share save 171 16 R.E.M. Breaks Up after 31 Years

REM R.E.M. Breaks Up after 31 YearsIt’s the end of the world as we know it. Or at least, to R.E.M.’s biggest fans it may be. The iconic alternative rock band announced on their website today that they have “decided to call it a day as a band.” Not sure if this is really a big deal or not? Take a look at what R.E.M. has accomplished in their time together:

• 15 studio albums
• 6 platinum albums
• 2 number-one albums
• 85 million albums sold worldwide
• 59 singles
• 2007 induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

It is not hard to see how much the band has done. And for all their numerical feats, perhaps their biggest accomplishments lay in their influences on the rock music scene. According to, R.E.M “mark the point when post-punk turned into alternative rock.” 31 years later, alt rock is still alive and flourishing today. Kurt Cobain, in an interview just months before his death, remarked, “I don’t know how that band does what they do. God, they’re the greatest. They’ve dealt with their success like saints, and they keep delivering great music.” The words are high praise from an artist who knew something or other about successful music.

On their website, R.E.M. released statements from each band member regarding the break up. Below, you can view these passages in full.

From Mike Mills: “During our last tour, and while making Collapse Into Now and putting together this greatest hits retrospective, we started asking ourselves, ‘what next’? Working through our music and memories from over three decades was a hell of a journey. We realized that these songs seemed to draw a natural line under the last 31 years of our working together.

“We have always been a band in the truest sense of the word. Brothers who truly love, and respect, each other. We feel kind of like pioneers in this–there’s no disharmony here, no falling-outs, no lawyers squaring-off. We’ve made this decision together, amicably and with each other’s best interests at heart. The time just feels right.”

From Michael Stipe: “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.”

From Peter Buck: “One of the things that was always so great about being in R.E.M. was the fact that the records and the songs we wrote meant as much to our fans as they did to us. It was, and still is, important to us to do right by you. Being a part of your lives has been an unbelievable gift. Thank you.

“Mike, Michael, Bill, Bertis, and I walk away as great friends. I know I will be seeing them in the future, just as I know I will be seeing everyone who has followed us and supported us through the years. Even if it’s only in the vinyl aisle of your local record store, or standing at the back of the club: watching a group of 19 year olds trying to change the world.”

These poignant words from the three members of R.E.M. depict a band going out in about as tasteful of a way as possible, apropos to their entire career. And though R.E.M. leaves behind millions of fans, they also leave behind a wealth of music – 15 albums’ worth, to be exact. And that will always be there.

Will you miss R.E.M.? Are you glad to see them go? Leave your comments below. And for all your music news, check out the Dynamic Tickets blog.