Michael Stipe Amends “When I First Heard <i>Horses</i>” Story, Acknowledges Foghat

anthonyjmiccio | May 16, 2008 10:00 am

Anyone who’s read their share of REM interviews knows the tale in which a young Michael Stipe buys Patti Smith’s Horses, plays it over and over while eating a bowl of cherries and decides “hey, I think I’ll find a record store clerk with a guitar and mumble over his arpeggios” before vomiting. It’s one of those anecdotes that helped establish the lineage of underground cool, along with the immortal adage “everyone who heard the Velvet Underground started a band.” Now Stipe has given a self-professed “exclusive” to Death and Taxes magazine, admitting that Horses wasn’t the only album he bought that day. “One of them was Hall & Oates, one of them was Foghat, Fool For the City.” Have a field day, popists!

It’s a part of my little corner of history that I went at the age of 15 and bought the Patti Smith album [Horses] the day it was released. And I sat listening to it all night, and it changed my life–I decided to be a singer in a band. What I’ve never told anyone, and this is exclusive, is that I also bought four other albums that day. One of them was Hall & Oates, one of them was Foghat, Fool For the City. I don’t where I got all that cash from–records were kind of expensive at the time–but I think I bought five records altogether that day. I gravitated towards one over all the others. But all the others were still there, and still in my consciousness.

That was the backdrop of me being in high school: Ted Nugent, Foghat, Styx, REO Speedwagon and these were the bands in the Midwest that resonated with regular kids and what was on the radio. It was rock. Pathetic, but there it is.

Will this revelation allow Foghat to join Hall & Oates in the ever-evolving Pitchfork canon?

Probably not.

The Mysterious Mr. Stipe [Death + Taxes] FOGHAT-FOOL FOR THE CITY Live 1981 MTV Concert [YouTube]