[quote]Lifes Rich Pageant is the fourth album by the American band R.E.M. and was released in 1986. Intended as an upbeat reaction to the sobering and historical Fables of the Reconstruction, R.E.M. chose Don Gehman to produce the album at his Belmont Mall Studios in Belmont, Indiana.
The source for the title of the album is based on an English idiom. Its use is very old, but R.E.M.'s use (minus the apostrophe) is, according to Peter Buck, from the 1964 film A Shot in the Dark:
Inspector Clouseau opens car door and falls into a puddle.
Maria: "You should get out of these clothes immediately. You'll catch your death of pneumonia, you will."
Clouseau: "Yes, I probably will. But it's all part of life's rich pageant, you know."
The missing apostrophe in the title is deliberate. Nearly all contractions used by R.E.M. lack apostrophes.
The cover of the album depicts drummer Bill Berry in heavy make-up on the upper part of the cover and a pair of bison, signifying an environmental theme, on the lower part. It also alludes to Buffalo Bill.
With R.E.M.'s fanbase beginning to grow beyond its college rock boundaries, Lifes Rich Pageant proved to be their biggest U.S. album yet, peaking at #21 on the Billboard charts and scoring them their first gold record. In the UK, where the band's fame lagged slightly, the album managed a #43 peak.
The ecologically-conscious "Fall on Me" (a personal favorite of frontman Michael Stipe) and a cover of The Clique's "Superman", sung by bassist Mike Mills, were the only singles released from the album.
Another ecologically-minded song, "Cuyahoga," refers to the once heavily-polluted Cuyahoga River that flows into Lake Erie at Cleveland, Ohio. The song includes the lyric we burned the river down, which refers to the several occasions (most famously in 1969) when the river actually caught fire.
"Begin the Begin" – 3:28
"These Days" – 3:24
"Fall on Me" – 2:50
"Cuyahoga" – 4:19
"Hyena" – 2:50
"Underneath the Bunker" – 1:25
"The Flowers of Guatemala" – 3:55
"I Believe" – 3:49
"What If We Give It Away?" – 3:33
"Just a Touch" – 3:00
"Swan Swan H" – 2:42
"Superman" (Gary Zekley, Mitchell Bottler) – 2:52