R.E.M. Announces Breakup, Says ‘The Time Just Feels Right’
After more than 30 years together, during which time they rose from critical alternative-rock favorites to international pop superstars and eventually Rock and Roll Hall of Fame status, R.E.M. announced Wednesday they have “called it a day as a band.”
A three-sentence statement on R.E.M.’s website reads as follows:
“To our Fans and Friends: 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.” R.E.M.
The group’s current members also added individual comments. Bassist Mike Mills wrote, “We’ve made this decision together, amicably and with each other’s best interests at heart. The time just feels right.”
Singer Michael Stipe said, “I hope our fans realize this wasn’t an easy decision, but all things must end,” while guitarist Peter Buck added that he expects to see his former band mates in the future, “just as I know I will be seeing everyone who has followed us and supported us through the years.”
R.E.M. — Buck, Mills, Stipe and drummer Bill Berry — formed in 1980 in Athens, Ga. From 1983-1988, the band released six acclaimed studio albums, scoring pop hits ‘The One I Love’ and ‘Stand’ along the way.
Starting with 1991’s ‘Out of Time,’ which contained ‘Losing My Religion,’ the band achieved even greater commercial success, as well as Grammy Awards for that album (in the Best Alternative Music Album category) and song (Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal).
R.E.M.’s best-selling albums are ‘Out of Time,’ ‘Automatic for the People’ (1992) and ‘Monster’ (1994), which have all been certified four-times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.
Drummer Berry, who had surgery for a brain aneurysm in the mid-1990s, stepped away from the band prior to the recording of 1998’s ‘Up.’ From that album on, R.E.M. stayed a trio, with various musicians assuming Berry’s role in the studio and on the road.
R.E.M. was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007. ‘Collapse Into Now,’ the band’s most recent studio album, was released earlier this year.