Well the day every R.E.M. fan (including yours truly) has dreaded has unfortunately arrived: singer Michael Stipe, guitarist Peter Buck, and bassist Mike Mills have mutually agreed to dissolve their famed rock band after playing together for 31 years.
The announcement was made earlier today on R.E.M.HQ, the band’s official website, and each member released their own statement on how they reached this decision.
“To our Fans and Friends,” the band’s statement read, “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.”
“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.”
“One of the things that was always so great about being in R.E.M. was the fact that the records and the songs we wrote meant as much to our fans as they did to us. It was, and still is, important to us to do right by you. Being a part of your lives has been an unbelievable gift. Thank you.”
“We have always been a band in the truest sense of the word. Brothers who truly love, and respect, each other. 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.”
The Athen, Georgia indie rock band is known for their major hits like “Orange Crush,” “Everybody Hurts,” “Losing My Religion,” “The One I Love,” and “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It,” and their final album was Collapse Into Now, released on March 7 of this year. According to Mills, a greatest hits compilation is also being assembled.
While it does sadden me to see the story of R.E.M. come to close, I am glad that the group is ending on good terms. Mutual break-ups are so rare these days. Besides, not every group can be the Rolling Stones, touring and recording a few decades beyond their logical breaking point. R.E.M. had a great run and they leave behind a legacy rich with wonderful music that would serve as a great influence on the alternative rock movement that started to emerge in the early 1990s.
Thanks for the memories guys. In closing, I will leave you with a few videos of my favorite R.E.M. songs.