(active 1980 - present) U.S.A.
Though R.E.M. formed in Athens, Georgia in 1980, Mike Mills (bassist - b. December 17, 1958) and Bill Berry (drummer - b. July 31, 1958) were the only Southerners in the group. Both had attended high school together in Macon, playing in a number of bands dring their teens. Michael Stipe (singerr - b. January 4, 1960) was a military brat, moving throughout the country during his childhood. Peter Buck (guitarist - b. December 6, 1956), a native of California, was a clerk at Wuxtry.
R.E.M. played their first gig at a party in this now-demolished church on April 5, 1980. R.E.M.'s first record was a single released on the Hib-Tone label featuring Radio Free Europe backed with Sitting Still (1981). Dozens of bootleg LPs chronicled R.E.M.'s live performances and studio outtakes in the early and mid-1980's, but Standing Room Only was the first R.E.M. bootleg CD, featured the band's 1987 concert in Holland.
After an exhaustive international tour supporting 1988's Green, the band retired from touring for six years and retreated into the studio to produce their most popular records, Out of Time (1991) and Automatic for the People (1992). By the time they returned to performing with the Monster tour in 1995, the band had been acknowledged by critics and musicians as one of the forefathers of the thriving alternative rock movement, and they were rewarded with the most lucrative tour of their career.
In October of 1997, R.E.M. shocked fans and the media with the announcement that Berry was amicably exiting the group to retire to life on his farm; the remaining members continued on as a three-piece, soon convening in Hawaii to begin preliminary work on their next LP. Replacing Berry with a drum machine, the sessions resulted in 1998's Up, widely touted as R.E.M.'s most experimental recording in years.