Sad news out of Athens, Ga. today:
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.
Rocks Off's interest in R.E.M. peaked about the same time a lot of other people's did - 1991's Out of Time and '92's Automatic For the People were two of the main soundtracks to our high-school years.
From there on into college, they were one of our absolute favorite bands, especially after we retroactively discovered and devoured 1984's Reckoning and '86's Life's Rich Pageant, which remain our two favorite R.E.M. albums. The one time we saw them live, at the 2003 Austin City Limits Music Festival, was pure magic.
Our interest in R.E.M. waned after that, but not our appreciation of those records, and reignited somewhat after 2008's Accelerate. This year's followup Collapse Into Now, sadly, was most successful as a prophecy.
The band's influence is vast and their accomplishments are many, from being the first band to break out of the American college-rock underground into the Top 10 with "The One I Love" in 1987 to the unswerving integrity that no doubt cost the band millions of dollars - such as opting not to tour after Out of Time or Automatic.
Their commitment to social causes was legion, as was their patronage of other artists, but in the end they deserve to be remembered for their songs. Few bands of their era, or any other, close the books on a catalog that is as deep and enduring as Messrs. Berry, Buck, Mills & Stipe.
Rocks Off picked out a few of our favorite R.E.M. songs to say goodbye, and could have picked a lot more. Sorry about the ads in a couple, but it's worth it. Tell us yours.
Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, September 15, 1995 Support: Radiohead
I Took Your Name What's The Frequency, Kenneth? Crush With Eyeliner Wake Up Bomb The One I Love Binky The Doormat Bang And Blame Undertow Strange Currencies Revolution Tongue Man On the Moon Country Feedback Losing My Religion Departure Pop Song 89 Get Up Star 69
Let Me In Everybody Hurts Wichita Lineman Begin the Begin It's the End of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)
Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, September 16, 1995 Support: Radiohead
What's The Frequency, Kenneth? Crush With Eyeliner Drive Wake-Up Bomb Bang And Blame Binky The Doormat The One I Love Undertow Strange Currencies Revolution Tongue Man On The Moon Country Feedback Losing My Religion Departure Pop Song 89 Get Up Star 69
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Let Me In Everybody Hurts So. Central Rain Begin the Begin It's the End of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)
See our R.I.P. R.E.M. playlist on Rdio.