I grew up in Atlanta and the first time I saw REM was the Summer of 1980 when they opened for The Swimming Pool Q's at the 688 club. I remember thinking that they were a really fun band because the lead singer had a mophead of hair and danced like he was having an epileptic fit. I went out and bought their fist EP Chronic Town the next day. I really like the Paisley underground type sound of the early 80's in the South because to me it brought in a completely new genre that finally eradicated disco. Among my favorites:
Vigilantes of Love/Bill Mallonee
Let's Active/Mitch Easter
Swimming Pool Q's
Drivn n Cryn
The Windbreakers/Bobby Sutliff/Tim Lee
and of course in a class unto themselves- the B-52's
And from out West:
Dream Syndicate/Steve Wynn
Rain Parade/Mazzy Star
Green On Red/Chuck Prophet
If you still enjoy this type of guitar driven rock and roll,I highly recommend the new Feelies album Here Before.
Not to digress too much, but thanks REM for making music interesting.
When I was in my early 30's I was at a party where music became the topic of conversation. I either didn't recognize or didn't care for the bands mentioned. When my input was elicited, my short response was- I'm kinda bimodal- the 19th century or the 1960's. I heard a number of folks insist on "listen to R.E.M.". Over the next 30 years they've been one of my favorite bands- maybe my favorite. I'm sad they're calling it a day but happy for them that they are leaving after a good album and as friends. I hope I get to hear from them as individual artists.
Everyone will experience these things differently. I discovered them by accident in about 1986, and first fell in love with Life's Rich Pageant. I worked my way backwards, and also liked Document and Green.
One day, I was in the grocery store and saw Michael Stipe on the cover of Details, and I started feeling the beginning of the end. That coincided with a loss of interest in the direction that their music was taking. I only bought 2 of their next discs, and didn't like them very much. I guess that what I had once seen in them and loved had become something else, as everything is in a constant state of change, as it should be.
For me, they were really magic for a long time, on record and in person. My fond enjoyment of their music (even the older discs) is somewhat marred these days by things I have read about Michael Stipe being an egotistical asshole who is abusive to the "little people". Still, an impressive body of good work.
I started relatively late when R.E.M. gained popularity in Europe with Green, Out
of Time and Automatic. Looking back I still enjoy Out of Time and Automatic
most, the first because it is so different, experimental, and lighthearted and just
somewhat "out of that time" and the second because of its epic, sad
and melancholic feel.
I also enjoy the older albums, but for me this is why R.E.M. has been a
cornerstone in my exploration of music over the past 20-30 years.
Automatic for the People is just a great album front to back. And, incidentally, I ate at Weaver D's last Wednesday. My wife is a UGA grad has wonderful memories about seeing them at fraternities and the local bars. She remebers thinking they hit the big time when they gigged at The Georgia Theater (that just reopened a few weeks ago after being closed for few years from a fire).
I remember hearing them for the first time on college radio in the early 80's and thinking, wow, this sound is new and fresh and it's not disco. The 80's really had some crappy pop music and radio but the "college radio" sound was refreshing, eclectic, rule breaking and different. A real change from 70's rock and disco . I remember listening INX's, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Dire Straits, Elvis Costello, Squeeze.
I just read that R.E.M. is splitting up. Very sad! I was
introduced to them by my daughter more than 20 years ago.
We have seen them live many times and will miss their
concerts. My favorite albums are from their middle-period,
Automatic for the People, New Adventures in Hi-Fi and
Around the Sun were very listenable, for me. Anyone who is
unfamiliar with this group should give them a listen. They
are great live and their appearances on Austin City Limits
and their DVD "Perfect Square" are great examples of that.
maxnewid just listed the bands that turned me from casual listener to obsessive collector. for my money, those early 80s guitar bands (along with husker du, replacements, church etc.) were the high water mark. the windbreakers and rain parade in particular deserve to be elevated from obscurity.
i first caught the fledgling rem in chicago in 81 with lets active and chris stamey opening. still one of the best shows i've seen. my main issue with rem is that their early records (chronic town through lifes rich paegent) were so good that every subsequent release sounds a bit diluted.
Great body of work over the past 30 years.
One of the best concerts I saw was the "Monster" tour in 1995.
Opening for REM was a little known band called Radiohead.
They have been a cornerstone of rock for many years now. I lose interest in much of their newer stuff, but they were at the top of the game at their peak back in the 80's and early 90's, and probably were one of the biggest factors that helped preserve rock music as a thoughtful medium in the form of "alternative rock" when they broke on the scene back in the early 1980's. That is a historic part of their legacy and perhaps their biggest accomplishment in my mind. The "Beatles" of alternative rock, perhaps?
"Automatic For The People" and "Out of Time" are the two I know that can still hold my interest from start to finish. Some decent material on these also for use in evaluating audio systems. These albums played a big part in my discovering that smaller monitors from Dynaudio and Totem are capable of producing some very involving sounds!
Also worth mentioning is REM is one group whose more recent recordings have really been hurt by their apparent "loudness wars" tendencies. Accelerate and Live at the Olympia in particular are two I have that push the loudness wars barrier into questionable territory. A shame since much of their older and most popular stuff was pretty well done!
Life's Rich Paegent, Murmur and Document, all great albums. I'm turning them on today when I get home from work.
I too remember REM as a favorite from my college days in the mid '80's along with:
Smashing Pumpkins (early)
Good times. It's 80's retro night tonight, putting on the parachute pants, and spiking up the hair.
It was February 1991....I wasn't really into new rock at the time.....my wife tells me she's been having an affair with her boss for the past 6 months....I get in my car and I am not in the mood for "mellow" old crap...I flip the station to the rock station...."Shiny Happy People" comes on.
Great band. Murmur is my favorite. Love the heavy Byrds influence especially in their earlier material. Twangy Rickenbacker/Vox sound at its finest.
I can see I'll be stocking up on used REM CDs now when I find them....
Sad news...maybe their members start individual projects?
Maxnewid - looks like we cut our teeth on some very similar bands. Made me think of the band Zeitgeist as well (Translate Slowly)! Enjoyed a spin with it today! Has been fun thread to read and catch a glimpse into others views on a band that really made a difference for me in my college years. The only group who I ever spent the night outside in line for tickets (Murmur tour)! Still one of the best shows I've ever seen. The dB's opened, and the Egyptian Theater in DeKalb, Illinois never sounded so good!
I've spent much of my musical life with REM. Amazing band. I'm close to Michael Stipes age have been a fan since the 80's. I love all the 24 bit tunes. They really 'Got It'.