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REM break up after 31 years together

It's The End Of The World As We Know It...Everybody Hurts... The song titles seem sadly apropos with the news that REM have decided to split after 31 years together.

On the band's website today (21 September) came the message: "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."

Originally comprised of vocalist Michael Stipe, guitarist Peter Buck, bassist Mike Mills and drummer Bill Berry (who left the group in 1997), REM broke out of Athens Georgia and released the landmark albums Murmur, Reckoning, Document, Out Of Time and Automatic For The People.

After Bill Berry's departure (following an onstage brain aneurysm), the group continued as a three piece. Their most recent album was this year's Collapse Into Now. In 2007, REM was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.

Joe is a freelance journalist who has, over the past few decades, interviewed hundreds of guitarists for Guitar WorldGuitar PlayerMusicRadar and Classic Rock. He is also a former editor of Guitar World, contributing writer for Guitar Aficionado and VP of A&R for Island Records. He’s an enthusiastic guitarist, but he’s nowhere near the likes of the people he interviews. Surprisingly, his skills are more suited to the drums. If you need a drummer for your Beatles tribute band, look him up.