It's the End of the Band as We Know It

R.E.M. calls it "quits" after 31 years together making fantastic rock music.

A simple, straightforward announcement on R.E.M.'s website told their fans and friends that after 31 years together, the band is breaking up.

"As R.E.M., and as lifelong friends and co-conspirators, we have decided to call it a day as a band," the note says.

"We feel kind of like pioneers in this--there's no disharmony here, no falling-outs, no lawyers squaring-off," said Mike Mills in a statement on the website.

Michael Stipe's statement said, "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. "

"Being a part of your lives has been an unbelievable gift," said Peter Buck to the band's friends and fans.

R.E.M. began in 1980, playing in clubs and venues around Athens. They have gone on to sell about 85 million albums worldwide. In 2007, R.E.M. was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.


Leigh Hewett September 21, 2011 at 07:31 PM
As a fan of REM for the last 23 years, I am so sad that I never had a chance to see them in concert. I was honestly hoping that I would get to see them play at the new Georgia Theatre.
Rachel Watkins September 21, 2011 at 07:34 PM
All good things must come to an end! :(
Milton Leathers September 21, 2011 at 07:50 PM
Those "young men," as we used to call them -- and I mean all four of them, were such a gift to Athens. They didn't make money for a long time, then they did make some money, and then........what? They came home and backed all the right causes in our city. I cannot imagine another local band rising up to support the community the way REM has done for so long -- always with the right angle on a issue, always with trustworthy sentiments. If another Athens band -- or any other sort of group -- does show up and do such good work, they will have learned how to do it by watching and benefitting from REM.
John Barrett September 21, 2011 at 08:04 PM
I was lucky enough to see R.E.M. live one time -- at Langerado in 2008. Their albums Automatic for the People, Document, Monster and Out of Time are wonderful, although I feel they hadn't released anything terribly significant in 15 years — and I'm guessing perhaps they felt that way too. All in all, it's good to see them draw the line to preserve their musical integrity and good to see there was no animosity involved. But it was great just knowing R.E.M. was still around. They are Athens' shining musical beacon, above all others. I went to Italy and every local Italian guy I met loved R.E.M. and knew all their songs. They were a worldwide phenomenon and will be greatly missed.
Nancy Hill September 21, 2011 at 08:23 PM
I have always been a fan of R.E.M. They are a an inspiration to anyone in Athens who is aspiring to become something big. As cliche as it sounds, it gives me hope that if I really put my mind to it, I can become anything I want. While I am sad that their era is coming to an end, I think we should celebrate all they have accomplished and contributed to the world of music and also to Athens.
Andrea Williams September 21, 2011 at 08:48 PM
I grew up in West Lafayette, Indiana. My best friend,Cathy Moser, had two big brothers who introduced us to REM. When my parents moved the family to Georgia, I cried in the car across the county listening to Murmur the entire way. Missing my friends and not fitting in AT ALL was made easier by listening to Reckoning. I got to see REM once when I was in college in Norfolk, Virginia and then intermittantly met members of the band once I moved to Athens. Michael Stipe and Peter Buck at the GAP in the early 90's ...Mike Mills once signed a tape cover for my son in early 2000. It feels like they have been a part of my entire life and in fact they have...
Amy September 21, 2011 at 10:05 PM
R.I.P R.E.M....you will be missed.
Meg Dure September 21, 2011 at 10:30 PM
This incredible band leaves its adoring fans just like the Southern gentlemen they are and always have been..."to every season...turn, turn, turn." Thank you wonderful , talented Athenians. You have made us so proud. Not only with your music, but with your responsible citizenship and devotion to making Athens a better place. I love you, REM.
Susan September 21, 2011 at 10:30 PM
Missed-I will never forget the great concert I went to in Nashville back in the 80's. We will put you down in the good memories section of my life!
Nancy Lendved September 21, 2011 at 10:43 PM
Now it really is the end of the world as we know it. They gave so much in so many ways, and I for one, wish them all good things, always.
Eddy Morgan September 22, 2011 at 12:53 PM
My kids grew up loving REM! My daughter who has her own daughter now sings, "Shiny, Happy People" to her baby! Best wishes to Michael Stipe and the gang!
Mary MacDonald September 23, 2011 at 02:24 AM
I saw them in 1985 in a small place in RI, and then in 1988 in Ann Arbor -- it's hard now to remember what they were like in the 80s, when a lot of bands were just, well, horrible. (Wang Chung, anyone? Tears for Fears?) They were so different. It's been a long time since I listened to Murmur, but that's my favorite, still....


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