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.
This is going to sound odd, because I was born in 1981 and came of age, musically, in the late 90s, but R.E.M. was the first band I called my own. (Unless you count New Kids on the Block, which I don’t because that was about peer pressure, not music.) I once spent a whole afternoon with a pen and loose leaf paper, transcribing the words to “It’s the end of the world as we know it (and I feel fine)” because that’s the kind of thing you do when you’re 12, right?