Around 20 years too late REM have finally called it a day.
The band announced the news that they are to part amicably after 31 years together on their website. Singer Michael Stipe said:”A wise man once said – ‘the skill in attending a party is knowing when it’s time to leave.”
Well, Michael the time to stop making records was arguably in 1992 after Automatic For The People, REM’s last good album, was released. That album, with its hits Everybody Hurts and Man On The Moon, marked the end of a decade of remarkable albums. Has any band had a more purpley purple patch than REM during the 1980s and early 1990s?
But sadly REM didn’t have the skill to call it a day then and an incredible seven more albums followed, each more lacklustre than the other.
Another reminder for the band to quit came in 1995 when drummer Bill Berry collapsed on stage with a brain anurysm. But no, they carried on. Even when Berry quit in 1997 they ploughed on for an eye-watering 14 more years.
Bassist Mike Mills explains that they made the decision while working on yet another greatest hits compilation. He said: “We started asking ourselves, ‘What next’?”
But let’s not dwell on their gradual decline. Here we present our top ten tracks from REM’s golden phase from 1982 to 1992. Let us not forget that in their prime they were a remarkable band, presenting timeless music in a contemporary way and (cliche alert) influenced a generation of musicians.
10. Orange Crush
9. Can’t Get There From Here
8. Talk About The Passion
7. So. Central Rain
6. Fall On Me
5. The One I Love
4. Driver 8
3. Shiny Happy People
2. Losing My Religion
1. Radio Free Europe