R.E.M. Break Up After 31 Years

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September 21, 2011 | 6:00pm EST

Rock icons R.E.M. have split after 31 years together.
Frontman Michael Stipe, guitarist Peter Buck and bassist Mike Mills announced the news on the band’s website on Wednesday.

Their statement reads: “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.”

Singer Stipe reveals the decision to break up was amicable – but it was not easy.

He says, “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 realise 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.”

The group was formed in 1980 with drummer Bill Berry, who quit in 1997, and they achieved critical and commercial success with hits such as The One I Love, Stand, Losing My Religion and Man on the Moon.

The group released 15 albums throughout their career and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.

R.E.M.’s final album, Collapse Into Now, was released in March.