Maps and Legends

I guess because I really got into R.E.M. with Fables, all of the songs on the album are special to me.  I have always loved to play this song, but did not have everything correct. And as always, the videos help me but leave some questions unanswered. I remember reading that Peter Buck was experimenting with E and D during Fables, and that certainly seems true as can be seen in this song, especially (though on many of the other songs on Fables as well).

You can see a great deal in the Meredith College video from 1985:

And the 1985 West Germany video is helpful, too:


I get suspicious of anything too far removed from the early days, but I saw a lot I liked in this 2003 return to Germany.  He looks as if he plays it the same way as in the early days.


Verse: D, Em, then in the verse bridge parts: F#m, A [a lot of times, especially when he plays an Asus4, he uses only two fingers on the A]

Chorus: Em, Open D

Bridge: D, Dm, F, C

Putting it all together:

12 String:

Live (12 String):


Further Reading


“[T]he band made the song “Maps and Legends” (in its third album Fables of the Reconstruction) as an homage to Finster.” Wikipedia

Great recording on an acoustic 12 string 1987:

Possible Lyrics


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