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45 "Who is Michael Stipe referring to in the song 'Can't Get There from Here,' in the lines, 'Brother Ray can sing my song,' and the last line, 'Thank you, Ray'?" (R.E.M.)




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This article is from the R.E.M. FAQ, by Ron Henry (rgh3@cornell.edu) with numerous contributions by others.

45 "Who is Michael Stipe referring to in the song 'Can't Get There from Here,' in the lines, 'Brother Ray can sing my song,' and the last line, 'Thank you, Ray'?" (R.E.M.)

In It Crawled... Bill Berry and Peter Buck are quoted discussing this song,
which they refer to as a "jazz ballad." Bill says, "We wanted to get an
Otis [Redding] sound on that one," and Peter elaborates, "It's like a
tongue-in-cheek tribute to Ray Charles and James Brown and all the great
Georgia music giants." Given these quotes, a probable answer is "Ray
Charles." (Remember too that Michael Stipe often cites, among his musical
influences, singers whose records were in his parents' record collection
when he was young, like Elvis, Henry Mancini, and possibly Ray Charles.)

 

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