R.E.M – The Alternative Rock Band

By | Apr 5, 2011

By the times that the 1980’s arrived my interest in popular music was on a decline.  As a young adult in the 80’s it seemed that, like many others, my interests lied with working to survive.  So I was never a fan of the alternative rock band R.E.M, even though when listening to a report of them recently I found I was familiar with many of their songs.

Michael Stipe is the lead vocalist of the band. While a student at the University of Georgia in Athens Stipe met Peter Buck who was working at an Athens’ record store. They discovered that the both were interested in the same types of music. Soon the two joined Mike Mills and Bill Berry, also students at the University, and began playing music together. With no real plan for anything beyond playing together, the four played their first show, on April 5, 1980, at a birthday party for another friend.

Where did they get their name? Like a few other groups they simply took their name from a random selected word out of the dictionary. They had considered a few names such as Twisted Kites, Cans of Piss and even Negro Wives.

It took years of trying and four albums before the band had their first taste of overnight success when they released their fifth album Document and released The One That I Love as its first single. The album became the group’s first million seller.

When looking at R.E.M’s recording career, two other songs stand out as memorable. Losing My Religion from their 1991 album Out of Time and Man on the Moon from Automatic for the People. In the song Man on the Moon there are a number of references to the 1980’s comic Andy Kaufman and when the movie was made about Kaufman, in 1999, the song was used for the film’s title.

R.E.M was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in its first year of eligibility along with Patti Smith, The Ronettes, Van Halen and Grandmaster Flash. The induction ceremony took place on March 12, 2007. On April 1, 2008 the band released their fourteenth studio album Accelerate.


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