Founded in Athens, Georgia in 1980, R.E.M. was one of the most influential rock bands of the '80s and early '90s, credited with helping to bring independent "alternative" bands into the mainstream of pop music. Known for their twang-folk rock and inscrutable lyrics, the band members are vocalist Michael Stipe (b. 4 January 1960), guitarist Peter Buck (b. 6 December 1958), bassist Michael Mills (b. 17 December 1958) and drummer Bill Berry (b. 31 July 1958). Their first LP, Murmur, was hailed by critics as one of the best rock records of 1983 and included the college radio hit "Radio Free Europe," establishing a pattern for their career. Their audience continued to grow, their albums began to produce underground hits and they toured the United States, finally breaking through to mainstream audiences with the albums Life's Rich Pageant (1986) and Document (1987). By the '90s they were mega-stars on radio and MTV, and Stipe especially became a pop celebrity. Berry retired from the group in 1997, but the band continued to record and perform and rock critics continued to heap praise on their work, even after the band called it quits in 2011. Some of their hits include "The One I Love" (1987), "Orange Crush" (1988) and the Grammy-winning "Losing My Religion" (1991).
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