahamas faces a long
road to recovery after this devastating hurricane,” says Neal Keny-Guyer, CEO
of Mercy Corps. “We’re grateful to have R.E.M. in our global community of
humanitarians, sharing their song with the world to help the people of the
Bahamas recover and build back even stronger.”

In 2005, following a visit to
Mercy Corps’ Hurricane Katrina recovery program in New Orleans, Stipe released
a six-song EP that raised nearly $100K for Mercy Corps’ relief efforts along
the United States Gulf Coast. The band also generously supported Mercy Corps’
Katrina relief efforts.

About Mercy Corps:

Mercy Corps is a leading global organization
powered by the belief that a better world is possible. In disaster, in
hardship, in more than 40 countries around the world, we partner to put bold
solutions into action – helping people triumph over adversity and build stronger
communities from within. Now, and for the future.

About R.E.M:

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and multi GRAMMY Award-winning band R.E.M. is one of the most revered bands to emerge from the American underground. Singer Michael Stipe, guitarist Peter Buck, bassist Mike Mills and drummer Bill Berry helped originate college rock during the post-punk scene of the ’80s. The Athens, GA-based group toured relentlessly for the first decade of their career, refining their idiosyncratic blend of brash tunefulness, poetic lyrics, chiming guitars and evocative vocals.   

By the early
’90s, R.E.M. had become one of the most popular and critically acclaimed bands
in the world. With an extraordinary three-decade-long run of creative vitality,
R.E.M. has established a powerful legacy as one of the most enduring and
essential rock bands in popular music history.  

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