R.E.M. is an American rock band formed in Athens, Georgia, in 1980 by Michael Stipe (lead vocals), Peter Buck (guitar), Mike Mills (bass guitar), and Bill Berry (drums and percussion). R.E.M. was one of the first popular alternative rock bands, and gained early attention due to Buck's "jangly" guitar style and Stipe's cryptic vocals. R.E.M. released its first single, "Radio Free Europe" in 1981 on the independent record label Hib-Tone. The single was followed by the Chronic Town EP in 1982; the band's first release on I.R.S. Records. In 1983, the band released its critically-acclaimed debut album Murmur, and built its reputation over the next few years through subsequent critically-acclaimed releases, constant touring, and the support of college radio. Following years of underground success, R.E.M. entered the mainstream in 1987 with the hit song "The One I Love". The group signed to Warner Bros. Records in 1988, and began to adopt broad political and environmental concerns while playing large arenas worldwide.Source
By the early 1990s, when alternative rock began to experience broad mainstream success, R.E.M. was viewed as a pioneer of the genre and released its most successful albums - the multi-million-selling Out of Time (1991), and Automatic for the People (1992), which veered from the band's established sound. R.E.M. released Monster, which was a return to a more rock-oriented sound, in 1994 and began its first tour in six years, which was marred by a number of medical emergencies suffered by three bandmembers. In 1997, R.E.M. re-signed with Warner Bros. for a then-record US$ 80 million. The following year, Bill Berry amicably left the band, with Buck, Mills, and Stipe continuing as a three-piece. Through some changes in musical style, the band continued its career into the next decade with mixed critical and commercial success. In 2007, the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.