You’ve probably heard by now: REM, one of the progenitors of alt.rock has called it quits after 30 years and 15 albums.
The first five REM records (Murmur, Reckoning, Fables of the Reconstruction, Life’s Rich Pageant and Document) deserve at least 18 stars out of a possible 20 and 1992’s Automatic for the People earned five more. By any standard, they depart the stage as one of the greatest bands in rock history, and there’s probably a very good argument to be made that they’re the greatest American band ever. That would no doubt be a lively debate, of course (and one where the band wouldn’t be terribly well-served by the last 15 years or so of its history). Still, their music was groundbreaking and relentlessly original, and along with fellow mid-’80s college radio darlings U2 and INXS they forged the alt.rock landscape in ways that paved the way for thousands of artists who would follow. Read more