After more than three decades as a band, R.E.M. is breaking up.
In a terse announcement Wednesday at the band’s official Web site, remhq.com, the trio of Michael Stipe, Peter Buck and Mike Mills said they “have decided to call it a day as a band.”
An assistant reached at band manager Bertis Downs’ office in Athens, Ga., confirmed that the announcement is not a hoax.
R.E.M., which also originally included drummer Bill Berry, formed in 1980 in Athens and changed the course of independent music with a distinctive sound and a series of ground-breaking albums, including “Murmur” (1983), “Lifes Rich Pageant” (1986) and “Out of Time” (1991), which yielded their biggest hit, “Losing My Religion.”
Their 1992 release, “Automatic for the People,” is widely regarded as one of the best of the ‘90s. Berry’s departure from the band in 1997 was a blow from which the band never quite recovered, but it continued to tour and record for more than another decade. Its latest album, “Collapse Into Now,” was released earlier this year.
In comments on the band's Web site, band members described the break-up as amicable but necessary. "A wise man once said--'the skill in attending a party is knowing when it's time to leave,' " Stipe said. "We built something extraordinary together. We did this thing. And now we're going to walk away from it."
The complete announcement of the band’s break-up reads as follows: "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." R.E.M.