Sunday, April 21, 2013

IRS Records: The One I Love

For our April Fourth Week Label Special, what better choice for the month when American tax filings are due than I.R.S. Records. Founded in 1979 by Police drummer Stewart Copeland’s brother Miles Copeland, III, I.R.S. Records stood for the International Record Syndicate and quickly became a haven for punk, new wave, ska, and alternative bands.

In the US, the label was originally distributed by A&M, but switched to MCA from 1985-1990, and thereafter to EMI. All of the original I.R.S. recordings distributed by A&M remained as part of the A&M catalog.

The meaning of R.E.M.’s first mainstream hit, “The One I Love,” is often misconstrued as a tribute to someone who had been left behind. This interpretation seems logical on the surface with the lines, “This one goes out to the one I love; this one goes out to the one I’d left behind.” The next line, “A simple prop to occupy my time,” appears to contradict the predisposed meaning of the song. The word the band is wailing is "Fire," by the way.

Although the band had been together since its founding in Athens, Georgia in 1980, they had not had a hit until this 1987 hit. They signed with I.R.S. Records in 1982 and “The One I Love” was their tenth single with the label and 11th overall. It charted on the Hot 100 at #9 and was #2 on the mainstream rock chart. All members of the band contributed to the writing of the song.

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