It's the end of R.E.M. - and they feel fine
Rock group defined 'alternative' sound for a generation
To rephrase the lyrics of their smash hit single, it's the end of R.E.M. - and they feel fine. The southern rock band, who defined the sound of "alternative" rock music along with friends Nirvana, announced on their Web site this week that they are calling it quits.
R.E.M. formed in Athens, Ga., in 1980 with singer Stipe, guitarist Peter Buck, bassist Mike Mills and drummer Bill Berry.
Charismatic lead singer and front man Michael Stipe said that a "wise man once said -- 'the skill in attending a party is knowing when it's time to leave . We built something extraordinary together. We did this thing. And now we're going to walk away from it. I hope our fans realize this wasn't an easy decision; but all things must end, and we wanted to do it right, to do it our way."
R.E.M. formed in Athens, Ga., in 1980 with singer Stipe, guitarist Peter Buck, bassist Mike Mills and drummer Bill Berry. The band found an audience among college-radio listeners and released 15 albums. While many felt the band would never have widespread recognition, they racked up an impressive number of hit singles, such as "It's the End of the World" and "Losing My Religion." The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.
R.E.M. was pivotal in the creation and development of the alternative rock genre. Allmusic stated, "R.E.M. mark the point when post-punk turned into alternative rock." In the early 1980s, the alternative rock of R.E.M. stood in contrast to the post-punk and new wave genres that had preceded it.
R.E.M. has helped raise funds for environmental, feminist and human rights causes, and has been involved in campaigns to encourage voter registration. During one tour, Stipe took time during sets to inform the audience about a variety of pressing socio-political issues. Through the late 1980s and 1990s, the band (particularly Stipe) increasingly used its media coverage on national television to mention a variety of causes it felt were important.
R.E.M.'s last album, "Collapse into Now," was released in March. Their name, R.E.M., stands for rapid eye movement -- a phenomenon associated with dreaming while under a deep sleep.
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