Pretty Persuasion

Another great song, and fast-paced as usual!* Pretty Persuasion is typical of that early R.E.M. sound. It’s always been a favorite of mine to play, though as with almost all these songs, I learned a little something in researching this post and changed a few things about how I played it.

Intro – pretty clear there. And one thing I saw to change. There is a little note he plays 4th string 4th fret near the end:

Pretty Persuasion


then it’s D, A

There is so much you can see from Passaic:

Verse: D, A (with the A played like this, then regular A, then A open)

Bridge to Chorus: F#m, E

Chorus: D, E, F#m

Bridge: E, F#m, A, E, D —  E, F#m, A, E, D, A, D, A, etc —- Intro

Pretty much the entire thing is confirmed here.

Amazing (but slower) rendition over 30 years later–note Peter Buck keeps playing through the bridge to chorus part–he also does not hit the E at the beginning of the bridge:

This video from 1985 has me rethinking the bridge. Peter Buck is playing up to the A–not down:

Before I noticed that, this is how I played this (except the strings, of course!)**



*Spin critics Eric Weisbard and Craig Marks described “Pretty Persuasion” as “a great rocker.” Wiesberd, E. & Marks, C. (1995). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. ISBN 9780679755746.

**A  note on the Fender Telecaster–you can see PB had a nice American Custom 72 Tele in the Old Grey Whistle Test video. He played a Tele from the start of the band in April 1980 up until a 1981 show in Nashville, TN. (I think it is probably the September 5, 1981 Show at Cantrell’s?)

“[Peter Buck] leaped into the air to execute a split kick, and not only hit his head on one of the few solid bits of the ceiling, but also damaged the neck of his Telecaster guitar.  Like Peter Townshend before him, Peter covered his embarrassment by proceeding to do a more thorough demolition job on the instrument, before flinging the remains into the audience.

“Unlike Townshend, though, Peter [Buck] could not afford to make a regular feature of this crowd-pleasing act, not least becasue the Telecaster was his only guitar.  . . . Peter needed a replacement instrument, and fast. ‘There was this piano shop in Athens run by an albino guy, and I went in there to get a used guitar real cheap, and I found a Rickenbacker that was like, $175. I played it and it felt too good to believe, so I bought it.'”

Gray, Marcus. It Crawled from the South, an R.E.M. Companion. New York: Da Capo, 1993. 47. Print.

What’s confusing, though, is that Peter Buck is playing a Rickenbacker in the “earliest known video” of REM live, April 20, 1981.  So I wonder if the time-frame of this story of the broken Tele and Rickenbacker purchase was more like sometime in 1980, not 1981.


Further Reading

Possible Lyrics



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