Life and How To Live It: an R.E.M history

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    First meetings

    In January 1980, Michael Stipe and Peter Buck meet at Wuxtry Records in Athens, Georgia, and discover their similar musical interests. Soon, the two would meet Bill Berry and Mike Mills, who played music together in high school in Macon, Georgia. This new informal band featured Berry on drums, Mills on bass, Buck on guitar and Stipe on vocals.
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    Just a Touch

    With R.E.M. annoucing it's disbanding in September 2011, music fans saw the end of an era. Pioneers of the college, indie and alternative rock scenes. R.E.M. paved the way for future generations of rock and rollers. This timeline takes a small look back at some of R.E.M.'s career highlights. (timeline image source: Photo by Chris Seward via remhq.com. From left: Mike MIlls, Michael Stipe, Peter Buck)
  • First Show

    First Show
    Without a band name, Stipe, Buck, Mills and Berry perform for the first time to an audience at St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Athens, GA. (image source: AP/Athens Banner-Herald)
  • R.E.M. emerges

    After passing on a series of other names, the foursome decide on R.E.M., which Stipe randomly picked from the dictionary.
  • Laying down tracks

    R.E.M. records the tracks that would later become their first EP "Chronic Town" at Drive-In Studios in Winston-Salem, NC with producer Mitch Easter.
  • Signing to IRS

    Signing to IRS
    After turning down major label RCA, R.E.M. signs with indie label IRS Records. (image source: Wikipedia)
  • Chronic Town

    Chronic Town
    R.E.M.'s first recording, an EP called "Chronic Town," is released by IRS Records. (image source: Amazon.com)
  • Murmur

    The band's first full length album, "Murmur," is released.. The album would later be named Rolling Stone's Album of the Year for 1983, despite selling less than the label's expectations. The album peaked on Billboard's Top Album charts at #36. (image source: Amazon.com)
  • Shea Stadium

    On a stint opening for the Police, R.E.M. plays before its largest crowd yet: 67,000 people at New York's Shea Stadium.
  • First national television appearance

    First national television appearance
    During their first national television appearance, the band plays their first single ("Radio Free Europe") and debuts a new song ("So. Central Rain") on the Late Show WIth David Letterman. (image source: http://rockturtleneck.blogspot.com)
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    Woes in England

    As the band recorded their third full length album in England, trouble within the group begins to stir. The gloomy English weather and foreign situation almost breaks up the group.
  • Reckoning

    The band's second album, "Reckoning," is released. (image source: Amazon.com)
  • Fables of the Reconstruction

    Fables of the Reconstruction
    "Fables of the Reconstruction" is released. (image source: Amazon.com)
  • Life's Rich Pageant

    Life's Rich Pageant
    The album "Life's Rich Pageant" is released. This would become the band's first certified gold album for selling over 500,000 copies. (image source: Amazon.com)
  • Dead Letter Office

    Dead Letter Office
    IRS Records releases "Dead Letter Office," a compilation of b-sides and unreleased tracks. (image source: Amazon.com)
  • Document

    The political charged album "Document" is released. This album would go on to sell over a million copies and have the band's first single to chart in the Top 20 ("The One I Love"). (image source: Amazon.com)
  • R.E.M. signs with Warner Brothers

    R.E.M. signs with Warner Brothers
    After letting their contract with IRS Records expire, the band signs with major label Warner Brothers Records. (image source: Warner Brothers Records)
  • Eponymous

    IRS Records releases "Eponymous," a collection of singles and rarities from the band's IRS catalogue. (image source: Amazon.com)
  • Green

    The band's major label debut, "Green," is released. It would sell over four million copies. (image source: Amazon.com)
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    Green World Tour

    The band embarks on its largest tour yet, The Green World Tour, in support of the album "Green."
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    An Extended Break

    The band unofficially takes a break for the first time since forming. During this time, the band will record their next album.
  • Out of Time

    Out of Time
    The band's seventh album, "Out of Time," is released. The mandolin-heavy and chorus-lacking "Losing My Religion" would become an unlikely hit and was the highest charting single ever for the band (#4). (image source: Amazon.com)
  • Out of Time reaches #1 on Billboard

    "Out of Time" reaches #1 on the Billboard Album Charts.
  • R.E.M. wins three Grammy Awards

    R.E.M. wins three Grammy Awards
    The band is nominated for a total of seven awards at this year's Grammy's, more than any other artist that year. They take home three: Best Alternative Music Album, Best Short Form Music Video (for "Losing My Religion") and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal (also for "Losing My Religion"). (image source: David Mcgough/DMI/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images. From left: Bill Berry, Mike Mills, Michael Stipe, Peter Buck)
  • Automatic for the People

    Automatic for the People
    The critically acclaimed album "Automatic for the People" is released. The band would chose to not tour in support of this album, spurring rumors that Stipe was HIV-positive. (image source: Amazon.com)
  • Monster

    The album "Monster" is released. The album is dedicated to River Phoenix, a friend of Stipe who overdosed in October 1993. (image source: Amazon.com)
  • Berry's brain aneurysm

    While on stage during a show in Lausanne, Switzerland, Berry leaves stage complaining of a severe headache. Diagnosed with a brain aneurysm, he undergoes immediate surgery. The band is forced to put their tour on hold until May, but it turms on Berry's ailment was just the beginning of the band's medical problems.
  • Mills' abdominal surgery

    Mills requires emergency abdominal surgery, forcing the band to cancel several European tour dates.
  • Stipe's hernia

    The band almost has to cancel a sell-out show in Prague (rescheduled twice already - once for Berry's aneurysm and again for Mills' operation) when Stipe was diagnosed with a hernia. The band performs anyway, and after the show immediately leave for the United States, where Stipe's first stop is Emory Hospital in Atlanta for surgery.
  • Largest Recording Contract in Music History

    Reports that R.E.M. signed a five-record deal with Warner Brothers for $80 million surface. This would be the largest record contract any band or artist has signed to this date.
  • New Adventures in Hi-Fi

    New Adventures in Hi-Fi
    The album "New Adventures in Hi-Fi," recorded while on tour in 1995, is released. (image source: Amazon.com)
  • Berry departs band

    Berry annouces he is leaving the band. Berry told his band mates that he would not quit if they would not continue without him, so the three other members decide to continue as a band.
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    Recording sessions as a three-piece

    The band begins recording for the next album, their first without Berry.
  • Up

    The album "Up," the band's first as a trio, is released. (image source: Amazon.com)
  • Reveal

    The band's next album, "Reveal," is released. (image source: Amazon.com)
  • In Time: The Best of R.E.M.

    In Time: The Best of R.E.M.
    Warner Brothers releases the compilation album/dvd "In Time: The Best of R.E.M. 1988-2003." It features two unreleased songs: "Bad Day" and "Animal." (image source: Amazon.com)
  • Around The Sun

    Around The Sun
    The album "Around the Sun" is released. The album yields mixed reviews from critics. (image source: Amazon.com)
  • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

    Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
    Berry reunites with the band for performances at their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. (image source: Steve Mack/Tabloid City via people.com. Pictured: Michael Stipe.)
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    Dublin Working Rehearsals

    R.E.M. plays five nights in Dublins Olympia Theatre in what they dub "working rehearsals" in advance of their next album.
  • R.E.M. Live

    R.E.M. Live
    The band's first official live album, "R.E.M. Live" is released. The album is a recording from two shows at Point Theatre, Dublin, on February 26 and 27, 2005. (image source: Amazon.com)
  • Accelerate

    The album "Accelerate" is released. The up-tempo album is a depature from the band's previous three, more melancoly releases. (image source: Amazon.com)
  • Collapse Into Now

    Collapse Into Now
    The album "Collapse Into Now" is released. This would end up being the band's final studio album. (image source: Amazon.com)
  • The band calls it quits

    R.E.M. announces that they are parting ways as a band. In a statement posted on the their website (remhq.com), the band said: "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."
  • Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage 1982–2011

    Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage 1982–2011
    The band releases a compilation spanning their entire career titled "Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage 1982–2011." It includes songs from the IRS days, Warner Brothers Recordings as well as three never released songs. (image source: Amazon.com)