Begin the Begin

Album: Lifes Rich Pageant (1986)


  • This is the opening track from R.E.M.'s fourth album. It was never released as a single.
  • The title "Begin the Begin" is a spin on Cole Porter's classic "Begin The Beguine."'
  • This song is one of Peter Buck's favorite R.E.M. songs to listen to and play, he noted in the liner notes for the compilation Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage. "It set a tough beginning for Lifes Rich Pageant, and I remember it was one of the first things we finished for the record. I recall bringing it in and although it was kind of a complicated song, it paves the way for the fact that Pageant is going a little more focused and loud. Lyrically it points to what we were doing on the record and it pushed us in that direction."
  • Frontman Michael Stipe added: "I always liked opening a song with 'a birdie and a hand.' Two fantastically honest gestures, the f--k off!, and the rampant applause."
  • "Begin the Begin" is also the title of a season two episode of Grey's Anatomy.


Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Danny Clinch: The Art of Rock Photography

Danny Clinch: The Art of Rock PhotographySong Writing

One of rock's top photographers talks about artistry in photography, raising funds for a documentary, and enjoying a County Fair with Tom Waits.

Michael Glabicki of Rusted Root

Michael Glabicki of Rusted RootSongwriter Interviews

Michael tells the story of "Send Me On My Way," and explains why some of the words in the song don't have a literal meaning.


AC/DCFact or Fiction

Does Angus really drink himself silly? Did their name come from a sewing machine? See if you can spot the real stories about AC/DC.

Tony Joe White

Tony Joe WhiteSongwriter Interviews

The writer of "Rainy Night in Georgia" and "Polk Salad Annie" explains how he cooks up his Louisiana swamp rock.

U2 Lyrics

U2 LyricsMusic Quiz

How well do you know the lyrics of U2?

Chris Tomlin

Chris TomlinSongwriter Interviews

The king of Christian worship music explains talks about writing songs for troubled times.