When the rock band R.E.M was formed in 1980 in Athens, Georgia, the punk rock wave that invaded America during the late 1970’s was dissolved, hence, this band is often referred as a transitional band that evolved from post-punk to alternative rock.
REM is an acronym that stands for "Rapid Eye Movement", a term commonly used to designate a certain stage of sleep. However, the band took their name randomly after a dictionary search.
Former members Michael Stipe met Peter Buck shared similar taste and musical tendencies that included some of the most influential punkers of the moment. While attending the University of Georgia, Stipe and Buck invited fellow students Mike Mills and Bill Berry to explore the music scene behind their idols The Plasmatics, Patti Smith, The Velvet Underground, and Television.
Due to success, they did not wait after releasing their first single, "Radio Free Europe", all members dropped out of college in 1981 to focus all their efforts on the band. After playing locally small gigs, R.E.M. went on tours throughout the Southern USA.
From 1982 to 1985, R.E.M. recorded a debut EP and three albums, "Murmur" (1983), "Reckoning" (1984), and "Fables of the Reconstruction" (1985), and "Life’s Rich Pageant" (1986). However, their breakthrough into the mainstream came with "Document", an album released in 1987 that produced single hits with social and political context.
Compared with the early work of Bob Dylan, R.E.M. hit the charts with songs like "Welcome To the Occupation" and "Exhuming McCarthy" in a time in which President Ronald Reagan was in the eye of controversy.
R.E.M. released six new studio albums for the following ten years and toured all over the world before the band became a trio after Bill Berry quit the band. The other members decided to keep recording and touring, releasing three new albums between 1998 and 2004.
In 2007, the band has been working on what will be R.E.M.'s 14th studio album, scheduled to be released sometime during October. R.E.M. has also launched a web site in which updates the band's activities posted regularly, and it also features an original R.E.M Live Zine
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