Click to return to Dave’s Music Database home page.

Released: July 28, 1986

Rating: 4.212 (average of 19 ratings)

Genre: alternative/ college rock

Quotable: --

Album Tracks:

  1. Begin the Begin
  2. These Days
  3. Fall on Me
  4. Cuyahoga
  5. Hyena
  6. Underneath the Bunker
  7. Flowers of Guatemala
  8. I Believe
  9. What if We Give It Away?
  10. Just a Touch
  11. Swan Swan H
  12. Superman

Total Running Time: 37:24


sales in U.S. only ˝ million
sales in U.K. only - estimated --
sales in all of Europe as determined by IFPI – click here to go to their site. --
sales worldwide - estimated 3 million


peak on U.S. Billboard album chart 21
peak on U.K. album chart 43

Singles/Hit Songs:

  • Fall on Me (8/9/86) #94 US, #5 AR
  • Superman (11/1/86) #17 AR


Rated one of the top 1000 albums of all time by Dave’s Music Database. Click to learn more.

Life’s Rich Pageant
Fables of the Reconstruction was intentionally murky, and Life’s Rich Pageant was constructed as its polar opposite. Teaming with producer Don Gehman, who previously worked with John Mellencamp, R.E.M. developed their most forceful record to date. Where previous records kept the rhythm section in the background, Pageant emphasizes the beat, and the band turns in its hardest rockers to date, including the anthemic Begin the Begin and the punky Just a Touch” (Erlewine).

“The cleaner production also benefits the ballads and the mid-tempo janglers, particularly since it helps reveal Michael Stipe’s growing political obsessions, especially on the environmental anthems Fall on Me and Cuyahoga” (Erlewine).

“The group hasn’t entirely left myths behind – witness the Civil War ballad Swan Swan H – but the band sound more contemporary both musically and lyrically than they did on either Fables or Murmur, which helps give the record an extra kick. And even with excellent songs like I Believe, Flowers of Guatemala, These Days, and What if We Give It Away, it’s ironic that the most memorable moment comes from the garage rock obscurity Superman, which is sung with glee by Mike Mills” (Erlewine).

Review Source(s):

Related DMDB Link(s):

previous album: Fables of the Reconstruction (1985) R.E.M.’s DMDB page next album: Document (1987)

Last updated December 22, 2008.