Rock Legends R.E.M. Announce Split After 31 Years Together

Legendary US rock band R.E.M. announced its split after 31 years of being together.

They have been performing together for more than three decades but yesterday R.E.M announced they have splited up. Photo: iClimber1/Flickr

The band posted a message on their web-site: “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.”

Each of the band members added his on view on the split. Michael Stipe said: ‘During our last tour, and while making Collapse Into Now and putting together this greatest hits retrospective, we started asking ourselves, ‘what next’?”

“Working through our music and memories from over three decades was a hell of a journey. We realized that these songs seemed to draw a natural line under the last 31 years of our working together.”

‘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.’

“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. We have to thank all the people who helped us be R.E.M. for these 31 years; our deepest gratitude to those who allowed us to do this. It’s been amazing.”

Peter Buck added: ‘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.

‘Mike, Michael, Bill, Bertis, and I walk away as great friends. I know I will be seeing them in the future, just as I know I will be seeing everyone who has followed us and supported us through the years. Even if it’s only in the vinyl aisle of your local record store, or standing at the back of the club: watching a group of 19 year olds trying to change the world.’

The band REM was formed in Athens, Georgia in 1980. Originally it consisted of the singer, Michael Stipe, the guitarist, Peter Buck, the bassist, Mike Mills and the drummer, Bill Berry, who left the band in 1997 two years after suffering a brain aneurysm.

Three of REM’s albums in the 1990s went quadruple platinum in the US, according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

In 1991 “Out of Time” topped both the US and UK album charts. It sold 4.2 million copies in the US alone and spawned the hit singles “Losing My Religion” and “Shiny Happy People.” The band won three awards at the 1992 Grammy awards

REM’s latest album, ‘Collapse into Now,’ was released in March 2011. It was their 15th studio album.

The band were also known for their long-standing commitment to a number of environmental, feminist and human rights causes, and were involved in campaigns to encourage voter registration in the United States. The LA Times once hailed them as one of America’s “most liberal and politically correct rock groups”.

In 2009, REM was one of a number of bands to form the National Campaign to Close Guantanamo, referring to the US prison in Cuba. [via Guardian, Daily Mail, BBC and The Telegraph]

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