Alt Rock Pioneers Hang Up their Hairshirt
Multi-platinum rock group R.E.M. quietly posted a brief statement on the band’s official website announcing the end of their 31 years together.
“As R.E.M., and as lifelong friends and co-conspirators, we have decided to call it a day as a band. We walk away with a great sense of gratitude, of finality, and of astonishment at all we have accomplished. To anyone who ever felt touched by our music, our deepest thanks for listening.”
The group, fromAthens,Georgia, released their first album in1983 and were at the forefront of the college radio movement which eventually blossomed and developed into what’s now referred to as “Alternative” music.
At the time of the announcement, the band was still comprised of three of the four founding members, Mike Mills, Peter Buck and Michael Stipe. Original drummer Bill Berry left the band in 1997. In his own personal statement Mike Mills wrote, “We feel kind of like pioneers in this — there’s no disharmony here, no falling-outs, no lawyers squaring-off,” ; “We’ve made this decision together, amicably and with each other’s best interests at heart. The time just feels right.”
Earlier this year the band released Collapse Into Now to positive reviews. In 2007 the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Their influence has been cited from alternative music darlings Pavement and Wilco to Hootie and the Blowfish. Hootie vocalist Darius Rucker specifically named R.E.M. as the reason Hootie and the Blowfish were initially formed.
Favorites of Underground and college radio in the early 1980’s, the band scored a bona fide commercial radio hit in 1987 with The One I Love. This was followed by a long steady string of hits over the next 15 years, many of which are now staples of commercial radio.