Long-time rockers R.E.M. announced on their web site that they were disbanding after 31 years. Michael Stipe, Mike Mills and Peter Bucks called it quits, stating: "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. began as a popular college band in Athens, Georgia. They were alternative before the term "alternative rock" was coined. R.E.M. was a democracy in the truest sense, giving each member an equal say. They were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.
Drummer Bill Berry left the band in 1997 because of a brain aneurysm, but occasionally made guest appearances.