Scott Gries/Getty Images
Scott Gries/Getty Images
Quick! Get yourself into the fetal position in a darkened room and put "Everybody Hurts" on a loop: R.E.M. has officially called time on being a band.
Michael Stipe & Co. made the announcement in a posting on their official site this morning, breaking the news by thanking their loyal fans for 31 years (!) of listening.
"To our Fans and Friends: As R.E.M., and as lifelong friends and coconspirators, we have decided to call it a day as a band," the band wrote.
"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."
Stipe, Mike Mills, Bill Berry and Peter Buck first banded together in Athens, Ga, back in 1980. They were a seminal band on the indie college radio scene, with songs like "Radio Free Europe," "Talk About the Passion," "(Don't Go Back to) Rockville" and "Fall On Me," before breaking through to a wider audience with 1987's Document, which spawned the hits "It's the End of the World as We Know It, "The Finest Worksong" and "The One I Love."
Their popularity exploded in the early 1990s with the albums Out of Time, Automatic for the People and Monster, and the band left their longtime home at I.R.S. Records for a big-bucks deal with Warner Bros. Music.
Just try and find a TV breakup montage that doesn't start off with "Everybody Hurts," a movie from the '90s that doesn't include "Losing My Religion," a clip from New Year's Eve 2000 that didn't heavily feature "It's the End of the World As We Know It," or watch any retrospective, countdown clip show without hearing "What's the Frequency Kenneth?"…can't be done.
Perhaps because of their loyal and lasting fans, the group—which released their final album, Collapse Into Now, in March of this year—didn't just leave their disbanding announcement as a three-line press release. Instead, each member took to their site to share with fans why now was the right time for them to call it a day.
For Stipe, he just knew.
"A wise man once said—'the skill in attending a party is knowing when it's time to leave. We built something extraordinary together. We did this thing. And now we're going to walk away from it.
"I hope our fans realize this wasn't an easy decision; but all things must end, and we wanted to do it right, to do it our way. We have to thank all the people who helped us be R.E.M. for these 31 years; our deepest gratitude to those who allowed us to do this. It's been amazing."
Our thoughts exactly.