SINGLES ONLY: R.E.M.’s “Exhuming McCarthy” and Neil Young’s “World On A String”

Posted: March 6, 2015 in Singles Only
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
Tune une la Jour: R.E.M.’s “Exhuming McCarthy” by Hubbard’s Cupboard
Tune deux du Jour: Neil Young’s “World On A String” by Nils Lofgren


Singles Only

And In My Hour of Need, I Truly Am Indeed, Alone Again, Broccoli ...

And In My Hour of Need,
I Truly Am Indeed,
Alone Again, Broccoli …

Singles are cover songs without a mate (or, for CMI’s purposes, an opponent). My dedicated team and I have diligently searched through our impeccable resources and have come to the conclusion that these particular songs were covered only once. Oh, in some instances, we may have found a cover by a pseudo-musician (think Billy Joel or, gulp, an unfortunate equivalent). But we’ll have none of that here at CMI! You may ask, why would a band cover a song so obscure that no other legitimate group is interested in also doing so? Well let me put it this way: How the hell should I know? But I do have a few of these rarities in my database and they too warrant an audience. As such, it is your solemn responsibility to receive them with discerning ears, bright eyes, bated breath and palpable zeal. There’ll be no competition on this day. Rather unabashed reverence, reflection and repose.

Relax…Indulge…Enjoy…Send me $173…


Exhuming McCarthy – The Original

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R.E.M.’s fifth album, Document, was released in 1987. It included Exhuming McCarthy, a stinging rebuke of Ronald Reagan’s militaristic agenda, unbridled blind nationalism and economic policies that favored corporations and the super wealthy. The song parallels the Reagan Administration’s aggressive and heavy-handed rhetoric with the red-baiting of Joseph McCarthy. An excerpt from the McCarthy hearings can be heard midway through the song.


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Exhuming McCarthy – The Cover


From the R.E.M. tribute album, Reconstructing The Fables, released in 1999 on Throwing Stones Records.

Hubbards Cupboard:

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World On A String – The Original

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World On A String appears on Neil Young’s ragged, yet superlative sixth album, Tonight’s The Night. Coming on the heals of losing a close friend (Bruce Berry) and a beloved band mate (Danny Whitten), both from heroin overdoses within a six month period of each other, Tonight’s The Night was Neil’s dark, emotional expression of grief and loss as well as his disillusionment with fame and commercial success. The album was recorded in 1973, most of which in a single day. Consisting primarily of first-takes, Tonight’s The Night includes mistakes, raw vocals and shifting tempos, all of which work brilliantly with the mournful, sullen tone of the material. Stories conflict as to why, but for whatever reason, Tonight’s The Night was not released until 1975, almost two years after it was recorded.

Neil Young:

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World On A String – The Cover


Nils Lofgren did his first real acoustic guitar and piano session work in 1970 on Neil Young’s After The Gold Rush album. Neil lent Lofgren his Martin D-18 guitar to use on After The Gold Rush (the same guitar appears on the inside photo of the album leaning against the wall next to Neil). When After The Gold Rush was completed, Neil gave Lofgren the Martin guitar as a gift. Not surprisingly, Lofgren used that Martin guitar on his Neil Young tribute album, The Loner – Nils Sings Neil, which included Lofgren’s cover of World On A String. Lofgren was also a part of Neil’s ensemble of musicians that played on Tonight’s The Night.

Nils Lofgren:

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  1. Cuspid says:

    Where’s the complaint department? Hubbards’ lackadaisical effort renders it better if nobody had ever covered Exhuming McCarthy. Boring! And how can Nils Lofgren be considered to be covering a song when he was such a major component of the original? I think it would have been better if instead we had been presented with a competition of covers of Sinatra’s “I’ve Got the World on a String.”

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