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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

After 31 Years, R.E.M. Call It A Day

It is a sad day that was inevitable, I guess.

In a statement issued on the band's website, singer Michael Stipe said:
"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." 
My favorite memory of R.E.M. was in January of 1993.  MTV was producing a concert celebrating the inauguration of Bill Clinton, and a band called Automatic Baby took the stage.  It was Michael Stipe and Mike Mills of R.E.M., along with Larry Mullen Jr. and Adam Clayton of U2.  At the time each band had an album out.  R.E.M. with 'Automatic for the People', and U2 with 'Achtung Baby'. (Get it? Automatic Baby?)  They performed an acoustic rendition of 'One' that, to this day, is easily the best version of the song I have ever heard.

They told us that "It gets better", 18 years before It Gets Better:

R.E.M. will leave a legacy as one of the most prolific and influential American bands of the 20th century.    It's hard not to turn on the radio today and hear a little bit of their songwriting style permeate it's way through modern music.  From contemporary country to Radiohead, R.E.M.'s style has become commonplace to the world.  It's unavoidable.  From Nirvana to The White Stripes, R.E.M. has set the model as the American rock band.  They will be missed.


Anonyvox said...

I have to tell you a secret:


I never liked R.E.M. My husband is a fan, but I always thought, "Oh, for chrissakes--GET OVER IT!" It's okay to be happy sometimes. You don't ALWAYS have to say something meaningful.