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R.E.M. bio, timeline, discography, pics & more


R.E.M. band photo 2008

R.E.M. Biography

R.E.M., one of the first and most important band for the Alternative-Rock movement, was formed in Athens, Georgia USA, in 1980, by frontman vocalist Michael Stipe, guitarist Peter Buck, bassist Mike Mills and drummer Bill Berry.

The quartet made their debut a year later with the single "Radio Free Europe", which was followed by the 1982's 5-track EP, "Chronic Town".

The group's first full-length disc, "Murmur", was eventually issued in 1983, it was acclaimed by critics and audiences alike, cracking the top 40 of The U.S. Pop Albums chart. It included a re-recorded version of "Radio Free Europe" which reached #25 on The Mainstream Rock chart.

One year later, R.E.M., a short form for Rapid Eye Movement, issued its sophomore album, "Reckoning"; it peaked at #27 on The Billboard 200 but had managed only one minor hit, "So. Central Rain".

In June of 1985, arrived "Fables Of The Reconstruction" and the band debuted not only at #28 on the U.S. Albums chart but also inched into the top 40 in U.K. and Canada. The first single, "Can't Get There From Here", hit #14 on The Mainstream Rock list and "Driver 8" grabbed a #22 spot on the same chart.

Their next offering, "Lifes Rich Pageant", followed exactly a year later peaking at #21 on The Billboard Top 200 Albums chart; the disc yielded two singles: "Fall On Me" crested at #5 on the Active Rock chart and "Superman" was also picked up by Rock radio netting the group their third Billboard's Mainstream Rock top 20 hit.

A collection of rarities and B-sides entitled "Dead Letter Office" was released in 1987; the set reached #52 on The Billboard 200.

In late summer of that same year, R.E.M. unleashed a new single, "The One I Love", which rocketed to #2 on The Mainstream Rock chart, to #9 on The Billboard Hot 100 and also hit the top 20 in Canada and U.K. setting the stage for their hugely successful "Document", this album became their best chart-placing to date, reaching #10 in U.S. and #12 in Canada and the band's first U.K. top 30. Second single, "It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)", peaked at #16 on the Active Rock chart and "Finest Worksong" managed to crack the top 30.

Michael Stipe and company continued to diversify their sound and in November 1988 released their sixth album, "Green", it stalled at #12 on The Billboard 200 but went on to sell 2 million copies in U.S. alone and achieved platinum status in Canada and Great Britain. The powerful first single, "Orange Crush", shot to #1 on both Billboard's Modern and Mainstream Rock charts; the second single, "Stand", not only hit #1 on the U.S. Rock charts but rose to #6 on The Billboard Hot 100. In the spring of the next year, "Pop Song 89", took the group once againg into the top 20 of The Modern and Mainstream Rock charts while another single, "Turn You Inside-Out" was perched at #7 on the Active Rock chart.

In the summer 1991, the foursome released the explosive "Out Of Time" which went straight to #1 on both The Billboard 200 and the Official U.K. Albums charts; the lead-off single "Losing My Religion" smashed at #1 on both The Modern and Mainstream Rock charts, peaked at #4 on The Billboard Hot 100, achieving enormous success all over the globe; two more singles climbed into the top 5 of The Modern Rock Tracks: "Texarkana" and "Shiny Happy People" the latter of which, performed with Kate Pierson of The B-52's, also peaked at #8 on The Mainstream Rock Tracks and became the band's first U.K. top 10 hit.
At the 34th Annual Grammy Awards, "Losing My Religion" won for Best Pop Performance and "Out Of Time" for Best Alternative Music Album.

1992's "Automatic For The People", entered the top 3 of the charts in many countries and matched the platinum-selling performance of its predecessor. The album's first single, "Drive", rode the #1 spot on The Modern Rock chart for 5 weeks and hit #2 on The Mainstream Rock Tracks; the two follow-up singles, "Ignoreland" and "Man On The Moon", quickly bulleted into the top 5 on both the same charts. "The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite" received good airplay and made it into the 30 of the Billboard's Rock charts. Another single, "Everybody Hurts", climbed toward the top 10 in the U.K. and was one place short of cracking the U.S. Modern Rock Tracks.

Two years later R.E.M. released "Monster", it climbed The Billboard 200 Albums chart to the #1 spot and was later certified platinum four times, backed up by a stream of hit singles: "What's The Frequency, Kenneth?" debuted at #1 on The Modern Rock chart, at #2 on The Mainstream Rock Tracks and hit the top 10 in U.K. and Canada; "Bang And Blame" practically equaled the acclaim of its predecessor, "Star 69" rose to #8 on The Modern Rock Tracks and to #15 on the Active Rock airplay chart; "Strange Currencies" was another U.K. top 10 entrant and peaked at #8 on the U.S. Mainstream Rock chart. The final single off the CD was the Active Rock top 20 hit "Crush With Eyeliner".
The band began a tour in early 1995, but after two months Bill Berry, in Switzerland, collapsed from a brain aneurysm, the group was forced to rest.

In September of 1996 R.E.M. resurfaced with their tenth studio effort; "New Adventures In Hi-Fi" rose to the #2 position in U.S. and hit #1 in Canada, Australia, U.K. and several other countries. The record included "E-Bow The Letter" and "Bittersweet Me" which peaked at #2 and #6, respectively, on The Modern Rock Tracks.
In October 1997, the band shocked the music scene with the announcement that Berry amicably left the group to retire to life on his farm.

The remaining members continued replacing Berry with a drum machine; Beck's drummer Joey Waronker and ex-Screaming Trees drummer Barrett Martin contributed to sessions for 1998's "Up", playing on some tracks. The album quickly ascended into the top 3 in the States, Canada and U.K. but failed to hit #1. Its main single, "Daysleeper", was a top 10 hit in Britain while in U.S. climbed into the top 20 of The Modern Rock chart. The second single, "Lotus", reached #31 on both Billboard's Modern and Mainstream Rock charts.

The following year they provided the soundtrack "Man On The Moon", which included the British top 3 hit "The Great Beyond", in U.S. this single peaked at #11 on The Modern Rock chart.

2001's "Reveal" took the band at #1 in England. In U.S. the disc reached the #6 position on The Billboard 200 and the single "Imitation Of Life" charted just outside the top 20 of The Modern Rock Tracks.

In late 2003 R.E.M. released a retrospective collection entitled "In Time The Best Of R.E.M. 1988-2003" which featured two new tracks including the the U.K. top 10 hit "Bad Day". The 18-song set went on to sell over one million units in U.S. and debuted at #1 in Great Britain.

Almost a year later the band returned with an album of all new material, "Around The Sun". The disc debuted at #1 in the U.K. and some other European countries; in America it reached #13 on The Billboard 200. The lead single, "Leaving New York", which missed the U.S. charts completely, rose to #5 in England.

"Accelerate", the first studio album in four years from R.E.M., found the band returning to the stripped-down, guitar-driven power that first enraptured fans. The 11-song set was released in April 2008 and went straight into the top 3 in several countries, including United States, U.K. and Canada; it contained the single "Supernatural Superserious" which peaked at #21 on The Hot Modern Rock chart.

R.E.M. issued their fifteenth effort, "Collapse Into Now" in March 2011 and a mere six months later, the members of the iconic band announced that they were breaking up after 31 years of making music.


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R.E.M. pictures:

  • R.E.M. band lineup mid 80s R.E.M. band lineup mid 80s
    The band line-up 1984, LtoR┬╗ Peter Buck, Mike Mills, Bill Berry and Michael Stipe