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Disbanded R.E.M. Thank Fans for Support

As the news that R.E.M. has decided to call it a day was announced on the legendary band's website, dismay rippled around the music-loving world at hyperspeed via the plethora of social media websites that appear to be leaving conventional reporting in the dust. Hopes that the news was some kind of hacking hoax were dashed when Warner Brothers officially confirmed the split, noting that referring to R.E.M. as one of the greatest bands in contemporary music would be an understatement, and that their music has inspired millions of fans worldwide as well as influencing countless songwriters and performers, and their music will no doubt continue to do so.

Formed in the city of Athens, in the US State of Georgia in 1980, R.E.M. originally consisted of singer Michael Stipe, bassist Mike Mills, guitarist Peter Buck and drummer Bill Berry. The band is seen as one of the first to popularize alternative rock, releasing their first album Murmur in 1983, and building their presence in the pre-www music world through constant touring and finding support via college radio stations. Their first mainstream hit was in 1987 with their single The One I Love, leading to a contract with Warner Bros Records in 1988. By the early 1990s R.E.M. was enjoying mainstream success with bands such as Nirvana and Pavement acknowledging them as pioneers of the increasingly popular genre.

Subsequent albums Out of Time in 1991 and Automatic for the People in 1992 explored new sounds, with their new direction supported by a growing number of fans. The album Monster in 1994 moved back to the alternative rock that had made them famous, and subsequent releases revealed the seemingly endless talent of these accomplished musicians. In 2007, R.E.M. was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

In April 1997, drummer Bill Berry left the band on amicable terms, and the remaining three members decided to continue as a trio. At the time Michael Stipe was quoted as saying with regard to the loss of their drummer: "I guess a three-legged dog is still a dog. It just has to learn to run differently." And certainly this was true of R.E.M. as they battled to adjust, but learned to "run differently" and continued on their path of success. The most recent release by R.E.M. was their album Collapse into Now earlier this year.

So, after 31 years of music to make memories by, R.E.M. are bowing out with this message to their fans posted on their website: "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."

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