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R.E.M. breaks up

AJC file photo

AJC file photo

It’s the end of the world as we know it.

Athens band R.E.M. is breaking up. The sad news was announced via the R.E.M. web site. It was apparently overloaded because we received error messages when trying to access it.

The Athens Banner Herald posted the news release on its site, though. Here’s what it says:

“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.”

Response from our Twitter followers ranged from acerbic wit (”REM is still alive?” - Katie Smith) to lamentation (”Crap! And their last album was GREAT!” – Ferrd R.) to lyrical (”Everybody hurts.” – Greg Payne).

The news is burning up music blogs such as the one at Rolling Stone’s site, which notes that “in just over three decades as a band, R.E.M. released 15 albums including landmark works such as Murmur, Reckoning, Document, Out of Time and Automatic For the People. The band’s final album, Collapse Into Now, was released in March of this year.”

Are you surprised at the news? Are you, ahem, (Orange) Crushed?

10 comments Add your comment


September 21st, 2011
2:12 pm

First. But the band effectively was never the same once Bill Berry left.

Lonnie Gentry

September 21st, 2011
2:13 pm

I’m gonna miss their neck salve.

Georgia Sports Report

September 21st, 2011
2:25 pm

Chi Town

September 21st, 2011
2:33 pm

Who cares?

Any band from Athens is gay.

Patty Cakes

September 21st, 2011
3:29 pm

This would really suck if they were still relevant.


September 21st, 2011
3:49 pm

I was a fan from 1987 to 1994. My brother–a student at UGA–got me hooked. Love their early stuff–”Murmur” and Reckoning,” especially. The “Work Tour” promoting “Document” was my first concert at age 15. Through the years I’ve downloaded a couple of singles, but for me, that train left the station a long time ago. Yes, bands must progress and grow creatively, but I will always love R.E.M. for the jangling guitar-college rock that later became known as alternative music.


September 21st, 2011
3:57 pm

This sounds cheesy, but “Everybody Hurts” really helped me through some dark, dark times…


September 22nd, 2011
5:58 am

REM was done when Stipe went with that Curly Howard look.

Joe Biden

September 22nd, 2011
6:25 am

They were still around? That’s news to me!


September 22nd, 2011
7:32 am

Amazing band. R.E.M. were a class act whose music ushered in the alternative music era of the 90s (People forget that “Losing my Religion” made the top 5 while Nirvana were still in the studio tinkering with Nevermind.)
Without R.E.M., there would be no Radiohead, Wilco, or any of the countless bands who have followed in their footsteps.
Murmur, Document, Life’s Rich Pageant, Automatic for the People. All flawless classics.
All the jokes about their current relevance being made are sort of funny, in that there are few other bands whose end would still make headlines 30 years out.
Somehow I doubt Nickelback will make a peep when they split. Does anyone truly think people will care when Kid Rock or Justine Bieber retires?
R.E.M. may not have been topping the charts these days, but that’s no surprise in our youth-obsessed culture. Other than the Stones and U2, can anyone name any band that stayed on top into their 50s?