R.E.M. was an American rock band from Athens, Georgia, formed in 1980 by lead vocalist Michael Stipe, lead guitarist Peter Buck, bassist/backing vocalist Mike Mills, and drummer Bill Berry. One of the first alternative rock bands, R.E.M. were noted for Buck's ringing, arpeggiated guitar style, Stipe's particular vocal quality, and Mills' melodic basslines and backing vocals. R.E.M. released their first single. They were pivotal in the creation and development of the alternative rock genre.
The band played their first show on April 5, 1980, at a friend’s birthday party in an abandoned church in Athens, Georgia. From that point forward until 2011 when they decided to call it a day, the band released fifteen albums, toured the world, won multiple Grammys, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and have left a lasting legacy of great songs that defined an era.
By the early 1990s, when alternative rock began to experience broad mainstream success, R.E.M. was viewed by subsequent acts such as Nirvana and Pavement as a pioneer of the genre. The band then released its two most commercially successful albums, Out of Time (1991) and Automatic for the People (1992), which veered from the band's established sound and catapulted it to international fame. R.E.M.'s 1994 release, Monster, was a return to a more rock-oriented sound, but still continued its run of success. The band began its first tour in six years to support the album; the tour was marred by medical emergencies suffered by three of the band members.
R.E.M. was pivotal in the creation and development of the alternative rock genre.