R.E.M. announce they’re calling it quits

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Alt-rock legends R.E.M. have finally decided to call it quits after thirty-one years of cranking out catchy and poetic tunes. With classic albums like Murmur, Reckoning, Document, Out of Time, Automatic For the People, and many others, R.E.M. created radio staples that would become inextricably linked to the soundtracks of many people's lives.

In a statement just posted on their website, singer Michael Stipe, guitarist Peter Buck, bassist Mike Mills, and drummer Bill Berry (who left the band in 1997 after suffering a brain aneurysm) announced:

"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."

The reason for retiring the band appears to be a mutually-agreed-upon sense of finality after recording their last, and generally well-received, album, Collapse Into Now. Mike Mills said, "We realized that these songs seemed to draw a natural line under the last thirty-one years of our working together." And Michael Stipe: "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."

If anyone would like to share their favorite R.E.M.-related memories or favorite songs, please feel free.